A task force has developed updated definitions of sepsis and septic shock that eliminate criteria previously used for diagnosis that may lead to missed diagnosis.
The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3), made public at an afternoon session of the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) 45th Critical Care Congress, were simultaneously published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The new definitions do away with the current use of two or more systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria for sepsis diagnosis. Components of SIRS include tachycardia, tachypnea, hyperthermia or hypothermia, and elevated white blood count.
Led by Mervyn Singer, MD, of University College London, and Clifford Deutschman, MD, MS, of Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine in New Hyde Park, NY, the international task force that developed the new definitions unanimously considered the requirement for two or more SIRS criteria to be unhelpful in the diagnosis of sepsis.
Recent studies have shown that SIRS symptoms occur in a large majority of hospitalized patients and are often associated with benign conditions.
“The SIRS criteria do not necessarily indicate a dysregulated, life-threatening response,” the task force wrote. “SIRS criteria are present in many hospitalized patients, including those who never develop infection and never incur adverse outcomes.”