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1.  Intensive Care Unit Capacity in Low-Income Countries: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116949.
Access to critical care is a crucial component of healthcare systems. In low-income countries, the burden of critical illness is substantial, but the capacity to provide care for critically ill patients in intensive care units (ICUs) is unknown. Our aim was to systematically review the published literature to estimate the current ICU capacity in low-income countries.
We searched 11 databases and included studies of any design, published 2004-August 2014, with data on ICU capacity for pediatric and adult patients in 36 low-income countries (as defined by World Bank criteria; population 850 million). Neonatal, temporary, and military ICUs were excluded. We extracted data on ICU bed numbers, capacity for mechanical ventilation, and information about the hospital, including referral population size, public accessibility, and the source of funding. Analyses were descriptive.
Of 1,759 citations, 43 studies from 15 low-income countries met inclusion criteria. They described 36 individual ICUs in 31 cities, of which 16 had population greater than 500,000, and 14 were capital cities. The median annual ICU admission rate was 401 (IQR 234-711; 24 ICUs with data) and median ICU size was 8 beds (IQR 5-10; 32 ICUs with data). The mean ratio of adult and pediatric ICU beds to hospital beds was 1.5% (SD 0.9%; 15 hospitals with data). Nepal and Uganda, the only countries with national ICU bed data, had 16.7 and 1.0 ICU beds per million population, respectively. National data from other countries were not available.
Low-income countries lack ICU beds, and more than 50% of these countries lack any published data on ICU capacity. Most ICUs in low-income countries are located in large referral hospitals in cities. A central database of ICU resources is required to evaluate health system performance, both within and between countries, and may help to develop related health policy.
PMCID: PMC4305307  PMID: 25617837
2.  Circulating Mitochondrial DNA in Patients in the ICU as a Marker of Mortality: Derivation and Validation 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(12):e1001577.
In this paper, Choi and colleagues analyzed levels of mitochondrial DNA in two prospective observational cohort studies and found that increased mtDNA levels are associated with ICU mortality, and improve risk prediction in medical ICU patients. The data suggests that mtDNA could serve as a viable plasma biomarker in MICU patients.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a critical activator of inflammation and the innate immune system. However, mtDNA level has not been tested for its role as a biomarker in the intensive care unit (ICU). We hypothesized that circulating cell-free mtDNA levels would be associated with mortality and improve risk prediction in ICU patients.
Methods and Findings
Analyses of mtDNA levels were performed on blood samples obtained from two prospective observational cohort studies of ICU patients (the Brigham and Women's Hospital Registry of Critical Illness [BWH RoCI, n = 200] and Molecular Epidemiology of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome [ME ARDS, n = 243]). mtDNA levels in plasma were assessed by measuring the copy number of the NADH dehydrogenase 1 gene using quantitative real-time PCR. Medical ICU patients with an elevated mtDNA level (≥3,200 copies/µl plasma) had increased odds of dying within 28 d of ICU admission in both the BWH RoCI (odds ratio [OR] 7.5, 95% CI 3.6–15.8, p = 1×10−7) and ME ARDS (OR 8.4, 95% CI 2.9–24.2, p = 9×10−5) cohorts, while no evidence for association was noted in non-medical ICU patients. The addition of an elevated mtDNA level improved the net reclassification index (NRI) of 28-d mortality among medical ICU patients when added to clinical models in both the BWH RoCI (NRI 79%, standard error 14%, p<1×10−4) and ME ARDS (NRI 55%, standard error 20%, p = 0.007) cohorts. In the BWH RoCI cohort, those with an elevated mtDNA level had an increased risk of death, even in analyses limited to patients with sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Study limitations include the lack of data elucidating the concise pathological roles of mtDNA in the patients, and the limited numbers of measurements for some of biomarkers.
Increased mtDNA levels are associated with ICU mortality, and inclusion of mtDNA level improves risk prediction in medical ICU patients. Our data suggest that mtDNA could serve as a viable plasma biomarker in medical ICU patients.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Intensive care units (ICUs, also known as critical care units) are specialist hospital wards that provide care for people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. In the US alone, more than 5 million people are admitted to ICUs every year. Different types of ICUs treat different types of problems. Medical ICUs treat patients who, for example, have been poisoned or who have a serious infection such as sepsis (blood poisoning) or severe pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs); trauma ICUs treat patients who have sustained a major injury; cardiac ICUs treat patients who have heart problems; and surgical ICUs treat complications arising from operations. Patients admitted to ICUs require constant medical attention and support from a team of specially trained nurses and physicians to prevent organ injury and to keep their bodies functioning. Monitors, intravenous tubes (to supply essential fluids, nutrients, and drugs), breathing machines, catheters (to drain urine), and other equipment also help to keep ICU patients alive.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although many patients admitted to ICUs recover, others do not. ICU specialists use scoring systems (algorithms) based on clinical signs and physiological measurements to predict their patients' likely outcomes. For example, the APACHE II scoring system uses information on heart and breathing rates, temperature, levels of salts in the blood, and other signs and physiological measurements collected during the first 24 hours in the ICU to predict the patient's risk of death. Existing scoring systems are not perfect, however, and “biomarkers” (molecules in bodily fluids that provide information about a disease state) are needed to improve risk prediction for ICU patients. Here, the researchers investigate whether levels of circulating cell-free mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are associated with ICU deaths and whether these levels can be used as a biomarker to improve risk prediction in ICU patients. Mitochondria are cellular structures that produce energy. Levels of mtDNA in the plasma (the liquid part of blood) increase in response to trauma and infection. Moreover, mtDNA activates molecular processes that lead to inflammation and organ injury.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured mtDNA levels in the plasma of patients enrolled in two prospective observational cohort studies that monitored the outcomes of ICU patients. In the Brigham and Women's Hospital Registry of Critical Illness study, blood was taken from 200 patients within 24 hours of admission into the hospital's medical ICU. In the Molecular Epidemiology of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome study (acute respiratory distress syndrome is a life-threatening inflammatory reaction to lung damage or infection), blood was taken from 243 patients within 48 hours of admission into medical and non-medical ICUs at two other US hospitals. Patients admitted to medical ICUs with a raised mtDNA level (3,200 or more copies of a specific mitochondrial gene per microliter of plasma) had a 7- to 8-fold increased risk of dying within 28 days of admission compared to patients with mtDNA levels of less than 3,200 copies/µl plasma. There was no evidence of an association between raised mtDNA levels and death among patients admitted to non-medical ICUs. The addition of an elevated mtDNA level to a clinical model for risk prediction that included the APACHE II score and biomarkers that are already used to predict ICU outcomes improved the net reclassification index (an indicator of the improvement in risk prediction algorithms offered by new biomarkers) of 28-day mortality among medical ICU patients in both studies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that raised mtDNA plasma levels are associated with death in medical ICUs and show that, among patients in medical ICUs, measurement of mtDNA plasma levels can improve the prediction of the risk of death from the APACHE II scoring system, even when commonly measured biomarkers are taken into account. These findings do not indicate whether circulating cell-free mtDNA increased because of the underlying severity of illness or whether mtDNA actively contributes to the disease process in medical ICU patients. Moreover, they do not provide any evidence that raised mtDNA levels are associated with an increased risk of death among non-medical (mainly surgical) ICU patients. These findings need to be confirmed in additional patients, but given the relative ease and rapidity of mtDNA measurement, the determination of circulating cell-free mtDNA levels could be a valuable addition to the assessment of patients admitted to medical ICUs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about intensive care
The Society of Critical Care Medicine provides information for professionals, families, and patients about all aspects of intensive care
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about intensive care (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity ICUsteps supports patients and their families through recovery from critical illness; its booklet Intensive Care: A Guide for Patients and Families is available in English and ten other languages; its website includes patient experiences and relative experiences of treatment in ICUs
Wikipedia has a page on ICU scoring systems (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3876981  PMID: 24391478
3.  Trends in Severity of Illness on ICU Admission and Mortality among the Elderly 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93234.
There is an increase in admission rate for elderly patients to the ICU. Mortality rates are lower when more liberal ICU admission threshold are compared to more restrictive threshold. We sought to describe the temporal trends in elderly admissions and outcomes in a tertiary hospital before and after the addition of an 8-bed medical ICU.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of a comprehensive longitudinal ICU database, from a large tertiary medical center, examining trends in patients’ characteristics, severity of illness, intensity of care and mortality rates over the years 2001–2008. The study population consisted of elderly patients and the primary endpoints were 28 day and one year mortality from ICU admission.
Between the years 2001 and 2008, 7,265 elderly patients had 8,916 admissions to ICU. The rate of admission to the ICU increased by 5.6% per year. After an eight bed MICU was added, the severity of disease on ICU admission dropped significantly and crude mortality rates decreased thereafter. Adjusting for severity of disease on presentation, there was a decreased mortality at 28- days but no improvement in one- year survival rates for elderly patient admitted to the ICU over the years of observation. Hospital mortality rates have been unchanged from 2001 through 2008.
In a high capacity ICU bed hospital, there was a temporal decrease in severity of disease on ICU admission, more so after the addition of additional medical ICU beds. While crude mortality rates decreased over the study period, adjusted one-year survival in ICU survivors did not change with the addition of ICU beds. These findings suggest that outcome in critically ill elderly patients may not be influenced by ICU admission. Adding additional ICU beds to deal with the increasing age of the population may therefore not be effective.
PMCID: PMC3974713  PMID: 24699251
4.  Benefit of antiretroviral therapy on survival of human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients admitted to an intensive care unit 
Critical care medicine  2009;37(5):1605-1611.
To evaluate the impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the prognostic factors for in-intensive care unit (ICU) and 6-month mortality in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted in patients admitted to the ICU from 1996 through 2006. The follow-up period extended for 6 months after ICU admission.
The ICU of a tertiary-care teaching hospital at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
A total of 278 HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU were selected. We excluded ICU readmissions (37), ICU admissions who stayed less than 24 hours (44), and patients with unavailable medical charts (36).
Outcome Measure
In-ICU and 6-month mortality.
Main Results
Multivariate logistic regression analysis and Cox proportional hazards models demonstrated that the variables associated with in-ICU and 6-month mortality were sepsis as the cause of admission (odds ratio [OR] = 3.16 [95% confidence interval [CI] 1.65– 6.06]); hazards ratio [HR] = 1.37 [95% CI 1.01–1.88]), an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score > 19 [OR = 2.81 (95% CI 1.57–5.04); HR = 2.18 (95% CI 1.62–2.94)], mechanical ventilation during the first 24 hours [OR = 3.92 (95% CI 2.20–6.96); HR = 2.25 (95% CI 1.65–3.07)], and year of ICU admission [OR = 0.90 (95% CI 0.81– 0.99); HR = 0.92 [95% CI 0.87– 0.97)]. CD4 T-cell count <50 cells/mm3 was only associated with ICU mortality [OR = 2.10 (95% CI 1.17– 3.76)]. The use of ART in the ICU was negatively predictive of 6-month mortality in the Cox model [HR = 0.50 (95% CI 0.35– 0.71)], especially if this therapy was introduced during the first 4 days of admission to the ICU [HR = 0.58 (95% CI 0.41– 0.83)]. Regarding HIV-infected patients admitted to ICU without using ART, those who have started this treatment during ICU stay presented a better prognosis when time and potential confounding factors were adjusted for [HR 0.55 (95% CI 0.31– 0.98)].
