The association of duration of boarding in the emergency room and the outcome of patients admitted to the intensive care unit.BMC Emerg Med. 2017 11 09; 17(1):34.BE
The demand for critical care beds is increasing out of proportion to bed availability. As a result, some critically ill patients are kept in the Emergency Department (ED boarding) awaiting bed availability. The aim of our study is to examine the impact of boarding in the ED on the outcome of patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit(ICU).
This was a retrospective analysis of ICU data collected prospectively at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh from ED between January 2010 and December 2012 and all patients admitted during this time were evaluated for their duration of boarding. Patients were stratified into three groups according to the duration of boarding from ED. Those admitted less than 6 h were classified as Group I, between 6 and 24 h, Group II and more than 24 h as Group III. We carried out multivariate analysis to examine the independent association of boarding time with the outcome adjusting for variables like age, sex, APACHE, Mechanical ventilation, Creatinine, Platelets, INR.
During the study period, 940 patients were admitted from the ED to ICU, amongst whom 227 (25%) were admitted to ICU within 6 h, 358 (39%) within 6-24 h and 355 (38%) after 24 h. Patients admitted to ICU within 6 h were younger [48.7 ± 22.2(group I) years, 50.6 ± 22.6 (group II), 58.2 ± 20.9 (group III) (P = 0.04)]with less mechanical ventilation duration[5.9 ± 8.9 days (Group I), 6.5 ± 8.1 (Group II) and 10.6 ± 10.5 (Group III), P = 0.04]. There was a significant increase in hospital mortality [51(22.5), 104(29.1), 132(37.2), P = 0.0006) and the ICU length of stay(LOS) [9.55 days (Group I), 9.8 (Group II) and 10.6 (Group III), (P = 0.002)] with increase in boarding duration. In addition, the delay in admission was an independent risk factor for ICU mortality(OR for group III vs group I is 1.90, P = 0.04) and hospital mortality(OR for group III vs Group I is 2.09, P = 0.007).
Boarding in the ED is associated with higher mortality. This data highlights the importance of this phenomenon and suggests the need for urgent measures to reduce boarding and to improve patient flow.