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Acute Med. 2014;13(4):152-8.

Does admission via an acute medical unit influence hospital mortality? 12 years' experience in a large Dublin hospital.

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Department of Internal Medicine St James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland.



Following an emergency medical admission, patients may be admitted an acute medical assessment unit (AMAU) or directly into a ward. An AMAU provides a structured environment for their initial assessment and treatment.


All emergency admissions (66,933 episodes in 36,271 patients) to an Irish hospital over an 12-year period (2002-2013) were studied with 30-day in-hospital mortality as the outcome measure. Univariate Odds Ratios, by initial patient allocation, and the fully adjusted Odds Ratios were calculated, using a validated logistic regression model.


Patients, by design, were intended to be admitted initially to the AMAU (<= 5 day stay). Capacity constraints dictated that only 39.8% of patients were so admitted; the remainder bypassed the AMAU to a ward (60.2%). All patients remained under the care of the admitting consultant/team. We computed the risk profile for each group, using a multiple variable validated model of 30-day in-hospital mortality; the model indicated the same risk profile between these groups. The univariate OR of an in-hospital death by day 30 for a patient initially allocated to the AMAU, compared with an initial ward allocation was 0.76 (95% CI: 0.71, 0.82- p<0.001). The fully adjusted risk for patients was 0.67 (95% CI: 0.62, 0.73- p<0.001).


Patients, with equivalent mortality risk, allocated initially to AMAU or a more traditional ward, appeared to have substantially different outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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