Epidemiology of sepsis and infection in ICU patients from an international multicentre cohort study

Corinne Alberti, Christian Brun-Buisson, Hilmar Burchardi, Claudio Martin, Sergey Goodman, Antonio Artigas, Alberto Sicignano, Mark Palazzo, Rui Moreno, Ronan Boulmé, Eric Lepage, Jean Le Gall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine the incidence of infections and to describe them and their outcome in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Design and setting: International prospective cohort study in which all patients admitted to the 28 participating units in eight countries between May 1997 and May 1998 were followed until hospital discharge. Patients: A total of 14,364 patients were admitted to the ICUs, 6011 of whom stayed less than 24 h and 8353 more than 24 h. Results: Overall 3034 infectious episodes were recorded at ICU admission (crude incidence: 21.1%). In ICU patients hospitalised longer than 24 h there were 1581 infectious episodes (crude incidence: 18.9%) including 713 (45%) in patients already infected at ICU admission. These rates varied between ICUs. Respiratory, digestive, urinary tracts, and primary blood-stream infections represented about 80% of all sites. Hospital-acquired and ICU-acquired infections were documented more frequently micro-biologically than community-acquired infections (71% and 86%, respectively vs. 55%). About 28% of infections were associated with sepsis, 24% with severe sepsis and 30% with septic shock, and 18% were not classified. Crude hospital mortality rates ranged from 16.9% in non-infected patients to 53.6% in patients with hospital-acquired infections at the time of ICU admission and acquiring infection during the ICU stay. Conclusions: The crude incidence of ICU infections remains high, although the rate varies between ICUs and patient subsets, illustrating the added burden of nosocomial infections in the use of ICU resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-121
Number of pages14
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Critical care
  • Epidemiology
  • Incidences
  • Infection
  • Mortality
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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