Due to the age-related physiologic change of immunosenescence, geriatric patients have an increased susceptibility to infection, a decreased ability to mount a response to infection, and an increased likelihood of atypical presentations.
Atypical presentations of sepsis in the geriatric patient include confusion, decreased functional status, generalized weakness, and failure to thrive.
In fact, up to 33% of geriatric patients with bacteremia will be afebrile upon presentation.
Consider sepsis in the differential diagnosis of geriatric patients with these nonspecific complaints.
Khoujah D, et al. Resuscitating the critically ill geriatric emergency department patient. Emerg Med Clin N Am. 2019; 569-81.