Determinants of Intensive Care Unit Transfer in Patients Admitted to the Medical Ward of an Academic Hospital in Jeddah

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Mohamed N. AlAma
Kamal W. Alghalayini
Wesam A. Alhejily
Mohammed Abdulwahab
Hind I. Fallatah
Hani A. Jawa
Yousef A. Qari
Salem M. Bazarah
Ahmed A. Al Johaney
Siraj O. Wali
Ayman K. Sanosi
Aisha A. Alshareef
Omar A. Ayoub
Abdulraheem M. Alshehri
Mohammed A. Almekhlafi
Shadi S. Alkhayyat
Atlal M. AbuSanad
Fatma I. Al Beladi
Omar A. Fathalddin
Amani M. Alhozali
Hala H. Mosli
Khould A. Ghamri
Nawal N. Binhasher
Hanadi Alhozali
Rana A. Nabalawi
Mohammed A. Basheikh
Tareef Y. Al Aama
Faten N. Al Zaben
Fahad Alsulami
Aroub A. AlKaaki
Ibtisam M. Jali
Nisreen F. Bajunaid
Sami M. Bahlas


Clinical deterioration, Intensive care unit, Medical ward, Patient transfer


Objective:  This study aimed to identify the proportion of patients who had clinical deterioration in the medical ward that required intensive care unit transfer and the factors associated with this transfer.

Methods:  A retrospective study of all patients admitted to the medical wards of King Abdulaziz University Hospital between 2010 and 2013 was performed.  The demographics, admitting department, diagnosis at the time of admission to the ward, and cause of intensive care unit transfer were collected.  Patients at risk for deterioration and early intensive care unit transfer were identified using physiologic threshold criteria.

Results:  A screening of 38,380 patients admitted to the various medical services during the study period was performed.  Of these, 356 (0.9%) required intensive care unit transfer.  Most patients were initially admitted from the emergency department (66.3%), while transfers from another hospital comprised approximately 1%.  Intensive care unit transfer patients were more likely to have ischemic heart disease (P < 0.001), diabetes (P < 0.001), renal failure (P < 0.001), or sepsis associated with pressure ulcers (P < 0.001). They were also more likely to be bedridden (P < 0.001) or initially ventilated in the medical ward (P < 0.001).  The mortality rate of the patients was 3.9% with patients who died being more likely to have unstable blood pressure at the time of admission (P = 0.026).

Conclusion: This study identified several factors that were associated with intensive care unit transfer.  Clinicians should consider these factors when determining patient disposition to ensure timely and appropriate management.

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