What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection which is
sometimes referred to as blood poisoning. This is an infection that
occurs when germs get into the bloodstream and spread. The germs
are usually bacteria but also can be viruses or fungi..
Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response
to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and
Sepsis can move from a mild illness to a serious one very
quickly, which can be very frightening for patients and their
This abnormal reaction of the immune system can happen to anyone
in response to any infection but it is most common with bacterial
infections such as pneumonia (chest infection), meningitis or
urinary tract infections (water infection).
Who is at risk of getting sepsis?
There are some groups of people that are more
at risk of developing sepsis than others, these include:
Common sources of sepsis
Signs and Symptoms of sepsis
If you or your relative have any of these symptoms and are
concerned, visit your GP or attend the Emergency Department.
In an emergency call 999.
How is sepsis diagnosed?
Sepsis is diagnosed when a doctor or nurse thinks you have an
infection, they will take your observations such as blood pressure,
temperature, heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen levels.
Sometimes you will need to have blood tests and x-rays to confirm
infection and how serious it is.
What happens to you when you get to
If you or someone you know starts to develop signs of sepsis
they should be taken to hospital so that treatment can be started
as quickly as possible. Once sepsis has been diagnosed you should
receive the following treatment:
Are there any long term effects of Sepsis?
Usually a full recovery is expected from sepsis given timely
treatment. Sometimes some organs may not function as well as they
did before. This should be discussed by the discharging doctor in
each individual's case.
'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their
Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital