Septic shock is caused by a full-body inflammatory response to toxins created by an infection, according to Healthline. Doctors believe that this inflammation forms tiny blood clots that block oxygen and nutrients to vital organs. The condition can lead to organ failure or death.
Septic shock is the third and final stage of a serious condition called sepsis, Healthline states. Sepsis is caused by a viral, fungal or bacterial infection, often developing in the reproductive organs, digestive system, abdomen or urinary tract. A quarter of all sepsis originates from lung infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Age and health are among the factors that put a patient at risk for sepsis shock, Healthline reports. It is most common in the elderly, newborns, pregnant women, and patients with compromised immune systems stemming from cancer or HIV treatment. Other risk factors include diabetes, recent surgery, long-term hospitalization, intravenous drug use and treatment with invasive medical devices, such as catheters and breathing tubes, that can introduce bacteria in the body.
It is essential to get immediate treatment for septic shock to improve chances of survival, Healthline says. The sooner doctors can begin treating the inflammation and the infection, the more likely the chances of a positive outcome. Survival rates also depend upon the infection source and how many organs are infected.