Quality of life after sepsis and its association with mortality among sepsis survivors in South Korea: A population level cohort study

J Crit Care. 2021 Aug:64:193-198. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2021.04.018. Epub 2021 May 3.


Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the incidence and effect of quality of life (QOL) change in Korean sepsis survivors.

Materials and methods: Using the National Health Insurance claim database of South Korea, we included adult sepsis survivors who were primarily diagnosed with sepsis between 2010 and 2018 and survived for more than 1 year after diagnosis. QOL change was defined using three criteria: decrease in annual income level, newly acquired disability, and increase in underlying comorbidities after sepsis.

Results: A total of 119,660 sepsis survivors were included in the final analysis. Overall, worsening QOL was observed in 92,096 (77.0%) of the survivors. Specifically, compared with that of before sepsis diagnosis, 9778 sepsis survivors (8.2%) had a decrease in annual income level, and 10,648 (8.9%) were newly registered as having a disability. Additionally, 74,528 (62.3%) and 79,142 (66.1%) sepsis survivors showed an increase in the Charlson and Elixhauser comorbidity indices, respectively. Among sepsis survivors, post-sepsis disability and increase in comorbidity indices were associated with a higher risk of 3-year all-cause mortality.

Conclusions: We found that most sepsis survivors experienced a worsening in their QOL, which was associated with a higher risk of long-term mortality.

Keywords: Intensive care unit; Mortality; Sepsis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Sepsis* / epidemiology
  • Survivors