- Paper Report
- Open Access
Transport of critically ill patients
- Richard Venn1
© Current Science Ltd 2000
- Published: 17 August 2000
- critically ill
- ICU transfer
- retrieval team
The transfer of critically ill patients between intesive care units (ICUs) in the UK affects at least 11,000 patients per annum, and this number is increasing due to a national shortage of ICU beds. Only a minority of hospitals operate a specialised retrieval service; consequently, inexperienced junior doctors perform the majority of transfers, often with inadequate mobile monitoring equipment. Poor transfer standards may result in morbidity and mortality.
Retrospective review of all patients (n = 259) who were transferred into a university teaching hospital ICU over a one year period.
Patients divided into Group A (n = 168), transferred by a specialist retrieval team with mobile ICU, and Group B (n = 91), transferred by a medical team in a standard ambulance.
Transfer by standard ambulance occurred when the retrieval team was unavailable.
Transfer and hospital records were analysed.
There were no differences in demographics, severity of illness, and mortality between the two groups. More patients had medical rather than surgical problems, and significantly more retrievals were from ICUs (rather than accident and emergency, wards, etc) in Group A. Significantly more patients in Group B were severely acidotic (11% vs 3%) and hypotensive (17.6% vs 8.9%) upon arrival, and there were more deaths within 12 h of arrival in Group B.