Hospital Incidence and Mortality Rates of Sepsis

Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2016 Mar 11;113(10):159-66. doi: 10.3238/arztebl.2016.0159.


Background: Sepsis, the most severe manifestation of acute infection, poses a major challenge to health care systems around the world. To date, adequate data on the incidence and mortality of sepsis in Germany have been lacking.

Methods: Nationwide case-related hospital DRG statistics for the years 2007-2013 were used to determine the in-hospital incidence and mortality of sepsis. Cases were identified on the basis of the clinical and pathogen-based ICD-10 codes for sepsis. The statistical evaluation was standardized for age and sex and carried out separately for each age group.

Results: The number of cases of sepsis rose by an average of 5.7% per year, from 200 535 in 2007 to 279 530 in 2013, corresponding to an increase in the adjusted in-hospital incidence from 256 to 335 cases per 100 000 persons per year. The percentage of patients with severe sepsis rose from 27% to 41%. The in-hospital mortality of sepsis fell over the same period by 2.7%, to 24.3%. In 2013, 67 849 persons died of sepsis in German hospitals (or died of another disease, but also had sepsis). The incidence was highest in the youngest and oldest age groups, and the in-hospital mortality rose nearly linearly with age from age 40 onward.

Conclusion: Sepsis and death from sepsis are markedly more common in Germany than previously assumed, and they are on the rise. Sepsis statistics should become a standard component of federal statistical reports on public health, as well as of hospital statistics. Preventive measures and evidencebased treatment should be implemented across the nation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Infection / mortality*
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitalization / trends
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / mortality*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult