Causes of Sepsis

Bacterial infections are the only causes of sepsis. There are, however, a lot of different microbes that may cause this condition. Though bacteria are usually the main cause behind sepsis infections, some people may also experience the condition due to infections from viruses and fungi. These microbes enter into the skin and travel to the internal organs, where they feed, reproduce and produce the damage causing toxins. They often cause cellulitis, a skin condition which is indicative of the presence of bacteria within the body. In the brain, the bacteria may cause meningitis, leading to sepsis.

Surgery, when not performed properly, makes a person more susceptible to developing various infections. This may also lead to sepsis eventually. It is for this reason that doctors always take a lot of care before, during and after performing a surgery.

There are certain risk factors of sepsis as well. There are some people who are more likely to develop sepsis than others. Here are some of the risk factors:

  • Babies and young children, as they have underdeveloped immune systems and may succumb to infections rather rapidly.
  • Elderly people, as they too have lowered immune system and may not be able to fight infections as easily.
  • Transplant recipients and any other patients who have been consuming immunosuppressant medications.
  • Cancer patients or any other people undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.
  • People, who have had a surgery for removal of spleen, may also not be able to generate a strong enough immune reaction. Since the spleen fights certain infections, the absence of it can render the body more susceptible to infections.
  • Long term use of steroids often leaves a person susceptible to infections that cause sepsis.
  • A long history of diabetes, cirrhosis and AIDS may also make you more susceptible to infection.
  • Severe burns or similar injuries may cause bacteria to enter into the body with relative ease. With a large part of the skin out of the way, microbes find it much easier to enter into the body and cause complications as well as sepsis.
  • People who have infections such as meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and cellulitis may also make a person predisposed to sepsis.

  1. James M. O’Brien Jr, Naeem A. Ali, Scott K. Aberegg, Edward Abraham, Sepsis, The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 120, Issue 12, December 2007, Pages 1012-1022, ISSN 0002-9343, 10.1016/j.amjmed.2007.01.035.
  2. Adriana Cristina Galbiati Parminondi Elias, Tiemi Matsuo, Cintia Magalhães Carvalho Grion, Lucienne Tibery Queiroz Cardoso, Paulo Henrique Verri, Incidence and risk factors for sepsis in surgical patients: A cohort study, Journal of Critical Care, Volume 27, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 159-166, ISSN 0883-9441, 10.1016/j.jcrc.2011.08.001.