Epidemiology and costs of sepsis in the United States


Background: Sepsis is responsible for an increasingly disproportionate fraction of health care burden. Delays in diagnosis of sepsis are associated with worse outcomes.

Study design: Retrospective observational study.

Setting: Premier Healthcare database, including 20% of U.S. private/academic hospitals.

Synopsis: With use of the Premier Healthcare database, researchers identified 2,566,689 cases of sepsis using ICD-9 and MS-DRG codes between Jan. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2016. Increasing severity of sepsis was associated with increasing mortality and cost, but there was a large discrepancy in cost in patients with sepsis present at admission versus those without it at admission ($18,023 vs. $51,022) and was associated with increases in both mean hospital length of stay and mortality rate across all levels of sepsis severity.

Bottom line: Early identification of sepsis (at admission vs. later in the stay) may be important as a factor to reduce its overall burden on the health care system.

Citation: Paoli CJ et al. Epidemiology and costs of sepsis in the United States – An analysis based on timing of diagnosis and severity level. Crit Care Med. 2018 Dec;46(12):1889-97.

Dr. Ho is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of general and hospital medicine at UT Health San Antonio and a hospitalist at South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

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