Q Given all the changes in sepsis definitions, what is the best way to know if a patient is at risk for sepsis?

A Elizabeth Bridges, PhD, RN, CCNS, FCCM, FAAN, and Sheryl Greco, MN, RN, reply:

This is an important question, as the early recognition and treatment of patients with sepsis and septic shock are associated with improved outcomes. Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question.

In 2016, the Third International Consensus Definition for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3) was published.1–3  As part of Sepsis-3, the definition of sepsis was revised from an inflammatory process in response to an infection to “life-threatening organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated host response to infection.” One outcome of this revision was that systemic inflammatory response syndrome, as an indicator of sepsis in combination with concern for infection, was replaced...

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