Lung Dysfunction in the Early Phase of Sepsis

  • P. Neumann
Conference paper


Sepsis is defined as the systemic inflammatory response to infection and is frequently complicated by organ dysfunction (severe sepsis according to the recent consensus definition) [1]. The lungs seem to be particularly vulnerable to the septic inflammatory response, and sepsis is the underlying cause in about 40% of all patients with acute respiratory failure [2] . Thus, sepsis is the most frequently encountered risk factor for the development of acute respiratory failure. However, only 30 to 40% of septic patients will eventually develop an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) [3, 4]. Other risk factors for lung dysfunction, such as pancreatitis and multiple trauma [5] are commonly associated with a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) [1] which is clinically indistinguishable from sepsis, although no infectious agents can be isolated. SIRS demonstrates that lung dysfunction may develop primarily due to an immunological response rather than a direct pulmonary damage caused by an infectious agent. Experimentally, lung injury can be induced by injection or infusion of lipopolysaccharide components of gram-negative bacteria (endotoxin), and elevated plasma endotoxin levels have been shown to correlate with the development of ARDS in patients at risk for ARDS [6].


Lung Injury Acute Lung Injury Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Acute Respiratory Failure Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome 
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 Italia 2000

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  • P. Neumann

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