SIRS is the short form of systemic inflammatory response syndrome. As the name indicates, this syndrome is caused by systemic response of the body due to severe inflammation or infection. This is characterized with high fever and rapid heartbeat and abnormal level of white blood cells in blood.
Symptoms of SIRS may vary widely depending on the triggering factor of infection. Some of the common signs include high fever, chills and localized pain based on inflammation.
Criteria for diagnosing SIRS are as follows:-
- Very high or very low level of white blood cells in blood. It may go up to 12,000 per liter or below 4,000 also.
- High fever and chills. The temperature may shoot up to 100.4 F or can go below 96 F also.
- Rapid heartbeat
- Fast respiratory rate
SIRS can be caused due to severe infection, ischemia or after effects of surgery. Infection can occur due to bacteria, virus and other micro organisms. It can be anything ranging from sepsis, cellulitis to diabetic foot infection. SIRS can develop due to non-infectious conditions like dehydration, burns, cirrhosis, autoimmune disorders, acute ischemia, and myocardial infarction and due to hemorrhagic shock.
In rare cases, SIRS can cause potential complications like anemia, renal failure, respiratory failure, gastritis and abnormal levels of electrolytes.
The doctor would look for the above symptoms and would complete his physical examination. He would look for possible site for infections in his routine screening. He may order for blood profile, urine analysis, liver function test and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid.
The method of treatment given is based on symptoms and health condition of the patient. Some patients may show signs of sepsis due to severe rate of infection without having any sign of SIRS. Your doctor will consider the causative factor of SIRS before starting any treatment. In case of myocardial infarction or respiratory failure emergency treatment will be given on ICU.
Blood pressure of the patient will be restored to normal by injecting vasopressor or similar drugs intravenously. If SIRS has developed due to surgical conditions like cholecystitis or ruptured appendix suitable surgical measures are initiated. Antibiotics are given if the root cause of infection is bacteria. Similarly antiviral medications are injected through vein if the doctor confirms the cause is viral infection. Blood glucose level is monitored carefully and if required, insulin therapy is given to stabilize the level of blood glucose.
Recovery from SIRS depends on factors like severity of infection and overall health condition. When compared with sepsis and septic shock recovery rate is high.