Sepsis is a potentially deadly medical condition characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state (called a systemic inflammatory response syndrome or SIRS) that is triggered by an infection. The body may develop this inflammatory response by the immune system to microbes in the blood, urine, lungs, skin, or other tissues. A popular term for sepsis is blood poisoning. Severe sepsis is the systemic inflammatory response, infection and the presence of organ dysfunction. Septicemia (also septicaemia or septicmia [sp.t.si.mi]) is a related medical term referring to the presence of pathogenic organisms in the bloodstream, leading to sepsis. The term has not been sharply defined. It has been inconsistently used in the past by medical professionals, for example as a synonym of bacteremia, causing some confusion. Severe sepsis is usually treated in the intensive care unit with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
Contributions by Stevenfruitsmaak, Jfdwolff, and Nephron.