Non-Married at Greater Risk of Hospitalization for Sepsis

Singles, divorced men have highest odds of sepsis-related mortality
By Lindsey Marcellin
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Single, separated, and widowed adults have a higher risk of hospitalization for sepsis than do their married peers, and some face higher mortality rates as well, according to research published in the June issue of Chest.

Christopher W. Seymour, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,113,581 hospitalizations in New Jersey in 2006, calculating adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for sepsis among groups stratified by marital status. These groups included married persons, those legally separated, divorced persons, widows and widowers, and singles.

The researchers found that the overall incidence of hospitalization for sepsis was 5.8 per 1,000 population. The IRR for hospital admission adjusted for age, race, and gender was higher for single, widowed and legally separated patients (IRRs, 3.47, 1.38 and 1.46, respectively) than for the reference group of married patients. Single men, single women, and divorced men experienced higher sepsis-related in-hospital mortality rates than married men.

"This study suggests that social factors contribute to the epidemiology and outcomes of sepsis, and highlights the need to characterize the underlying, potentially modifiable mechanisms linking marital status to its greater burden of critical illness," the authors write.

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