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Management of septic shock: current concepts, with a particular emphasis on the role of source control, and future perspectives

  • A. G. Tsiotou (a1) and G. H. Sakorafas (a2)



Sepsis is an infection-induced syndrome characterized by a generalized inflammatory state. The normal reaction to infection involves a series of complex immunological processes. A potent, complex immunological cascade ensures a prompt protective response to microbial invasion in human beings. Although activation of the immune system during microbial invasion is generally protective, septic shock develops in a number of patients as a consequence of excessive or poorly regulated immune response to the offending organism. This unbalanced reaction may harm the host through a maladaptive release of endogenously generated inflammatory compounds. Early recognition of the syndrome is of key importance to promptly start appropriate management. Timely, aggressive resuscitation to preserve organ function remains a fundamental principle in the care of septic patients. The specific treatment is directed at identifying and treating the underlying disorder. The physician should investigate diligently for the presence of active infection using modern imaging methods and other diagnostic studies to localize the site of infection and to obtain adequate culture specimens from potential infective sources. Early administration of appropriate, effective antibiotic therapy is important in the management of septic patients. Infected fluid collections and/or infected necrotic tissues should be drained or debrided without delay. Adequate nutritional support is indicated in the management of the septic patient. A number of adjuvant therapies, aimed at blunting/downregulating the host immune response to bacterial infection are currently under intensive investigation; however, the complexity of immunological defences and the potential for complementary interaction of the different components of the inflammatory cascade make the development of these pharmacological interventions difficult.


Corresponding author

Correspondence to: George Sakorafas, Department of Surgery, 251 Hellenic Air Force Hospital, Arkadias 19-21, GR-115 26 Athens, Greece. E-mail:; Tel: +30 210 7487 318; Fax: +30 210 7487 192


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