The ICU outcome of HIV-infected patients seems to be dependent not only on acute illness severity, but also on the administration of antiretroviral treatment. (Crit Care Med 2009; 37: 000–000)
PMCID: PMC4143892  PMID: 19325488
intensive care; human immunodeficiency virus; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; antiretroviral therapy; prognostic factors; critical care; mortality
5.  Outcomes Among Patients Discharged From Busy Intensive Care Units 
Annals of internal medicine  2013;159(7):447-455.
Strains on the capacities of intensive care units (ICUs) may influence the quality of ICU-to-floor transitions.
To determine how 3 metrics of ICU capacity strain (ICU census, new admissions, and average acuity) measured on days of patient discharges influence ICU length of stay (LOS) and post–ICU discharge outcomes.
Retrospective cohort study from 2001 to 2008.
155 ICUs in the United States.
200 730 adults discharged from ICUs to hospital floors.
Associations between ICU capacity strain metrics and discharged patient ICU LOS, 72-hour ICU readmissions, subsequent in-hospital death, post–ICU discharge LOS, and hospital discharge destination.
Increases in the 3 strain variables on the days of ICU discharge were associated with shorter preceding ICU LOS (all P < 0.001) and increased odds of ICU readmissions (all P< 0.050). Going from the 5th to 95th percentiles of strain was associated with a 6.3-hour reduction in ICU LOS (95% CI, 5.3 to 7.3 hours) and a 1.0% increase in the odds of ICU readmission (CI, 0.6% to 1.5%). No strain variable was associated with increased odds of subsequent death, reduced odds of being discharged home from the hospital, or longer total hospital LOS.
Long-term outcomes could not be measured.
When ICUs are strained, triage decisions seem to be affected such that patients are discharged from the ICU more quickly and, perhaps consequentially, have slightly greater odds of being readmitted to the ICU. However, short-term patient outcomes are unaffected. These results suggest that bed availability pressures may encourage physicians to discharge patients from the ICU more efficiently and that ICU readmissions are unlikely to be causally related to patient outcomes.
Primary Funding Source
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and Society of Critical Care Medicine.
PMCID: PMC4212937  PMID: 24081285
6.  Impact of delayed admission to intensive care units on mortality of critically ill patients: a cohort study 
Critical Care  2011;15(1):R28.
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.
PMCID: PMC3222064  PMID: 21244671
7.  Impact of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system on the outcome of critically ill adult patients: a before-after study 
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.
PMCID: PMC3248372  PMID: 22098683
Intensive care unit; critical illness; CPOE; safety management; mortality; morbidity
8.  ICU Occupancy and mechanical ventilator use in the United States 
Critical care medicine  2013;41(12):10.1097/CCM.0b013e318298a139.
Detailed data on occupancy and use of mechanical ventilators in United States intensive care units (ICU) over time and across unit types, are lacking. We sought to describe the hourly bed occupancy and use of ventilators in US ICUs to improve future planning of both the routine and disaster provision of intensive care.
Retrospective cohort study. We calculated mean hourly bed occupancy in each ICU and hourly bed occupancy for patients on mechanical ventilators. We assessed trends in overall occupancy over the three years. We also assessed occupancy and mechanical ventilation rates across different types and sizes of ICUs.
97 US ICUs participating in Project IMPACT from 2005–07.
226,942 consecutive admissions to ICUs.
Measurements and Main Results
Over the three years studied, total ICU occupancy ranged from 57.4% to 82.1% and the number of beds filled with mechanically ventilated patients ranged from 20.7% to 38.9%. There was no change in occupancy across years and no increase in occupancy during influenza seasons. Mean hourly occupancy across ICUs was 68.2% SD ± 21.3, and was substantially higher in ICUs with fewer beds (mean 75.8% (± 16.5) for 5–14 beds versus 60.9% (± 22.1) for 20+ beds, P = 0.001), and in academic hospitals (78.7% (± 15.9) versus 65.3% (± 21.3) for community not-for profit hospitals, P < 0.001). More than half (53.6%) of ICUs had 4+ beds available more than half the time. The mean percentage of ICU patients receiving mechanical ventilation in any given hour was 39.5% (± 15.2), and a mean of 29.0% (± 15.9) of ICU beds were filled with a patient on a ventilator.
Occupancy of US ICUs was stable over time, but there is uneven distribution across different types and sizes of units. Only three out of ten beds were filled at any time with mechanically ventilated patients, suggesting substantial surge capacity throughout the system to care for acutely critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3840149  PMID: 23963122
Intensive Care Unit; Bed Occupancy; Mechanical Ventilation; United States
9.  Should C-reactive protein concentration at ICU discharge be used as a prognostic marker? 
BMC Anesthesiology  2010;10:17.
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.
PMCID: PMC2954920  PMID: 20875120
10.  Triage of Patients Consulted for ICU Admission During Times of ICU-Bed Shortage 
The demand for specialized medical services such as critical care often exceeds availability, thus rationing of intensive care unit (ICU) beds commonly leads to difficult triage decisions. Many factors can play a role in the decision to admit a patient to the ICU, including severity of illness and the need for specific treatments limited to these units. Although triage decisions would be based solely on patient and institutional level factors, it is likely that intensivists make different decisions when there are fewer ICU beds available. The objective of this study is to evaluate the characteristics of patients referred for ICU admission during times of limited beds availability.
