Monash Public Health study reveals how to halve the number of deaths from septicaemia

25 March 2014

Researchers from the Australian New Zealand Intensive Care (ANZIC) Research Centre at Monash University have recently released a study that reveals how a bi-national approach to intensive care has halved the mortality of patients entering intensive care units (ICUs).

Monash University Public Health School
Study at Monash University

The study was delivered by Dr Rinaldo Bellomo from the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the International Symposium on Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine in Belgium, Brussels.
Simultaneously published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the study highlights how Australia and New Zealand have reported the lowest rates of mortality for ICU sepsis in the world for the past 10 years.
Sepsis—or septicaemia—is a major cause of patients entering ICUs worldwide.
The study looked at more than one million patients admitted to Australian and New Zealand hospitals from 2000 to 2012. Over this time, the number of patients entering ICUs with sepsis increased from 7.2 per cent in 2000 to 11.1 per cent over the 12 years. However, over the same time span deaths from sepsis in ICU dropped from 35 per cent to 18.4 per cent.
Importantly, young to middle-aged patients with few other medical issues other than sepsis had mortality rates of less than five per cent by 2012.
Dr Bellomo explained how a group of intensive care physicians and anaesthetists from Australia and New Zealand established the Australian New Zealand Intensive Care Society Centre for Outcome and Resource Evaluation with the aim of systematically measuring and reporting outcomes of care in ICUs.
“Intensive care medicine in Australia and New Zealand is unique in the world in managing patients in a uniform and coordinated manner, Dr Bellomo said.
Contributing to the study Monash University Adjunct Associate Professor and Director of ANZICS-CORE David Pilcher explained, how data collected for over a decade provided unique ways to analyze and learn from what works and doesn’t work.
“While there is an increase in the number of ICU patients being discharged from hospital, those same patients still require rehabilitation and chronic care facilities.
“Although we know there are survivors, we don’t know what their level of function is and if they can provide basic care for themselves. The burden to the community and cost implications of long-term care for people leaving ICU is becoming an emerging and critical health issue,” Professor Pilcher said.
The significant reduction in mortality rates highlighted in the study has been attributed to a coordinated approach to ICUs by Australia and New Zealand. In the 1970s, Australia and New Zealand established the first closed ICUs in the world, where a group of full time dedicated specialists managed the critically sick patients in a hospital 24 hours a day.

Monash University Public Health School

With diverse leadership, across four campuses, the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is the faculty’s principal source of skills in epidemiology (including clinical epidemiology), biostatistics and large scale clinical data-management.  The school emphasizes expertise in large epidemiological studies, multicentre clinical trials, clinical registries, evidence synthesis and health social science. Continued collaborative work with the major Monash affiliated hospitals, research institutes and public health units within Victoria, ensures the school provides a key resource underpinning translational research within the faculty.
The Master of Public Health at Monash is a 12-unit public health program provides students with the full range of quantitative, analytical and communication skills necessary to work in the broad domain of public health. It especially focuses on developing skills in the quantitative methods of the population-based health sciences and their problem-solving application for primary care provision both in Australia and for developing countries.
Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1.5 years
Application deadline: While there is no set application deadline for this public health program, applicants are strongly encouraged by Monash University to submit their applications a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.
Entry Requirements: Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree. With an application, students should also submit a 250-word statement of purpose outlining their area of interest and the reason why they would like to complete the course, and an updated curriculum vitae/resume outlining relevant work experience.

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For more information about studying at the Monash University Public Health School, contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at or call 1-866-698-7355.