The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Laboratory Methods to Aid in the Detection of Sepsis. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Additional Criteria for Diagnosis of Sepsis

Blood cultures are important for diagnosis of sepsis, but they take time to grow. This time can mean the difference between life and death for a patient. Although sepsis cannot be definitively diagnosed until it is determined that there is a blood or tissue infection, the diagnosis may still be made if other criteria strongly suggests its presence. If the patient exhibits altered mental status and/or edema in addition to the SIRS criteria, or if one or more of the laboratory test results shown below are obtained along with evidence from the clinical assessment, the physician may choose to start antibiotic treatment before the results of the cultures are available:
  • Hyperglycemia in the absence of diabetes
  • Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • Elevated procalcitonin
  • Elevated lactic acid (lactate)