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Nervenarzt. 2012 Jun;83(6):741-50. doi: 10.1007/s00115-011-3411-7.

[Indications and outcome of ventilated patients treated in a neurological intensive care unit].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Klinik und Poliklinik für Neurologie der Universität Regensburg, Bezirksklinikum Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Deutschland.



This study characterized artificially ventilated patients in a neurological intensive care unit (NICU) between 2006-2008 in a purely neurological clinic and a so-called stand-alone situation. In addition the long-term prognoses as well as the quality of life of surviving patients were investigated.


All ventilated patients from October 2006 to December 2008 were enrolled in this descriptive, retrospective study. The duration of stay in intensive care was analyzed and the current quality of life was prospectively assessed based on the patient records. Final diagnoses, duration of intensive care unit and ventilation as well as the highest score in SAPS II (simplified acute physiology score) and complications during hospitalization were determined. The patients were divided into groups based on the diagnoses as vascular, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, hereditary, epileptogenic and others. Additionally patients were contacted and asked to respond by completing questionnaires on the Barthel index (BI) and the modified Rankin scale (mRS).


During the study period a total of 512 patients were treated in the NICU of whom 201 required artificial respiration. Cerebrovascular diseases were the main reason for therapy in the NICU in 96 out of 201 cases (47.8%), followed by inflammatory diseases in 46 (22.8%) and epileptogenic diseases in 26 patients (13%). The median duration of artificial respiration was 9 days with a mean treatment duration of 16 days (range 1-57 days). Of the patients 31 (15.4%) died in the NICU and an additional 32 patients (18.8%) died within a median of 2 months after discharge. Outcome data were available from 67 out of 170 sent questionnaires and rehabilitation reports of 86 patients, which enabled the outcome of 121 surviving patients to be analyzed (71.2%). Of these 42.2% showed no or mild impairment in everyday life. However, the remaining 38% had severe impairments according to the BI. The evaluation of the mRS showed that 49.6% of the patients still had severe symptoms.


More than one third of the patients treated in the NICU required artificial ventilation with an emphasis on cerebrovascular diseases, which illustrates the overlap between stroke unit and NICU care. Despite a lengthy duration of ventilation and a long stay in the intensive care unit more than one third of surviving patients showed no or only mild impairment. However, an additional third suffered from severe disability up to nursing care dependency. The study data differ little from the few publications in this field despite the stand alone situation of the NICU. The case mix index per day averaged around 0.3 and underlines the economic importance with respect to other forms of neurological treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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