Despite the acquisition of a large body of evidence, there are many unanswered questions about sepsis. The definition of this disease is plagued by the lack of a simple pathophysiological description linking cause to effect and the activation of host immune responses that hinders disease progression at the same time producing multiorgan dysfunction. A plethora of inconsistent clinical features has served to obfuscate rather than illuminate. The Surviving Sepsis Guidelines (SSG) are a major advance because it comprehensively interrogates all aspects of care for the critically ill. For vulnerable populations living in low- and middle-income countries, this guideline is ineffectual because of the lack of region-specific data, differences in etiology of sepsis and burden of disease, limited human capacity and infrastructure, as well as socioeconomic realities. Appropriate care must be guided by common sense guidelines that are sensitive to local realities and adapted as relevant data are acquired.
The pathophysiology of sepsis is described.
The current standard of care in high-income counties is reviewed.
A strategy for care provision in low- and middle-income countries is proposed.