Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Clinical and Population Health Research


Quantitative Health Sciences

First Thesis Advisor

Roger L. Luckmann, MD, MPH


sepsis, severe sepsis, septic shock, readmissions, trends, mortality, diagnosis, infection


Background: Sepsis, a leading cause of US deaths, is associated with high mortality, although advances in early recognition and treatment have increased survivorship. Many aspects of sepsis pathophysiology and epidemiology have not been fully elucidated; the heterogeneous nature of infections that lead to sepsis has made fully characterizing the underlying epidemiology challenging.

Methods: The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) from 2011-2014 and the Cerner HealthFacts® database from 2008-2014 were used. We examined associations between infection source and in-hospital mortality in the UHC dataset, stratified by age and presenting sepsis stage. We examined recent temporal trends in present-on-admission (POA) sepsis diagnoses and mortality and predictors of 30-day sepsis readmissions following sepsis hospitalizations using the HealthFacts® dataset.

Results: Patients with sepsis due to genitourinary or skin, soft tissue, or bone sources had lower mortality than patients with sepsis due to respiratory sources regardless of age or presenting sepsis stage. Overall diagnoses of sepsis increased from 2008-2014; however, POA diagnoses and case fatality rates decreased. Factors that predicted re-hospitalization for sepsis included discharge to hospice, admission from or discharge to a skilled nursing facility, and abdominal infection.

Conclusion: Further investigation will reveal more detail to explain the impact of infection source on in-hospital sepsis mortality for all age groups and sepsis stages. Decreasing mortality rates for all POA sepsis stages and all age groups suggest current approaches to sepsis management are having broad impact. Sepsis survivors are at significant risk for re-hospitalization; further studies are needed to understand the post discharge risks and needs of survivors.



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