Testing is ordered to help diagnose sepsis, distinguish it from other conditions, and to evaluate and monitor the function of the affected person's organs, blood oxygenation, and acid-base balance.
Testing may include:
- Gram stain – to detect the presence and identify the type of bacteria in a sample taken from the site of a suspected infection
- Blood culture – to detect bacteria in the blood and evaluate their susceptibility to antibiotics
- Urine culture and cultures of other body fluids as indicated – to detect the source and type of infection
- Procalcitonin – sometimes used to distinguish sepsis from other conditions that cause similar symptoms; the level of procalcitonin in the blood increases rapidly and significantly when a person has sepsis.
- Complete blood count (CBC) – to evaluate red and white blood cells and platelets
- Lactate – increased levels can indicate organ dysfunction
- Blood gases – to evaluate oxygen in the blood and acid-base balance
- Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) – to monitor the health of organs, such as the kidneys and lungs, and monitor electrolyte balance and blood glucose level
- PT and/or PTT or other clotting tests to evaluate clotting status
- C-reactive protein (CRP) – to detect inflammation in the body
These tests may be ordered to evaluate the health of organs, detect complications, and to identify the location of infection:
- ECG – to evaluate heart rhythm or injury
- CT (computed tomography) scan
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
For more on imaging studies, see the web site RadiologyInfo.org.