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  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

A study of medical in-patients reveals a high number with organ failure

  • FJ Lamb1,
  • A Rhodes1,
  • A Rheinhart2,
  • CFJ Rayner2,
  • RM Grounds1 and
  • ED Bennett1
Critical Care19971(Suppl 1):P031

Published: 1 March 1997


Public HealthEmergency MedicineDemographical DataActive TreatmentOrgan Failure


To investigate the number of patients on the general medical wards who fulfill the current UK National Health Service Executive (NHSE) criteria for admission to a high dependency unit (HDU) [1].

Design, subjects and methods

On one day, a detailed survey of 174 patients already admitted to nine medical wards was performed. Demographical data, the function of six organs as assessed by the Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score plus the level of interventions using the Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System (TISS) was recorded.


See table.


This study suggests that 16% of patients on general medical wards fulfilled the UK NHSE guidelines for admission to High Dependency Care [1]. Currently there are no recommendations regarding the size of these units and these data suggest that the resource implications would be considerable. However the benefits for patients of this higher level of care has yet to be scientifically established but many institutions already recommend it to reduce morbidity and mortality [2].

Table (abstract P031)

Median (ranges)

No organ failure

At least 1 failing organ


(n = 147)

(n = 27)

Age years

61 (19-95)

68 (21-90)

Male : female %

58 :42

52 : 48

For active treatment %



SOFA score*

0 (0-1)

4 (2-14)

TISS points*

4 (0 - 27)

9 (1-53)

Hospital stay* days

10 (2-337)

24 (5-149)

Hospital mortality %



*P < 0.01.

Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Intensive Care Medicine, UK
Department of Respiratory Medicine, St George's Hospital, London, UK


  1. NHSE: Guidelines on admission to... from intensive care & HDUs. March. 1996, Brussels, Belgium. 18-21 March 1997Google Scholar
  2. ICS: The Intensive Care Service in the UK. May. 1990, Brussels, Belgium. 18-21 March 1997Google Scholar


© Current Science Ltd 1997