Author suggests sepsis may contribute to half of all hospital deaths

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Medpage Today report “Sepsis, the inflammatory response to infection, appears to be a contributor to or major cause of as many as half of in-hospital deaths, researchers reported here. In reviewing two major databases, research scientist Vincent Liu, MD, an intensivist at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, Calif., said that depending on the definition of sepsis, 34.7% to 52% of deaths in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Inpatient Sample were due, in part, to a sepsis diagnosis, and in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California cohort, sepsis was a contributor to 44.2% to 55.9% of the deaths occurring in those hospitals.

“Most of these patients had sepsis at admission,” Liu said in his oral presentation at the American Thoracic Society meeting here. “Given the prominent role it plays in hospital mortality, improved treatment of sepsis — potentially a final hospital pathway for multiple other underlying conditions — could offer meaningful improvements in population mortality.”

In performing his study, Liu accessed the Nationwide Inpatient Sample that included 6,555,621 patients who were hospitalized for any reason — a number than represents 20% of the national subsample. The cohort involved patients from 1,051 hospitals and covered the calendar year 2010.”

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