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Sepsis Survival Up at High-Volume Hospitals

Improved outcomes seen in medical centers with 500 or more cases a year, study finds

Sepsis Survival Up at High-Volume Hospitals

MONDAY, Sept. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with sepsis are more likely to survive this life-threatening bloodstream infection if they're treated in a hospital that handles a large number of sepsis cases, according to research published online Aug. 12 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 914,000 patients hospitalized with severe sepsis in the United States between 2004 and 2010.

The overall death rate was 28 percent. However, patients treated at hospitals that treated 500 or more sepsis cases a year were 36 percent more likely to survive than those treated at hospitals that treated fewer than 50 sepsis cases a year. The researchers noted that many of the hospitals that treat the largest numbers of sepsis cases are academic medical centers, which tend to be located in cities.

"One of the main barriers to treatment of sepsis is recognizing its early stages, since the symptoms are nonspecific and often similar to those of a viral infection. However, early diagnoses and treatment are key to surviving sepsis and it may be that physicians at hospitals that see a larger volume of patients with severe sepsis are more attuned to these nonspecific symptoms and have put protocols in place to aid in the detection of these critically ill patients," study leader David Gaieski, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, said in a university news release. "Our results provide preliminary support for the idea that severe sepsis patients may benefit from treatment at higher-volume specialty centers much the same as the reality that patients who've suffered severe injuries are brought to designated trauma centers and those who've had strokes typically come to certified stroke centers."

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