Importance of pre-existing co-morbidities for prognosis of septicemia in critically ill patients

D. Pittet, B. Thiévent, R. P. Wenzel, N. Li, G. Gurman, P. M. Suter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine admission characteristics associated with the outcome of septicemia in critically ill patients and more specifically assess the prognostic value of pre-existing co-morbidities. Design: 5 year-retrospective cohort study. Setting: Surgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU-20 beds) in a 1600 bed-tertiary care center. Patients: Among 5457 patients admitted to the ICU between 1984 and 1988, 176 (3.2%) met prospectively-defined criteria for blood culture-proven septicemia (8.77 per 1000 patient-days). Overall septicemic patients had a 5-fold increased risk of death compared to non-septicemic patients (relative risk 5.03, 95% confidence intervals 4.17-6.07, p<0.0001), and this estimate persisted after stratification according to age, sex, primary diagnosis and conditions of admission to the ICU (emergency/elective). Results: Prognostic factors recorded on admission to ICU that were associated with mortality from septicemia among 173 patients were older age, higher admission Apache II score, gastrointestinal surgery, ultimately and rapidly fatal diseases and the number of co-morbidities in addition to the principal diagnosis (active smoking, alcohol abuse, non-cured malignancy, diabetes mellitus, splenectomy, recent antibiotic therapy, major surgery, or major cardiac event). In the multivariate analysis with logistic regression procedures, Apache II and co-morbidities were identified as the two independent predictors of mortality. Conclusions: Pre-existing co-morbidities assessed at the admission to the ICU significantly improved the prediction of mortality from septicemia compared to Apache II score alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Co-morbidities
  • Critically ill
  • Mortality
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Prognostic factors
  • Septicemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Importance of pre-existing co-morbidities for prognosis of septicemia in critically ill patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this