Sepsis – deadly and costly due to inadequate treatment

Sepsis is a condition in which the body has a severe, inflammatory response to a bacterial or fungal infection. It is a life-threatening condition to which individuals with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses are highly susceptible. Sepsis can lead to shock and organ failure, and is a leading cause of death in the United States with a mortality rate of approximately 30%, almost double the mortality rate of acute myocardial infarction, or heart attack.1

Sepsis is the most expensive hospital-treated condition in the United States – representing over $20.3 billion in healthcare costs.2 Over 1.6 million patients in the US alone are diagnosed with sepsis each year and approximately 500,000 die from this illness.3

Rank Condition U.S hospital costs
(in billions)
Percentage of total
 inpatient costs2
1 Sepsis $20.3 5.2%
2 Osteoarthritis $14.8 3.8%
3 Complication of device, implant, or graft $12.9 3.3%
4 Liveborn $12.4 3.2%
5 Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack) $11.5 3.0%

The high cost of treating sepsis is primarily driven by the extended hospitalization of patients which typically includes over 7 days in the Intensive Care Unit.4 Currently the fungi and bacteria that cause sepsis are detected through a 2 to 6 day blood culture process followed by post-blood culture species identification. This can lead to a delay of up to 3 to 6 days in administration of targeted treatment. And each hour of treatment delay increases mortality by nearly 8%.5 

Due to these delays in detection and the high rate of mortality, physicians frequently treat patients with antimicrobials that they often do not need. In fact, 20-30% of sepsis patients receive unnecessary or inadequate antimicrobial therapy and for every one patient treated correctly, there are typically four who are not.6 Widespread use of unnecessary antimicrobial agents contributes to increased resistance, as microbes adapt and become less responsive to treatment. The CDC has called antimicrobial resistance a serious health threat.7

Faster detection could improve treatment

Accurate detection and targeted treatment within 12 hours of symptom onset has been proven to reduce mortality by as much as 75%.8,9 The T2Candida Panel provides a species-specific result in an average of 4.3 hours with no blood culture, enabling physicians to make timely treatment decisions to reduce adverse outcomes, patient mortality and costs.



1. J Antimicrob Chemother 2011; 66 Suppl 2: ii11–ii23 doi:10.1093/jac/dkq515
2. HCUP Statistical Brief #160. August 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
3. HCUP Statistical Brief #122. October 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
4. Martin, J. B., & Wheeler, A. P. (2009). Approach to the patient with sepsis.Clinics in chest medicine, 30(1), 1-16.
5. Crit Care Med 2006 Vol. 34, No. 6
6. Towns, M. L., Jarvis, W. R., & Hsueh, P. R. (2010). Guidelines on blood culturesJournal of microbiology, immunology and infection, 43(4), 347-349.
7. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States. (CDC; 2013).
8. Morrell, M., Fraser, V. J., and Kollef, M. H. (2005). Delaying the empiric treatment of Candida bloodstream infection until positive blood culture results are obtained: a potential risk factor for hospital mortality. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 49(9), 3640-3645.
9. Garey, K. W., Rege, M., Pai, M. P., et. al. (2006). Time to initiation of fluconazole therapy impacts mortality in patients with candidemia: a multi-institutional study. Clinical infectious diseases, 43(1), 25-31.
10. Mylonakis, E., Clancy, C.J., Ostrosky-Zeichner, L., et al. (2015). T2 Magnetic Resonance assay for the rapid diagnosis of candidemia in whole blood: a clinical trial. Clinical infectious diseases, 2015: ciu959.