A single center, prospective, observational study was conducted among consecutive patients in whom an evaluation for ICU admission was requested during times of ICU overcrowding, which comprised the months of April and May 2014.
A total of 95 patients were evaluated for possible ICU admission during the study period. Their mean APACHE-II score was 16.8 (median 16, range 3 - 36). Sixty-four patients (67.4%) were accepted to ICU, 18 patients (18.9%) were triaged to SDU, and 13 patients (13.7%) were admitted to hospital wards. ICU had no beds available 24 times (39.3%) during the study period, and in 39 opportunities (63.9%) only one bed was available. Twenty-four patients (25.3%) were evaluated when there were no available beds, and eight of those patients (33%) were admitted to ICU. A total of 17 patients (17.9%) died in the hospital, and 15 (23.4%) expired in ICU.
ICU beds are a scarce resource for which demand periodically exceeds supply, raising concerns about mechanisms for resource allocation during times of limited beds availability. At our institution, triage decisions were not related to the number of available beds in ICU, age, or gender. A linear correlation was observed between severity of illness, expressed by APACHE-II scores, and the likelihood of being admitted to ICU. Alternative locations outside the ICU in which care for critically ill patients could be delivered should be considered during times of extreme ICU-bed shortage.
PMCID: PMC4169089  PMID: 25247021
Triage; Intensive care unit; Step-down unit; Emergency department; Acute physiology and chronic health evaluation; ICU beds
11.  Does space make waste? The influence of ICU bed capacity on admission decisions 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):315.
Expanded abstract
Stelfox HT, Hemmelgarn BR, Bagshaw SM, Gao S, Doig CJ, Nijssen-Jordan C, Manns B: Intensive care unit bed availability and outcomes for hospitalized patients with sudden clinical deterioration. Arch Intern Med 2012, 172:467-474.
Intensive care unit (ICU) beds are a scarce resource, and admissions may require prioritization when demand exceeds supply. However, there are few empiric data on whether the availability of ICU beds influences triage and processes of care for hospitalized patients who develop sudden clinical deterioration.
The objective was to evaluate the effect of ICU bed availability on the processes and outcomes of care for hospitalized patients with sudden clinical deterioration on a hospital ward.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study.
The study was conducted in three hospitals in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with 2,040 beds and a catchment population of 1.5 million individuals.
Hospitalized adults (n = 3,494) with a sudden clinical deterioration triggering medical emergency team (MET) activation between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009 participated.
This study compared treatments and outcomes among sudden clinical deterioration patients according to the number of ICU beds available (zero, one, two, or more than two) at the time of the MET activation. The outcomes of interest were ICU admission rates (within 2 hours of MET activation), changes in the goals of care (resuscitative, medical, and comfort), and hospital mortality. All analyses were adjusted for hospital, physician, and patient factors.
The cohort consisted of 3,494 patients. Reduced ICU bed availability was associated with a decreased likelihood of ICU admission within 2 hours of MET activation (P = 0.03) and with an increased likelihood of change in patient goals of care (P <0.01). Patients with sudden clinical deterioration when zero ICU beds were available were 33.0% (95% confidence interval (CI), −5.1% to57.3%) less likely to be admitted to the ICU and were 89.6% (95% CI, 24.9% to 188.0%) more likely to have their goals of care changed compared with when more than two ICU beds were available. However, hospital mortality did not vary significantly by ICU bed availability (P = 0.82).
For hospitalized patients with sudden clinical deterioration, ICU bed scarcity decreases the probability of ICU admission and increases the probability of initiating comfort measures on the ward but does not influence hospital mortality.
PMCID: PMC3745081  PMID: 23672968
12.  Prevalence and incidence of severe sepsis in Dutch intensive care units 
Critical Care  2004;8(4):R153-R162.
Severe sepsis is a dreaded consequence of infection and necessitates intensive care treatment. Severe sepsis has a profound impact on mortality and on hospital costs, but recent incidence data from The Netherlands are not available. The purpose of the present study was to determine the prevalence and incidence of severe sepsis occurring during the first 24 hours of admission in Dutch intensive care units (ICUs).
Forty-seven ICUs in The Netherlands participated in a point prevalence survey and included patients with infection at the time of ICU admission. Clinical symptoms of severe sepsis during the first 24 hours of each patient's ICU stay were recorded and the prevalence of severe sepsis was calculated. Then, the annual incidence of severe sepsis in The Netherlands was estimated, based on the prevalence, the estimated length of stay, and the capacity of the participating ICUs relative to the national intensive care capacity.
The participating ICUs had 442 beds available for admissions, which was estimated to be 42% of the national ICU capacity. At the time of the survey, 455 patients were currently admitted and 151 were included in the analysis; 134 (29.5%) patients met criteria for severe sepsis. The most common failing organ system was the respiratory system (90%), and most patients were admitted following surgery (37%) and were admitted because of acute infection (62%). The most prevalent source of infection was the lung (47%). The estimated duration of ICU stay for severe sepsis patients was 13.3 ± 1.1 days.
The annual number of admissions for severe sepsis in Dutch ICUs was calculated at 8643 ± 929 cases/year, which is 0.054% of the population, 0.61% of hospital admissions and 11% of ICU admissions.
PMCID: PMC522831  PMID: 15312213
incidence; intensive care; point prevalence survey; prevalence; severe sepsis
13.  Prolonged mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients: epidemiology, outcomes and modelling the potential cost consequences of establishing a regional weaning unit 
Critical Care  2011;15(2):R102.
