Venous thromboembolism (VTE) confers considerable morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients, although few studies have focused on the critically ill population. The objective of this study was to understand current approaches to the prevention and diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) among patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Mailed self-administered survey of ICU Directors in Canadian university affiliated hospitals.
Of 29 ICU Directors approached, 29 (100%) participated, representing 44 ICUs and 681 ICU beds across Canada. VTE prophylaxis is primarily determined by individual ICU clinicians (20/29, 69.0%) or with a hematology consultation for challenging patients (9/29, 31.0%). Decisions are usually made on a case-by-case basis (18/29, 62.1%) rather than by preprinted orders (5/29, 17.2%), institutional policies (6/29, 20.7%) or formal practice guidelines (2/29, 6.9%). Unfractionated heparin is the predominant VTE prophylactic strategy (29/29, 100.0%) whereas low molecular weight heparin is used less often, primarily for trauma and orthopedic patients. Use of pneumatic compression devices and thromboembolic stockings is variable. Systematic screening for DVT with lower limb ultrasound once or twice weekly was reported by some ICU Directors (7/29, 24.1%) for specific populations. Ultrasound is the most common diagnostic test for DVT; the reference standard of venography is rarely used. Spiral computed tomography chest scans and ventilation–perfusion scans are used more often than pulmonary angiograms for the diagnosis of PE. ICU Directors recommend further studies in the critically ill population to determine the test properties and risk:benefit ratio of VTE investigations, and the most cost-effective methods of prophylaxis in medical–surgical ICU patients.
Unfractionated subcutaneous heparin is the predominant VTE prophylaxis strategy for critically ill patients, although low molecular weight heparin is prescribed for trauma and orthopedic patients. DVT is most often diagnosed by lower limb ultrasound; however, several different tests are used to diagnose PE. Fundamental research in critically ill patients is needed to help make practice evidence-based.
critical care; deep venous thrombosis; diagnosis; intensive care unit; prevention; pulmonary embolism; thromboembolism
When the number of patients who require intensive care is greater than the number of beds available, intensive care unit (ICU) entry flow is obstructed. This phenomenon has been associated with higher mortality rates in patients that are not admitted despite their need, and in patients that are admitted but are waiting for a bed. The purpose of this study is to evaluate if a delay in ICU admission affects mortality for critically ill patients.
A prospective cohort of adult patients admitted to the ICU of our institution between January and December 2005 were analyzed. Patients for whom a bed was available were immediately admitted; when no bed was available, patients waited for ICU admission. ICU admission was classified as either delayed or immediate. Confounding variables examined were: age, sex, originating hospital ward, ICU diagnosis, co-morbidity, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, therapeutic intervention, and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score. All patients were followed until hospital discharge.
A total of 401 patients were evaluated; 125 (31.2%) patients were immediately admitted and 276 (68.8%) patients had delayed admission. There was a significant increase in ICU mortality rates with a delay in ICU admission (P = 0.002). The fraction of mortality risk attributable to ICU delay was 30% (95% confidence interval (CI): 11.2% to 44.8%). Each hour of waiting was independently associated with a 1.5% increased risk of ICU death (hazard ratio (HR): 1.015; 95% CI 1.006 to 1.023; P = 0.001).
There is a significant association between time to admission and survival rates. Early admission to the ICU is more likely to produce positive outcomes.
Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems are recommended to improve patient safety and outcomes. However, their effectiveness has been questioned. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of CPOE implementation on the outcome of critically ill patients.
This was an observational before-after study carried out in a 21-bed medical and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care center. It included all patients admitted to the ICU in the 24 months pre- and 12 months post-CPOE (Misys®) implementation. Data were extracted from a prospectively collected ICU database and included: demographics, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, admission diagnosis and comorbid conditions. Outcomes compared in different pre- and post-CPOE periods included: ICU and hospital mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation, and ICU and hospital length of stay. These outcomes were also compared in selected high risk subgroups of patients (age 12-17 years, traumatic brain injury, admission diagnosis of sepsis and admission APACHE II > 23). Multivariate analysis was used to adjust for imbalances in baseline characteristics and selected clinically relevant variables.
There were 1638 and 898 patients admitted to the ICU in the specified pre- and post-CPOE periods, respectively (age = 52 ± 22 vs. 52 ± 21 years, p = 0.74; APACHE II = 24 ± 9 vs. 24 ± 10, p = 0.83). During these periods, there were no differences in ICU (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.7-1.3) and in hospital mortality (aOR 1.00, 95% CI 0.8-1.3). CPOE implementation was associated with similar duration of mechanical ventilation and of stay in the ICU and hospital. There was no increased mortality or stay in the high risk subgroups after CPOE implementation.
