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Minerva Anestesiologica 2023 March;89(3):217-25

DOI: 10.23736/S0375-9393.22.16689-7

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

What’s new on septic encephalopathy? Ten things you need to know

Lorenzo FERLINI, Nicolas GASPARD

Department of Neurology, Hôpital Erasme, University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium



Sepsis associated encephalopathy (SAE) is a frequent complication of sepsis and is associated with a higher risk of short-term mortality and long-term cognitive impairment. The EEG is a sensitive complement of the clinical examination that can also detect and quantify encephalopathy and identify features with prognostic value, such as lack of reactivity. Moreover, despite their effect on outcome is still debated, the EEG is the only tool to detect non-convulsive seizures which can occur in a septic setting. Understanding the pathophysiology of SAE is fundamental to define potential therapeutic targets. Neuroinflammation plays an important role in the development of SAE and many blood and imaging biomarkers have recently shown a promising ability to distinguish SAE form non-SAE patient. In recent years, some interesting mediators of inflammation were successfully targeted in animal models, with a significant reduction in the neuroinflammation and in sepsis-induced cognitive decline. However, the complexity of the host response to sepsis currently limits the use of immunomodulation therapies in humans. Alteration in regulatory systems of cerebral blood flow, namely cerebral autoregulation (CA) and neurovascular coupling, contribute to SAE development. Nowadays, clinicians have access to different tools to assess them at the bedside and CA-based blood pressure protocols should be implemented to optimize cerebral perfusion. Its inauspicious consequences, its complex physiopathology and the lack of efficacious treatment make of SAE a highly active research subject.


KEY WORDS: Neuroinflammatory diseases; Brain diseases; Sepsis

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