Inpatient hospital performance is associated with post-discharge sepsis mortality

Crit Care. 2020 Oct 27;24(1):626. doi: 10.1186/s13054-020-03341-3.


Background: Post-discharge deaths are common in patients hospitalized for sepsis, but the drivers of post-discharge deaths are unclear. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that hospitals with high risk-adjusted inpatient sepsis mortality also have high post-discharge mortality, readmissions, and discharge to nursing homes.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study of age-qualifying Medicare beneficiaries with sepsis hospitalization between January 2013 and December 2014. Hospital survivors were followed for 180-days post-discharge, and mortality, readmissions, and new admission to skilled nursing facility were measured. Inpatient hospital-specific sepsis risk-adjusted mortality ratio (observed: expected) was the primary exposure.

Results: A total of 830,721 patients in the cohort were hospitalized for sepsis, with inpatient mortality of 20% and 90-day mortality of 48%. Higher hospital-specific sepsis risk-adjusted mortality was associated with increased 90-day post-discharge mortality (aOR 1.03 per each 0.1 increase in hospital inpatient O:E ratio, 95% CI 1.03-1.04). Higher inpatient risk adjusted mortality was also associated with increased probability of being discharged to a nursing facility (aOR 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.03) and 90-day readmissions (aOR 1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.03).

Conclusions: Hospitals with the highest risk-adjusted sepsis inpatient mortality also have higher post-discharge mortality and increased readmissions, suggesting that post-discharge complications are a modifiable risk that may be affected during inpatient care. Future work will seek to elucidate inpatient and healthcare practices that can reduce sepsis post-discharge complications.

Keywords: Patient discharge; Patient readmission; Quality of health care; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Readmission / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / complications
  • Sepsis / mortality*
  • United States