The Cost of Sepsis in Lives and Dollars

By John Hurst, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID, Senior Director, Antimicrobial Stewardship at bioMérieux and Mauricio Berdugo, MD, MPH, Director, Global Scientific & Medical Affairs at bioMérieux

Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection, affects more than 1.7 million adults in the US a year. Sepsis can happen to anyone who has an infection, but it is most common in older adults, pregnant women, children younger than one, and those with chronic conditions or weakened immune systems.

Over 270,000 lives are lost to sepsis each year in the United States. Prevention and early recognition of sepsis are of paramount importance in improving mortality rates.

Acute Myocardial Infarction is the medical term for a heart attack.

In addition to the toll sepsis takes on people’s lives, sepsis presents a major financial burden to US healthcare systems. According to a recent report published by Premier, from 2015 to 2018, the cost of treating patients who develop sepsis in the hospital rose by 20%, with hospitals spending $70,000 per case in 2018.

Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, Vice President of Quality Innovation at Premier, said that septic shock is probably more common among patients already in the hospital because they often have weakened immune systems. Septic shock is the most serious complication of sepsis and is associated with high mortality rates.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) require hospitals to comply with a sepsis bundle and initiate treatment within three- and six-hour time frames. However, the national average compliance rate is only 51%.

While the sepsis bundle compliance rate may seem disheartening, there are actions being taken to raise awareness of the condition. House Resolution 1175, introduced in December of 2018 by Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Brett Guthrie (R-TN), set forth the goal of supporting increased awareness of sepsis and the importance of early detection and appropriate intervention. To alleviate the burden of sepsis on patients, families, and the healthcare system, everyone must take or continue to take impactful actions according to their roles, raising awareness, fighting infectious diseases, and improving patient outcomes.

Download the Cost of Sepsis Infographic


References:

  1. Rhee C, Dantes R, Epstein L, et al. Incidence and Trends of Sepsis in US Hospitals Using Clinical vs Claims Data, 2009-2014. JAMA. 2017;318(13):1241. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.13836.
  2. Data & Reports | Sepsis | CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/sepsis/datareports/index.html. Published August 23, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2019.
  3. Gaieski DF, Edwards JM, Kallan MJ, Carr BG. Benchmarking the Incidence and Mortality of Severe Sepsis in the United States. Critical Care Medicine. 2013;41(5):1167-1174.
  4. Mary FB, Talisa VB, Balakumar V, Chang CH, Fine M, Yende S. Proportion and Cost of Unplanned 30-Day Readmissions After Sepsis Compared With Other Medical Conditions. JAMA. 2017;317(5):530-531. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.20468
  5. Torio C, Moore B. National Inpatient Hospital Costs: The Most Expensive Conditions by Payer, 2013. HCUP Statistical Brief 204. May 2016. Agency for the Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.go/reports/statbriefs/sb204-Most-Expensive-Hospital-Conditions.pdf.
  6. Paoli CJ, Reynolds MA, Sinha M, Gitlin M, Crouser E. Epidemiology and Costs of Sepsis in the United States – An Analysis Based on Timing of Diagnostics and Severity Level. Critical Care Medicine. 2018;46(12):1889-1897. doi:10.1097/cm.0000000000003342
  7. Castellucci M. Sepsis costs Medicare $6 billion in 2015, more than any other discharge. Modern Healthcare. https://www.modernhaelthcare.com/article/20170901/NEWS/170909982/sepsis-costs-medicare-6-billion-in-2015-more-than-any-otherdischarge. Published September 1, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2019.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMerieux, Inc.

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