A critical analysis of unplanned ICU transfer within 48 hours from ED admission as a quality measure.

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A critical analysis of unplanned ICU transfer within 48 hours from ED admission as a quality measure.

Am J Emerg Med. 2016 Aug;34(8):1505-10

Authors: Dahn CM, Manasco AT, Breaud AH, Kim S, Rumas N, Moin O, Mitchell PM, Nelson KP, Baker W, Feldman JA

HYPOTHESIS: Unplanned intensive care unit (ICU) transfer (UIT) within 48 hours of emergency department (ED) admission increases morbidity and mortality. We hypothesized that a majority of UITs do not have critical interventions (CrIs) and that CrI is associated with worse outcomes.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study is to characterize all UITs (including patients who died before ICU transfer), the proportion with CrI, and the effect of having CrI on mortality.
DESIGN: This is a single-center, retrospective cohort study of UITs within 48 hours from 2008 to 2013 at an urban academic medical center and included patients 18 years or older without advanced directives (ADs). Critical intervention was defined by modified Delphi process. Data included demographics, comorbidities, reasons for UIT, length of stay, CrIs, and mortality. We calculated descriptive statistics with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS: A total of 837 (0.76%) of 108 732 floor admissions from the ED had a UIT within 48 hours; 86 admitted patients died before ICU. We excluded 23 ADs, 117 postoperative transfers, 177 planned ICU transfers, and 4 with missing data. Of the 516 remaining, 65% (95% CI, 61%-69%) received a CrI. Unplanned ICU transfer reasons are as follows: 33 medical errors, 90 disease processes not present on arrival, and 393 clinical deteriorations. Mortality was 10.5% (95% CI, 8%-14%), and mean length of stay was 258 hours (95% CI, 233-283) for those with CrI, whereas the mortality was 2.8% (95% CI, 1%-6%) and mean length of stay was 177 hours (95% CI, 157-197) for those without CrI.
CONCLUSIONS: Unplanned ICU transfer is rare, and only 65% had a CrI. Those with CrI had increased morbidity and mortality.

PMID: 27241571 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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