Many Patients Admitted Through the ED With Sepsis Not Given a Formal Diagnosis Code

A large number of patients admitted through the emergency department with severe sepsis or septic shock are not given a specific International Classification of Disease (ICD) code used around the world to collect data on epidemiology, morbidity and mortality statistics and reimbursement. According to research being presented at CHEST World Congress this month, patients who are identified with the ICD code often had a higher ICU admission rate and longer length of stay when compared to patients identified by clinical criteria only.

Researches analyzed more than 7,000 patient encounters with severe sepsis or septic shock, and found that 68 percent of patients with severe sepsis without shock did not receive an ICD diagnosis code. Patients assigned codes of severe sepsis had a higher mortality, ICU admission rate, and hospital length of stay when compared to patients identified by clinical criteria alone.

"This analysis raises many questions and adds to the growing body of evidence regarding identification of sepsis and septic shock, and implications for treatment and prediction of outcomes," said Amanda Deis, lead study author from the University of Kansas School of Medicine."We're also curious about what motivates clinicians' decisions to use ICD codes and whether that has an effect on their care."

Further study results will be shared at CHEST World Congress 2016.

The study abstract can be viewed on the journal CHEST website.

Source: American College of Chest Physicians