Doctors seem to draw a distinction between "septic shock" and "shock"?

From a symptomatic point of view, is there a way to tell the difference?

1 Answer 1


When a person is in a shock their organs aren't recieving enough blood or oxygen. The main types of shock are:

Cardiogenic shock (due to heart problems)
Hypovolemic shock (caused by too little blood volume)
Anaphylactic shock (caused by allergic reaction)
Septic shock (due to infections)
Neurogenic shock (caused by damage to the nervous system)

In Septic shock: the inflammation resulting from sepsis causes tiny blood clots to form. This can block oxygen and nutrients from reaching vital organs. The symptoms of septic shock are:

Significantly decreased urine output
Abrupt change in mental status
Decrease in platelet count
Difficulty breathing
Abnormal heart pumping function
Abdominal pain

There's an important sign in septic shock that the hypotension does NOT improve with fluid replacement.

From a symptomatic point of view: patients with sepsis often present with a fever, tachycardia, and hypotension but feel warm to touch with a bounding pulse due to the raised cardiac output in the early stages, while in other types of shock the patient presents with cold peripheries. http://rrapid.leeds.ac.uk/ebook/05-circulation-04.html Also serum albumin level could be used to differentiate septic shock from other types of shock: http://journal.publications.chestnet.org/article.aspx?articleid=1045614

Finally, septic shock and other types of shock have very similar symptoms, the main differences in septic shock are the fever and the hypotention that doesn't respond to fluid replacement.

For more: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sepsis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20169787




  • This does not answer the question. The question is how to differentiate symptomatically between septic shock and shock due to other causes (like blood loss). Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 18:10
  • OK, @TylerDurden I edited my answer. I hope that helps.. Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 15:51
  • Those are signs and not symptoms. Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 1:47

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