The implementation of CPOE in an adult medical surgical ICU resulted in no improvement in patient outcomes in the immediate phase and up to 12 months after implementation.
Intensive care unit; critical illness; CPOE; safety management; mortality; morbidity
Intensive care unit (ICU) beds are limited, yet few guidelines exist for triage of patients to the ICU, especially patients at low-risk for mortality. The frequency with which low-risk patients are admitted to ICUs in different hospitals is unknown. Our objective was to assess variation in use of intensive care for patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a common condition with a low-risk of mortality.
Observational study using the New York State Inpatient Database (2005-2007).
159 New York State acute care hospitals.
15,994 adult (≥18) hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of DKA (ICD-9-CM 250.1x).
Measurements and Main Results
We calculated reliability- and risk-adjusted ICU utilization, hospital length of stay (LOS), and mortality. We identified hospital-level factors associated with increased likelihood of ICU admission after controlling for patient characteristics using multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression analyses; we assessed the amount of residual variation in ICU utilization using the intra-class correlation coefficient. Use of intensive care for DKA patients varied widely across hospitals (adjusted range: 2.1% to 87.7%), but was not associated with hospital LOS or mortality. After multilevel adjustment, hospitals with a high volume of DKA admissions admitted DKA patients to the ICU less often (OR 0.40, p=0.002, highest quintile compared to lowest) whereas hospitals with higher rates of ICU utilization for all non-DKA inpatients admitted DKA patients to the ICU more frequently (OR 1.31, p=0.001, for each additional ten percent increase). In the multi-level model, more than half (58%) of the variation in ICU admission practice attributable to hospitals remained unexplained.
We observed variation across hospitals in use of intensive care for DKA patients that was not associated with differences in hospital LOS or mortality. Institutional practice patterns appear to impact admission decisions and represent a potential target for reduction of resource utilization in higher use institutions.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis; Delivery of Health Care; Physician’s Practice Patterns
To investigate whether timing of intensive insulin therapy (IIT) after intensive care unit (ICU) admission influences outcome.
Design and setting
Single-center prospective cohort study in the 14-bed medical ICU of a 1,171-bed tertiary teaching hospital.
The study included 127 patients started on ITT within 48 h of ICU admission (early group) and 51 started on ITT thereafter (late group); the groups did not differ in age, gender, race, BMI, APACHE III, ICU steroid use, admission diagnosis, or underlying comorbidities.
Measurements and results
The early group had more ventilator-free days in the first 28 days after ICU admission (median 12 days, IQR 0–24, vs. 1 day, 0–11), shorter ICU stay (6 days, IQR 3–11, vs. 11 days, vs. 7–17), shorter hospital stay (15 days, IQR 9–30, vs. 25 days, 13–43), lower ICU mortality (OR 0.48), and lower hospital mortality (OR 0.27). On multivariate analysis, early therapy was still associated with decreased hospital mortality (ORadj 0.29). The strength and direction of association favoring early IIT was consistent after propensity score modeling regardless of method used for analysis.
Early IIT was associated with better outcomes. Our results raise questions about the assumption that delayed administration of IIT has the same benefit as early therapy. A randomized study is needed to determine the optimal timing of therapy.
Hyperglycemia; Critical illness; Insulin; Mortality
There is a high prevalence of delirium in older medical intensive care unit (ICU) patients and delirium is associated with adverse outcomes. We need to identify modifiable risk factors for delirium in the ICU, such as medication use. The objective of this study was to examine the impact of benzodiazepine or opioid use on the duration of ICU delirium in an older medical population.
Prospective cohort study.
Fourteen-bed medical intensive care unit in an urban university teaching hospital.
304 consecutive admissions age 60 and older.
Main Outcome Measurements
The main outcome measure was duration of ICU delirium, specifically the first episode of ICU delirium. Patients were assessed daily for delirium with the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU) and a validated chart review method. Our main predictor was the receipt of benzodiazepines or opioids during ICU stay. A multivariable model was developed using Poisson rate regression.
Delirium occurred in 239 of 304 patients (79%). The median duration of ICU delirium was 3 days with a range of 1-33 days. In a multivariable regression model receipt of a benzodiazepine or opioid (RR, 1.64, 95% CI, 1.27-2.10) was associated with increased delirium duration. Other variables associated with delirium duration in this analysis include preexisting dementia (RR, 1.19, 95% CI 1.07-1.33), receipt of haloperidol (RR, 1.35, 95% CI, 1.21-1.50), and severity of illness (RR, 1.01, 95% CI, 1.00-1.02).
The use of benzodiazepines or opioids in the ICU is associated with longer duration of a first episode of delirium. Receipt of these medications may represent modifiable risk factors for delirium. Clinicians caring for ICU patients should carefully evaluate the need for benzodiazepines, opioids and haloperidol.
delirium; critical care; risk factors; aged; benzodiazepines; opioids; haloperidol
Factors predictive of the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion in the intensive care unit (ICU) have been identified, but risk factors for transfusion after ICU discharge are unknown. This study aims identifies risk factors for RBC transfusion after discharge from the ICU.
A prospective, monocentric observational study was conducted over a 6-month period in a 24-bed medical ICU in a French university hospital. Between June and December 2003, 550 critically ill patients were consecutively enrolled in the study.
A total of 428 patients survived after treatment in the ICU; 47 (11% of the survivors, 8.5% of the whole population) required RBC transfusion within 7 days after ICU discharge. Admission for sepsis (odds ratio [OR] 341.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 20.35–5734.51), presence of an underlying malignancy (OR 32.6, 95%CI 3.8–280.1), female sex (OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.2–24.9), Logistic Organ Dysfunction score at ICU discharge (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.1–1.9) and age (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.12) were independently associated with RBC transfusion after ICU stay. Haemoglobin level at discharge predicted the need for delayed RBC transfusion. Use of vasopressors (OR 0.01, 95%CI 0.001–0.17) and haemoglobin level at discharge from the ICU (OR 0.02, 95% CI 0.007–0.09; P < 0.001) were strong independent predictors of transfusion of RBC 1 week after ICU discharge.
Sepsis, underlying conditions, unresolved organ failures and haemoglobin level at discharge were related to an increased risk for RBC transfusion after ICU stay. We suggest that strategies to prevent transfusion should focus on homogeneous subgroups of patients and take into account post-ICU needs for RBC transfusion.
About one third of hospital mortality in critically ill patients occurs after Intensive Care Unit (ICU) discharge. Some authors have recently hypothesized that unresolved or latent inflammation and sepsis may be an important factor that contributes to death following successful discharge from the ICU.
The aim of our study was to determine the ability of the clinical and inflammatory markers at ICU discharge to predict post-ICU mortality.
A prospective observational cohort study was conducted during a 14-month period in an 8 bed polyvalent ICU. Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System-28 (TISS-28), C-reactive protein (CRP), white cell count (WCC) and body temperature of the day of ICU discharge were collected from patients who survived their first ICU admission.
During this period 156 patients were discharged alive from the ICU. A total of 29 patients (18.6%) died after ICU discharge. There were no differences in clinical and demographic characteristics between survivors and nonsurvivors. C-reactive protein levels at ICU discharge were not significantly different between survivors and nonsurvivors. The area under receiver operating characteristics curves of APACHE II, SAPS II, SOFA, TISS-28, CRP, WCC and body temperature at ICU discharge as prognostic markers of hospital death were 0.76 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67-0.86); 0.75 (95% CI 0.66-0.85); 0.72 (95% CI 0.62-0.83); 0.64 (95% CI 0.52-0.77); 0.55 (95% CI 0.43-0.67); 0.55 (95% CI 0.42-0.66) and 0.54 (95% CI 0.44-0.67) respectively. The hospital mortality rate of the patients with CRP <5, 5-10, >10 mg/dL was 15.1%, 16.1% and 33.3% respectively (p = NS).
At ICU discharge serum CRP concentration was a poor marker of post-ICU prognosis. Post-ICU death appears to be unrelated to the persistent inflammatory response.
This report describes the case mix, outcome and activity (duration of intensive care unit [ICU] and hospital stay, inter-hospital transfer, and readmissions to the ICU) for admissions to ICUs for acute severe asthma, and investigates the effect of case mix factors on outcome.
We conducted a secondary analysis of data from a high-quality clinical database (the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre [ICNARC] Case Mix Programme Database) of 129,647 admissions to 128 adult, general critical care units across England, Wales and Northern Ireland over the period 1995–2001.
