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Int J Neurosci. 2015 Jun;125(6):402-8. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2014.943370. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Delayed admission to ICU does not increase the mortality of patients post neurosurgery.

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1Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China.


Increasing shortage of intensive care resources is a worldwide problem. While routine postoperative admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) of patients undergoing neurosurgery is a long established practice for many hospitals. Therefore, some neurosurgical patients have to be cared in post anesthesia care unit (PACU) before ICU admission during high ICU occupancy. The aim of this study was to compare the outcome of neurosurgical patients immediately admitted to the ICU post operation with those who were required to wait for ICU bed in PACU and managed by anesthesiologists before ICU admission. All adult neurosurgical patients admitted to our ICU between January 2010 and July 2013 were retrospectively analyzed. Recorded data included demographic data, surgical categories, end time of operation, operation hours, postoperative complication, hospital/ICU length of stay and cost, Glasgow coma score (GCS) on ICU discharge and ICU mortality. A total of 989 neurosurgical patients were evaluated. Nine hundred thirty-seven (94.7%) patients were immediately admitted and 52 (5.3%) patients had delayed ICU admission. Median PACU waiting hours was 4.3 h (interquartile range: 2.0-10.2 h). Delayed ICU admission post neurosurgery was highly associated with the end time of operation (p = 0.019) and high ICU occupancy (p < 0.0001). Average GCS on ICU discharge was higher in immediately admitted group (13.0 ± 3.5 vs. 11.4 ± 4.5, p = 0.012). However, delayed admission to ICU post neurosurgery was not associated with prolonged ICU length of stay, increased ICU mortality, increased postoperative complication and hospital/ICU cost (all p > 0.05). Thus, an algorithm for appropriate disposition of neurosurgical patients is warranted so as to balance the quality of care and control of scarce intensive resources.


intensive care unit; neurosurgical patients; postoperative care; survival

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