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Blood Infection Costliest U.S. Hospital Condition: Report

FRIDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Septicemia was the single most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals in 2009, with a cost of about $15.4 billion, according to a federal government report.

Septicemia is a life-threatening illness caused by blood infections with bacteria such as E. coli and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The analysis of national data also showed that the number of hospital stays for septicemia more than doubled between 2000 and 2009, from 337,100 to 836,000 admissions. In 2009, septicemia was the sixth most common primary cause of hospitalization in the United States.

Complications from medical devices, implants or grafts were the leading cause of these admissions, accounting for 20 percent of the septicemia stays.

The report is published in the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In 2009, the in-hospital death rate for septicemia was 16 percent, more than eight times as high as for all other hospital stays, according to an agency news release.

Elderly patients accounted for more than half of all patients hospitalized for septicemia. Nearly 40 percent were 65 to 84, and about 14 percent were 85 and older. Patients 45 to 64 represented 27 percent of cases; nearly 11 percent of patients were 18 to 44, and only 1.6 percent were ages 1 to 17.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about septicemia.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, Oct. 7, 2011

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