Asthma accounted for 2152 (1.7%) admissions, and in 57% mechanical ventilation was employed during the first 24 hours in the ICU. A total of 147 (7.1%) patients died in intensive care and 199 (9.8%) died before discharge from hospital. The mean age was 43.6 years, and the ratio of women to men was 2:1. Median length of stay was 1.5 days in the ICU and 8 days in hospital. Older age, female sex, having received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) within 24 hours before admission, having suffered a neurological insult during the first 24 hours in the ICU, higher heart rate, and hypercapnia were associated with greater risk for in-hospital death after adjusting for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score. CPR before admission, neurological insult, hypoxaemia and hypercapnia were associated with receipt of mechanical ventilation after adjusting for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score.
ICU admission for asthma is relatively uncommon but remains associated with appreciable in-hospital mortality. The greatest determinant of poor hospital survival in asthma patients was receipt of CPR within 24 hours before admission to ICU. Clinical management of these patients should be directed at preventing cardiac arrest before admission.
asthma; critical care; intensive care units; mechanical ventilation; mortality
To determine the utility of routine chest radiographs (CXRs) in clinical decision-making in the intensive care unit (ICU).
A prospective evaluation of CXRs performed in the ICU for a period of 6 months. A questionnaire was completed for each CXR performed, addressing the indication for the radiograph, whether it changed the patient's management, and how it did so.
A 14-bed medical–surgical ICU in a university-affiliated, tertiary care hospital.
A total of 645 CXRs were analyzed in 97 medical patients and 205 CXRs were analyzed in 101 surgical patients.
Of the 645 CXRs performed in the medical patients, 127 (19.7%) led to one or more management changes. In the 66 surgical patients with an ICU stay <48 hours, 15.4% of routine CXRs changed management. In 35 surgical patients with an ICU stay ≥ 48 hours, 26% of the 100 routine films changed management. In both the medical and surgical patients, the majority of changes were related to an adjustment of a medical device.
Routine CXRs have some value in guiding management decisions in the ICU. Daily CXRs may not, however, be necessary for all patients.
chest radiograph; intensive care unit; quality assurance; routine radiography
The aims of the present study were to assess patients' memories of their stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) over time, using the Italian version of the ICU Memory (ICUM) tool, and to examine the relationship between memory and duration of ICU stay and infection.
Patients and method
Adult patients consecutively admitted to a four-bed ICU of a university hospital, whose stay in the ICU was at least 3 days, were prospectively studied. The ICUM tool was administered twice: face to face 1 week after ICU discharge to 93 patients (successfully in 87); and by phone after 3 months to 67 patients. Stability of memories over time was analyzed using Kappa statistics.
Delusional memories appeared to be the most persistent recollections over time (minimum κ value = 0.68), followed by feelings (κ value > 0.7 in three out of six memories) and factual memories (κ value > 0.7 in three out of 11 memories). The patients without a clear memory of their stay in the ICU reported a greater number of delusional memories than did those with a clear memory. Of patients without infection 35% had one or two delusional memories, and 60% of patients with infection had one to four delusional memories (P = 0.029).
The ICUM tool is of value in a setting and language different from those in which it was created and used. Delusional memories are the most stable recollections, and are frequently associated both with lack of clear memory of ICU experience and with presence of infection during ICU stay.
critical care; intensive care; memory; mental recall
Distinguishing pulmonary edema due to acute lung injury (ALI) or the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from hydrostatic or cardiogenic edema is challenging in critically ill patients. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) can effectively identify congestive heart failure in the emergency room setting but, despite increasing use, its diagnostic utility has not been validated in the intensive care unit (ICU).
We performed a prospective, blinded cohort study in the medical and surgical ICUs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Patients were eligible if they were admitted to the ICU with respiratory distress, bilateral pulmonary edema and a central venous catheter suggesting either high-pressure (cardiogenic) or low-pressure (ALI/ARDS) pulmonary edema. BNP levels were measured within 48 hours of ICU admission and development of pulmonary edema and onward up to three consecutive days. All levels were drawn simultaneously with the measurement of right atrial or pulmonary artery wedge pressure. The etiology of pulmonary edema – cardiogenic or ALI/ARDS – was determined by three intensivists blinded to BNP levels.
We enrolled a total of 54 patients (33 with ALI/ARDS and 21 with cardiogenic edema). BNP levels were lower in patients with ALI/ARDS than in those with cardiogenic edema (496 ± 439 versus 747 ± 476 pg/ml, P = 0.05). At an accepted cutoff of 100 pg/ml, specificity for the diagnosis of ALI/ARDS was high (95.2%) but sensitivity was poor (27.3%). Cutoffs at higher BNP levels improved sensitivity at considerable cost to specificity. Invasive measures of filling pressures correlated poorly with initial BNP levels and subsequent day BNP values fluctuated unpredictably and without correlation with hemodynamic changes and net fluid balance.
