Importance: Severe sepsis and septic shock are major causes of mortality in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. It is unknown whether progress has been made in decreasing their mortality rate.
Objective: To describe changes in mortality for severe sepsis with and without shock in ICU patients.
Design, setting, and participants: Retrospective, observational study from 2000 to 2012 including 101,064 patients with severe sepsis from 171 ICUs with various patient case mix in Australia and New Zealand.
Main outcomes and measures: Hospital outcome (mortality and discharge to home, to other hospital, or to rehabilitation).
Results: Absolute mortality in severe sepsis decreased from 35.0% (95% CI, 33.2%-36.8%; 949/2708) to 18.4% (95% CI, 17.8%-19.0%; 2300/12,512; P < .001), representing an overall decrease of 16.7% (95% CI, 14.8%-18.6%), an annual rate of absolute decrease of 1.3%, and a relative risk reduction of 47.5% (95% CI, 44.1%-50.8%). After adjusted analysis, mortality decreased throughout the study period with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.49 (95% CI, 0.46-0.52) in 2012, using the year 2000 as the reference (P < .001). The annual decline in mortality did not differ significantly between patients with severe sepsis and those with all other diagnoses (OR, 0.94 [95% CI, 0.94-0.95] vs 0.94 [95% CI, 0.94-0.94]; P = .37). The annual increase in rates of discharge to home was significantly greater in patients with severe sepsis compared with all other diagnoses (OR, 1.03 [95% CI, 1.02-1.03] vs 1.01 [95% CI, 1.01-1.01]; P < .001). Conversely, the annual increase in the rate of patients discharged to rehabilitation facilities was significantly less in severe sepsis compared with all other diagnoses (OR, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.07-1.09] vs 1.09 [95% CI, 1.09-1.10]; P < .001). In the absence of comorbidities and older age, mortality was less than 5%.
Conclusions and relevance: In critically ill patients in Australia and New Zealand with severe sepsis with and without shock, there was a decrease in mortality from 2000 to 2012. These findings were accompanied by changes in the patterns of discharge to home, rehabilitation, and other hospitals.