The glossary is a guide of terms that may be used when reading or speaking about sepsis, as well as their definitions.


A collection of pus. It is a defensive reaction of the body to prevent the spread of infectious materials to other parts of the body.


Medications that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria. Examples include penicillin, sulfa, and vancomycin, to name a few.


Absence of breathing. Someone who is having apneic periods is having periods of not breathing.

Arterial lines

Like an IV but goes directly into an artery rather than a vein. Medical staff can obtain multiple blood samples to measure oxygen levels in the blood. Blood pressure can also be monitored with arterial lines.


Blood vessel that brings blood with nutrients from the heart to other parts of the body.


The decrease in muscle size, due to the muscle not being used. Also referred to as muscle wasting away.


Presence of bacteria in the blood.


Organisms that can cause infection (bacterial infection).


Not aggressive, not generally harmful to health. (Trick to remember difference between benign and malignant: B for Benign is Better)

Blood poisoning

Infection in the blood, also called septicemia and bacteremia.


Abnormally slow heart

Broad-spectrum antibiotics

Antibiotics that are effective against a range of bacteria.


Thin plastic tube used to transfer fluid into or out of the body, such as intravenous catheter or a urinary catheter.

Central Venous Catheter

Also called a central line, a central venous catheter looks like an ordinary intravenous, but is inserted into a vein that goes directly to the heart. A central line is used the same way as an IV, but can usually stay in place for longer periods and can tolerate medications that may be too irritating for regular IVs.

Cerebral function

Brain function.


A term used to describe a person whose gender identity is the same as their assigned sex at birth.