BNP levels drawn within 48 hours of admission to the ICU do not reliably distinguish ALI/ARDS from cardiogenic edema, do not correlate with invasive hemodynamic measurements, and do not track predictably with changes in volume status on consecutive daily measurements.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:
Pregnancy and delivery can involve complications that necessitate admission to critical care facilities. The objective of our study was to assess the incidence, indications, and outcomes of obstetric patients requiring admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) in a tertiary care hospital, in Saudi Arabia.
DESIGN AND SETTING:
Retrospective cohort study of consecutive obstetric admissions to the ICU at the King Abdulaziz Medical City over a 10-year period.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
We collected baseline demographic data and acute physiology and chronic health evaluation II (APACHE II) scores. ICU mortality was the primary outcome.
Over 10 years, 75 obstetric patients were admitted to the ICU, and 59 of these patients (78.6%) were admitted during the antepartum period. The main obstetric indication for ICU admission was pregnancy-induced hypertension (21 patients, 28%) and the leading non-obstetric indication was sepsis (12 patients, 16%). The APACHE II score was 19.59 (15.05). The predicted mortality rate based on the APACHE II score was 21.97%; however, there were only six maternal deaths (8%) among the obstetric patients admitted to the ICU.
The overall mortality was low. A team approach facilitated the application of optimal care to these patients. Obstetric patients had better outcomes than those predicted by the APACHE II scores. Appropriate antenatal care is important for preventing obstetric complications.
Extubation failure has been associated with poor intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital outcomes in tertiary care medical centers. Given the large proportion of critical care delivered in the community setting, our purpose was to determine the impact of extubation failure on patient outcomes in a community hospital ICU.
A retrospective cohort study was performed using data gathered in a 16-bed medical/surgical ICU in a community hospital. During 30 months, all patients with acute respiratory failure admitted to the ICU were included in the source population if they were mechanically ventilated by endotracheal tube for more than 12 hours. Extubation failure was defined as reinstitution of mechanical ventilation within 72 hours (n = 60), and the control cohort included patients who were successfully extubated at 72 hours (n = 93).
The primary outcome was total ICU length of stay after the initial extubation. Secondary outcomes were total hospital length of stay after the initial extubation, ICU mortality, hospital mortality, and total hospital cost. Patient groups were similar in terms of age, sex, and severity of illness, as assessed using admission Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (P > 0.05). Both ICU (1.0 versus 10 days; P < 0.01) and hospital length of stay (6.0 versus 17 days; P < 0.01) after initial extubation were significantly longer in reintubated patients. ICU mortality was significantly higher in patients who failed extubation (odds ratio = 12.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.5–101; P < 0.05), but there was no significant difference in hospital mortality (odds ratio = 2.1, 95% CI = 0.8–5.4; P < 0.15). Total hospital costs (estimated from direct and indirect charges) were significantly increased by a mean of US$33,926 (95% CI = US$22,573–45,280; P < 0.01).
Extubation failure in a community hospital is univariately associated with prolonged inpatient care and significantly increased cost. Corroborating data from tertiary care centers, these adverse outcomes highlight the importance of accurate predictors of extubation outcome.
community hospital; extubation failure; intensive care unit outcome; mechanical ventilation
An audit of antibiotic prescribing patterns is an important indicator of the quality and standard of clinical practice.
To study the (1) antibiotic prescription and consumption patterns at admission into the intensive care unit (ICU); (2) average costs of antibiotics prescribed; and (3) correlation of antibiotic usage and the costs incurred with age, severity of illness, and diagnosis.
Settings and Design:
A 13-bedded tertiary level ICU. A prospective, observational audit.
Materials and Methods:
Two hundred consecutive prescriptions on patients admitted to the ICU from August to October, 2008, were audited. The total number of drugs and antibiotics, the class, dose, route, and cost of antibiotics were noted and the Defined Daily Dose/100 bed-days (DDD/100 bed-days) of the 10 most frequently prescribed antibiotics were calculated. Statistical analysis used: Univariate analysis was performed using Epi Info software (version 8.0).
A total of 1246 drugs and 418 antibiotics were prescribed in the 200 patients studied, that is, an average of 6.23 (± SD 2.73) drugs/prescription and 2.09 (± SD 1.27) antibiotics/prescription. Antibiotics were prescribed on 190 patients (95%) at admission. There was a significant correlation between the number of patients prescribed three or more antibiotics and mortality rates (53% nonsurvivors vs. 33.5% survivors (P = 0.015). The average cost of the antibiotics was Rupees 1995.08 (± SD 2099.99) per patient and antibiotics expenditure accounted for 73.2% of the total drug costs.
