Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sepsis On The Rise In The United States; Study Reveals That Condition Is Also Becoming More Complex, Afflicting Older Americans

Date:
February 5, 2003
Source:
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Summary:
Severe sepsis, the leading cause of death in America's non-coronary intensive care units, is a rapidly growing problem in the United States in terms of the number of patients afflicted by the condition and the complexity of their cases, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported Saturday, Feb. 1, at the 32nd Critical Care Congress in San Antonio, Texas.

SAN ANTONIO, Feb. 3 – Severe sepsis, the leading cause of death in America's non-coronary intensive care units, is a rapidly growing problem in the United States in terms of the number of patients afflicted by the condition and the complexity of their cases, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported Saturday, Feb. 1, at the 32nd Critical Care Congress in San Antonio, Texas. Investigating trends in severe sepsis over a seven-year period, this study is the first to identify the changing epidemiology of the life-threatening disorder and its potential financial impact on intensive care units (ICUs).

Using hospital discharge data from five states over a seven-year period (1992, 1995 and 1999) and federal population and health care data, researchers determined that the annual rate of severe sepsis cases increased by 6.2 percent from 635,000 cases in 1992 to 965,000 cases in 1999. In addition, the study team observed a 6.9 percent annual increase in the number of complex severe sepsis cases, defined by more than one organ failure, treated in the ICU. They also noted a slight increase of 2.9 percent in the proportion of severe sepsis patients admitted to ICUs each year, although the overall proportion of ICU severe sepsis cases remained consistent for all years studied, at approximately 50 percent. Changes in the site of infection in sepsis cases in the study were relatively minor, the most notable being 4.4 percent increase in respiratory infections and a 2.5 percent decrease in urosepsis.

"The incessant growth of the severe sepsis epidemic in this country ought to be cause for grave alarm," said investigator Derek C. Angus, M.D., M.P.H., F.C.C.P., associate professor of critical care medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "This condition has long been one of medicine's greatest foes, taking more lives each year than breast, colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancer combined. Mounting numbers and more complex cases will only make severe sepsis a more formidable adversary."

Although the annual incidence of severe sepsis cases increased overall by 6.2 percent, researchers noted a dramatic 40 percent increase in the number of elderly patients over 85 years of age with the condition. This shift resulted in a one-year increase in the average age of the American severe sepsis patient, from 63 to 64 years of age. However, despite the increases in patient age and case complexity, the study team found that, overall, sepsis-related mortality decreased slightly by approximately 4 percent over the seven-year period.

"This is the first time we've looked really closely at the changes in the actual patients who make up the towering mountain of severe sepsis statistics in this country," said Dr. Angus. "What we found is that the face of severe sepsis is, on the whole, getting older than it used to be. And yet recent improvements in critical care technology have meant some patients appear to have a better chance of evading this too-often-deadly stalker."

Although the decline in mortality associated with severe sepsis is welcome news, researchers conclude that the increasing complexity of patients' cases, coupled with the advancing age of the typical severe sepsis patient, may necessitate increased use of costly medical procedures to optimize patient survival – a cause for concern in today's health care cost-containment environment. A recent survey by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, in fact, revealed that attempting to control medical costs through so-called "bedside rationing" of services and medications is practiced by nearly two-thirds of critical care providers, and that 43 percent said they would ration the only FDA-approved drug for severe sepsis, drotrecogin alfa (activated), in order to control medical costs.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Sepsis On The Rise In The United States; Study Reveals That Condition Is Also Becoming More Complex, Afflicting Older Americans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030205073717.htm>.
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. (2003, February 5). Sepsis On The Rise In The United States; Study Reveals That Condition Is Also Becoming More Complex, Afflicting Older Americans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030205073717.htm
University Of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Sepsis On The Rise In The United States; Study Reveals That Condition Is Also Becoming More Complex, Afflicting Older Americans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030205073717.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins