Depression and Long-Term Survival Among South Korean Sepsis Survivors: A Nationwide Cohort Study From 2011 to 2014

Crit Care Med. 2021 Sep 1;49(9):1470-1480. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005030.


Objectives: We investigated the prevalence of pre- and postsepsis depression and examined the association between diagnosis of pre- and postsepsis depression and 5-year all-cause mortality among survivors of sepsis.

Design: A population-based cohort study.

Setting: Data were obtained from the National Health Insurance Service database in South Korea.

Patients: Sepsis survivors were defined as those who were admitted with a main diagnosis of sepsis or septic shock and had survived for over 365 days.

Measurements and main results: Sepsis survivors who were diagnosed with depression before sepsis were defined as the presepsis depression group, whereas those who had no history of depression but were newly diagnosed with depression within 1 year of diagnosis of sepsis were defined as the postsepsis depression group. All other participants comprised the control group. A total of 45,826 sepsis survivors were included in the final analysis. Among the survivors, 1,105 (2.4%) were in the postsepsis depression group, whereas 9,626 (21.0%) were in the presepsis depression group. The 5-year all-cause mortality rate in the pre- and postsepsis depression group was 44.1% and 46.2%, whereas that in the control group was 30.4%. Multivariable Cox regression modeling revealed that the risk of 5-year all-cause mortality rate in the postsepsis depression group was 1.29-fold (hazard ratio = 1.29; 95% CI = 1.18-1.41; p < 0.001) higher than that of the control group, whereas the presepsis depression group was not significantly associated with 5-year all-cause mortality (p = 0.509).

Conclusions: Among sepsis survivors in South Korea, 2.4%% were newly diagnosed with depression within 1 year after their sepsis diagnosis. In addition, postsepsis depression was independently associated with higher 5-year all-cause mortality among sepsis survivors. Our results suggest that patients with a history of sepsis and associated depression may be a high-risk group that interventions may be directed toward.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / complications*
  • Sepsis / epidemiology
  • Sepsis / psychology
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data