The Overwhelming Infection of Septic Shock

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Kleinpell states, “Septic shock is the result of an overwhelming infection, leading to hypotension, altered coagulation, inflammation, impaired circulation at a cellular level, anaerobic metabolism, changes in mental status and multiple organ failure (as sited in Garretson & Malberti, Ignatavicius and Workman (2009), “sepsis is a widespread infection coupled with a more general criteria: body temperature higher than 380C or lower than 360C, heart rate greater than 90 beats per minute, respiratory rate greater than 20 breaths per minutes, and WBC count greater than 12,000/mm or lower than 4,000/mm or with more than 10% bands (Spaniol, Knight, Zebley, Anderson, Pierce, 2007). Endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, can precipitate the common progression of events leading to septic shock. A patient experiencing SIRS is at risk for organ failure (severe sepsis), multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, and death. This paper will outline the details surrounding this condition, from a nursing standpoint. Early sepsis is defined as “a suspected or proven infection and the systemic response to infection” (Porth & Matfin, 2009). During early sepsis, a hypodynamic state of vasodilation, increased release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, pooling of blood, cellular hypoxia, and vascular damage cause microthrombi. This sequence of events can lead to Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and potential death if undetected and untreated. Detection and

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