What are the mortality rates associated with sepsis and septic shock?

Updated: Oct 07, 2020
  • Author: Andre Kalil, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Mortality figures for sepsis and septic shock have commonly been quoted as ranging from 20% to 50%. Clinical trials from the past decade have found the mortality associated with septic shock to range from 24% to 41%. [36, 37, 38, 39] Although one report noted that crude hospital mortality for sepsis was significantly lower in the United States (28%) than in Europe (41%), the difference ceased to be significant when adjusted by disease severity. [38]

Important to note, in a 12-year (2000-2012) review of survival from severe sepsis from the Australia and New Zealand ICU database, mortality has decreased from 35% to 18% with decreasing occurrence in all age groups and across all types of hospital settings. These survival improvements are especially important because in this same time span no new sepsis-specific treatments were introduced, suggesting that improved overall quality of care was able to reduce sepsis mortality by half. [47] Thus, studies using a before-and-after design to claim improved sepsis survival are fundamentally flawed because of this nonspecific survival improvement.

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