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Epidemiologic analysis of patients admitted to the intensive care unit in a general hospital


To understand the profile of patient flow to and from an intensive care unit (ICU) during 2 months in 2002. The study setting is a 24-bed ICU in a 301-bed general hospital with an Emergency Department.


A prospective analysis of the data of all patients admitted to the ICU during the study period in order to classify all the first admission origins into four subgroups (ward, operating room, Emergency Department and specialized coronary and gastro-hepatology ICU), and to evaluate the different patient needs of ICU resources in these different patient populations (see Table 1).

Table 1 Comparative data between patients according to the admission origin


One hundred and forty-seven patients were admitted to our ICU during the study period. The mean duration of ICU stay was 6.46 days. Of the ICU admissions 70.7% originated from hospital wards, surgery and special units, while the remaining 29.3% came from the Emergency Department. Of our patients, 8.2% were readmitted to the ICU. The overall infection rate and observed mortality rate were 20.4% and 23.1%, respectively (lower than the expected mortality).


Compared with previously reported data, these data suggest that a large part of the available resources for intensive care in our hospital are devoted to the inhospital patient care. One suggested hypothesis is that this could result mainly from the lack of a subcritical care area.

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Athanazio, R., Barbetta, M., Freitas, M. et al. Epidemiologic analysis of patients admitted to the intensive care unit in a general hospital. Crit Care 7, P105 (2003).

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  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Emergency Department
  • Operating Room
  • Emergency Medicine
  • General Hospital