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Am J Emerg Med. 2011 May;29(4):391-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.10.016. Epub 2010 Mar 25.

Is ED disposition associated with intracerebral hemorrhage mortality?

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  • 1UC Neuroscience Institute, Cincinnati, OH 45267, USA.



Early deterioration is common in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). Treatment at tertiary care centers has been associated with lower ICH mortality. Guidelines recommend aggressive care for 24 hours irrespective of the initial outlook. We examined the frequency of and factors associated with transfer to tertiary centers in ICH patients who initially presented at nontertiary emergency departments (EDs). We also compared observed with expected mortality in transferred and nontransferred patients using published short-term mortality predictors for ICH.


Adult patients who resided in a 5-county region and presented to nontertiary EDs with nontraumatic ICH in 2005 were identified. Intracerebral hemorrhage score and ICH Grading Scale (ICH-GS) were determined. Of 16 local hospitals, 2 were designated tertiary care centers. Logistic regression was used to assess factors associated with transfer.


Of 205 ICH patients who presented to nontertiary EDs, 80 (39.0%) were transferred to a tertiary center. In multivariate regression, better baseline function (modified Rankin scale 0-2 versus 3-5; odds ratio, 0.42, 95% confidence interval, 0.21-0.85, P = .016) and black race (odds ratio, 2.28, 95% confidence interval 1.01-5.12, P = .046) were associated with transfer. A trend toward higher 30-day mortality was observed in nontransferred patients (32.5% versus 45.6%, P = .06). The ICH-GS overestimated mortality for all patients, while the ICH Score adequately predicted mortality.


We found no significant difference in mortality between transferred and nontransferred patients, but the trend toward higher mortality in nontransferred patients suggests that further evaluation of ED disposition decisions for ICH patients is warranted. Expected ICH mortality may be overestimated by published tools.

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