Readmissions in Severe Sepsis Are as Common as Those in Heart Failure and Pneumonia

Severe sepsis is a significant cause of rehospitalization along the lines of nationally recognized outcome measures and more commonly discussed conditions such as heart failure (HF) and pneumonia, says Darya Rudym, MD, of New York University School of Medicine, lead author of a study presented at the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference.

Sepsis is an infection of the bloodstream that can lead to organ failure and death. “Severe sepsis continues to be a common cause of hospitalization and has the associated high costs,” Rudym says. Although some quality measures associated with sepsis have been previously studied, such as length of stay, Dr. Rudym and fellow researchers aimed to study the rate of readmission within 30 days after discharge with a diagnosis of severe sepsis. Researchers wanted to compare this rate to the readmission rates for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported outcomes such as acute myocardial infarction (MI), HF, and pneumonia.

The researchers examined inpatient discharges from Bellevue Hospital in New York City between July 2011 and July 2014 and identified subsequent readmissions to the hospital within 30 days.

During the three-year study period, researchers tracked 22,712 discharges, with an overall readmission rate of 15.31%, or 3,477 patients. Using three different previously reported methods to identify patients with severe sepsis, namely Angus, Martin, and the explicit International Classification of Diseases-9-CM sepsis codes, 1801, 798, and 579 patients, respectively, were identified as discharged with severe sepsis. “Of those, 266, 119, and 71 were readmitted within 30 days, accounting for 14.77%, 14.91%, and 12.26%, respectively,” Rudym says.

The readmission rate for MI was 8.67%; for HF, it was 15%; and for pneumonia, it was 14.46%.

“Readmission rates in severe sepsis are shown not to be significantly different from readmission rates in heart failure and pneumonia,” Rudym says.

Source: American Thoracic Society (ATS)