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to most ICU patients at admission and contribute significantly to the total drug costs. Antibiotic restriction policies and a multidisciplinary effort to reduce usage are urgently required.
Admission; antibiotic usage; intensive care unit; prescriptions
As the mortality from critical illness has improved in recent years, there has been increasing focus on patient outcomes after hospital discharge. Neuromuscular weakness acquired in the intensive care unit (ICU) is common, persistent, and often severe. Immobility due to prolonged bed rest in the ICU may play an important role in the development of ICU-acquired weakness. Studies in other patient populations have demonstrated that moderate exercise is beneficial in altering the inflammatory milieu associated with immobility, and in improving muscle strength and physical function. Recent studies have demonstrated that early mobility in the ICU is safe and feasible, with a potential reduction in short-term physical impairment. However, early mobility requires a significant change in ICU practice, with reductions in heavy sedation and bed rest. Further research is required to determine whether early mobility in the ICU can improve patients' short-term and long-term outcomes.
A 12-bed medical-surgical intensive care unit in a provincial, university-affiliated teaching hospital had 810 admissions during an 18-month period. Most patients were admitted under the care of a family physician. Quality care in the ICU was maintained by the efforts of dedicated unit managers, specialists and house staff. The overall mortality in the ICU of 8.1%, when added to the post-ICU mortality of 2.7% (giving a total hospital mortality of 10.8%), compares favourably with the best reported figures. Strong emphasis on selection of patients with potentially reversible disease, prompted in part by the limited facilities, may have played a role in yielding such favourable statistics. It is possible to retain participation of all members of the health care team during the brief phase of severe illness requiring intensive care.
The high cost of critical care resources has resulted in strategies to reduce the costs of ruling out low-risk patients by developing intermediate care units (IMCs). The aim of this study was to compare changes in total hospital costs for intensive care patients before and after the introduction of an IMC at the University Hospital Maastricht.
The design was a comparative longitudinal study. The setting was a university hospital with a mixed intensive care unit (ICU), an IMC, and general wards. Changes in total hospital costs were measured for patients who were admitted to the ICU before and after the introduction of the IMC. The comparison of interest was the opening of a six-bed mixed IMC.
The mean total hospital cost per patient increased significantly. Before the introduction of the IMC, the total hospital cost per patient was €12,961 (± €14,530) and afterwards it rose to €16,513 (± €17,718). Multiple regression analysis was used to determine to what extent patient characteristics explained these higher hospital costs using mortality, type of stay, diagnostic categories, length of ICU and ward stay, and the Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System (TISS) as predictors. More surgical patients, greater requirements of therapeutic interventions on the ICU admission day, and longer ICU stay in patients did explain the increase in hospital costs, rather than the introduction of the IMC.
After the introduction of the IMC, the higher mean total hospital costs for patients with a high TISS score and longer ICU stay explained the cost increase.
Rationale: Delirium is a frequent occurrence in older intensive care unit (ICU) patients, but the importance of the duration of delirium in contributing to adverse long-term outcomes is unclear.
Objectives: To examine the association of the number of days of ICU delirium with mortality in an older patient population.
Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study in a 14-bed ICU in an urban acute care hospital. The patient population comprised 304 consecutive admissions 60 years of age and older.
Measurements and Main Results: The main outcome was 1-year mortality after ICU admission. Patients were assessed daily for delirium with the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU and a validated chart review method. The median duration of ICU delirium was 3 days (range, 1–46 d). During the follow-up period, 153 (50%) patients died. After adjusting for relevant covariates, including age, severity of illness, comorbid conditions, psychoactive medication use, and baseline cognitive and functional status, the number of days of ICU delirium was significantly associated with time to death within 1 year post-ICU admission (hazard ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.18).
Conclusions: Number of days of ICU delirium was associated with higher 1-year mortality after adjustment for relevant covariates in an older ICU population. Investigations should be undertaken to reduce the number of days of ICU delirium and to study the impact of this reduction on important health outcomes, including mortality and functional and cognitive status.
delirium; aging; mortality; intensive care
The clinical value of daily routine chest radiographs (CXRs) in critically ill patients is unknown. We conducted this study to evaluate how frequently unexpected predefined major abnormalities are identified with daily routine CXRs, and how often these findings lead to a change in care for intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
This was a prospective observational study conducted in a 28-bed, mixed medical–surgical ICU of a university hospital.
