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Sepsis severity at UK hospitals

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Patients presenting to A&E with severe sepsis have an ‘unacceptably’ higher mortality rate than those with ‘uncomplicated’ sepsis, say researchers.

Between March and April 2006, researchers analysed data on 310 patients admitted to Southampton General Hospital A&E with sepsis. Of these, 260 were diagnosed with either systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) or uncomplicated sepsis, while a further 50 had severe sepsis or septic shock.

The researchers found the mortality rate for those with severe sepsis was 26%, compared to just 6.6% for SIRS and 4.1% for uncomplicated sepsis. Patients with severe sepsis also had a significantly longer hospital stay – 7.5 days, compared to five and three days for SIRS and uncomplicated sepsis, respectively.

The authors said late recognition of the disease, and inappropriate treatment prior to admission to ICU, were partly responsible for the ‘unacceptably high’ mortality rate.

Emergency Medicine Journal (2008) 25: 11-14

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