Issue: 2013 > June > review

Immunoparalysis in sepsis

R.L.J. Zwinkels, L. Dawson


Although therapeutic opportunities in medicine continuously improve, death is inevitable in some cases
due to limitations in treatment. When patients die without
a conclusive diagnosis, autopsy studies can provide essential information in order to improve athophysiological reasoning. We describe two patients who died after a prolonged course of sepsis and were diagnosed with the unsuspected presence of aspergillosis at autopsy. Literature review demonstrates that due to apoptosis and immunological interactions, septic patients become susceptible to opportunistic infections, a state described as immunoparalysis.