Manifestations of Sepsis in Older Adults

Living reference work entry


Sepsis in older adults may be undetected due to normal age-related changes. In this chapter, special considerations for detection of sepsis are included. Evolving definitions of sepsis are described over the past three consensus conferences, now referred to as Sepsis-1, Sepsis-2, and Sepsis-3. A review of normal organ changes associated with aging includes the following systems, neurologic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, hepatic, and coagulation, which are used to assess organ dysfunction. Presentation of acute mental status, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections to the ICU is described. Nonspecific symptoms in older adults (e.g., changes in activity level, balance issues/falls, decreased appetite, confusion, and any decrease in mental status) may be early warning signs of sepsis. A brief discussion of outcomes includes survivorship, functional status, long-term mortality, and end of life.


Sepsis Organ failure Critical care Older adults Immunosenescence 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reba Umberger
    • 1
  • Bonnie Callen
    • 2
  • Mary Lynn Brown
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Nursing, Department of Acute and Tertiary CareThe University of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  2. 2.College of NursingThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tamas Fulop
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center on Aging, Department of Medicine, Immunology Graduate Programme, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of SherbrookeSherbrookeCanada

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