Background: Although sepsis is a known risk factor for cardiac arrhythmias, data on incidence and outcomes of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias in severe sepsis is limited. The purpose of this study is to examine the association of severe sepsis with cardiac arrhythmias and their impact on outcome in this patient population.
Methods:We used hospital discharge data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) during the year 2012. All patients 18 years or older were included in the study. The International Classification of Diseases-Clinical Modification, 9th revision (ICD-9-CM) code was used to identify patients with discharge diagnosis of severe sepsis, atrial fibrillation (A Fib), atrial flutter (AFL), ventricular fibrillation (VF) arrest and non-ventricular fibrillation (non-VF) arrest. In order to study the association of arrhythmias with severe sepsis, two groups were defined: group a-with severe sepsis was compared to group b-without severe sepsis. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression methods were used to adjust for potential confounding factors and variables associated with cardiac arrhythmias were determined.Results: A total of 30,712,524 NIS hospital discharges (weighted for national estimate) were included in our study, of which 1,756,965 (5.7%) had severe sepsis. On multivariate analysis, after adjusting for potential confounders, severe sepsis was associated with higher risk of A Fib (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.21-1.24), AFL (OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.30-1.40), VF arrest (OR, 2.58; 95% CI, 2.38-2.79) (OR, 3.31; 95% CI, 3.07-3.57) and non-VF arrest (OR, 4.91; 95% CI,). In the severe sepsis group, cardiac arrhythmia was associated with higher in-hospital mortality (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.37-1.45), length of stay (LOS) >75% quartile (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.46-1.53) and total hospital charges >75% quartile (OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 1.34-1.41). Advanced age, male sex, ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus (DM), congestive heart failure (CHF), valvular heart disease, respiratory failure, mechanical ventilation and use of vasopressors were independently associated with cardiac arrhythmias.
Conclusions:Patients with severe sepsis are at high risk of atrial and life threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Despite adjustment for potential confounding factors, patients hospitalized with severe sepsis carry a significantly higher risk for cardiac arrest and increased mortality.