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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016, Article ID 4062829, 11 pages
Review Article

A Pathophysiological Insight into Sepsis and Its Correlation with Postmortem Diagnosis

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Forensic Pathology, Ospedale Colonnello D’Avanzo, University of Foggia, Viale degli Aviatori 1, 71100 Foggia, Italy

Received 23 December 2015; Revised 21 March 2016; Accepted 10 April 2016

Academic Editor: Dianne Cooper

Copyright © 2016 C. Pomara et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Sepsis is among the leading causes of death worldwide and is the focus of a great deal of attention from policymakers and caregivers. However, sepsis poses significant challenges from a clinical point of view regarding its early detection and the best organization of sepsis care. Furthermore, we do not yet have reliable tools for measuring the incidence of sepsis. Methods based on analyses of insurance claims are unreliable, and postmortem diagnosis is still challenging since autopsy findings are often nonspecific. Aim. The objective of this review is to assess the state of our knowledge of the molecular and biohumoral mechanisms of sepsis and to correlate them with our postmortem diagnosis ability. Conclusion. The diagnosis of sepsis-related deaths is an illustrative example of the reciprocal value of autopsy both for clinicians and for pathologists. A complete methodological approach, integrating clinical data by means of autopsy and histological and laboratory findings aiming to identify and demonstrate the host response to infectious insults, is mandatory to illuminate the exact cause of death. This would help clinicians to compare pre- and postmortem findings and to reliably measure the incidence of sepsis.