Lower mortality in sepsis patients admitted through the ED vs direct admission

Emilie S. Powell*, Rahul K. Khare, D. Mark Courtney, Joe Feinglass

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Early aggressive resuscitation in patients with severe sepsis decreases mortality but requires extensive time and resources. This study analyzes if patients with sepsis admitted through the emergency department (ED) have lower inpatient mortality than do patients admitted directly to the hospital. Procedures: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of sepsis in institutions with an annual minimum of 25 ED and 25 direct admissions for sepsis, using data from the 2008 Nationwide Inpatient Sample. Analyses were controlled for patient and hospital characteristics and examined the likelihood of either early (2-day postadmission) or overall inpatient mortality. Findings: Of 98 896 hospitalizations with a principal diagnosis of sepsis, from 290 hospitals, 80,301 were admitted through the ED and 18 595 directly to the hospital. Overall sepsis inpatient mortality was 17.1% for ED admissions and 19.7% for direct admissions (P <.001). Overall early sepsis mortality was 6.9%: 6.8% for ED admissions and 7.4% for direct admissions (P =.005). Emergency department patients had a greater proportion of comorbid conditions, were more likely to have Medicaid or be uninsured (12.5% vs 8.4%; P <.001), and were more likely to be admitted to urban, large bed-size, or teaching hospitals (P <.001). The risk-adjusted odds ratio for overall mortality for ED admissions was 0.83 (95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.87) and 0.92 for early mortality (95% confidence interval, 0.86-0.98), as compared with direct admissions to the hospital. Conclusion: Admission for sepsis through the ED was associated with lower early and overall inpatient mortality in this large national sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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