- septic shock n a life-threatening severe form of sepsis that usu. results from the presence of bacteria and their toxins in the bloodstream and is characterized esp. by persistent hypotension with reduced blood flow to organs and tissues and often organ dysfunction
* * *shock associated with overwhelming infection, usually infection with gram-negative bacteria, although it may be produced by other bacteria, viruses, fungi, or protozoa. It is thought to result from the action of endotoxins or other products of the infectious agent on the vascular system causing large volumes of blood to be sequestered in capillaries and veins; activation of the complement and kinin systems and the release of histamine, cytokines, prostaglandins, and other mediators may be involved. Clinical characteristics include initial chills and fever, warm flushed skin, increased cardiac output, and a lesser degree of hypotension than with hypovolemic shock; if therapy is ineffective, it may progress to the clinical picture associated with hypovolemic shock.
Medical dictionary. 2011.
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