Sepsis Epidemiology

Epidemiology and Costs of Sepsis

Sepsis with acute organ dysfunction (severe sepsis) is the number one cause of death in the non-coronary intensive care unit and one of the most significant challenges in critical care:

  • More than 750,000 cases of severe sepsis occur annually in the US.Ref-1,
  • The hospital cost of treating patients with severe sepsis in the US is approximately $17 billion each year.Ref-1,
  • Severe sepsis causes 215,000 deaths in the US each year-more than AMI, lung cancer, and other commonly known causes of death in the hospital.Ref-1,

Cases of severe sepsis are expected to rise in the future due to the increased awareness and sensitivity for the diagnosis, number of immune-compromised patients, use of invasive procedures, number of resistant microorganisms, and the growth of the elderly population. Despite the enormous investment in critical care resources, severe sepsis mortality ranges from 28% to 50% or greater. Progression of sepsis can lead to organ dysfunction and ultimately death.
Severe sepsis consumes an increasing share of healthcare resources and leads to higher total hospital costs due to

  • Higher mortality
  • Significantly increased ventilator use,
  • Longer lengths of stay.

The early recognition and diagnosis of severe sepsis is a crucial part to improve outcome. 


Ref-1: Angus DC, Linde-Zwirble WT, Lidicker J, Clermont G, Carcillo J, Pinsky MR. Epidemiology of severe sepsis in the United States: analysis of incidence, outcome, and associated costs of care. Crit Care Med.2001;29(7):1303-1310.


For further information:
Surviving Sepsis Campaign
International Sepsis Forum
Global Sepsis Alliance

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