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Association of annual intensive care unit sepsis caseload with hospital mortality from sepsis in the United Kingdom, 2010-2016

Maharaj, Ritesh, Mcguire, Alistair and Street, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0002-2540-0364 (2021) Association of annual intensive care unit sepsis caseload with hospital mortality from sepsis in the United Kingdom, 2010-2016. JAMA network open, 4 (6). ISSN 2574-3805

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Identification Number: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.15305


Importance Sepsis is associated with a high burden of inpatient mortality. Treatment in intensive care units (ICUs) that have more experience treating patients with sepsis may be associated with lower mortality. Objective To assess the association between the volume of patients with sepsis receiving care in an ICU and hospital mortality from sepsis in the UK. Design, Setting, and Participants This retrospective cohort study used data from adult patients with sepsis from 231 UK ICUs between 2010 and 2016. Demographic and clinical data were extracted from the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme database. Data were analyzed from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2016. Exposures Annual sepsis case volume in an ICU in the year of a patient’s admission. Main Outcomes and Measures Hospital mortality after ICU admission for sepsis assessed using a mixed-effects logistic model in a 3-level hierarchical structure based on the number of individual patients nested in years nested within ICUs. Results Among 273 001 patients included in the analysis, the median age was 66 years (interquartile range, 53-76 years), 148 149 (54.3%) were male, and 248 275 (91.0%) were White. The mean ICNARC-2018 illness severity score was 21.0 (95% CI, 20.9-21.0). Septic shock accounted for 19.3% of patient admissions, and 54.3% of patients required mechanical ventilation. The median annual sepsis volume per ICU was 242 cases (interquartile range, 177-334 cases). The study identified a significant association between the volume of sepsis cases in the ICU and mortality from sepsis; in the logistic regression model, hospital mortality was significantly lower among patients admitted to ICUs in the highest quartile of sepsis volume compared with the lowest quartile (odds ratio [OR], 0.89; 95% CI, 0.82-0.96; P = .002). With volume modeled as a restricted cubic spline, treatment in a larger ICU was associated with lower hospital mortality. A lower annual volume threshold of 215 patients above which hospital mortality decreased significantly was found; 38.8% of patients were treated in ICUs below this threshold volume. There was no significant interaction between ICU volume and severity of illness as described by the ICNARC-2018 score (β [SE], –0.00014 [0.00024]; P = .57). Conclusions and Relevance The findings suggest that patients with sepsis in the UK have higher odds of survival if they are treated in an ICU with a larger sepsis case volume. The benefit of a high sepsis case volume was not associated with the severity of the sepsis episode.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Health Policy
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2021 09:12
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2021 01:03

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