Sepsis rivals pneumonia, heart failure for readmissions

Severe sepsis causes hospital readmissions at a rate comparable to more commonly addressed conditions such as pneumonia and heart failure, according to a study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

While previous research has analyzed quality measures associated with sepsis, such as length of stay, researchers led by Darya Rudym, M.D., of New York University School of Medicine sought to specifically analyze its effect on 30-day readmission rates. The bloodstream infection, which can cause organ failure, contributes to up to half of all hospital deaths, according to research published last year, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Analyzing inpatient discharge and readmission data from New York City's Bellevue Hospital from July 2011 to July 2014, Rudym and her team monitored 22,712 discharges; more than 15 percent, or 3,477, were readmitted within 30 days. Using three different reporting methods for severe sepsis identification, they identified 1,801, 798 and 579 discharges, respectively, among the discharges. Of those, they found 266 (14.77 percent), 119 (14.91 percent) and 71 (12.26 percent) readmitted within 30 days, respectively.

Comparatively, the myocardial infarction rate was 8.67 percent, 15 percent for heart failure and 14.46 percent for pneumonia. "Readmission rates in severe sepsis are shown not to be significantly different from readmission rates in heart failure and pneumonia," Rudym said.

Despite the toll sepsis takes on hospitals, it is one of the most poorly understood medical disorders, according to researchers in the United Kingdom, who found several steps providers can take to reduce the threat. They include improved training for frontline clinical staff and public awareness campaigns, support for academics in gaining a better understanding of sepsis' effects and better access to quick, aggressive interventions, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the study announcement