From the Society

Higher hospital mortality in pediatric emergency transfer patients

Student’s case-control study proves fruitful


Editor’s Note: The Society of Hospital Medicine’s (SHM’s) Physician in Training Committee launched a scholarship program in 2015 for medical students to help transform health care and revolutionize patient care. The program has been expanded for the 2017-2018 year, offering two options for students to receive funding and engage in scholarly work during their first, second, and third years of medical school. As a part of the program, recipients are required to write about their experience on a biweekly basis.

I’ve learned so much this summer from working with Dr. Patrick Brady to better understand characteristics of pediatric patients who undergo clinical deterioration and unplanned transfers to the ICU. I’m very grateful to have spent my summer with a mentor who really cared about my growth as a student, and a fantastic group of physicians in the Division of Hospital Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Farah Hussain, second year medical student at the University of Cincinnati  and student researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medicine

Farah Hussain

Our work this summer revolved around working to define clinical characteristics and identifying predictors for emergency transfers to the ICU. An emergency transfer is when a patient is transferred from an acute care floor to an ICU where the patient received intubation, inotropes, or 3 or more fluid boluses in the first hour after arrival or before transfer. We designed a case-control study and compared emergency transfer cases from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital from 2013-2017 and matched controls 3:1 on age strata, hospital unit before transfer, and time of year. We recorded demographic data, as well as measured ICU length of stay, and hospital length of stay.

After data analysis, we discovered that children who have had an emergency transfer event spend a longer time in the ICU and in the hospital. After comparing hospital mortality, we can conclude that emergency transfer patients have a higher likelihood of hospital mortality.

From this preliminary research, the emergency transfer metric in children’s hospitals has the potential to enable more rapid learning and systems improvement. We have a few next steps to investigate these next couple months as well. We want to compare medical diagnoses and complex chronic conditions between the emergency transfer cases and controls. We also hope to describe the incidence using a patient-days denominator. Finally, our long term goals are to identify predictors for an emergency transfer event in children.

Farah Hussain is a 2nd-year medical student at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and student researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Her research interests involve bettering patient care to vulnerable populations.

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