Unfortunately, early and accurate diagnosis of sepsis is difficult. Sepsis is a complex clinical syndrome with a wide range of manifestations. Although the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria were part of the prior definition of sepsis, it has been shown to be unable to differentiate severe from uncomplicated infections. The latest Sepsis-3 definition describes sepsis as a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection, with life-threatening organ dysfunction defined as a change in the sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score of more than two points in intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

In clinical settings outside the ICU where calculating the SOFA score is not routine, a simplified score – quick sepsis-related organ failure assessment (qSOFA) ¬– was introduced as a screening tool for patients with sepsis.

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