Sepsis is a serious and fatal medical condition that has overburdened the US healthcare system. The purpose of this paper is to provide a review of published literature on severe sepsis with a distinct focus on incidence, mortality, cost of hospital care, and postdischarge care. A review of the nature of postsepsis syndrome and its impact on septic patients is also included. The literature review was conducted utilizing the PubMed database, identifying 34 studies for inclusion. From the evaluation of these studies, it was determined that the incidence of sepsis continues to be on the rise according to three decades of epidemiological data. Readmissions, mortality, and length of stay were all higher among septic patients when compared to patients treated for other conditions. The cost of treating sepsis is remarkably high and exceeds the cost of treating patients with congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. The overall cost of sepsis is reflective of not only the cost of initial hospitalization but also the postdischarge care costs, including postsepsis syndrome and cognitive and functional disabilities that require a significant amount of healthcare resources long term. Sepsis and its impact on patients and the US healthcare system is a current quality-of-life and cost-burden issue that needs to be addressed with a greater focus on preventative strategies.
Keywords: cost; incidence; mortality; postsepsis syndrome; severe sepsis.