Over a 5-month period, 2,457 daily routine CXRs were done in 754 consecutive ICU patients. The majority of these CXRs did not reveal any new predefined major finding. In only 5.8% of daily routine CXRs (14.3% of patients) was one or more new and unexpected abnormality encountered, including large atelectases (24 times in 20 patients), large infiltrates (23 in 22), severe pulmonary congestion (29 in 25), severe pleural effusion (13 in 13), pneumothorax/pneumomediastinum (14 in 13), and malposition of the orotracheal tube (32 in 26). Fewer than half of the CXRs with a new and unexpected finding were ultimately clinically relevant; in only 2.2% of all daily routine CXRs (6.4% of patients) did these radiologic abnormalities result in a change to therapy. Subgroup analysis revealed no differences between medical and surgical patients with regard to the incidence of new and unexpected findings on daily routine CXRs and the effect of new and unexpected CXR findings on daily care.
In the ICU, daily routine CXRs seldom reveal unexpected, clinically relevant abnormalities, and they rarely prompt action. We propose that this diagnostic examination be abandoned in ICU patients.
Candidaemia in critically-ill intensive care unit (ICU) patients is associated with high crude mortality. Determinants of mortality – particularly those amenable to potential modification – are incompletely defined.
A nationwide prospective clinical and microbiological cohort study of all episodes of ICU-acquired candidaemia occurring in non-neutropenic adults was undertaken in Australian ICUs between 2001 and 2004. Multivariate Cox regression analyses were performed to determine independently significant variables associated with mortality.
183 episodes of ICU-acquired candidaemia occurred in 183 patients during the study period. Of the 179 with microbiological data, Candida albicans accounted for 111 (62%) episodes and Candida glabrata, 32 (18%). Outcome data were available for 173: crude hospital mortality at 30 days was 56%. Host factors (older age, ICU admission diagnosis, mechanical ventilation and ICU admission diagnosis) and failure to receive systemic antifungal therapy were significantly associated with mortality on multivariate analysis. Among the subset who received initial fluconazole therapy (n = 93), the crude mortality was 52%. Host factors (increasing age and haemodialysis receipt), but not organism- (Candida species, fluconazole MIC), pharmacokinetic- (fluconazole dose, time to initiation), or pharmacodynamic-related parameters (fluconazole dose:MIC ratio) were associated with mortality. Process of care measures advocated in recent guidelines were implemented inconsistently: follow-up blood cultures were obtained in 68% of patients, central venous catheters removed within five days in 80% and ophthalmological examination performed in 36%.
Crude mortality remains high in Australian ICU patients with candidaemia and is overwhelmingly related to host factors but not treatment variables (the time to initiation of antifungals or fluconazole pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic factors). The role and timing of early antifungal intervention in critically-ill ICU patients requires further investigation.
Echocardiography is increasingly used in the management of the critically ill patient as a non-invasive diagnostic and monitoring tool. Whilst in few countries specialized national training schemes for intensive care unit (ICU) echocardiography have been developed, specific guidelines for ICU physicians wishing to incorporate echocardiography into their clinical practice are lacking. Further, existing echocardiography accreditation does not reflect the requirements of the ICU practitioner. The WINFOCUS (World Interactive Network Focused On Critical UltraSound) ECHO-ICU Group drew up a document aimed at providing guidance to individual physicians, trainers and the relevant societies of the requirements for the development of skills in echocardiography in the ICU setting. The document is based on recommendations published by the Royal College of Radiologists, British Society of Echocardiography, European Association of Echocardiography and American Society of Echocardiography, together with international input from established practitioners of ICU echocardiography. The recommendations contained in this document are concerned with theoretical basis of ultrasonography, the practical aspects of building an ICU-based echocardiography service as well as the key components of standard adult TTE and TEE studies to be performed on the ICU. Specific issues regarding echocardiography in different ICU clinical scenarios are then described.
Obtaining competence in ICU echocardiography may be achieved in different ways – either through completion of an appropriate fellowship/training scheme, or, where not available, via a staged approach designed to train the practitioner to a level at which they can achieve accreditation. Here, peri-resuscitation focused echocardiography represents the entry level – obtainable through established courses followed by mentored practice. Next, a competence-based modular training programme is proposed: theoretical elements delivered through blended-learning and practical elements acquired in parallel through proctored practice. These all linked with existing national/international echocardiography courses. When completed, it is anticipated that the practitioner will have performed the prerequisite number of studies, and achieved the competency to undertake accreditation (leading to Level 2 competence) via a recognized National or European examination and provide the appropriate required evidence of competency (logbook). Thus, even where appropriate fellowships are not available, with support from the relevant echocardiography bodies, training and subsequently accreditation in ICU echocardiography becomes achievable within the existing framework of current critical care and cardiological practice, and is adaptable to each countrie's needs.
