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J Gen Intern Med. 2003 Feb;18(2):77-83.

Inpatient transfers to the intensive care unit: delays are associated with increased mortality and morbidity.

Author information

1
University of Vermont College of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Burlington, Vt, USA. michael.young@vtmednet.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine if delayed transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU) after physiologic deterioration is associated with increased morbidity and mortality.

DESIGN:

Inception cohort.

SETTING:

Community hospital in Ogden, Utah.

PATIENTS:

Ninety-one consecutive inpatients with noncardiac diagnoses at the time of emergent transfer to the ICU. We determined the time when each patient first met any of 11 pre-specified physiologic criteria. We classified patients as "slow transfer" when patients met a physiologic criterion 4 or more hours before transfer to the ICU. Patients were followed until discharge.

INTERVENTIONS:

None.

MEASUREMENTS:

In-hospital mortality, functional status at hospital discharge, hospital resources.

MAIN RESULTS:

At the time when the first physiologic criterion was met on the ward, slow- and rapid-transfer patients were similar in terms of age, gender, diagnosis, number of days in hospital prior to ICU transfer, prehospital functional status, and APACHE II scores. By the time slow-transfer patients were admitted to the ICU, they had significantly higher APACHE II scores (21.7 vs 16.2; P =.002) and were more likely to die in-hospital (41% vs 11%; relative risk [RR], 3.5; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.4 to 9.5). Slow-transfer patients were less likely to have had their physician notified of deterioration within 2 hours of meeting physiologic criteria (59% vs 31%; P =.001) and less likely to have had a bedside physician evaluation within the first 3 hours after meeting criteria (23% vs 83%; P =.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Slow transfer to the ICU of physiologically defined high-risk hospitalized patients was associated with increased risk of death. Slow response to physiologic deterioration may explain these findings.

PMID:
12542581
PMCID:
PMC1494814
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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