A 1992 American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine consensus panel defined the following terms which are relevant to the discussion of septic shock:
Infection: Infection is a microbial phenomenon characterized by an inflammatory response to the presence of microorganisms or the invasion of normally sterile host tissue by those organisms.
Bacteremia: Bacteremia refers to the presence of viable bacteria in the blood.
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome: Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is a widespread inflammatory response to a variety of severe clinical insults. This syndrome is clinically recognized by the presence of two or more of the following: