The good news: Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratios have fallen all over the country. The bad news: sepsis is still a huge killer of patients, with staggering mortality rates, and is killing more, by percentage, than heart attacks or strokes. From the report:
- There were 30,587 sepsis hospitalizations in Canada (outside Quebec). In comparison, 30,542 new stroke events and 49,220 new heart attacks were observed in Canada (outside Quebec).
- At 30.5%, the crude mortality rate for sepsis was high; 9,320 patients with sepsis died (in 2008–2009). In comparison, the crude mortality rate was about 18% for stroke and 9.1% for heart attacks (in 2007–2008).
- There were no significant changes in either sepsis hospitalizations or sepsis mortality rates over the five years from 2004–2005 to 2008–2009.
- The median hospital length of stay for sepsis patients was nine days longer than for patients admitted to hospital with other conditions.
- Sepsis was associated with more hospital resource use, with 45.1% of all sepsis patients admitted to the intensive care unit during their stay.
- For patients with sepsis, factors contributing to a higher chance of dying were being older, being female, having pre-admission comorbidities, having sepsis occurring after admission to hospital and having severe sepsis.
Early identification and treatment of sepsis has been shown to significantly reduce mortality — yet another float in the Parade of the Blindingly Obvious. Implementation of tools (see here, for example) in hospitals allowing clinicians, including nurses, to identify actual and potential sepsis is probably key to lowing rates of sepsis. And the remedy for sepsis acquired inside hospitals? Do I really need to tell you?
[Courtesy of the Ontario Ministry of Health]