Sepsis contributes to as many as half of all hospital deaths in U.S.

May 28, 2014

Sepsis contributes to up to half of all hospital deaths in the U.S., according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Society's annual conference earlier this month. In the study, published simultaneously as a research letter in JAMA, researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 6.5 million hospital discharge records derived from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) in 2010. Using diagnosis and procedure codes, they identified hospital admissions and deaths of patients with sepsis and estimated the percentage of total hospital charges associated with sepsis hospitalizations.

“Our study was designed to quantify the national impact of sepsis on hospitalized patients and to highlight the importance of sepsis care on mortality at a population level,” says study lead author Vincent Liu, MD, MS.

At the end of their analysis, the researchers found that sepsis patients had a hospital mortality rate of 10.4% compared to a rate of 1.1% in patients who did not have sepsis. They also found that of all hospital deaths nationally, as many as 52% were among patients diagnosed with sepsis. “We were surprised to find that as many as one in two patients dying in US hospitals had sepsis,” says Dr. Liu.

Sepsis is a serious medical issue in the U.S., affecting as many as 750,000 hospitalized patients annually, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2000 and 2010, deaths due to septicemia increased 17% despite an overall decline in overall hospitalization rates, and hospital deaths due to septicemia increased from 45,000 to 135,000 during the same period. Read the research letter.

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