Age Ageing. 2023 Feb 1;52(2):afad016. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afad016.
Sepsis is a frequent disease in older people, characterised by an inappropriate systemic inflammatory response following an infection, leading to life-threatening organ dysfunctions. In the very old, sepsis is often difficult to diagnose, given the frequent atypical presentation. While there is no gold standard for the diagnosis of sepsis, new definitions published in 2016, aided by clinical-biological scores, namely Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) and quick SOFA scores, allow earlier recognition of septic states at risk of poor outcome. The management of sepsis in itself differs little in older patients compared to younger subjects. However, the key question of whether or not to admit the patient to an intensive care setting has to be anticipated, depending on the sepsis severity but also on patient's comorbidities and wishes. The earliness of acute management in older subjects with decreased immune defences and physiological reserves is an essential prognostic element. The early control of comorbidities is the main plus value of the geriatrician in the acute and post-acute management of older patients with sepsis.