Incidence, outcomes and costs of severe sepsis and septic shock in geriatric trauma patients: Analysis of 2,563,463 hospitalizations at 3,284 hospitals

Samir M. Fakhry, Yan Shen, Ransom J. Wyse, James R. Dunne, Gina M. Berg, Jeneva M. Garland, Ashley Ludwig, William C. Shillinglaw, Todd D. Hightower, Darrell L. Hunt, Dorraine D. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Severe sepsis/septic shock (sepsis) is a leading cause of death in hospitalized trauma patients. Geriatric trauma patients are an increasing proportion of trauma care but little recent, large-scale, research exists in this high-risk demographic. The objectives of this study are to identify incidence, outcomes and costs of sepsis in geriatric trauma patients. Methods: Patients at short-term, nonfederal hospitals 65 years or older with .1 injury International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification code were selected from 2016 to 2019 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Medicare Inpatient Standard Analytical Files. Sepsis was defined as International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnosis codes R6520 and R6521. A log-linear model was used to examine the association of Sepsis with mortality, adjusting for age, sex, race, Elixhauser score, and Injury Severity Score. Dominance analysis using logistic regression was used to determine the relative importance of individual variables in predicting Sepsis. Institutional review board exemption was granted for this study. Results: Therewere 2,563,436 hospitalizations from 3,284 hospitals (62.8% female; 90.4% White; 72.7% falls; median ISS, 6.0). Incidence of Sepsis was 2.1%. Sepsis patients had significantly worse outcomes. Mortality risk was significantly higher in septic patients (adjusted risk ratio, 3.98, 95% confidence interval, Elixhauser score contributed the most to the prediction of Sepsis, followed by ISS (McFadden's R2 = 9.7% and 5.8%, respectively). Conclusion: Severe sepsis/septic shock occurs infrequently among geriatric trauma patients but is associated with increased mortality and resource utilization. Pre-existing comorbidities influence Sepsis occurrence more than Injury Severity Score or age in this group, identifying a population at high risk. Clinical management of geriatric trauma patients should focus on rapid identification and prompt aggressive action in high-risk patients to minimize the occurrence of sepsis and maximize survival. (J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2023;95: 503.509. Copyright c 2023 American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-509
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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