Blood infection or sepsis develops when chemicals that fight infection are released into the bloodstream causing inflammatory response throughout the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. This inflammation can result in multiple organ damage, organ failure and death.
Sepsis results from bacterial, viral or fungal infection most commonly associated with pneumonia, abdominal infection, kidney infection and bloodstream infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sepsis may also develop from typically harmless conditions, such as a scraped knee or small cut, or from serious medical conditions including appendicitis, meningitis or a urinary tract infection, adds WebMD.
Sepsis is more common and dangerous if the patient is very young, very old, has a compromised immune system, has wounds or injuries, is very sick and often in a hospital's ICU, or has invasive devices such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes, says the Mayo Clinic.
Early signs of sepsis include rapid breathing, reduced alertness and confusion, although other common symptoms include fever, chills, low body temperature, decreased urination, rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, states WebMD.
Treatment of sepsis may include medications such as antibiotics and vasopressors, surgery to remove the source of infection, and supportive care such as machines to assist with breathing and dialysis for kidney failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.