Home Medizin Studienergebnisse zeigen, dass eine Sepsis die Chancen auf eine Rückkehr in den Beruf erheblich verringert

Studienergebnisse zeigen, dass eine Sepsis die Chancen auf eine Rückkehr in den Beruf erheblich verringert

von NFI Redaktion

The World Health Organization estimated a few years ago that globally, one in every five deaths is due to sepsis. Every year, 11 million people die from sepsis, with nearly 3 million of them being children.

This is also a problem in Norway, where thousands of people are affected every year.

Sepsis is a severe immune overreaction to an infection that leads to the body’s organs failing.“


Nina Vibeche Skei

Skei is a doctoral candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and a senior anesthetist at Levanger Hospital.

Each year, 3,000 people in Norway die from sepsis.

„Many people believe that sepsis only affects the elderly, but one third of survivors are between 18 and 60 years old, and this has many consequences,“ says doctoral candidate Skei.

Worsening Health Condition Over Many Years

Patients who survive sepsis can have health problems and a reduced quality of life for many years after their discharge. Many develop a new chronic illness or a worsening of existing chronic illnesses or complaints due to organ failure and intensive care.

„Even everyday activities can become a challenge,“ says Skei.

As a result, many people do not return to work after sepsis. However, we do not know how many there are yet.

„We have examined the percentage of sepsis patients who returned to work in Norway,“ says Lise Tuset Gustad. She is a researcher at the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences at Nord University and Levanger Hospital.

High Degree of Disability Among People with Sepsis

The research group she was part of looked at data from the Norwegian Patient Register and information from the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration on sickness absence. The data included 36,000 sepsis patients aged 18 to 60. The researchers looked at whether they returned to work six months, one year, and two years after their hospital discharge.

Less than 59 percent of the patients had returned to work after six months. After a year, slightly more than 67 percent were back at work. However, the number had dropped to just over 63 percent after two years.

In other words, almost four out of ten sepsis patients were unemployed two years after the illness.

Multiple Determining Factors

Several factors come into play in determining who is able to return to work after sepsis.

„Young people with few additional chronic diagnoses and less severe organ failure fared best,“ says Skei.

Among 50- to 60-year-olds, the likelihood of returning to work was 31 percent lower than among 18- to 30-year-olds. For people with a chronic illness, the likelihood of returning to work was 54 percent lower than for those without a chronic illness. For people with two organ failures, the likelihood of returning to work was 40 percent lower than for those with only one organ failure.

„Moreover, individuals needing intensive care had nearly a 50 percent lower chance of returning to work compared to those admitted to a regular ward,“ says Gustad.

This is because those requiring intensive care often suffer from more severe sepsis. Only 52 percent of those admitted to an intensive care unit compared to 64 percent of those admitted to a regular ward were back at work two years after discharge.

The researchers also looked at people who developed sepsis as a result of COVID-19. The likelihood of this group returning to work was 31 percent higher than for the other sepsis patients.

No Improvement

„The most important finding of this study is that sepsis greatly reduces the chances of returning to work,“ says Skei.

Unfortunately, there is no indication that Norway has improved in reintegrating sepsis patients into the workforce. The data is from the period 2010 to 2021, allowing the researchers to document changes.

„The developments over the past decade show no improvement. In fact, the percentage of people who were employed two years after discharge from a hospital ward has decreased from 70 percent in 2016 to 57 percent in 2019. The reasons for this should be further investigated. Then we can take targeted measures to alleviate the consequences of sepsis,“ says Gustad.

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