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Table 2 Prevalence of keywordsa related to septic patients’ symptom presentation. Prevalence of keywordsa related to septic patients’ symptom presentation, according to EMS documentation, among 359 septic patients arriving by EMS and admitted to Södersjukhuset through the ED during 2013 and in-hospital mortality in relation to these keywords

From: Presentations of adult septic patients in the prehospital setting as recorded by emergency medical services: a mixed methods analysis

Order Keyworda Prevalence In-hospital mortality
Number of total 359 patients Percent (%) and 95% CI Number of all patients with the keyword present/ documented Percent (%) and 95% CI
Top-5 highest mortality are numbered1–5
1 Abnormal, or suspected abnormal temperature 230 64.1
(58.9–69.0)
48/230 20.9
(15.8–26.7)
-Confirmed or suspected fever
Fever defined as statement fever or statement temperature >38°[41] OR suspected fever defined as statement feeling hot/warm, increasing temperature or similar expressions
210 58.5
(53.2–63.6)
39/210 18.6
(13.6–24.5)
-Shivering 58 16.2
(12.5–20.4)
6/58 10.3
(3.9–21.2)
-Hypothermia
Hypothermia defined as statement hypothermia or “very low temp” or statement temperature <36°[41]
10 2.8
(1.3–5.1)
8/10 80.01
(44.4–97.5)
2 Pain
Abdominal, extremity, back, undefined, urinary tract, joint, chest, general, headache, throat, wound, painful muscle cramp, positive Pasternatsy’s sign (costovertebral angle tenderness)
138 38.4
(33.4–43.7)
28/138 20.3
(13.9–28.0)
3 Acute altered mental status
Abnormal behaviour or level of consciousness (excluding previously known dementia or mental retardation without statement worse) OR abnormal verbal response defined as no/decreased verbal response [25]
137 38.2
(33.1–43.4)
51/137 37.24
(29.1–45.9)
4 Weakness of the legs 126 35.1
(30.2–40.3)
27/126 21.4
(14.6–29.6)
-Decreased ability to stand or walk including need to carry/lift the patient 98 27.3
(22.8–32.2)
19/98 19.4
(12.1–28.6)
-Fallen/found on the floor or corresponding place 57 15.9
(12.3–20.1)
13/57 22.8
(12.7–35.8)
5 Breathing difficulties 109 30.4
(25.6–35.4)
39/109 35.85
(26.8–45.5)
6 Loss of energy
Defined as fatigue, weakness, faintness or similar expressions
94 26.2
(21.7–31.1)
24/94 25.5
(17.1–35.6)
7 Gastrointestinal symptoms 86 24.0
(19.6–28.7)
21/86 24.4
(15.8–34.9)
-Vomiting 58 16.2
(12.5–20.4)
11/58 19.0
(9.9–31.4)
-Diarrhoea 35 9.7
(6.9–13.3)
8/35 22.9
(10.4–40.1)
8 Abnormal urination b 58 16.2
(12.5–20.4)
13/58 22.4
(12.5–35.3)
-Decreased urinary volumes 12 3.3
(1.7–5.8)
7/12 58.32
(27.7–84.8)
9 Reduced intake of food, fluid or oral medicines 47 13.1
(9.8–17.0)
18/47 38.33
(24.5–53.6)
10 Nausea 36 10.0
(7.1–13.6)
5/36 13.9
(4.7–29.5)
11 Malaise
Defined as expressions such as feeling sick, feeling bad, not feeling well and similar expressions
19 5.3
(3.2–8.1)
3/19 15.8
(3.4–39.6)
12 Mood change
Anxiety or fear OR feeling of depression
18 5.0
(3.0–7.8)
4/18 22.2
(6.4–47.6)
13 Dizziness 14 3.9
(2.1–6.5)
1/14 7.1
(0.2–33.9)
14 Fainted but now awake 10 2.8
(1.3–5.1)
2/10 20.0
(2.5–55.6)
  1. EMS = Emergency Medical Services. CI = Confidence Interval
  2. aPrimary keywords (codes and subcategories derived from the content analysis of septic patients arriving by EMS and admitted to Södersjukhuset during 2012) or combined keywords (consisting of several primary or combined keywords). Combined keywords are bolded, primary keywords are not. For combined keywords, the included primary or combined keywords are presented in descending order beneath the name of the keyword
  3. bAbnormal urination defined as hematuria without trauma, bad smelling or cloudy urine, increased frequency of urination OR urinary tract pain OR decreased urinary volumes OR dysfunction of urinary catheters defined as obstruction/leakage/problematic urinary catheters including nefrostomias