Matthew M. Churpek, Frank J. Zadravecz, Christopher Winslow, Michael D. Howell, and Dana P. Edelson  Am. J. Resp. Crit. Care Med. Oct 15, 2015, vol. 192, no. 8: 958-964

Rationale: Tools that screen inpatients for sepsis use the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria and organ dysfunctions, but most studies of these criteria were performed in intensive care unit or emergency room populations.

Objectives: To determine the incidence and prognostic value of SIRS and organ dysfunctions in a multicenter dataset of hospitalized ward patients.

Methods: Hospitalized ward patients at five hospitals from November 2008 to January 2013 were included. SIRS and organ system dysfunctions were defined using 2001 International Consensus criteria. Patient characteristics and in-hospital mortality were compared among patients meeting two or more SIRS criteria and by the presence or absence of organ system dysfunction.

Measurements and Main Results: A total of 269,951 patients were included in the study, after excluding 48 patients with missing discharge status. Forty-seven percent (n = 125,841) of the included patients met two or more SIRS criteria at least once during their ward stay. On ward admission, 39,105 (14.5%) patients met two or more SIRS criteria, and patients presenting with SIRS had higher in-hospital mortality than those without SIRS (4.3% vs. 1.2%; P < 0.001). Fourteen percent of patients (n = 36,767) had at least one organ dysfunction at ward admission, and those presenting with organ dysfunction had increased mortality compared with those without organ dysfunction (5.3% vs. 1.1%; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Almost half of patients hospitalized on the wards developed SIRS at least once during their ward stay. Our findings suggest that screening ward patients using SIRS criteria for identifying those with sepsis would be impractical.

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