Doctors diagnose sepsis using a combination of modalities, such as physical findings, laboratory tests and radiologic studies. Doctors first look for physical findings, such as fever, low blood pressure, increased heart rate and difficulty breathing. Doctors also perform lab tests that check for signs of infection or organ damage. Many of the signs and symptoms of sepsis, such as fever and difficulty breathing, are the same as other conditions, making sepsis difficult to diagnose in its early stages. The diagnosis of sepsis is often suspected at the bedside and made after testing results return, or there was a response to treatment such as intravenous fluids and or antibiotics.