Characterization of Pathogenic Sepsis Etiologies and Patient Profiles: A Novel Approach to Triage and Treatment

Microbiol Insights. 2019 Jan 27;12:1178636118825081. doi: 10.1177/1178636118825081. eCollection 2019.


Pathogenic sepsis is not a monolithic condition. Three major types of sepsis exist within this category: bacterial, viral, and fungal, each with its own mechanism of action. While similar in symptoms, the etiologies and immune mechanisms of these types differ enough that a discrete patient base can be recognized for each one. Non-specific treatment, such as broad-spectrum antibiotics, without determination of sepsis origins may worsen sepsis symptoms and leads to increased morbidity and mortality in patients. However, recognition of current and historical patterns in likely patients for each sepsis type may aid in differentiation between pathogens prior to definitive blood testing. Clinicians may ultimately be able to diagnose and treat bacterial, viral, and fungal sepsis using analysis of previous patient patterns and circumstances in addition to standard care. This method is likely to decrease incidence of multidrug-resistant organisms, organ failure due to ineffective treatment, and turnaround time to the correct treatment for each sepsis patient. Ultimately, we aim to provide classification information on these patient populations and to suggest epidemiology-based screening methods that can be integrated into critical care medicine, specifically triage and treatment of sepsis.

Keywords: bacteremia; critical care; fungemia; inflammation; intensive care; sepsis; viremia.

Publication types

  • Review