The number of patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation (PMV) is likely to increase. Transferring patients to specialised weaning units may improve outcomes and reduce costs. The aim of this study was to establish the incidence and outcomes of PMV in a UK administrative health care region without a dedicated weaning unit, and model the potential impact of establishing a dedicated weaning unit.
A retrospective cohort study was undertaken using a database of admissions to three intensive care units (ICU) in a UK region from 2002 to 2006. Using a 21 day cut-off to define PMV, incidence was calculated using all ICU admissions and ventilated ICU admissions as denominators. Outcomes for the PMV cohort (mortality and hospital resource use) were compared with the non-PMV cohort. Length of ICU stay beyond 21 days was used to model the effect of establishing a weaning unit in terms of unit occupancy rates, admission refusal rates, and healthcare costs.
Out of 8290 ICU admission episodes, 7848 were included in the analysis. Mechanical ventilation was required during 5552 admission episodes, of which 349 required PMV. The incidence of PMV was 4.4 per 100 ICU admissions, and 6.3 per 100 ventilated ICU admissions. PMV patients used 29.1% of all general ICU bed days, spent longer in hospital after ICU discharge than non-PMV patients (median 17 vs 7 days, P < 0.001) and had higher hospital mortality (40.3% vs 33.8%, P = 0.02). For the region, in which about 70 PMV patients were treated each year, a weaning unit with a capacity of three beds appeared most cost efficient, resulting in an occupancy rate of 73%, admission refusal rate at 21 days of 36%, and potential cost saving of £344,000 (€418,000) using UK healthcare tariffs.
One in every sixteen ventilated patients requires PMV in our region and this group use a substantial amount of health care resource. Establishing a weaning unit would potentially reduce acute bed occupancy by 8-10% and could reduce overall treatment costs. Restructuring the current configuration of critical care services to introduce weaning units should be considered if the expected increase in PMV incidence occurs.
PMCID: PMC3219374  PMID: 21439086
14.  Survival trends in critically ill HIV-infected patients in the highly active antiretroviral therapy era 
Critical Care  2010;14(3):R107.
The widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) has reduced HIV-related life-threatening infectious complications. Our objective was to assess whether highly active ART was associated with improved survival in critically ill HIV-infected patients.
A retrospective study from 1996 to 2005 was performed in a medical intensive care unit (ICU) in a university hospital specialized in the management of immunocompromised patients. A total of 284 critically ill HIV-infected patients were included. Differences were sought across four time periods. Risk factors for death were identified by multivariable logistic regression.
Among the 233 (82%) patients with known HIV infection before ICU admission, 64% were on highly active ART. Annual admissions increased over time, with no differences in reasons for admission: proportions of patients with newly diagnosed HIV, previous opportunistic infection, CD4 counts, viral load, or acute disease severity. ICU and 90-day mortality rates decreased steadily: 25% and 37.5% in 1996 to 1997, 17.1% and 17.1% in 1998 to 2000, 13.2% and 13.2% in 2001 to 2003, and 8.6% in 2004 to 2005. Five factors were independently associated with increased ICU mortality: delayed ICU admission (odds ratio (OR), 3.04; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.29 to 7.17), acute renal failure (OR, 4.21; 95% CI, 1.63 to 10.92), hepatic cirrhosis (OR, 3.78; 95% CI, 1.21 to 11.84), ICU admission for coma (OR, 2.73; 95% CI, 1.16 to 6.46), and severe sepsis (OR, 3.67; 95% CI, 1.53 to 8.80). Admission to the ICU in the most recent period was independently associated with increased survival: admission from 2001 to 2003 (OR, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.99), and between 2004 and 2005 (OR, 0.13; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.53).
ICU survival increased significantly in the highly active ART era, although disease severity remained unchanged. Co-morbidities and organ dysfunctions, but not HIV-related variables, were associated with death. Earlier ICU admission from the hospital ward might improve survival.
PMCID: PMC2911753  PMID: 20534139
15.  There′s no place like home: Boarding surgical ICU patients in other ICUs and the effect of distances from the home unit 
Intensive care units (ICUs) function frequently at capacity, requiring incoming critically ill patients to be placed in alternate geographically distinct ICUs. In some medical ICU populations, “boarding” in an overflow ICU has been associated with increased mortality. We hypothesized that surgical ICU patients experience more complications when boarding in an overflow ICU and that the frequency of these complications are greatest in boarders farthest from the home unit (HU).
A 5-year (June 2005 to June 2010) retrospective review of a prospectively maintained ICU database was performed, and demographics, severity of illness, length of stay, and incidence of ICU complications were extracted. Distances between boarding patients’ rooms and the HU were measured. Complications occurring in patients located in the same floor (BUSF) and different floor (BUDF) boarding units were compared and stratified by distance from HU to the patient room. Logistic regression was used to develop control for known confounders.
A total of 7,793 patients were admitted to the HU and 833 to a boarding unit (BUSF, n = 712; BUDF, n = 121). Boarders were younger, had a lower length of stay, and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II and were more of tentrauma/emergency surgery patients. Compared with in-HU patients, the incidence of aspiration pneumonia (2.2% vs. 3.6%, p < 0.01) was greater in BUSF patients and highest in those farthest from the HU (odds ratio [OR],2.39;p =0.01). Delirium occurred less often in HU than in BUDF patients (3.3% vs. 8.3 %, p < 0.01), and both delirium (OR, 6.09, p < 0.01) and ventilator-associated pneumonia (OR, 4.49, p < 0.05) were more frequent in patients farther from the HU.
Certain ICU complications occur more frequently in boarding patients particularly if they are located on a different floor or far from the HU. When surgical ICU bed availability forces overflow admissions to non–home ICUs, greater interdisciplinary awareness, education, and training may be needed to ensure equivalent care and outcomes.
