Readmissions for sepsis significantly more common, costly than heart complications: 7 key study findings

Although several initiatives geared toward reducing readmissions for high-risk conditions like heart failure have been introduced as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, no national programs exist that are focused on addressing sepsis.

Readmissions associated with the potentially life-threatening infections occur often — at nearly the same rate as readmissions for heart-related complications — and can be extremely costly, according to a University of California Los Angeles study.

Here are seven key findings from research, published in the journal Critical Care Medicine.

1. The researchers analyzed sepsis admissions for adults 18 and over at all California hospitals from 2009 through 2011. They analyzed admissions for congestive heart failure and heart attacks for the same period.

2. Researchers noted a total of 240,198 sepsis admissions, 193,153 congestive heart failure admissions and 105,684 heart attack admissions.

3. The estimated annual cost of sepsis readmissions in California during the study was $500 million, more than double that of congestive heart failure at $229 million. Heart attack readmission costs totaled $142 million.

4. They recorded an all-cause 30-day readmission rate for sepsis of 20.4 percent. Congestive heart failure rates were 23.6 percent and heart attack readmissions were 17.7 percent.

5. People with sepsis were readmitted for causes such as respiratory failure, pneumonia, complications with devices and various infections, among others.

6. Readmissions for sepsis were higher among young adults than older adults, higher among men than women and higher among low-income patients than those with higher income.

7. Those with other concurrent health problems were more likely to be readmitted than those with sepsis alone.

More articles on infection control:

100 Patient Safety Benchmarks | 2015
59 hospitals with top nurse-patient communication
Physicians missing glaring signs of sepsis: 6 things to know

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