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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 48

of 'Sepsis syndromes in adults: Epidemiology, definitions, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and prognosis'

The systemic inflammatory response syndrome as a predictor of bacteraemia and outcome from sepsis.
Jones GR, Lowes JA
QJM. 1996;89(7):515.
Criteria defining the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) were used to assess prospectively 270 clinical episodes in which blood cultures were taken from patients in general medicine. SIRS, severe sepsis and septic shock occurred in 149 (55%), 13 (5%) and 9 (3%) episodes, respectively. However, evidence of organ hypoperfusion indicating severe sepsis was recorded as sought in only 26% of episodes of SIRS. Crude mortality at 28 days increased sequentially as more SIRS criteria were met, rising from 12% in non-SIRS blood culture episodes, to 36% when all four criteria were met. Mortality from severe sepsis and septic shock was 38% and 56%, respectively. In 61/64 (95%) episodes of clinically important bacteraemia, patients fulfilled SIRS criteria when the blood culture was taken. However, the positive predictive value of SIRS for predicting bacteraemia was only 7%. Patients who did not fulfil SIRS criteria when blood cultures were taken were at low risk of bacteraemia and comprised 45% (121/270) of the study population. Three patients in this low-risk group had bacteraemia. Mortality in bacteraemic patients with severe sepsis or septic shock who were initially treated with ineffective antibiotics for up to 48 h was 80%, compared to 42% in those always treated appropriately.
Public Health Laboratory, Southampton General Hospital, UK.