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February 23, 2016

New Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock: Continuing Evolution but With Much Still to Be Done

Author Affiliations
  • 1Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem, North Carolina
JAMA. 2016;315(8):757-759. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0290

The diagnosis of sepsis is not a new concern. Indeed, as early as 700 bce, the Greeks recognized Σήψις (sepsis), referring to decomposition or rot, as a life-threatening condition associated with infection and high risk of death. The primary criterion for sepsis has historically been progressive organ system dysfunction resulting from infection. Because the only available therapies for this condition, antimicrobials and supportive care, are not specific, there was little concern about developing more detailed standards for diagnosis.

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