OBJECTIVES: We analyzed whether patients with the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10) discharge diagnosis code for sepsis are different in regard to demographics and outcome variables when comparing those with sepsis only to those also diagnosed with COVID-19 or those with a COVID-19 diagnosis alone.
DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: Nine hospitals in an academic health system.
PATIENTS: Patients with a final ICD-10 discharge diagnostic code for sepsis only, a diagnosis of COVID-19-only, or a final sepsis ICD-10 discharge code + a diagnosis of COVID-19 admitted to the hospital were analyzed for demographic and outcome differences between the cohorts.
MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A total of 11,395 patients met inclusion criteria: 6,945 patients (60.9%) were ICD-10 sepsis code only, 3,294 patients (28.9%) were COVID-19 diagnosis-only, and 1,153 patients (10.1%) were sepsis ICD-10 code + COVID-19 diagnosis. Comparing sepsis ICD-10 code + COVID-19 diagnosis patients to sepsis ICD-10 code only and COVID-19 diagnosis-only patients, the sepsis ICD-10 code + COVID-19 diagnosis patients were: older (69 [58-78] vs 67 [56-77] vs 64 [51-76] yr), less likely to be female (40.3% vs 46.7% vs 49.5%), more frequently admitted to the ICU (59.3% [684/1,153] vs 54.9% [1,810/3,297] vs 15% [1,042/6,945]), more frequently required ventilatory support (39.3% [453/1,153] vs 31.8% [1,049/3,297] vs 6.0% [417/6,945]), had longer median hospital length of stay (9 [5,16] vs 5 [3,8] vs 7. [4,13] d), and were more likely to die in the hospital (39.2% [452/1,153] vs 22.3% [735/3,297] vs 6.4% [444/6,945]).
CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic the sickest cohort of patients was those receiving an explicit ICD-10 code of sepsis + a COVID-19 diagnosis. A significant percentage of COVID-19 diagnosis-only patients appear to have been under-coded as they received a level of critical care (ICU admission; intubation) suggestive of the presence of acute organ dysfunction during their admission.
Gaieski, David F.; Tsukuda, Jumpei; Maddox, Parker; and Li, Michael, "Are Patients With an International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition Discharge Diagnosis Code for Sepsis Different in Regard to Demographics and Outcome Variables When Comparing Those With Sepsis Only to Those Also Diagnosed With COVID-19 or Those With a COVID-19 Diagnosis Alone?" (2023). Department of Emergency Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 231.
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