Inflammation is an adaptive process to the noxious stimuli that the human body is constantly exposed to. From the local inflammatory response to a full-blown systemic inflammation, a wide complex sequence of events occurs. Persistent immunosuppression and catabolism may ensue, until multiple organ failure finally sets in. And since clinically useful and specific biomarkers are lacking, diagnosis may come late. A thorough understanding of these events (how they begin, how they evolve, and how to modulate them) is imperative, but as yet poorly studied. This review aims to consolidate current knowledge of these events so that the management of these patients is not only evidence-based, but also built on an understanding of the inner workings of the human body in health and in disease.
Keywords: CARS; PICS; inflammation; metabolic stress; multiple organ dysfunction syndrome; systemic inflammatory response syndrome.