Sepsis: Current Definition, Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Management

Nutr Clin Pract. 2017 Jun;32(3):296-308. doi: 10.1177/0884533617695243. Epub 2017 Mar 17.


Sepsis is a clinical syndrome that results from the dysregulated inflammatory response to infection that leads to organ dysfunction. The resulting losses to society in terms of financial burden, morbidity, and mortality are enormous. We provide a review of sepsis, its underlying pathophysiology, and guidance for diagnosis and management of this common disease. Current established treatments include appropriate antimicrobial agents to target the underlying infection, optimization of intravascular volume to improve stroke volume, vasopressors to counteract vasoplegic shock, and high-quality supportive care. Appropriate implementation of established treatments combined with novel therapeutic approaches promises to continue to decrease the impact of this disease.

Keywords: critically ill; intensive care unit; nutritional support; sepsis; systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sepsis / diagnosis*
  • Sepsis / drug therapy*
  • Sepsis / physiopathology*
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / therapeutic use


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents