Maternal Hospitalizations and Sepsis – News Release

Contact: Joe Martin
717-232-6787 or

PHC4 Releases New Data on Maternal Hospitalizations and Sepsis in Conjunction with National Women’s Health Week

Harrisburg, PA - May 13, 2021 - In conjunction with National Women’s Health Week, PHC4 has released hospitalization data on an important maternal health issue—sepsis in patients hospitalized for a delivery or other pregnancy-related condition. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition characterized by a system-wide inflammatory response to infection that can worsen to acute organ dysfunction.

The data covers maternal hospitalizations (Pennsylvania female residents and non-residents ages 12-55) during the five-year period from October 2015 through September 2020. During that time, there were 698,576 maternal hospitalizations in total; sepsis was present in 4,794 of these stays or 6.9 out of every 1,000. Approximately 96% of the maternal hospitalizations with sepsis (4,620) were among Pennsylvania residents for a slightly lower rate of 6.8 per 1,000.

In commenting about the new research brief, Joe Martin, PHC4’s Executive Director acknowledged the PA Department of Health’s work in the area of maternal health, indicating that it “served as an impetus for PHC4 to look into this important issue of sepsis among maternal patients.” Martin added, “The sociodemographic findings included in this data suggest that continued focus on maternal health is important to Pennsylvania residents.”

According to the research brief, sociodemographic differences showed that Hispanic patients and Black, non-Hispanic patients were more likely to be affected as were patients living in high poverty areas.

Sepsis was also more likely in younger patients.

Statewide, the average length of a maternal hospital stay was longer for cases with sepsis (5.1 days) compared to those without sepsis (2.7 days), a statistically significant difference. The in-hospital mortality rate was higher for maternal stays with sepsis (0.30%) compared to those without sepsis (0.01%). This difference was also statistically significant.

County rates are also reported.

Findings from today’s release are available on PHC4’s website at

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PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.