J Crit Care. 2022 Jan 10;68:129-135. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2021.12.016. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the association of boarding of critically ill medical patients on non-medical intensive care unit (ICU) provider teams with outcomes.
DESIGN: A retrospective cohort study.
SETTING: ICUs in a tertiary academic medical center.
PATIENTS: Patients with medical critical illness.
MEASUREMENT AND MAIN RESULTS: We compared outcomes for critically ill medical patients admitted to a non-medical specialty ICU team (April 1 - August 30, 2020) with those admitted to the medical ICU team (January 1, 2018 - March 31, 2020). The primary outcome was hospital mortality; secondary outcomes were hospital length of stay (LOS) and hospital disposition for survivors. Our cohort consisted of 1241 patients admitted to the medical ICU team and 230 admitted to non-medical ICU teams. Unadjusted hospital mortality (medical ICU, 38.8% vs non-medical ICU, 42.2%, p = 0.33) and hospital LOS (7.4 vs 7.4 days, p = 0.96) were similar between teams. Among survivors, more non-medical ICU team patients were discharged home (72.6% vs 82.0%, p = 0.024). After multivariable adjustment, we found no difference in mortality, LOS, or home discharge between teams. However, among hospital survivors, admission to a non-medical ICU team was associated with a longer LOS (regression coefficient [95% CI] for log-transformed hospital LOS: 0.23 [0.05,0.40], p = 0.022). Certain subgroups-patients aged 50-64 years (odds-ratio [95% CI]: 4.22 [1.84,9.65], p = 0.001), with ≤10 comorbidities (0-5: 2.78 (1.11,6.95], p = 0.029; 6-10: 6.61 [1.38,31.71], p = 0.018), without acute respiratory failure (1.97 [1.20,3.23], p = 0.008)-had higher mortality when admitted to non-medical ICU teams.
CONCLUSIONS: We found no association between admission to non-medical ICU team and mortality for medically critically ill patients. However, survivors experienced longer hospital LOS when admitted to non-medical ICU teams. Middle-aged patients, those with low comorbidity burden, and those without respiratory failure had higher mortality when admitted to non-medical ICU teams.