Incidence and long-term outcome of sepsis on general wards and in an ICU at the General Hospital of Vienna: An observational cohort study

Thomas Stiermaier, Harald Herkner, Selma Tobudic, Karin Burgmann, Thomas Staudinger, Peter Schellongowski, Heinz Burgmann*

*Corresponding author for this work
11 Citations (Scopus)


Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in intensive care units (ICUs) and has enormous relevance in health economics. There is growing evidence, however, that a significant percentage of patients with sepsis are not treated in an ICU. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology and short- and long-term mortality of sepsis according to patients' location on general wards or in an ICU over a period of a year. We retrospectively collected data on patients with sepsis admitted to the General Hospital of Vienna during a 12-month period. We used world health organization (WHO) ICD-10 classification as the selection criterion and analyzed demographic data, length of stay, and 28-day, hospital, and 3-year mortality on general wards and in the ICU. A total of 68,305 inpatient admission episodes between January 1 and December 31, 2007 were screened for sepsis. Using ICD-10 codes we identified 139 patients with sepsis, giving a cumulative hospital incidence of 2 cases/1,000 admissions; 32 % of these patients needed ICU treatment. The overall 28-day mortality rate was 29.5 %, increasing to 55.4 % 3 years after hospital discharge. On general wards the 28-day mortality rate was 12.6 %, increasing to 42.1 % 3 years after discharge; the respective rates for the ICU were 65.9 and 84.1 %. Sepsis is a disease of predominantly elderly patients. The majority of sepsis occurred on general wards and about 30 % in the ICU. Considerable number of patients with sepsis on general wards died after hospital discharge, thus the often used 28-day in-hospital mortality rate may fail to capture the true impact of sepsis on subsequent outcome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWiener Klinische Wochenschrift
Issue number11-12
Pages (from-to)302-308
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2013

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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