Severe Sepsis on the Rise in United States, Michigan


tHospitalizations for septicemia, one cause of severe sepsis, a potential life-threating complication of a severe infection, is on the rise in the United States and Michigan, says a new report from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation at the University of Michigan.

tAccording to The Cost Burden of Disease: United States and Michigan, hospital discharge rates for septicemia rose by nearly 57 percent and 62 percent in the U.S. and Michigan, respectively, from 2007 to 2011. Such infections can result in death, but can be effectively treated with antibiotics and fluids, often in an ICU environment.

t“The rise in severe sepsis can be attributed in part to the fact that more people are surviving life-threatening diseases such as cancer, but those patients also become more vulnerable to diseases such as severe sepsis,” says Dr. Theodore J. Iwashyna, associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at U-M. “Healthy people are also at risk for severe sepsis if they have an infection which triggers the condition.”

tIn 2011, total charges related to septicemia diagnoses were $74.2 billion in the U.S. and $1.9 billion in Michigan.

t“It is important for physicians and patients alike to understand this increase, so we can do a better job of identifying these potentially life threatening illnesses,” says Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, a non-profit partnership between U-M and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Treatment for sepsis is much more effective when it is found early.”

tThe report also found that three of the highest-charge procedures on both a state and national level were surgeries related to chronic pain relief and mobility, spinal fusion, arthroplasty in the knee, and hip replacement.

t“Another trend is the increase in the rate and cost of procedures for orthopedic conditions and chronic pain,” Udow-Phillips says. “Treating chronic pain is a significant issue that will rise with the aging of the population. There is an urgent case for finding better ways for treating pain.”

tTo read the full report, click here.