Epidemiologic study, level III. Therapeutic study, level IV.
PMCID: PMC4156017  PMID: 24662877
ICU boarding; off-service admissions; ICU complications; surgical intensive care
16.  Sepsis is a major determinant of outcome in critically ill HIV/AIDS patients 
Critical Care  2010;14(4):R152.
New challenges have arisen for the management of critically ill HIV/AIDS patients. Severe sepsis has emerged as a common cause of intensive care unit (ICU) admission for those living with HIV/AIDS. Contrastingly, HIV/AIDS patients have been systematically excluded from sepsis studies, limiting the understanding of the impact of sepsis in this population. We prospectively followed up critically ill HIV/AIDS patients to evaluate the main risk factors for hospital mortality and the impact of severe sepsis on the short- and long-term survival.
All consecutive HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU of an infectious diseases research center, from June 2006 to May 2008, were included. Severity of illness, time since AIDS diagnosis, CD4 cell count, antiretroviral treatment, incidence of severe sepsis, and organ dysfunctions were registered. The 28-day, hospital, and 6-month outcomes were obtained for all patients. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis measured the effect of potential factors on 28-day and 6-month mortality.
During the 2-year study period, 88 HIV/AIDS critically ill patients were admitted to the ICU. Seventy percent of patients had opportunist infections, median CD4 count was 75 cells/mm3, and 45% were receiving antiretroviral therapy. Location on a ward before ICU admission, cardiovascular and respiratory dysfunctions on the first day after admission, and the presence of severe sepsis/septic shock were associated with reduced 28-day and 6-month survival on a univariate analysis. After a multivariate analysis, severe sepsis determined the highest hazard ratio (HR) for 28-day (adjusted HR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.21-8.07) and 6-month (adjusted HR, 3.35; 95% CI, 1.42-7.86) mortality. Severe sepsis occurred in 44 (50%) patients, mainly because of lower respiratory tract infections. The survival of septic and nonseptic patients was significantly different at 28-day and 6-month follow-up times (log-rank and Peto test, P < 0.001).
Severe sepsis has emerged as a major cause of admission and mortality for hospitalized HIV/AIDS patients, significantly affecting short- and longer-term survival of critically ill HIV/AIDS patients.
PMCID: PMC2945136  PMID: 20698966
17.  Critical illness in systemic lupus erythematosus and the antiphospholipid syndrome 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2002;61(5):414-421.
Objectives: To investigate the causes, course, and outcome of critical illness requiring emergency admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), or both.
Methods: Critically ill patients with SLE or APS, or both, admitted to a London teaching hospital ICU over a 15 year period were studied. Demographic, diagnostic, physiological, laboratory, and survival data were analysed. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were constructed by age, time from first diagnosis of SLE, and time from first ICU admission. The log rank test and a backwards stepwise Cox regression were used to identify factors associated with reduced survival.
Results: Sixty one patients with SLE alone (39%) and/or APS (61%) required 76 emergency admissions to the ICU. Patients had high severity of illness scores (median APACHE II 22 (range 8–45)) and multiorgan dysfunction. The primary diagnoses for patients admitted were infection in 31/76 (41%), renal disease in 16/76 (21%), cardiovascular disease in 12/76 (16%), and coagulopathies in 11/76 (14%). The commonest secondary diagnosis was renal dysfunction (49%). Factors associated with an increased risk of death were cyclophosphamide before admission, low white cell count, and high severity of illness score. Before adjustment for these factors renal disease had a strong adverse effect on long term survival (analysis by age at diagnosis p=0.005, analysis by time since first ICU admission, p=0.07). After adjustment, infection at admission to ICU was associated with an increased ICU mortality (p=0.02) and was the cause of death in 13/17 patients who died in the ICU. Similarly, after adjustment, APS was associated with reduced ICU survival (p=0.1) and reduced long term (p=0.03) survival. Seventeen patients (28%) died in the ICU, and 31 patients (51%) had died by the last follow up. Median time from ICU admission to death was four years. Overall five year survival from the first ICU admission was 43%.
Conclusion: Critical illness requiring ICU admission may occur in patients with SLE and APS. In this study, ICU survival was better than previously described, but long term survival was poor. Cyclophosphamide administration, low white cell count, and high severity of illness score were associated with reduced survival. Before adjustment for these factors, only renal disease had an adverse effect on outcome but after adjustment, infection and APS reduced survival.
PMCID: PMC1754095  PMID: 11959765
18.  Long-term survival after intensive care unit discharge in Thailand: a retrospective study 
Critical Care  2013;17(5):R219.
Economic evaluations of interventions in the hospital setting often rely on the estimated long-term impact on patient survival. Estimates of mortality rates and long-term outcomes among patients discharged alive from the intensive care unit (ICU) are lacking from lower- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to assess the long-term survival and life expectancy (LE) amongst post-ICU patients in Thailand, a middle-income country.
In this retrospective cohort study, data from a regional tertiary hospital in northeast Thailand and the regional death registry were linked and used to assess patient survival time after ICU discharge. Adult ICU patients aged at least 15 years who had been discharged alive from an ICU between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2005 were included in the study, and the death registry was used to determine deaths occurring in this cohort up to 31st December 2010. These data were used in conjunction with standard mortality life tables to estimate annual mortality and life expectancy.
This analysis included 10,321 ICU patients. During ICU admission, 3,251 patients (31.5%) died. Of 7,070 patients discharged alive, 2,527 (35.7%) were known to have died within the five-year follow-up period, a mortality rate 2.5 times higher than that in the Thai general population (age and sex matched). The mean LE was estimated as 18.3 years compared with 25.2 years in the general population.
