Information for Patients
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is your body's overactive and extreme response to an infection. Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency. Without quick treatment, it can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and even death.
What causes sepsis?
Sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Bacterial infections are the most common cause, but other types of infections can also cause it.
The infections are often in the lungs, stomach, kidneys, or bladder. It's possible for sepsis to begin with a small cut that gets infected or with an infection that develops after surgery. Sometimes, sepsis can occur in people who didn't even know that they had an infection.
Who is at risk for sepsis?
Anyone with an infection could get sepsis. But certain people are at higher risk:
- Adults 65 or older
- People with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease, cancer, and kidney disease
- People with weakened immune systems
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than one
What are the symptoms of sepsis?
Sepsis can cause one or more of these symptoms:
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Confusion or disorientation
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
- Clammy or sweaty skin
It's important to get medical care right away if you think you might have sepsis or if your infection is not getting better or is getting worse.
What other problems can sepsis cause?
Severe cases of sepsis can lead to septic shock, where your blood pressure drops to a dangerous level and multiple organs can fail.
How is sepsis diagnosed?
Your health care provider may use many tools to make a diagnosis:
- A medical history, which includes asking about your symptoms
- A physical exam, including checking vital signs (your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing)
- Lab tests that check for signs of infection or organ damage
- Imaging tests such as an x-ray or a CT scan to find the location of the infection
Many of the signs and symptoms of sepsis can also be caused by other medical conditions. This may make sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stages.
What are the treatments for sepsis?
It is very important to get treatment right away. Treatment usually includes:
- Maintaining blood flow to organs. This may involve getting oxygen and intravenous (IV) fluids.
- Treating the source of the infection
- If needed, medicines to increase blood pressure
In serious cases, you might need kidney dialysis or a breathing tube. Some people need surgery to remove tissue damaged by the infection.
Can sepsis be prevented?
To prevent sepsis, you should try to prevent getting an infection:
- Take good care of any chronic health conditions that you have
- Get recommended vaccines
- Practice good hygiene, such as handwashing
- Keep cuts clean and covered until healed
NIH: National Institute of General Medical SciencesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention
General Equivalence Map Definitions
The ICD-9 and ICD-10 GEMs are used to facilitate linking between the diagnosis codes in ICD-9-CM and the new ICD-10-CM code set. The GEMs are the raw material from which providers, health information vendors and payers can derive specific applied mappings to meet their needs.
- Approximate Flag - The approximate flag is on, indicating that the relationship between the code in the source system and the code in the target system is an approximate equivalent.
- No Map Flag - The no map flag indicates that a code in the source system is not linked to any code in the target system.
- Combination Flag - The combination flag indicates that more than one code in the target system is required to satisfy the full equivalent meaning of a code in the source system.
Index of Diseases and Injuries Definitions
- And - The word "and" should be interpreted to mean either "and" or "or" when it appears in a title.
- Code also note - A "code also" note instructs that two codes may be required to fully describe a condition, but this note does not provide sequencing direction.
- Code first - Certain conditions have both an underlying etiology and multiple body system manifestations due to the underlying etiology. For such conditions, the ICD-10-CM has a coding convention that requires the underlying condition be sequenced first followed by the manifestation. Wherever such a combination exists, there is a "use additional code" note at the etiology code, and a "code first" note at the manifestation code. These instructional notes indicate the proper sequencing order of the codes, etiology followed by manifestation.
- Type 1 Excludes Notes - A type 1 Excludes note is a pure excludes note. It means "NOT CODED HERE!" An Excludes1 note indicates that the code excluded should never be used at the same time as the code above the Excludes1 note. An Excludes1 is used when two conditions cannot occur together, such as a congenital form versus an acquired form of the same condition.
- Type 2 Excludes Notes - A type 2 Excludes note represents "Not included here". An excludes2 note indicates that the condition excluded is not part of the condition represented by the code, but a patient may have both conditions at the same time. When an Excludes2 note appears under a code, it is acceptable to use both the code and the excluded code together, when appropriate.
- Includes Notes - This note appears immediately under a three character code title to further define, or give examples of, the content of the category.
- Inclusion terms - List of terms is included under some codes. These terms are the conditions for which that code is to be used. The terms may be synonyms of the code title, or, in the case of "other specified" codes, the terms are a list of the various conditions assigned to that code. The inclusion terms are not necessarily exhaustive. Additional terms found only in the Alphabetic Index may also be assigned to a code.
- NEC "Not elsewhere classifiable" - This abbreviation in the Alphabetic Index represents "other specified". When a specific code is not available for a condition, the Alphabetic Index directs the coder to the "other specified” code in the Tabular List.
- NOS "Not otherwise specified" - This abbreviation is the equivalent of unspecified.
- See - The "see" instruction following a main term in the Alphabetic Index indicates that another term should be referenced. It is necessary to go to the main term referenced with the "see" note to locate the correct code.
- See Also - A "see also" instruction following a main term in the Alphabetic Index instructs that there is another main term that may also be referenced that may provide additional Alphabetic Index entries that may be useful. It is not necessary to follow the "see also" note when the original main term provides the necessary code.
- 7th Characters - Certain ICD-10-CM categories have applicable 7th characters. The applicable 7th character is required for all codes within the category, or as the notes in the Tabular List instruct. The 7th character must always be the 7th character in the data field. If a code that requires a 7th character is not 6 characters, a placeholder X must be used to fill in the empty characters.
- With - The word "with" should be interpreted to mean "associated with" or "due to" when it appears in a code title, the Alphabetic Index, or an instructional note in the Tabular List. The word "with" in the Alphabetic Index is sequenced immediately following the main term, not in alphabetical order.