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Intensive Care Med. 1995 Oct;21(10):784-9.

Deterioration of respiratory function after intra-hospital transport of critically ill surgical patients.

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Department of Surgery, Klinikum Innenstadt der Universit√§t, M√ľnchen, Germany.



To evaluate the impact of intra-hospital transport of artificially ventilated patients on respiratory function, and to define predictors that may allow estimation of the risk of post-transport pulmonary deterioration.


Prospective observation study.


Surgical ICU, University Hospital.


49 intra-hospital transports (median Apache-score before transport 21, of 28 consecutive patients (all intubated and mechanically ventilated) were studied.


32 transports were destined to the radiology department and 17 to the operating theatre. Patients were ventilated during transportation with a transport ventilator.


The base-line condition of the patients and any changes of hemodynamic function were noted. Arterial blood gases were determined before transport as well as 0.25, 1, 6, 12, and 24 h after return of the patient to the ICU. Of the transports 41 (83.7%) resulted in a decrease of PO2/FIO2-ratio with a deterioration of more than 20% from baseline in 21 cases (42.8%). The impairment of respiratory function lasted longer than 24 h in 10 subjects (20.4%). Ventilation with positive end-expiratory pressure correlated significantly (r = -0.4) with post-transport change of PO2/FIO2-ratio, whereas initial FIO2, initial PO2/FIO2-ratio, Apache II-score, patients' age or transport time did not distinguish between patients with and without a consecutive decrease of pulmonary function.


Intra-hospital transport of ventilated critically ill patients may result in a considerable and long-standing deterioration of respiratory function. Patients ventilated with positive end-expiratory pressure are at an increased risk and the indication for procedures away from the ICU has to be weighted carefully in these subjects.

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