Post-ICU patients experienced much higher rates of mortality than members of the general population over the five-year follow-up period, particularly in the first year after discharge. Further work assessing Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) in both post-ICU patients and in the general population in developing countries is needed.
PMCID: PMC4056652  PMID: 24090280
19.  Retrospective analysis of outcome of women with breast or gynaecological cancer in the intensive care unit 
JRSM Short Reports  2013;4(1):2.
Advances in oncological care have led to improved short and long-term outcomes of female patients with breast and gynecological cancer but little is known about their prognosis when admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Our aim was to describe the epidemiology of patients with women's cancer in ICU.
Retrospective analysis of data of patients with breast and gynecological cancer in ICU between February 2004 and July 2008.
ICU in a tertiary referral centre in London.
Nineteen critically ill women with breast or gynaecological cancer.
Main outcome measures
ICU and six-month outcome.
Eleven women had breast cancer and eight patients had gynaecological cancer. Twelve patients were known to have metastatic disease. The main reasons for admission to ICU were sepsis (94.7%), respiratory failure (36.8%) and need for vasoactive support (26.3%). ICU mortality was 31.6%. There was no difference in age and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score on admission to ICU between ICU survivors and non-survivors. During their stay in ICU, non-survivors had significantly more organ failure. Six-month mortality was 68.4%. Four patients had >1 admission to ICU.
ICU outcome of critically ill women with breast or gynaecological cancer was similar to that of other non-cancer patient cohorts but six-month mortality was significantly higher. The decision to admit patients with women's cancer to the ICU should depend on the severity of the acute illness rather than factors related to the underlying malignancy. More research is needed to explore the outcome of patients with women's cancer after discharge from ICU.
PMCID: PMC3572657  PMID: 23413404
20.  Variation in use of intensive care for adults with diabetic ketoacidosis* 
Critical care medicine  2012;40(7):2009-2015.
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.
PMCID: PMC3561634  PMID: 22564962
Diabetic Ketoacidosis; Delivery of Health Care; Physician’s Practice Patterns
21.  End-stage renal disease and outcome in a surgical intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2013;17(6):R298.
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is associated with an increased propensity for critical illness, but whether ESRD is independently associated with a greater risk of death after major surgical procedures is unclear.
This was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from all adult (>18 years) patients admitted to a 50-bed surgical intensive care unit (ICU) between January 2004 and January 2009. ESRD was defined as the need for chronic peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis for at least 6 weeks prior to ICU admission. We used multivariable logistic regression analysis and propensity-score matching to adjust for possible confounders.
In total, 12,938 adult patients were admitted during the study period; 199 patients had ESRD at ICU admission, giving a prevalence of 1.5%. Patients with ESRD were more likely to be male (72.9% versus 63.0%, P = 0.004) and had higher severity scores, a higher incidence of diabetes mellitus and cirrhosis, and a lower incidence of cancer at ICU admission than those without ESRD. Patients with ESRD were more likely to have any type of organ failure at ICU admission and during the ICU stay. Patients with ESRD had higher ICU and hospital mortality rates (23.1% and 31.2% versus 5.5% and 10.0%, respectively, P <0.001 pairwise) and longer ICU length of stay (2 (1 to 7) versus 1 (1 to 3) days, P <0.001). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, ESRD was independently associated with a greater risk of in-hospital death (odds ratio = 3.84, 95% confidence interval 2.68 to 5.5, P <0.001). In 199 pairs of patients, hematologic and hepatic failures were more prevalent, ICU and hospital mortality rates were higher (23.1% versus 15.1% and 31.2% versus 19.1%, P <0.05 pairwise), and ICU length of stay was longer (2 (1 to 7) versus 1 (1 to 7) days, P <0.001) in patients with ESRD.
In this large cohort of surgical ICU patients, presence of ESRD at ICU admission was associated with greater morbidity and mortality and independently associated with a greater risk of in-hospital death. Our data can be useful in preoperative risk stratification.
PMCID: PMC4057028  PMID: 24365096
22.  Case mix, outcome and activity for patients admitted to intensive care units requiring chronic renal dialysis: a secondary analysis of the ICNARC Case Mix Programme Database 
Critical Care  2007;11(2):R50.
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.
PMCID: PMC2206479  PMID: 17451605
23.  Survival Analysis of 314 Episodes of Sepsis in Medical Intensive Care Unit in University Hospital: Impact of Intensive Care Unit Performance and Antimicrobial Therapy 
Croatian medical journal  2006;47(3):385-397.
To evaluate epidemiology of sepsis in medical intensive care unit (ICU) in an university hospital, and the impact of ICU performance and appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy on survival of septic patients.
Observational, partly prospective study conducted over 6 years assessed all patients meeting the criteria for sepsis at ICU admission at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Zagreb. Clinical presentation of sepsis was defined according to 2001 International Sepsis Definitions Conference. Demographic data, admission category, source of infection, severity of sepsis, ICU or hospital stay and outcome, ICU performance, and appropriateness of empirical antibiotic therapy were analyzed.
