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Septic shock is a life-threatening condition that happens when blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level after an infection.
This reduces the amount of blood and oxygen that reaches the body's organs, stopping them working properly.
Septic shock can occur as a complication of sepsis , a serious condition that happens when the body's reaction to an infection damages its own tissues and organs.
Symptoms of sepsis may appear first. Symptoms of septic shock may develop if sepsis is left untreated. These can include:
Go straight to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department or call for an ambulance if you think you or someone in your care has septic shock.
Septic shock is very serious and needs to be treated in hospital as soon as possible. Treatment is more effective the earlier it's started.
Treatment is usually carried out in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU).
It may include:
It's likely someone with septic shock will need to stay in hospital for several weeks.
While it can be treated, septic shock is a very serious condition that people can die from.
The chances of survival are better the earlier treatment is started.
Many people who are successfully treated will eventually make a full recovery, but some have long-lasting physical and mental health problems.
These problems are known as post-sepsis syndrome. You can read more about this on The UK Sepsis Trust website.
Anyone can develop septic shock, but it's most common in people with a weak immune system, the body's natural defences against illness and infection.
Septic shock often occurs in people who are already in hospital for another reason.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.