Purpose of review
The epidemiology of sepsis and septic shock has been challenging to study for multiple reasons. These include changing diagnostic definitions, as well a high concentration of sepsis-related studies published from high-income countries (HICs), despite a large global burden. This section attempts to address the incidence of sepsis throughout the years and worldwide.
The incidence of sepsis and septic shock has continued to increase since the first consensus definitions (Sepsis-1) were established in 1991, and the latest definitions (Sepsis-3) provide a better reflection of mortality risk for a diagnosis of sepsis. Several studies argue that the incidence of sepsis is overreported in HICs, based on billing and coding practices, and may lead to overutilization of resources. However, recent estimates of the true global burden of sepsis, including low-income countries, are likely much higher than reported, with calls for better allocation of resources.
The true epidemiology of sepsis worldwide continues to be a highly debated subject, and more research is needed among low-income countries and high-risk subpopulations.