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Adverse outcomes associated with delayed intensive care consultation in medical and surgical inpatients

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Published:25th Mar 2020
Purpose: The impact of delay in obtaining an intensive care unit (ICU) consult from inpatient wards is unclear. The goal of this study was to examine the effect of time to ICU consult from medical and surgical wards on mortality and length of stay (LOS). Materials and Methods: This was a retrospective study of 241 adult medical and surgical inpatients admitted at 2 tertiary care ICUs in Canada between 2007 and 2009. Neither institution has medical emergency teams (METs). Patient demographics, time when the patient would have fulfilled MET calling criteria (MET time), time of ICU consult, and ICU admission were analyzed. The main outcome variables were 30-day mortality and ICU LOS. Results: Multivariate analysis demonstrated an increase in mortality (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-2.9; P = .01) with increased duration from MET time to ICU consult for medical patients. There was no effect of this period on ICU LOS in medical patients. In contrast, in surgical patients, the MET time to ICU consult duration was associated with an increased ICU LOS (coefficient, 2.1 for delay; 95% confidence interval, 0.26-3.8; P = .02) but had no effect on mortality. Conclusions: Increased duration to ICU consult from MET time is associated with adverse outcomes. These adverse outcomes are different between medical and surgical patients.

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