Sepsis incidence and mortality are underestimated in Australian intensive care unit administrative data

Jake C Valentine, Gabrielle Haeusler, Leon Worth and Karin Thursky
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50017
Published online: 4 March 2019

TO THE EDITOR: We commend Heldens and colleagues1 for publishing their data on the incidence and in‐hospital mortality of sepsis and septic shock among patients admitted to Australian intensive care units (ICUs). The incidence of sepsis and septic shock in ICUs is estimated to be 101.8 and 19.3 per 100 000 patient‐years, respectively, at an attributable cost of $32 421.2 We concur that sepsis cases captured using the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Centre for Outcome and Resource Evaluation database criteria, compared with prospective clinical diagnoses,3 has poor sensitivity for sepsis case ascertainment.

  • Jake C Valentine1
  • Gabrielle Haeusler1
  • Leon Worth1
  • Karin Thursky1,2

  • 1 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Doherty Institute, Melbourne, VIC


We thank Professor Karin Thursky, custodian of the data presented in the Box.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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