According to a recent report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), septicemia was the costliest medical condition treated in 2009, with costs totalling approximately $15.4 billion. Septicemia or sepsis occurs due to blood infections caused by bacteria. The most common bacteria responsible for sepsis are E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The report, Septicemia in U.S. Hospitals, 2009, notes that elderly patients account for over 50 percent of patients hospitalized with infection. Sepsis was the sixth most common primary cause of hospitalizations in 2009. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of cases of infection almost doubled from 337,100 to 836,000. Some other interesting findings were:
- The inpatient septicemia death rate was 16% in 2009, nearly eight times more than causes of other hospital stays
- Complications from medical devices, implants, or grafts accounted for nearly 20% of septicemia stays
- About 40% of patients were between ages 65 and 84; approximately 27% of patients were between ages 45 and 64; 14% of patients were age 85 and older; 11% of patients were between ages 18 and 44; and less than 2% of patients were in the age group of 1 to 17
- Nearly one of every 23 patients hospitalized in 2009 had a primary or secondary diagnosis of septicemia
- 4,600 new patients were treated each day for septicemia in U.S. hospitals in 2009
- Septicemia-related hospitalizations increased by 153 percent overall from 1993 to 2009, an annual increase of 6 percent
- The predominant payer for septicemia-related hospital admissions was Medicare, covering nearly 58 percent of patients with sepsis
- E. coli was the most common organism for primary diagnosis of septicemia, and MRSA was the cause of secondary diagnosis.
- Inpatient mortality rates in 2009 was about 16 percent, nearly 8 times higher than for other stays (2 percent), which has remained unchanged since 2000.
Hospitals across the nation are coming together to address the increased mortality due to sepsis. In New York State, two notable collaboratives are working toward improving recognition and treatment of sepsis.
- The Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), is coordinating a unique initiative to improve identification and management of sepsis called Assessment of Improvement Methodology in Sepsis (AIMS).
- The Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) and the United Hospital Fund (UHF) launched a collaborative to address the challenges presented by sepsis. The collaborative, Strengthening Treatment and Outcomes for Patients, STOP Sepsis Collaborative, is designed to work with hospitals to implement standardized processes for recognition and treatment of sepsis to improve care and reduce mortality in patients. The collaborative includes 56 New York City hospital currently, with more hospitals coming forward to join the group.