BACKGROUND: The development of sepsis risk prediction models and treatment guidelines has largely been based on patients presenting in the emergency department (ED) with severe sepsis or septic shock. Therefore, in this study we investigated which patient characteristics might identify patients with an adverse outcome in a heterogeneous group of patients presenting with uncomplicated sepsis to the emergency department (ED).
FINDINGS: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of all ED patients presenting with uncomplicated sepsis in a large teaching hospital during a 3-month period. During this period, 70 patients fulfilled the criteria of uncomplicated sepsis. Eight died in the hospital. Non-survivors were characterized by a higher abbreviated Mortality in Emergency Department Sepsis (MEDS) score (7.2 ± 3.4 vs. 4.8 ± 2.9, p = 0.03) and a lower Hb (6.6 ± 1.2 vs. 7.7 ± 1.4, p = 0.03), and they used beta-blockers more often (75% vs. 19%, p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Non-survivors of uncomplicated sepsis had on average a higher abbreviated MEDS score, a lower hemoglobin (Hb) and more often used β-blockers compared to survivors. Early identification of these factors might contribute to optimization of sepsis treatment for this patient category and thereby prevent disease progression to severe sepsis or septic shock.