Older adults who survive severe sepsis are more likely to develop substantial cognitive impairment and functional disability, says a new study.
Theodore J. Iwashyna of the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined whether an episode of severe sepsis increased the odds of subsequent worsened cognitive impairment and functional disability among survivors.
"Although severe sepsis is the most common non-cardiac cause of critical illness, the long-term impact of severe sepsis on cognitive and physical functioning is unknown," the authors wrote.
A total of 9,223 respondents had a cognitive and functional assessment at the beginning of the study and also had linked Medicare claims; 516 survived severe sepsis and 4,517 survived a nonsepsis hospitalization to at least 1 follow-up survey and were included in the analysis.
The researchers found that the prevalence of moderate to severe cognitive impairment increased 10.6 percentage points among patients who survived severe sepsis, and their odds of acquiring moderate to severe cognitive impairment were 3.3 times higher.
Also, a high rate of new functional limitations was seen following sepsis, with an additional average increase of 1.5 new functional limitations per person among those with no or mild to moderate pre-existing functional limitations.
The study has been published in the October 27 issue of JAMA.