The Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS)

  • R. C. Bone
Part of the Update in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine book series (UICM, volume 19)


Sepsis and multiple organ failure remain as important causes of mortality and morbidity in hospitals around the world today, despite the innovative techniques that have been developed to deal with these illnesses and the vast body of knowledge accumulated regarding its causes and pathogenesis. Over the last decade, basic science researchers have determined that the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and a number of related clinical entities actually represent different phases and severities of a single pathologic dysfunction. This dysfunction affects the pathways of inflammation, a complex response that is normally beneficial in assisting the host to fight infecting pathogens. It is for this reason that the term sepsis — meaning a systemic infection — came into being: the adverse condition of sepsis was almost always associated with the presence of invading bacteria. The problem with this definition was that infection could not always be found when sepsis occurred; riot only was infection simply not seen in some cases, but it could also be associated with certain other, non-infective states, such as fat embolism, burns, and trauma. With this and other discoveries about the pathogenesis of sepsis, it became apparent to researchers and clinicians that the old concepts and terminology regarding sepsis were not accurate. In order to develop a new terminology that complemented the new discoveries about the pathophysiology of sepsis, the American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine held a consensus conference on the terminology and medical treatment of sepsis [1]. The updated terminology for sepsis and its sequelae are presented in Table 1.


Septic Shock Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Hageman Factor Basic Science Researcher Endogenous Tumor Necrosis Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

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  • R. C. Bone

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