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BMJ Publishing Group, BMJ Open, 8(13), p. e071846, 2023

DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2023-071846



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Long-term temporal trends in incidence rate and case fatality of sepsis and COVID-19-related sepsis in Norwegian hospitals, 2008–2021: a nationwide registry study

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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ObjectivesTo estimate temporal trends in incidence rate (IR) and case fatality during a 14-year period from 2008 to 2021, and to assess possible shifts in these trends during the COVID-19 pandemic.SettingAll Norwegian hospitals 2008–2021.Participants317 705 patients ≥18 year with a sepsis International Classification of Diseases 10th revision code retrieved from The Norwegian Patient Registry.Primary and secondary measuresAnnual age-standardised IRs with 95% CIs. Poisson regression was used to estimate changes in IRs across time, and logistic regression was used to estimate ORs for in-hospital death.ResultsAmong 12 619 803 adult hospitalisations, a total of 317 705 (2.5%) hospitalisations in 222 832 (70.0%) unique patients met the sepsis criteria. The overall age-standardised IR of a first sepsis admission was 246/100 000 (95% CI 245 to 247), whereas the age-standardised IR of all sepsis admissions was 352/100 000 (95% CI 351 to 354). In the period 2009–2019, the annual IR for a first sepsis episode was stable (IR ratio (IRR) per year, 0.999; 95% CI 0.994 to 1.004), whereas for recurrent sepsis the IR increased (annual IRR, 1.048; 95% CI 1.037 to 1.059). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRR for a first sepsis was 0.877 (95% CI 0.829 to 0.927) in 2020 and 0.929 (95% CI 0.870 to 0.992) in 2021, and for all sepsis it was 0.870 (95% CI 0.810 to 0.935) in 2020 and 0.908 (95% CI 0.840 to 0.980) in 2021, compared with the previous 11-year period. Case fatality among first sepsis admissions declined in the period 2009–2019 (annual OR 0.954 (95% CI 0.950 to 0.958)), whereas case fatality increased during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (OR 1.061 (95% CI 1.001 to 1.124) and in 2021 (OR 1.164 (95% CI 1.098 to 1.233)).ConclusionThe overall IR of sepsis increased from 2009 to 2019, due to an increasing IR of recurrent sepsis, and indicates that sepsis awareness with updated guidelines and education must continue.