CDC: Sepsis Cost $14.6B in 2008

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , June 22, 2011

Last year, University of Michigan researchers found that older hospitalized patients who survive sepsis develop lasting, moderate to severe cognitive impairment and functional disability at 3.3 times the rate of patients hospitalized for other reasons. Those consequences were labeled a "public health disaster" in a JAMA commentary.

While accounting for only 2% of hospitalizations in 2008, sepsis and septicemia made up 17% of in-hospital deaths. And patients who survived hospitalization with sepsis or septicemia were twice as likely to be transferred to another short-term care facility, and three-times as likely to be transferred to a long-term care facility, the CDC study found. 

The bloodstream infections overwhelmingly affected the elderly, most of whom are Medicare recipients. About two-thirds of patients hospitalized with sepsis or septicemia were age 65 or over, and the hospitalization rate for sepsis and septicemia patients aged 85 or older (271.2 per 10,000 population) was 30 higher than the rate for those under age 65, (9.5 per 10,000 population), and more than four times higher than the rate of hospitalization (65.7 per 10,000) for those ages 65-74, the report said.

The hospitalization rates include: patients hospitalized for septicemia or sepsis; patients hospitalized for another diagnosis but who had septicemia or sepsis at the time they were admitted; and patients who acquired septicemia or sepsis during their hospital stay.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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