Approximately seventy patients undergo solid organ transplantation (SOT) every day in the United States. Sepsis remains the first or second most common cause of death in transplant recipients, depending on the allograft type. The rapid diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is critical to ensure improved survival outcome in this special patient population. However, these patients frequently lack the classic systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), commonly seen in the immunocompetent patients. In order to minimize delays in the diagnosis of sepsis in SOT recipients, it is paramount to recognize the specific risk factors for infection associated with each allograft type. In addition, the particular surgical techniques involved in each type of transplantation may be closely related to the clinical manifestations of the infection process. This correlation can further advance the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. In conclusion, precocious diagnosis, rapid initiation of antibiotics, surgical correction when necessary, and reduction of immunosuppression, are the mainstream approach to sepsis in the SOT patient. The recent developments in severe sepsis are discussed in the context of the transplant recipient.
Keywords: systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), Cytomegalovirus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, immunosuppression, antibiotic
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