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Urosepsis - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Updated on July 9, 2014

Urosepsis Definition

Urosepsis is a form of sepsis that involves the urogenital organs and is a complication of urinary tract infection and prostate infection. The condition is basically a sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response syndrome, which originated from a urinary tract infection.

Urosepsis occurs most commonly in people with weakened immune system and older people and for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes while it is more common in women than in men. Urosepsis is a life-threatening condition which occurs when the infection in the urinary tract has circulated the body through the bloodstream that triggered a systemic inflammation.

Urinary tract infection is caused by Escherichia coli bacteria that affect the urinary tracts such as the bladder, urethra and the ureters and kidney. Urinary tract infection is more common in women than in men probably due to the close anatomic proximity of the vagina to the urinary tract. Older people are also more prone to Urinary tract infection while the condition is implicated in the weakening immune system in relation to the aging process. The prognosis of Urinary tract infection for most patients is generally good if the infection is treated early. The condition can only be life-threatening if complicated with sepsis and other serious medical condition when a urinary tract infection is not properly treated.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can occur as secondary to an infection. The progression of infection to sepsis is set forth by the circulating infection that has invaded the bloodstream resulting in a systemic infection. The case of sepsis has set the entire body into inflammation after the bloodstream released a chemical to ward off the infection had instead triggered the systemic inflammation. Multiple organs that get affected with sepsis will later fail to function. Anyone regardless of age can get sepsis but elderly people and those with weak immune system are at higher risk for this potentially life-threatening complication.

Urinary tract infection can be treated but if neglected, sepsis is the potential complication. Urinary tract infection may go unnoticed during the early stage but the onset of symptoms must prompt medical attention to treat the infection and prevent the deadly complication.


The symptoms of urosepsis are similar to the onset of sepsis. The difference however is that the initial symptoms that will is of urinary tract infection before the symptom of the sepsis after the infection has progressed to sepsis.

It is necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of urinary tract infection to prevent further complication that may potentially be life-threatening.

Signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections include:

  • Frequent urge to urinate but in small quantity only
  • Burning sensation with every urination
  • Urine is cloudy in appearance
  • Urine has a strong foul smell
  • Pelvic pain and flank pain
  • Onset of high grade fever with chills
  • Vaginal discharge in women and penile discharge in men
  • Abdominal pain

If the urinary tract infection is left untreated it can lead to a more serious medical complication including that of sepsis. The onset of sepsis is viewed in three-stages that start with sepsis followed by severe sepsis then septic shock as the final stage of the syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis include the following:

  • Onset of high grade fever that may be above 101.3F or below 95F
  • Rapid heart rate that range higher than 90 beats per minute
  • Rapid breathing with a respiratory rate above 20 breaths per minute
  • Verified infection

Signs and symptoms of severe sepsis:

  • A significant decrease in urine output
  • Sudden change of mental status
  • Diminishing platelet count
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Alteration in pumping function of the heart.

The onset of septic shock has signs and symptoms similar to severe sepsis. The determining factor of septic shock is the manifestation of an extremely low blood pressure and persistent rejection of the body in fluid replacement.


Urosepsis results from a bacterial infection and is a complication of urinary tract infection and prostate infection that has invaded the bloodstream and circulated in the entire body. Urosepsis is the progression of the urinary tract or prostate infection which has been left untreated and neglected that thereby lead to sepsis for its complication. Numerous risk factors can be implicated in the development of urosepsis and this includes the following:

  • Elderly people or an advancement in age.
  • Compromised immune system as a result of diseases involving the immune system
  • Chronic condition such as diabetes
  • Obstruction of urinary tract from stones, urethral scarring, prostate enlargement and others.
  • Female gender is more at risk than in male gender linking the anatomical proximity of female genitalia to the urinary tract.
  • Urinary retention condition
  • Pregnant women are prone to sepsis as a result of open and softening cervix during the process of pregnancy.
  • The use of indwelling catheters.


It is crucial to determine and confirm the onset of urinary tract infection which will be the predetermination of sepsis in case the signs and symptoms of sepsis is manifesting.

A urinalysis is strongly recommended for patients suspected to be suffering from urinary tract infection. A urine sample is obtained with the clear catch from the midstream of urine. The urine samples obtained are then sent to clinical laboratories for testing and evaluation.

Urosepsis that has developed is subjected to diagnosis through blood test to establish evidence of infection, clotting problem, impairment in oxygen supply, imbalance in fluid and electrolytes. The function of liver and kidney may also be determined through blood tests.


Antibiotic is the primary choice for treating urosepsis to ward off the infection. Medication to increase the blood pressure may be prescribed for severe cases while supportive measures may be given such as administration of intravenous fluid to correct fluid and electrolyte imbalance.

Prompt and aggressive treatment of sepsis enhances the chances for survival. Close monitoring is required that the patient needs to be hospitalized and placed in the intensive care unit. Severe sepsis and septic shock will require a life saving measures such as the use of mechanical ventilation to stabilize the breathing.

It is rather important to treat the urinary tract infection to prevent complication or progression to a more serious medical condition which can be potentially life-threatening.


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      6 years ago

      I do think that being perceived as more human (and for epalxme apologizing) would help A LOT and it would reduce legal problems (in Latvia where I live legal problems are nowhere as big as in the US anyway, but there is always this rumbling and silent discontent). The problem is that Western Doctors are educated to be as distant as possible for supposedly professional reasons (and probably to save some heart-break), this goes along with not looking at a human-being holistically, only as a patient with the particular condition, but no feelings or brain. But I am sure some patients expect that, just as you have described. And appologizing is hard even when you are not dealing with life/death situations or especially then . and when you are afraid to be sued.

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      6 years ago

      I have a doctor that emzhasipes the human element. She flat out will tell you that she'll do her best and that medicine is definitely not an exact science and that we are doing this together. I feel so lucky to have someone taking care of me that acts human and that shows she actually cares. That is especially true when I see what some friends are going through w/ doctors that play the defensive medicine game to the pint of ordering MRI's (repeatedly) for a patient who is having migraines and has had them for years and forcing that same patient to go to the ER to ensure they are worked up to be totally sure it is not a neuro issue vs just giving the medication that worked before and probably will again. It is so sad to see how afraid and distant some doctors feel they need to be and so wonderful that there are a handful of doctors willing to show their humanity and to really BE with patients through good and bad situations and outcomes. Be human, it shows you care. This does include admitting when something doesn't work out well and if it is something that was within your ability to control for, admitting you messed up and apologizing. Most patients will understand the trust you are placing in them by sharing such info and will return this gift too.


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