• Fact Sheet
  • September 9, 2016

Stages of Sepsis in Children

Sepsis can become deadly very quickly in children. "Once you have sepsis, every 30 minutes that goes by that you don't treat the infection, bacteria double." says Joseph A. Carcillo, M.D., professor of critical care medicine and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh. So within hours, the child can be very ill. If you suspect sepsis, seek emergency medical attention. Caught early enough, most sepsis cases are treatable.

These are the signs and symptoms and how it progresses.

Health Status  Symptom/Condition  


Infection acquired 

Bacterial, viral, parasitic, fungal infection

Fever, altered mental state

Simple sepsis

Extreme pain or discomfort

Vasodialation, leaky blood vessels, clots

SIRS - Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

 blood vessel

Severe sepsis

Nausea and vomiting

Rapid pulse

Circulatory collapse

pulse monitor

Septic shock

MODS - Multi-organ Dysfunction Syndrome

Requires one of the following:
  • feeble pulse
  • pale or discolored skin
  • shortness of breath
  • shivering
  • abnormal hearth functions
  • noticeably lower amounts of urine
  • confusion or weakness
Significant blood pressure drop

blood pressure monitor


Learn more about the complexity of diagnosing and treating pediatric sepsis in the article Sepsis: Battling a Leading Cause of Death in Hospitalized Children.