The analysis included 314 of 5022 (6.3%) patients admitted to ICU during the study period. There were 176 (56.1%) ICU survivors. At the ICU admission, sepsis was present in 100 (31.8%), severe sepsis in 89 (28.6%), and septic shock in 125 (39.8%) patients with mortality rates 17%, 33.7%, 72.1%, respectively. During ICU treatment, 244 (77.7%) patients developed at least one organ dysfunction syndrome. Of 138 (43.9%) patients who met the criteria for septic shock, 107 (75.4) were non-survivors (P<0.001). Factors associated with in-ICU mortality were acquisition of sepsis at another department (odds ratio [OR] 0.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.02-0.19), winter season (OR 0.42; 0.20-0.89), limited mobility (OR 0.28; 0.14-0.59), ICU length of stay (OR 0.82; 0.75-0.91), sepsis-related organ failure assessment (SOFA) score on day 1 (OR 0.80; 0.72-0.89), history of global heart failure (OR 0.33; 0.16-0.67), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-connected respiratory failure (OR 0.50; 0.27-0.93), septic shock present during ICU treatment (OR 0.03; 0.01-0.10), and negative blood culture at admission (OR 2.60; 0.81-6.23). Microbiological documentation of sepsis was obtained in 235 (74.8%) patients. Urinary tract infections were present in 168 (53.5%) patients, followed by skin or soft tissue infections in 58 (18.5%) and lower respiratory tract infections in 44 (14.0%) patients. Lower respiratory tract as focus of sepsis was connected with worse outcome (P<0.001). Empirical antibiotic treatment was considered adequate in 107 (60.8%) survivors and 42 (30.4%) non-survivors. Patients treated with adequate empirical antibiotic therapy had significantly higher survival time in hospital (log-rank, P = 0.001).
The mortality rate of sepsis was unacceptably high. The odds for poor outcome increased with acquisition of sepsis at another department, winter season, limited mobility, higher SOFA score on day 1, history of chronic global heart failure, COPD-connected respiratory failure, and septic shock present during ICU treatment, whereas longer ICU length of stay, positive blood culture, and adequate empirical antibiotic therapy were protective factors.
PMCID: PMC2080418  PMID: 16758516
24.  Case mix, outcome and activity for patients with severe acute kidney injury during the first 24 hours after admission to an adult, general critical care unit: application of predictive models from a secondary analysis of the ICNARC Case Mix Programme Database 
Critical Care  2008;12(Suppl 1):S2.
This study pools data from the UK Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme (CMP) to evaluate the case mix, outcome and activity for 17,326 patients with severe acute kidney injury (AKI) occurring during the first 24 hours of admission to intensive care units (ICU).
Severe AKI admissions (defined as serum creatinine ≥300 μmol/l and/or urea ≥40 mmol/l during the first 24 hours) were extracted from the ICNARC CMP database of 276,326 admissions to UK ICUs from 1995 to 2004. Subgroups of oliguric and nonoliguric AKI were identified by daily urine output. Data on surgical status, survival and length of stay were also collected. Severity of illness scores and mortality prediction models were compared (UK Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation [APACHE] II, Stuivenberg Hospital Acute Renal Failure [SHARF] T0, SHARF II0 and the Mehta model).
Severe AKI occurred in 17,326 out of 276,731 admissions (6.3%). The source of admission was nonsurgical in 83.7%. Sepsis was present in 47.3% and AKI was nonoliguric in 63.9% of cases. Admission to ICU with severe AKI accounted for 9.3% of all ICU bed-days. Oliguric AKI was associated with longer length of stay for survivors and shorter length of stay for nonsurvivors compared with nonoliguric AKI. Oliguric AKI was associated with significantly greater ICU and hospital mortality (55.8% and 77.3%, respectively) compared with nonoliguric AKI (33.4% and 49.3%, respectively). Surgery during the 1 week before admission or during the first week in the CMP unit was associated with decreased odds of mortality. UK APACHE II and the Mehta scores under-predicted the number of deaths, whereas SHARF T0 and SHARF II0 over-predicted the number of deaths.
Severe AKI accounts for over 9% of all bed-days in adult, general ICUs, representing a considerable drain on resources. Although nonoliguric AKI continues to confer a survival benefit, overall survival from AKI in the ICU and survival to leave hospital remains poor. The use of APACHE II score measured during the first 24 hours of ICU stay performs well as compared with SHARF T0, SHARF II0 and the Mehta score, but it lacks perfect calibration.
PMCID: PMC2607110  PMID: 19105800
25.  Long-term outcome and quality of life of patients treated in surgical intensive care: a comparison between sepsis and trauma 
Critical Care  2006;10(5):R134.
Our aim was to determine long-term survival and quality of life of patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit (ICU) because of sepsis or trauma.
This was an observational study conducted in an 11-bed, closed surgical ICU at a 860-bed teaching general hospital over a 1-year period (January 2003 to December 2003). Patients were divided into two groups according to admission diagnoses: group 1 included patients with sepsis; and group 2 included patients with trauma (polytrauma, multiple trauma, head injury, or spinal injury). Quality of life was assessed after 2 years following ICU admission using the EuroQol 5D questionnaire.
A total of 164 patients (98 trauma patients and 66 patients with sepsis) were included in the study. Trauma patients were younger than patients with sepsis (53 ± 21 years versus 64 ± 13 years; P ≤ 0.001). There was no significant difference between groups in Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score or length of stay in the surgical SICU. Trauma patients stayed longer on the general ward (35 ± 44 days versus 17 ± 24 days; P < 001). Surgical ICU survival, in-hospital survival, and post-hospital and cumulative 2-year survival were lower in the sepsis group than in the trauma group (surgical ICU survival: 60% versus 74%; in-hospital survival: 42% versus 62%; post-hospital survival: 78% versus 92%; cumulative 2-year survival: 33% versus 57%; P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in quality of life in all five dimensions of the EuroQol 5D between groups: 60% of patients had signs of depression, almost 60% had problems in usual activities and 56% had pain.
Patients with sepsis treated in a surgical ICU have higher short-term and long-term mortality than do trauma patients. However, quality of life is reduced to the same level in both groups.
PMCID: PMC1751058  PMID: 16978417

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