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In 1991 an International Consensus Conference defined sepsis as a systemic inflammatory response to infection. Sepsis complicated by organ dysfunction was termed severe sepsis, which could progress to septic shock, defined as sepsis-induced hypotension persisting despite adequate fluid resuscitation. The new definition of sepsis suggests that patients with at least 2 of 3 clinical variables (Glasgow coma scale score of 13 or less, systolic blood pressure of 100 mmHg or less, and respiratory rate 22/min or greater) may be prone have the poor outcome typical of sepsis. However these variables alone are overly nonspecific and cannot drive treatment planning of patients presenting with complicated intra-abdominal infections.