Bacteremia and sepsis in older adults

Clin Geriatr Med. 2007 Aug;23(3):633-47, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2007.05.003.


Bacteremia and sepsis are common complications of infection in older patients. Comorbidities, institutionalization, instrumentation, and immunosenescence place older persons at high risk for bacteremia and sepsis, and clinicians must have a heightened suspicion for these infectious disorders in older patients because nonspecific clinical manifestations of infection are common in this vulnerable population. Although increasing age is associated with a high risk of death due to bacteremia and sepsis, recent evidence suggests that many older patients respond well to treatments of proven efficacy. This article discusses the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prognosis of bacteremia and sepsis in older patients and provides evidence-based recommendations regarding the treatment of these infectious disorders in older persons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteremia* / drug therapy
  • Bacteremia* / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia* / etiology
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Morbidity
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis* / drug therapy
  • Sepsis* / epidemiology
  • Sepsis* / etiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents