Cost of hospital treatment for blood infection surges

Research Activities, August 2010, No. 360

Hospital costs for treating patients with a blood infection (septicemia) surged 174 percent between 2001 and 2007, making it the condition with highest-rising treatment costs during that period, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Although just 3 percent of $12.3 billion in 2007 was spent treating blood infections in uninsured patients, they accounted for the highest average increase of 228 percent. By comparison, the average cost to hospitals of treating blood infections in Medicaid patients jumped by 192 percent, in Medicare patients by 172 percent, and in privately insured patients by 152.5 percent.

In addition, AHRQ found that other conditions with rapidly increasing cost, grouped by payer, included:


  • Intestinal infection
    205 percent
  • Acute kidney failure
    154 percent


  • Acute kidney failure
    179 percent
  • Respiratory failure
    154 percent


  • Acute kidney failure
    160 percent
  • Leukemia and other white blood cell disease
    127 percent

Privately insured:

  • Osteoarthritis
    120 percent
  • Acute kidney failure
    119 percent

This AHRQ News and Numbers is based on data in Diagnostic Groups with Rapidly Increasing Costs, by Payer, 2001-2007 ( The report uses statistics from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

Current as of August 2010
Internet Citation: Cost of hospital treatment for blood infection surges: Research Activities, August 2010, No. 360. August 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.