Blood Infections Play Role In Up To Half Of Hospital Deaths: Study

Robert Preidt | MedlinePlus | May 19, 2014

Bloodstream infections -- also known as sepsis -- occur in about 10 percent of hospital patients in the United States but contribute to as many as half of all hospital deaths, a new study says.

The study was to be presented Sunday in San Diego at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society (ATS).

Sepsis is common, affecting as many as 750,000 hospitalized patients in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even though hospitalization rates fell between 2000 and 2010, the number of sepsis-related deaths among hospital patients rose 17 percent during that time, from 45,000 to 135,000.

And in the new study, "we were surprised to find that as many as one in two patients dying in U.S. hospitals had sepsis," study lead author Dr. Vincent Liu, of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California division of research, said in an ATS news release.