Children With Severe Sepsis: Relationship Between Community Level Income And Morbidity And Mortality

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Pediatric Research


Background: Health disparities surrounding pediatric severe sepsis outcomes remains unclear. We aimed to measure the relationship between indicators of socioeconomic status and mortality, hospital length of stay (LOS), and readmission rates among children hospitalized with severe sepsis. Methods: Children 0–18 years old, hospitalized with severe sepsis in the Nationwide Readmissions Database (2016–2018) were included. The primary exposure was median household income by ZIP Code of residence, divided into quartiles. Results: We identified 15,214 index pediatric severe sepsis hospitalizations. There was no difference in hospital mortality rate or readmission rate across income quartiles. Among survivors, patients in Q1 (lowest income) had a 2 day longer LOS compared to those in Q4 (Median 10 days [IQR 4–21] vs 8 days [IQR 4–18]; p < 0.0001). However, there was no difference after adjusting for multiple covariates. Conclusions: Children living in Q1 had a 2 day longer LOS versus their peers in Q4. This was not significant on multivariable analysis, suggesting income quartile is not driving this difference. As pediatric severe sepsis remains an important source of morbidity and mortality in critically ill children, more sensitive metrics of socioeconomic status may better elucidate any disparities. Impact: Children with severe sepsis living in the lowest income ZIP Codes may have longer hospital stays compared to peers in higher income communities.More precise metrics of socioeconomic status are needed to better understand health disparities in pediatric severe sepsis.