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Physiological effects of sepsis

Select any of the terms to reveal further information about the physiological effects of sepsis.

Inflammatory Response and Coagulation Cascade

Micro-vascular injury

Capillary leak, resulting in:

  • Loss of fluid from the blood stream (hypovolaemia)
  • Oedema
  • Drop in blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Rise in heart rate (tachycardia) and respiratory rate (tachypnoea)
  • Initially bounding pulse, becoming weaker
  • Decreasing urine output


Resulting in:

  • Hypotension
  • Reduced renal blood flow

Tissue hypoxia

Anaerobic metabolism

Hypovolaemia not only causes poor tissue perfusion but also anaerobic metabolism. This process releases oxygen for metabolism but also lactate causing metabolic acidosis.