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  • Open Access

Changes in very older person admissions to an ICU over a decade

  • 1,
  • 1 and
  • 1
Critical Care201115 (Suppl 1) :P468

  • Published:


  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care
  • Care Support
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Electronic Database


The UK population is getting older and consequently our attitudes, together with the number of very older person admissions to critical care, may be changing [1]. We therefore reviewed admissions aged 80 or over (very older people) to our ICU and compared this with 10 years ago.


Retrospective data collection was completed for all patients admitted to our ICU for a 12-month period starting in August 2009, and a comparable 12-month period starting August 1999. Data were retrieved from an electronic database of ICU admissions.


The number of very older patients admitted for the 1999 period was 87 out of a total 702 (12.4%) and for the 2009 period was 156 out of a total 1,071 (14.6%). There was a marked increase in emergency medical (from 24% to 47%) and emergency surgical (from 31% to 41%) admissions in the 10 years. This was in contrast to elective surgical admissions, which have reduced from 42% to 12%. The mean ICU admission APACHE II score for patients over 80 years old decreased from 21.2 to 18.6. The ICU and hospital mortality for the very older people is summarised in Table 1. The ICU mortality for this age group increased from 29% to 33% but the hospital mortality was unchanged at 44%.
Table 1

Mortality of very older patients by specialty at ICU/hospital discharge


Medical (%)

Emergency surgical (%)

Elective surgical (%)

Overall (%)

1999 to 2000





2009 to 2010





Data presented as ICU/hospital mortality (%).


Changes in population demographics are reflected in our critical care by an increase in the number of very older person admissions. The ICU mortality was higher in this group compared with 10 years ago. One possible explanation is the marked increase in emergency admissions. This may reflect an increased willingness to refer the very older patient for critical care support.

Authors’ Affiliations

Morriston Hospital, Swansea, UK


  1. Office for National Statistics 2010 Population Estimates[]


© Connelly et al. 2011

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.