After decades of extensive experimental and clinical research, septic shock and the related multiple organ dysfunction still remain the leading cause of mortality in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. Defining sepsis is a difficult task, but what is even more challenging is differentiating infection-induced from non-infection-induced systemic inflammatory response-related multiple organ dysfunction. As conventional signs of infection are often unreliable in intensive care, biomarkers are used, of which one of the most frequently investigated is procalcitonin. Early stabilisation of vital functions via adequate supportive therapy and antibiotic treatment has resulted in substantial improvements in outcome over the last decades. However, there are certain patients who may need extra help, hence modulation of the immune system and the host's response may also be an important therapeutic approach in these situations. Polyclonal intravenous immunoglobulins have been used in critical care for decades. A relatively new potential approach could be attenuation of the overwhelming cytokine storm by specific cytokine adsorbents. Both interventions have been applied in daily practice on a large scale, with firm pathophysiological rationale but weak evidence supported by clinical trials. The purpose of this review is to give an overview on the pathophysiology of sepsis as well as the role and interpretation of biomarkers and their potential use in assisting adjunctive therapies in sepsis in the future.
- Systemic inflammatory response syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)