This report describes the case mix, outcome and activity for admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) of patients who require prior chronic renal dialysis for end-stage renal failure (ESRF), and investigates the effect of case mix factors on outcome.
This was a secondary analysis of a high-quality clinical database, namely the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme Database, which includes 276,731 admissions to 170 adult ICUs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2004.
During the eight year study period, 1.3% (n = 3,420) of all patients admitted to ICU were receiving chronic renal dialysis before ICU admission. This represents an estimated ICU utilization of six admissions (32 bed-days) per 100 dialysis patient-years. The ESRF group was younger (mean age 57.3 years versus 59.5 years) and more likely to be male (60.2% versus 57.9%) than those without ESRF. Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score and Acute Physiology Score revealed greater severity of illness on admission in patients with ESRF (mean 24.7 versus 16.6 and 17.2 versus 12.6, respectively). Length of stay in ICU was comparable between groups (median 1.9 days versus 1.8 days) and ICU mortality was only slightly elevated in the ESRF group (26.3% versus 20.8%). However, the ESRF group had protracted overall hospital stay (median 25 days versus 17 days), and increased hospital mortality (45.3% versus 31.2%) and ICU readmission (9.0% vs. 4.7%). Multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted for case mix identified the increased hospital mortality to be associated with increasing age, emergency surgery and nonsurgical cases, cardiopulmonary resuscitation before ICU admission and extremes of physiological norms. The adjusted odds ratio for ultimate hospital mortality associated with chronic renal dialysis was 1.24 (95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.37).
Patients with ESRF admitted to UK ICUs are more likely to be male and younger, with a medical cause of admission, and to have greater severity of illness than the non-ESRF population. Outcomes on the ICU were comparable between the two groups, but those patients with ESRF had greater readmission rates, prolonged post-ICU hospital stay and increased post-ICU hospital mortality. This study is by far the largest comparative outcome analysis to date in patients with ESRF admitted to the ICU. It may help to inform clinical decision-making and resource requirements for this patient population.
Quality research, requiring large numbers of participants, in the intensive care unit (ICU) population requires multicentre collaboration. Although logistically challenging, this methodology reduces the influence of individual units and has greater validity and broader relevance to patients and practitioners. The nascent Irish Critical Care Trials Group opens additional such opportunities. In the accompanying epidemiologic study, the group present data gathered over 10 weeks of 2006 describing 1,029 patients, from 10 Irish ICUs representing over one-half of Ireland's critical care bed capacity. The data depict a busy service, with 78% of admissions being emergent and with a moderately high (7%) readmission rate. While recognising that there were missing data, the outcomes in organ failure and sepsis – where international definitions exist – and the ICU survival rate (83%) were consistent with international standards. The achievement of this planned first epidemiological step lays the foundation for the conduct of prospective scientific studies. These studies might occur in Ireland or in cooperation with other audit/scientific groups such as the UK's Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre, the European Critical Care Research Network, or others. This brings us a small step closer to the prospect of global, high-volume studies in critical care.
Delirium is a common problem and associated with poor outcomes in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Diagnosis of delirium in ICU patients is limited and usually underdiagnosed by physicians. The Confusion Assessment Method for the Intensive Care Unit (CAM-ICU) is one of the most widely used screening methods for detection of ICU delirium. Our goal was to translate and validate the CAM-ICU for use in the Korean ICU setting.
Translation of the CAM-ICU was done according to the guidelines suggested by the Translation and Cultural Adaptation Group. For validation and interrater reliability assessment of the Korean CAM-ICU, two nurses independently assessed delirium in ICU patients and the results were compared with the reference evaluation, which was done by a psychiatrist using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV).
Twenty-two patients were evaluated by two nurses and one psychiatrist expert independently. During the study period, we have continuously educated study nurses. Based on DSM-IV criteria, 16 out of 22 (72.7%) patients developed delirium. The sensitivities of the two nurses' evaluations using the Korean CAM-ICU were 89.80% for nurse 1 and 77.40% for nurse 2. Their specificities were 72.40% and 75.80% and their overall accuracy was 83.33% and 88.37% respectively. The Korean CAM-ICU was done with reasonable interrater reliability between nurse 1 and nurse 2 (κ = 0.81, p < 0.001).
The Korean CAM-ICU showed good validity and could be incorporated into clinical practice in Korean ICUs.