National incidence and mortality of hospitalized sepsis in China

Crit Care. 2023 Mar 4;27(1):84. doi: 10.1186/s13054-023-04385-x.


Background: Sepsis is a leading cause of preventable death around the world. Population-based estimation of sepsis incidence is lacking in China. In this study, we aimed to estimate the population-based incidence and geographic variation of hospitalized sepsis in China.

Methods: We retrospectively identified hospitalized sepsis from the nationwide National Data Center for Medical Service (NDCMS) and the National Mortality Surveillance System (NMSS) by ICD-10 codes for the period from 2017 to 2019. In-hospital sepsis case fatality and mortality rate were calculated to extrapolate the national incidence of hospitalized sepsis. The geographic distribution of hospitalized sepsis incidence was examined using Global Moran's Index.

Results: We identified 9,455,279 patients with 10,682,625 implicit-coded sepsis admissions in NDCMS and 806,728 sepsis-related deaths in NMSS. We estimated that the annual standardized incidence of hospitalized sepsis was 328.25 (95% CI 315.41-341.09), 359.26 (95% CI 345.4-373.12) and 421.85 (95% CI 406.65-437.05) cases per 100,000 in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. We observed 8.7% of the incidences occurred among neonates less than 1 year old, 11.7% among children aged 1-9 years, and 57.5% among elderly older than 65 years. Significant spatial autocorrelation for incidence of hospitalized sepsis was observed across China (Moran's Index 0.42, p = 0.001; 0.45, p = 0.001; 0.26, p = 0.011 for 2017, 2018, 2019, respectively). Higher number of hospital bed supply and higher disposable income per capita were significantly associated with a higher incidence of hospitalized sepsis.

Conclusion: Our study showed a greater burden of sepsis hospitalizations than previous estimated. The geographical disparities suggested more efforts were needed in prevention of sepsis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Child
  • China
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis*