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Patients with history of cancer at increased risk for acquiring and dying from sepsis

ATLANTA- Hospitalized patients with a history of cancer are at a ten-fold increased risk of acquiring and subsequently dying from sepsis-- a severe immune response to an infection--compared to hospitalized patients without cancer, according to research by investigators at the Emory University School of Medicine. In addition, the risk for sepsis among male patients was found to be 30 percent greater than for female patients, while African Americans and other races had nearly twice the risk for sepsis of Caucasian patients. The results are reported in the June issue of Chest, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).

The study utilized data from 1979 to 2001 from the National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) databases. Conducted by Emory physicians Greg Martin, MD, MSc, Marc Moss, MD, and Pajman Danai, MD from the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, and by David Mannino, MD, of the University of Kentucky, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, the research is the first to present nationally representative longitudinal data for the impact of sepsis among cancer patients and to examine gender and racial disparities in this condition.

The NHDS database from the years 1979 to 2001 included 854 million hospitalizations, of which 76.7 million involved a co-existing diagnosis of malignancy, and nearly 11 million involved sepsis. Sepsis occurred in 2.3 percent of all the cancer patients, or 1.7 million patients. According to the study, during the 23-year study period, the number of sepsis cases in patients with cancer increased from 24,150 in 1979 to 87,160 in 2001, representing an increase of 261 percent during the study period. Of the sepsis patients with a history of cancer, gastrointestinal malignancies were most common at 24.4 percent, followed by lung (20 percent), lymphoma (14.1 percent), prostate (9.3 percent), and breast cancers (
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University Health Sciences Center
13-Jun-2006


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