Dr Mark Williams and his colleagues from Eli Lilly & Co. in Indianapolis, and Health Process Management, LLC, Pennsylvania used data from six US states to analyze all the hospitalizations in 1999 and estimate the incidence of severe sepsis in cancer patients across the US, and the mortality rate of patients suffering from both conditions.
Almost 5% of the cancer patients that were hospitalized in the six states were found to have severe sepsis. When extrapolated to the rest of the USA, this corresponds to around 126,000 cases every year.
The data also showed that hospitalized patients with cancer and severe sepsis were more than five times as likely to die than cancer patients not suffering from severe sepsis. 37.8% of patients with cancer and severe sepsis died in hospital in comparison to 7.2% of patients with cancer but no severe sepsis. This corresponds to the death of around 46,700 patients every year.
"Our study demonstrates the devastating complication of severe infections in cancer patients. Improvement in infection control, such as early appropriate antibiotics, in this population could have a significant impact on overall cancer survival," said Williams.
Cancer treatments and the presence of tumors can cause patients with cancer to become immunosuppressed. This hinders their ability to fight off infection, and makes them more at risk of severe sepsis than the general population.
In general, cancer patients were nearly four times as likely to be hospitalized with severe sepsis than people without cancer. Patients suffering from lymphoma, leukemia or other blood cancers were even more susceptible to s
Contact: Gemma Bradley