Severe sepsis in older adults

Reba Umberger, Bonnie Callen, Mary Lynn Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Severe sepsis may be underrecognized in older adults. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to review special considerations related to early detection of severe sepsis in older adults. Normal organ changes attributed to agingmay delay early detection of sepsis at the time when interventions have the greatest potential to improve patient outcomes. Systems are reviewed for changes. For example, the cardiovascular system may have a limited or absent compensatory response to inflammation after an infectious insult, and the febrile response and recruitment of white blood cells may be blunted because of immunosenescence in aging. Three of the 4 hallmark responses (temperature, heart rate, and white blood cell count) to systemic inflammation may be diminished in older adults as compared with younger adults. It is important to consider that older adults may not always manifest the typical systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Atypical signs such as confusion, decreased appetite, and unsteady gait may occur before sepsis related organ failure. Systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria and a comparison of organ failure criteria were reviewed. Mortality rates in sepsis and severe sepsis remain high and are often complicated by multiple organ failures. As the numbers of older adults increase, early identification and prompt treatment is crucial in improving patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-270
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Care Nursing Quarterly
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Sepsis
Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
Neurologic Gait Disorders
Inflammation
Confusion
Multiple Organ Failure
Appetite
Cardiovascular System
Leukocyte Count
Young Adult
Leukocytes
Fever
Heart Rate
Temperature
Mortality
Therapeutics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care

Cite this

Severe sepsis in older adults. / Umberger, Reba; Callen, Bonnie; Brown, Mary Lynn.

In: Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 3, 01.01.2015, p. 259-270.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Umberger, Reba ; Callen, Bonnie ; Brown, Mary Lynn. / Severe sepsis in older adults. In: Critical Care Nursing Quarterly. 2015 ; Vol. 38, No. 3. pp. 259-270.
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