Review Lays out Recommendations, Calls for Research to Improve Post-Hospitalization Sepsis Outcomes
PITTSBURGH, Jan 2, 2018 – Despite improvement in the rates of people dying of sepsis in the hospital, the condition is still a leading cause of hospital readmissions and costs, as well as long-term disabilities and impairments, prompting University of Pittsburgh and University of Michigan medical scientists to develop thorough recommendations for post-hospital recovery care and future clinical trials.
The review, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, calls for a significant focus on developing an evidence-based approach to optimal care for the 14 million patients worldwide who survive hospitalization for sepsis each year.
“Current treatment guidelines emphasize interventions that reduce short-term mortality, but with little information on strategies to minimize physical disability, cognitive impairment or health deterioration after sepsis,” said senior author Derek Angus, M.D., M.P.H., the Dr. Mitchell P. Fink Professor and chair of Pitt’s Department of Critical Care Medicine. “We need to focus not only on saving the patient’s life, but on ensuring the patient will have the best possible quality of life after leaving the hospital.”
Sepsis is a life-threatening organ dysfunction that can develop following an infection. It is the leading cause of death of hospital patients, and half of survivors do not completely recover, with a third of those dying in the following year and a sixth experiencing severe, persistent physical disabilities or cognitive impairment. In one study, only 43 percent of previously employed patients returned to work within a year of contracting septic shock and only 33 percent of patients living at home prior to contracting sepsis returned to living independently by six months following their discharge.
Despite a dearth of large clinical trials to test interventions aimed at improving outcomes for sepsis patients after hospital discharge, Angus and Prescott recommend three strategies that aim to prevent long-term disabilities: