The new sepsis definition: limitations and contribution to research and diagnosis of sepsis

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Based on recent clinical, epidemiological, and pathophysiological data, a third international consensus conference was carried out to define new criteria of sepsis in February 2016. This review presents the different items of this new definition, their limitations and their contribution to research and diagnosis of sepsis, in comparison with the previous definitions.

Recent findings

Incidence, management, and pathophysiological knowledge of sepsis have improved over the past 20 years. However, sepsis still evolves to a mortal outcome, in one case out of five, with no new recent or specific therapy showing its efficacy on the patient's prognosis. These findings have led to the development of new definition.

Summary

The new definition of sepsis incorporates relevant clinical and biological criteria such as SOFA score or serum lactate levels. It no longer takes into account the items of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome, which present a lack of specificity. It also simplifies the different stages of severity by deleting the term of ‘severe sepsis’ and by defining septic shock as a subset of sepsis. This definition, endorsed by only two international societies of intensive care, has some limitations and so merits prospective validation at different levels.

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