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Sepsis - Definition


Sepsis is defined as a grouping of all the symptoms generated by the body in response to systemic inflammation. When an area of the body is infected, this infection is spread by the blood stream, causing a number of symptoms, represented by the following specific criteria: body temperature raised to over 38°C or lowered to below 36°C; rapid breathing at over 20 breaths per minute, or a partial pressure of CO2 in arterial blood level lower than 32mm of mercury, detected by arterial gasometry used to analyze blood gases; tachycardia superior to 90 beats per minute; hyperleukocytosis of over 12,000 white blood cells per millimeter cubed of blood, or leukopenia, defined as less than 4000 white blood cells per millimeter cubed of blood. In cases of sepsis, the initial infection site must be found and treated as soon as possible in order to avoid it progressing into severe sepsis or septic shock.