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Open Forum Infect Dis. 2018 Nov 19;5(12):ofy313. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofy313. eCollection 2018 Dec.

Sepsis in Intensive Care Unit Patients: Worldwide Data From the Intensive Care over Nations Audit.

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Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Uniklinikum Jena, Germany.
Klinik für Anästhesiologie und Operative Intensivmedizin, Klinikum Augsburg, Germany.
Department of Critical Care, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.
Department of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom.
Intensive Care Services, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, The University of Queensland, Australia.
Department of Critical Care Medicine, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, Ciudad de México.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Multidisciplinary Intensive Care Research Organization, Wellcome Trust, Health Research Board-Clinical Research, St. James's University Hospital Dublin, Ireland.
Aix Marseille Université, Assistance Publique Hpitaux de Marseille, Service d'Anesthésie et de Réanimation, Hôpital Nord, Marseille, France.
Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Spitalul Clinic Judetean de Urgenta "Sfantul Apostol Andrei", Galati, Romania.
Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.



There is a need to better define the epidemiology of sepsis in intensive care units (ICUs) around the globe.


The Intensive Care over Nations (ICON) audit prospectively collected data on all adult (>16 years) patients admitted to the ICU between May 8 and May 18, 2012, except those admitted for less than 24 hours for routine postoperative surveillance. Data were collected daily for a maximum of 28 days in the ICU, and patients were followed up for outcome data until death, hospital discharge, or for 60 days. Participation was entirely voluntary.


The audit included 10069 patients from Europe (54.1%), Asia (19.2%), America (17.1%), and other continents (9.6%). Sepsis, defined as infection with associated organ failure, was identified during the ICU stay in 2973 (29.5%) patients, including in 1808 (18.0%) already at ICU admission. Occurrence rates of sepsis varied from 13.6% to 39.3% in the different regions. Overall ICU and hospital mortality rates were 25.8% and 35.3%, respectively, in patients with sepsis, but it varied from 11.9% and 19.3% (Oceania) to 39.5% and 47.2% (Africa), respectively. After adjustment for possible confounders in a multilevel analysis, independent risk factors for in-hospital death included older age, higher simplified acute physiology II score, comorbid cancer, chronic heart failure (New York Heart Association Classification III/IV), cirrhosis, use of mechanical ventilation or renal replacement therapy, and infection with Acinetobacter spp.


Sepsis remains a major health problem in ICU patients worldwide and is associated with high mortality rates. However, there is wide variability in the sepsis rate and outcomes in ICU patients around the globe.


critically ill; international; mortality; septic shock

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