Sepsis Revealed as Number One Cause of Hospital Admission After an Emergency Department Visit for Adults 45-84

July 9, 2014

SAN DIEGO, CA (July 9, 2014) — Sepsis Alliance, the nation’s leading sepsis patient advocacy group, brings attention to the findings of a recent study, which found sepsis is responsible for the most admissions to the same hospital after an emergency department visit for adults 45-84 years. For adults 85 years and older, sepsis was the second most common diagnosis.

The findings were reported in a June 2014 statistical brief from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This HCUP Statistical Brief, Overview of Emergency Department Visits in the United States, 2011, reports on ED visits in the United States in 2011. Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D., Laurne M. Wier, M.P.H., Carol Stocks, Ph.D., R.N., and Janice Blanchard, M.D., Ph.D authored the brief.

“The findings have implications for sepsis care and the need for improved early recognition and treatment,” said Thomas Heymann, Executive Director of Sepsis Alliance. “Fewer than half of Americans have heard of sepsis and many hospitals do not have sepsis protocols in place to ensure prompt recognition and treatment.”

Sepsis, sometimes called blood poisoning by the general public, is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection injures its own tissues and organs. Annually, sepsis kills 258,000 people in the United States alone, or one person every two minutes. Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires early diagnosis and rapid treatment with antibiotics and fluids.

In August 2013, HCUP and AHRQ reported that sepsis is the most expensive condition treated in hospitals. According to the study, sepsis resulted in an aggregate healthcare cost of $20.3 billion in 2011, accounting for U.S. hospital-related costs only.

“Early recognition of sepsis symptoms, both by the general public and healthcare professionals, is required to save more lives and minimize the potential for necessary amputations,” said Dr. Jim O’Brien, Medical Director and Board Chair of Sepsis Alliance. “Early recognition and immediate administration of antibiotics and fluids will help reduce healthcare costs associated with sepsis and, more importantly, save thousands of lives every year.”

“These findings demonstrate the importance of sepsis awareness,” said Heymann. “September is Sepsis Awareness Month, and while we work to educate medical professionals and the public throughout the year, we hope that one concentrated month will draw even more attention to sepsis.”

More information on Sepsis Awareness Month can be found at

More information on the two publications mentioned can be viewed online at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Website. To learn more, visit:

About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the leading nonprofit patient advocacy organization in the U.S. promoting awareness of sepsis. Sepsis Alliance’s mission is to save lives by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. The organization hosts national events, distributes information, and conducts training and education of sepsis and its devastating effects. Sepsis Alliance also provides support by giving people affected by sepsis a forum to share information. Sepsis Alliance is registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and is a founding member of the Global Sepsis Alliance. For more information on Sepsis Alliance, please visit