Septicemia Most Costly Reason for Hospitalization in 2009

Almost one in 23 patients had septicemia; average of 4,600 new patients treated each day

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Septicemia was the single most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals in 2009, with expenditure totaling nearly $15.4 billion, according to an October statistical brief based on Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D., from the AHRQ in Rockville, Md., and colleagues presented data from the HCUP Nationwide Inpatient Sample on septicemia-related hospital stays in 2000 and 2009.

The authors reported that septicemia was the sixth most common reason for hospitalization in 2009. Septicemia hospital stays were the most expensive reason for hospitalization, with total aggregate hospital costs of nearly $15.4 billion. Almost one in every 23 hospitalized patients had septicemia, with an average of 4,600 new patients treated per day. The in-hospital septicemia mortality rate remained unchanged from 2000 through 2009, at about 16 percent, which was more than eight times higher than mortality for all other hospital stays. From 1993 to 2009, the overall increase in septicemia-related hospital stays was 153 percent, for an average annual increase of 6 percent. A total of 58.1 percent of septicemia cases were billed to Medicare. The most common organism on primary and secondary septicemia diagnosis was Escherichia coli, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, respectively. In more than half the cases, no organism was identified. One in every five septicemia-related stays were due to complication of device, implant, or graft.

"In 2009, septicemia was the sixth most common principal reason for hospitalization (836,000 stays, or 2.1 percent of all hospitalizations), but was the single most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals," the authors write.

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