Background: Given the increasing incidence of bacteraemia causing significant morbidity and mortality in older patients, this study aimed to compare the clinical features, laboratory findings and mortality of patients over the age of 80 to younger adults.
Methods: This study was a retrospective, observational study. Participants were taken to be all patients aged 18 and above with confirmed culture positive sepsis, admitted to a large metropolitan hospital in the year 2010. Measurements taken included patient demographics (accommodation, age, sex, comorbidities), laboratory investigations (white cell count, neutrophil count, C-reactive protein, microbiology results), clinical features (vital signs, presence of localising symptoms, complications, place of acquisition).
Results: A total of 1367 patient episodes were screened and 155 met study inclusion criteria. There was no statistically significant difference between likelihood of fever or systolic blood pressure between younger and older populations (p-values of 0.81 and 0.64 respectively). Neutrophil count was higher in the older cohort (p = 0.05). Higher Charlson (J Chronic Dis 40(5):373-383, 1987) comorbidity index, greater age and lower systolic blood pressure were found to be statistically significant predictors of mortality (p-values of 0.01, 0.02 and 0.03 respectively).
Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate older patients are more likely to present without localising features. However, importantly, there is no significant difference in the likelihood of fever or inflammatory markers. This study also demonstrates the importance of the Charlson Index of Comorbidities (J Chronic Dis 40(5):373-383, 1987) as a predictive factor for mortality, with age and hypotension being less important but statistically significant predictive factors of mortality.