Rationale: Immunosuppressive medical conditions are risk factors for mortality from severe infections. It is unknown whether hospital characteristics affect this risk.
Objectives: To determine whether the odds of death for an immunosuppressed patient with sepsis relative to a nonimmunosuppressed patient with sepsis varies according to the hospital's yearly case volume of immunosuppressed patients with sepsis.
Methods: Patients with sepsis at hospitals in the Vizient database were characterized as immunosuppressed or not immunosuppressed on the basis of diagnosis codes and medication use. Hospitals were grouped into quartiles based on their average volumes of immunosuppressed patients with sepsis per year. Multilevel logistic regression with clustering of patients by hospital was used to determine whether the odds of in-hospital death from sepsis owing to a suppressed immune state varied by hospital quartile.
Results: There were 350,183 patients with sepsis at 60 hospitals in the Vizient database from 2010 to 2012. Immunosuppressed patients with sepsis at the 15 hospitals in the lowest quartile (64 to 224 immunosuppressed patients with sepsis per year) had an increased odds of in-hospital death relative to nonimmunosuppressed patients with sepsis at these hospitals (adjusted odds ratio, 1.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.27-1.50; P < 0.001). The odds of in-hospital death for immunosuppressed patients with sepsis relative to nonimmunosuppressed patients with sepsis was similar for patients at hospitals in the second, third, and fourth quartiles (225 to 1,056 immunosuppressed patients with sepsis per year). The adjusted odds of death from sepsis owing to a suppressed immune state of 1.21 (95% confidence interval, 1.18-1.25; P < 0.001) for patients at these 45 hospitals was significantly less than for patients at the 15 hospitals in the lowest quartile (P = 0.004 for difference).
Conclusions: The risk of death from sepsis owing to a suppressed immune state was greatest at hospitals with the lowest volume of immunosuppressed patients with sepsis. Further study is needed to determine whether this finding is related to differences in patient characteristics or in care delivery at hospitals with different amounts of exposure to immunosuppressed patients.
Keywords: immunosuppressed; multiple organ failure; outcomes of intensive care unit management; sepsis.