Septic encephalopathy

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2013 Oct;13(10):383. doi: 10.1007/s11910-013-0383-y.


Every year, more cases of sepsis appear in intensive care units. The most frequent complication of sepsis is septic encephalopathy (SE), which is also the essential determinant of mortality. Despite many years of research, it still is not known at which stage of sepsis the first signs of SE appear; however, it is considered the most frequent form of encephalopathy. Patients have dysfunction of cognitive abilities and consciousness, and sometimes even epileptic seizures. Despite intensive treatment, the effects of SE remain for many years and constitute an important social problem. Numerous studies indicate that changes in the brain involve free radicals, nitric oxide, increased synthesis of inflammatory factors, disturbances in cerebral circulation, microthromboses, and ischemia, which cause considerable neuronal destruction in different areas of the brain. To determine at what point during sepsis the first signs of SE appear, different experimental models are needed to detect the aforementioned changes and to select the proper therapy for this syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Sepsis / complications*