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Signs of Urosepsis

author image A.M. Tacon
A.M. Tacon is an associate professor of health at Texas Tech University. Her research interests include psychosocial factors in cancer, complementary therapies and stress reduction in individuals with cancer. Dr. Tacon runs mindfulness-based stress reduction programs for women with breast cancer, which is based on various forms of mindfulness meditation.
Signs of Urosepsis
Close-up of a senior patient's hand with a catheter going into it. Photo Credit: JensGade/iStock/Getty Images

Urosepsis is the acute condition of a systemic infection in the blood that develops secondary to a urinary tract infection (UTI), and then circulates throughout the entire body. A lay term for this critical condition is blood poisoning because an infection is in the bloodstream. Sepsis, if not treated properly, may result in major organ damage, septic shock or death. Sepsis risk is increased for infants, the elderly, black men and frequently occurs in hospitalized patients, especially with in-dwelling tubes such as catheters, according to the Mayo Clinic. Individuals with compromised immune systems also are vulnerable to sepsis.

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Signs and symptoms of sepsis include a rapid heartbeat that is more than 90 beats per minute (tachycardia), and likewise, increased breathing or respiratory rate of 20 or more breaths per minute. In addition to accelerated heart and respiratory rates, there may be an abnormal temperature; specifically, either a high temperature over 101 degrees F, or alternately, a temperature in the range of 95 degrees F or below. Another frequent sign is a high white blood count, indicative of an infection or another method that determines the presence of an infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, a common medical approach is to consider systemic sepsis as advancing through three phases, that is, sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock, each with specific symptoms. Consequently, sepsis can progressively worsen to the point of systemic septic shock which is a life-threatening condition.

Severe Sepsis

If sepsis progresses to the next level, some typical signs involve a decreased platelet (blood) count as well as decreased urine production and output. Problems with breathing and heart function continue with the possible addition of a change in orientation or mental state. Also, the skin may show areas or patches of blotched and colored skin (mottled appearance).

Septic Shock

If the systemic infection advances to septic shock, the signs and symptoms of those displayed at the severe phase continue. However, at this life-threatening stage, the significant sign of dramatically low blood pressure is present for the diagnosis of septic shock to be made.

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