Up-to-date identification of local trends in sepsis incidence and outcomes is of considerable public health importance. The aim of our study was to estimate annual incidence rates and in-hospital mortality trends for hospitalized patients with sepsis in a European setting, while avoiding selection bias in relation to different complexity hospitals.
A large retrospective analysis of a 5-year period (2008-2012) was conducted of hospital discharge records obtained from the Catalan Health System (CatSalut) Minimum Basic Data Set for Acute-Care Hospitals (a mandatory population-based register of admissions to all public and private acute-care hospitals in Catalonia). Patients hospitalized with sepsis were detected on the basis of ICD-9-CM codes used to identify acute organ dysfunction and infectious processes.
Of 4,761,726 discharges from all acute-care hospitals in Catalonia, 82,300 cases (1.72%) had sepsis diagnoses. Annual incidence was 212.7 per 100,000 inhabitants/year, rising from 167.2 in 2008 to 261.8 in 2012. Length of hospital stay fell from 18.4 to 15.3 days (p < .00001), representing a relative reduction of 17%. Hospital mortality fell from 23.7 to 19.7% (p < .0001), representing a relative reduction of 16.9%. These differences were confirmed in the multivariate analysis (adjusted for age group, sex, comorbidities, ICU admission, emergency admission, organ dysfunction, number of organ failures, sepsis source and bacteraemia).
Sepsis incidence has risen in recent years, whereas mortality has fallen. Our findings confirm reports for other parts of the world, in the context of scarce administrative data on sepsis in Europe.