Sepsis causes inflammation, increased coagulation, and decreased fibrinolysis and decreases the amount of activated C protein in the body. This article discusses the pathogenesis of sepsis, explains the role of activated protein C in sepsis, and describes a new treatment option.

The term sepsis is derived from the Greek word sepien meaning “to make rotten.”1 In 2001, 1.3% of all deaths in the United States were attributed to sepsis, and sepsis was the 10th leading cause of death.2 According to preliminary data for 2003, septicemia remains the 10th leading cause of death.3 The estimated annual costs of treating sepsis are approximately $17 billion, and sepsis affects more than 700000 patients in the United States each year.4 

The most common sources of infection leading to sepsis include pulmonary and urinary sites, wounds, and invasive catheters.5 In a recent study6 of the epidemiology of sepsis in...

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