Background: Sepsis is currently the leading cause of direct maternal death in the United Kingdom. In this study, we aimed to determine frequency, temporal trends, and independent associations for severe sepsis during hospitalization for delivery in the United States.
Methods: Data were obtained from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the years 1998 through 2008. The presence of severe sepsis was identified by the appropriate International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess temporal trends for sepsis, severe sepsis, and sepsis-related death and also to identify independent associations of severe sepsis.
Results: Of an estimated 44,999,260 hospitalizations for delivery, sepsis complicated 1:3333 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1:3151-1:3540) deliveries, severe sepsis complicated 1:10,823 (95% CI, 1:10,000-1:11,792) deliveries, and sepsis-related death complicated 1:105,263 (95% CI, 1:83,333-1:131,579) deliveries. While the overall frequency of sepsis was stable(P = 0.95), the risk of severe sepsis and sepsis-related death increased during the study period, (P < 0.001) and (P = 0.02), respectively. Independent associations for severe sepsis, with an adjusted odds ratio and lower bound 95% CI higher than 3, include congestive heart failure, chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease, systemic lupus erythematous, and rescue cerclage placement.
Conclusions: Maternal severe sepsis and sepsis-related deaths are increasing in the United States. Severe sepsis often occurs in the absence of a recognized risk factor and underscores the need for developing systems of care that increase sensitivity for disease detection across the entire population. Physicians should enhance surveillance in patients with congestive heart failure, chronic liver disease, chronic renal disease, and systemic lupus erythematous and institute early treatment when signs of sepsis are emerging.