[Epidemiology of severe sepsis at a German university hospital]

Franz X Audebert, Frank Hanses, Arne Schneidewind, Boris Ehrenstein, Stefan Blaas, Bernd Salzberger, Jürgen Schölmerich, Dieter Fröhlich, Rainer H Straub, Thomas Glück
Medizinische Klinik 2007 March 15, 102 (3): 195-202

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Sepsis still represents a major medical challenge despite several advances in therapy. Most published data on sepsis have been derived from clinical trials evaluating new drugs and from international cohort studies. The aim of this study was to analyze risk factors, mortality and causative pathogens in a cohort of unselected patients with severe sepsis at a German university hospital and to compare the data with international cohorts and recently published therapeutic trials.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between May 1999 and December 2002, all patients of the surgical and internal medicine intensive care units of a university medical center with newly manifested severe sepsis and at least one organ failure were recruited into the prospective observational study "Unicenter Sepsis Survey Regensburg" (USSR).

RESULTS: 182 patients were included. The median age of the patients studied was 58 years, the median SAPS II amounted to 42, mortality at day 14 and day 30 was 25% and 34%, respectively. 48% of the patients developed sepsis due to an internal disease, 33% after surgical emergency interventions, and 19% after planned surgical interventions. Patients with surgical emergencies had higher SAPS II values and a worse outcome. 35% of all patients developed acute renal failure. 85% of the patients were treated with vasopressors, and 90% had to be ventilated mechanically. 58% of the patients had a probable and 38% a confirmed focal infection; in the final retrospective analysis, an infectious genesis proved to be unlikely in 4% of the patients.

CONCLUSION: The characteristics of unselected patients with severe sepsis at the authors' institution are comparable to data from recently published sepsis studies with respect to mortality, severity of disease, and range of causative pathogens.

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