About this disease

What it is about

Blood poisoning is one of the severe forms of infectious diseases. It is always accompanied by organ dysfunction. The overreaction of the immune system to the causative germs of the infection, such as bacteria, viruses or fungi, plays a central role. Risk factors include age, a weakened immune system( e.g. due to treatment with cortisone or other immune-inhibiting therapies), diabetes, chronic previous illnesses, long stays in hospital e( e.g. in an intensive care unit) or artificial foreign material in the body such as catheters, probes or implants.

Symptoms and consequences

Signs of blood poisoning in an infectious disease are additional symptoms such as confusion, drop in blood pressure and increased respiratory rate. Typical causes can be bacterial as well as viral pneumonia, genitourinary infections, meningitis, complications after intestinal surgery or wound infections. Blood poisoning can acutely develop into septic shock, reducing blood flow to organs. Septic shock is the most severe form of infection and is associated with dramatic circulatory failure due to a severe drop in blood pressure.

What we do for you

Examination and diagnosis

In addition to a physical examination, blood values and imaging techniques provide information. In the case of bacterial infections, there are elevated levels of white immune cells and signs of inflammation. Sometimes bacteria or other secretions such as urine or coughed-up mucus can also be detected in the blood. In addition, X-rays, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scans can be used to make a diagnosis.


The earliest possible recognition and treatment of sepsis with antibiotic administration for bacterial infections and intensive care circulatory stabilization can favorably influence the course and prognosis. Patients in septic shock are usually supported by artificial measures and machines such as ventilation, renal replacement procedures (dialysis) and maintenance of blood pressure.

Responsible departments

Intensive Care Medicine


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