What Is Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?

An individual is said to have Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome when the individual has the following:


  • Persistent fever of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Rapid heart rate of over 90 beats per minute
  • Increased respirations of more than 20 per minute
  • Abnormally high WBC count on blood draw

Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome


What Causes Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?

The cause for Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or SIRS is quite broad and is divided into two categories which are infectious and non-infectious along factors like certain surgical procedures, direct trauma, certain medications or therapies. Some of the causes of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or SIRS are:

Infectious Causes:

Noninfectious Causes:

  • Acute mesenteric ischemia
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Cirrhosis
  • Dehydration
  • Drug reactions
  • Electrocution injuries
  • Erythema multiforme
  • Hemorrhagic shock
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Pancreatitis
  • Seizure Disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Surgical procedures
  • Upper gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Vasculitis

What Are The Symptoms Of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?

There are numerous symptoms which can trigger Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. There is no one classic presentation for this disorder but the main symptom will be unrelenting fever of over 100 degrees. The patient will also experience chills and night sweats along with the fever. The symptoms may go a long way in differentiating between an infectious versus a noninfectious etiology of the condition.


How Is Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Diagnosed?

To diagnose a Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome the treating physician will first conduct a history asking as to when the symptoms of fever started. The physician will also ask whether the patient is having chills and night sweats along with the fever. If Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is suspected then a blood draw will be conducted to look at the white blood cell count and if it comes out to be significantly elevated then the diagnosis of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is confirmed. Some of the other tests to confirmly diagnose Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome are:

  • Blood Tests
  • Urinalysis
  • Cardiac enzymes
  • Amylase
  • Lipase
  • CSF analysis
  • Liver tests
  • Lactate levels

How Is Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Treated?

The best way to treat Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is by treating the cause of it. Since Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome can be caused due to many causes hence treatment will be different for different people depending on the underlying cause. People who have a history of having low blood pressure suffer from Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome then they are treated with IV fluids and then vasopressor agents are administered all the while monitoring the hemodynamic status of the patient.

Surgery: In case if Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is caused due to an abscess then the abscess should be drained and then the patient should be treated with a course of antibiotics for treatment of the infection.

Diet: Diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be effective in patient who are severely ill due to Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. The frequency of feeding and the way the patient is fed that is either orally or through a G tube depends on the severity of the condition.

Activity: Majority of the patients with Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome are confined to the bed. Hence close monitoring for DVT and pressure sores should be done in order to avoid complications due to Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. The patients should be moved in their bed from position to other as frequently as possible. In patients who do not have any problems with mobility should continue with their activities as tolerated.

Transfer: In case if patient does not have a sound support system then the patient should be transferred to a facility where he or she could be managed. The facility should have physicians who are able to manage different conditions arising out of Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 19, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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