Systemic inflammatory response syndrome caused by chronic salicylate intoxication

Naga Chalasani, Jesse Roman, Rafael L. Jurado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is characterized by body temperature abnormalities, tachypnea or hyperventilation, tachycardia, and leukocytosis or leukopenia. Although it is typically associated with a serious infection and referred to as sepsis, SIRS can stem from noninfectious causes, as well. We report the cases of four patients with toxic serum levels of salicylate (33.5 to 67.6 mg/dL) and SIRS, and we discuss mechanisms responsible for SIRS. Our patients showed temperature disturbances (35.5°C to 39.8°C), noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, and mixed acid base disturbances. Other abnormalities included coagulopathy (disseminated intravascular coagulation), encephalopathy, and hypotension. All four patients recovered from SIRS, probably due to early recognition and treatment; only one patient did not survive the hospitalization. Chronic salicylate toxicity should be considered as a cause of SIRS in the absence of a source of infection, since survival appears to be dependent on prompt diagnosis and management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-482
Number of pages4
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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