Patient Care

Delayed ICU Transfer Affects Mortality and Length of Stay


Clinical Question: Can an objective measurement of critical illness inform intensive care unit (ICU) transfer timeliness?

Background: Early intervention has shown mortality benefit in many critical illness syndromes, yet heterogeneity in timing of ICU transfer exists. Previous studies examining ICU transfer timeliness have mostly focused on subjective criteria.

Study Design: Retrospective observational cohort study.

Setting: Medical-surgical units at five hospitals including the University of Chicago and NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois.

Synopsis: All medical-surgical ward patients between November 2008 and January 2013 were scored using eCART, a previously validated objective scoring system, to decide when transfer was appropriate. Of those, 3,789 patients reached the predetermined threshold for critical illness. Transfers more than six hours after crossing the threshold were considered delayed. Patients with delayed transfer had a statistically significant increase in length of stay (LOS) and in-hospital mortality (33.2% versus 24.5%; P < 0.001), and the mortality increase was linear, with a 3% increase in odds for each one hour of further transfer delay (P < 0.001). The rate of change of eCART score did influence time of transfer, and the authors suggest that rapid changes were more likely to be recognized. They postulate that routine implementation of eCART or similar objective scoring may lead to earlier recognition of necessary ICU transfer and thus improve mortality and LOS, and they suggest this as a topic for future trials.

Bottom Line: Delayed ICU transfer negatively affects LOS and in-hospital mortality. Objective criteria may identify more appropriate timing of transfer. Clinical trials to investigate this are warranted.

Citation: Churpek MM, Wendlandt B, Zadravecz FJ, Adhikari R, Winslow C, Edelson DP. Association between intensive care unit transfer delay and hospital mortality: a multicenter investigation [published online ahead of print June 28, 2016]. J Hosp Med. doi:10.1002/jhm.2630.

Short Take

Intranasal Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine Not Recommended

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against use of the nasal spray live attenuated influenza vaccine. This is based on data showing poor effectiveness in prior years.

Citation: ACIP votes down use of LAIV for 2016-2017 flu season [press release]. CDC website.

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