TUESDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new study has found that
patients treated at high-cost U.S. hospitals for sepsis -- a
potentially life-threatening bacterial infection in the bloodstream
-- don't have better short-term survival rates than those treated
at other hospitals.
Researchers analyzed data from 309 hospitals that cared for at
least 100 patients with sepsis between June 2004 and June 2006. In
total, there were more than 166,900 patients, 20 percent of whom
The median expected death rate for all hospitals was 19.2
percent. Twenty hospitals had death rates between 10 percent and 25
percent higher than the expected rate, while 46 hospitals had death
rates that were more than 25 percent higher than the expected
The median average hospital cost was $18,256. Thirty-four
percent of the hospitals exceeded expected costs by at least 10
percent, with a median excess cost per case of $5,207.
When the researchers compared costs and death rates, they found
that 7 percent had both significantly lower-than-expected costs and
death rates, and 10 percent had both higher-than-expected costs and
Researchers estimated that if costs were contained, the 63,833
study patients treated at the 105 hospitals with higher than
expected mean costs represent a potential $332 million dollars in
"Higher spending and adjusted mortality rates for patients with sepsis vary substantially, but higher hospital expenditures are not associated with better survival," wrote Dr. Tara Lagu, of the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. and Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues, in a news release.
"Efforts to enhance the value of sepsis care could be modeled on hospitals that achieve lower than-expected mortality and costs," the researchers concluded.
The study appears in the Feb. 28 issue of the
Archives of Internal Medicine.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine has more about