Sepsis Fact Sheet


Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to infection. The body attacks its own organs and tissues which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.


Signs of sepsis include:

  • Rory Staunton Foundation, Signs of sepsis, do you know the signs of sepsis?, Sepsis, Six signs of sepsis, Rory's RegulationsRapid breathing and fast heartbeat
  • Pale or mottled skin
  • Confusion or sleepiness
  • Fever and chills
  • Feeling the sickest you’ve ever felt
  • Extreme pain


If you detect even a few of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately and ask, “could it be sepsis”

Rory Staunton Foundation, Sepsis, FactCauses

Sepsis results from any kind of infection, most commonly from a bacterial infection. Cuts and scrapes, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and post-operative infections can all lead to sepsis.

Rory Staunton Foundation, Sepsis, FactPrevention

The risk of developing sepsis can be reduced by practicing good hygiene, including washing hands regularly, caring for even minor cuts and scrapes using basic first aid techniques (especially keeping wounds clean), and by staying up to date on vaccinations.

Rory Staunton Foundation, Sepsis, FactTreatment

Early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis significantly boosts one’s chances of survival. Sepsis is treated with antibiotics and IV fluids. In most cases, broad spectrum antibiotics will be administered. Once blood tests have been performed, antibiotics that target the particular strain of bacterium responsible for the infection may be used.


Who’s At Risk

Sepsis can impact anyone – young or old, sick or healthy. Those with increased risk of infection include:

  • People with chronic illness such as diabetes
  • Those with weakened immune systems
  • The elderly
  • Very young children
Surviving Sepsis

While some survivors of sepsis make a full recovery, others suffer long term consequences, including amputated limbs, organ dysfunction such as kidney damage, chronic fatiguef, cognitive disorders and memory loss, and depression.

Rory Staunton Foundation, Signs of sepsis, do you know the signs of sepsis?, Sepsis, Six signs of sepsis, Rory's Regulations

Sepsis in the United States
  • More than 1.5 million people in the United States develop sepsis each year. [1]
  • At least 250,000 people in the United States die each year from sepsis. [2]
  • Sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals. [3] As many of half of all patients who die in U.S. hospitals have sepsis. [4]
  • Sepsis is increasing at a rate of 10.3% each year in the United States. [5]
  • One in five severe sepsis patients are readmitted to hospital within 30 days. Among those readmitted within 30 days, 66.9% had an infection and 40.3% had severe sepsis on readmission. [6]
  • Sepsis begins outside the hospital for the vast majority (nearly 80%) of sepsis patients. [7]
  • Sepsis is the most expensive condition treated un U.S. hospitals, costing nearly $24 billion annually. Sepsis is also the most expensive condition billed to Medicare. [8]
  • The cost of sepsis is increasing annually by a rate of 11.9%. [9]


Sepsis Around the Globe  
Rory Staunton Foundation, Sepsis, Fact, Globe
  • Sepsis affects, at minimum, an estimated 30 million people around the world each year and results in at least 6 million deaths. [10]
  • In the developing world, sepsis accounts for 60-80% of lost lives per year, affecting more than 6 million newborns and children annually. [11]


Sepsis and Children
Rory Staunton Foundation, Sepsis, Fact
  • Sepsis is the leading cause of death for infants and children worldwide. [12]
  • 40,000 children in the United States are hospitalized each year with sepsis. [13]
  • Approximately 5,000 children in the United States die each year from sepsis. [14]
  • Every hour delay in treating a child with sepsis increases mortality by 8%. [15]
  • The economic cost of treating pediatric sepsis is estimated to be $4.8 billion annually.[16]
  • 38% of children who survive sepsis sustain lifelong disabilities. [17]


Sepsis Critical Facts

• Sepsis is a medical condition resulting from an immune system response to an infection. [1]

• This overwhelming response to infection can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. [2]

• Over 1.5 million individual in the United States are infected with sepsis. [3]

• Over 250,000 individuals in the United States die from sepsis each year, more than from prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. [4]

• The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in three patients who die in a hospital has sepsis. [5]

• According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, sepsis is the most common diagnosis for inpatient hospital stays in the United States. [6]

• Sepsis is the most expensive condition treated in hospitals in the United States, consuming over $24 billion each year. [7]

• Sepsis is the number one cause of hospital readmissions, generating over $2 billion in cost annually. [8]

• Over 80 percent of septic patients are septic upon admission to the hospital. [9]

• The mortality from sepsis increases by up to eight percent for every hour that treatment is delayed. [10]

• Rapid diagnosis and treatment can prevent up to 80 percent of sepsis fatalities. [11]