Septic cardiomyopathy is a separate clinical entity clearly distinct from myocarditis on histological grounds. Physiologically it characteristically presents, unlike other types of heart failure, with normal or increased cardiac output with normal or low preload pressures & a reduced systemic vascular resistance. Speckle tracking echocardiography is now the diagnostic tool of choice for detecting subtle changes in myocardial dysfunction
Ventricular contractility is invariably reduced to some degree in septic shock but, if severe ventricular dysfunction with low blood pressure and a falling cardiac output develops, mortality is twice that of septic shock without cardiac organ failure. However if the patient survives the episode of sepsis, septic cardiomyopathy is largely reversible since the changes are predominantly functional rather than structural although it is as yet uncertain if this applies when contraction band necrosis has developed as a result of the use of high doses of vasopressors.
Key words: sepsis, septic shock, septic cardiomyopathy, sepsis induced cardiomyopathy, ventricular contractility, speckle tracking echocardiography, ventricular re-synchronisation