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1.  Designing and conducting a cluster-randomized trial of ICU admission for the elderly patients: the ICE-CUB 2 study 
The benefit of ICU admission for elderly patients remains controversial. This report highlights the methodology, the feasibility of and the ethical and logistical constraints in designing and conducting a cluster-randomized trial of intensive care unit (ICU) admission for critically ill elderly patients.
We designed an interventional open-label cluster-randomized controlled trial in 24 centres in France. Clusters were healthcare centres with at least one emergency department (ED) and one ICU. Healthcare centres were randomly assigned either to recommend a systematic ICU admission (intervention group) or to follow standard practices regarding ICU admission (control group). Clusters were stratified by the number of ED annual visits (<44,616 or >44,616 visits), the presence or absence of a geriatric ward and the geographical area (Paris area vs other regions in France). All elderly patients (≥75 years of age) who got to the ED were assessed for eligibility. Patients were included if they had one of the pre-established critical conditions, a preserved functional status as assessed by an ADL scale ≥4 (0 = very dependent, 6 = independent), a preserved nutritional status (subjectively assessed by physicians) and without active cancer. Exclusion criteria were an ED stay >24 h, a secondary referral to the ED and refusal to participate. The primary outcome was the mortality at 6 months calculated at the individual patient level. Secondary outcomes were ICU and hospital mortality, as well as ADL scale and quality of life (as assessed by the SF-12 Health Survey) at 6 months.
Between January 2012 and April 2015, 3036 patients were included in the trial, 1518 patients in 11 clusters allocated to intervention group and 1518 patients in 13 clusters allocated to standard care. There were 51 protocol violations.
The ICE-CUB 2 trial was deemed feasible and ethically acceptable. The ICE-CUB 2 trial will be the first cluster-randomized trial to assess the benefits of ICU admission for selected elderly patients on long-term mortality.
Trial registration Clinical identifier: NCT01508819
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13613-016-0161-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4967062  PMID: 27473119
Elderly; Intensive care; Ethics
2.  Variability of Intensive Care Admission Decisions for the Very Elderly 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34387.
Although increasing numbers of very elderly patients are requiring intensive care, few large sample studies have investigated ICU admission of very elderly patients. Data on pre triage by physicians from other specialities is limited. This observational cohort study aims at examining inter-hospital variability of ICU admission rates and its association with patients' outcomes. All patients over 80 years possibly qualifying for ICU admission who presented to the emergency departments (ED) of 15 hospitals in the Paris (France) area during a one-year period were prospectively included in the study. Main outcome measures were ICU eligibility, as assessed by the ED and ICU physicians; in-hospital mortality; and vital and functional status 6 months after the ED visit. 2646 patients (median age 86; interquartile range 83–91) were included in the study. 94% of participants completed follow-up (n = 2495). 12.4% (n = 329) of participants were deemed eligible for ICU admission by ED physicians and intensivists. The overall in-hospital and 6-month mortality rates were respectively 27.2% (n = 717) and 50.7% (n = 1264). At six months, 57.5% (n = 1433) of patients had died or had a functional deterioration. Rates of patients deemed eligible for ICU admission ranged from 5.6% to 38.8% across the participating centers, and this variability persisted after adjustment for patients' characteristics. Despite this variability, we found no association between level of ICU eligibility and either in-hospital death or six-month death or functional deterioration. In France, the likelihood that a very elderly person will be admitted to an ICU varies widely from one hospital to another. Influence of intensive care admission on patients' outcome remains unclear.
Trial Registration NCT00912600
PMCID: PMC3324496  PMID: 22509296
3.  The challenge of admitting the very elderly to intensive care 
The aging of the population has increased the demand for healthcare resources. The number of patients aged 80 years and older admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) increased during the past decade, as has the intensity of care for such patients. Yet, many physicians remain reluctant to admit the oldest, arguing a "squandering" of societal resources, that ICU care could be deleterious, or that ICU care may not actually be what the patient or family wants in this instance. Other ICU physicians are strong advocates for admission of a selected elderly population. These discrepant opinions may partly be explained by the current lack of validated criteria to select accurately the patients (of any age) who will benefit most from ICU hospitalization. This review describes the epidemiology of the elderly aged 80 years and older admitted in the ICU, their long-term outcomes, and to discuss some of the solutions to cope with the burden of an aging population receiving acute care hospitalization.
PMCID: PMC3224497  PMID: 21906383

Results 1-3 (3)