Background/Rationale: Patients are admitted to Intensive care units (ICUs) either because they need close monitoring despite a low risk of hospital mortality (LRM group) or to receive ICU specific active treatments (AT group). The characteristics and differential outcomes of LRM patients vs. AT patients in Neurocritical Care Units are poorly understood. Methods: We classified 1,702 patients admitted to our tertiary and quaternary care center Neuroscience-ICU in 2016 and 2017 into LRM vs. AT groups. We compared demographics, admission diagnosis, goal of care status, readmission rates and managing attending specialty extracted from the medical record between groups. Acute Physiology, Age and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) IVa risk predictive modeling was used to assess comparative risks for ICU and hospital mortality and length of stay between groups. Results: 56.9% of patients admitted to our Neuroscience-ICU in 2016 and 2017 were classified as LRM, whereas 43.1% of patients were classified as AT. While demographically similar, the groups differed significantly in all risk predictive outcome measures [APACHE IVa scores, actual and predicted ICU and hospital mortality (p < 0.0001 for all metrics)]. The most common admitting diagnosis overall, cerebrovascular accident/stroke, was represented in the LRM and AT groups with similar frequency [24.3 vs. 21.3%, respectively (p = 0.15)], illustrating that further differentiating factors like symptom duration, neurologic status and its dynamic changes and neuro-imaging characteristics determine the indication for active treatment vs. observation. Patients with intracranial hemorrhage/hematoma were significantly more likely to receive active treatments as opposed to having a primary focus on monitoring [13.6 vs. 9.8%, respectively (p = 0.017)]. Conclusion: The majority of patients admitted to our Neuroscience ICU (56.9%) had <10% hospital mortality risk and a focus on monitoring, whereas the remaining 43.1% of patients received active treatments in their first ICU day. LRM Patients exhibited significantly lower APACHE IVa scores, ICU and hospital mortality rates compared to AT patients. Observed-over-expected ICU and hospital mortality ratios were better than predicted by APACHE IVa for low risk monitored patients and close to prediction for actively treated patients, suggesting that at least a subset of LRM patients may safely and more cost effectively be cared for in intermediate level care settings.
Becker, C., Bowers, C., Chandy, D., Cole, C., Schmidt, M., & Scurlock, C. (2018). Low Risk Monitoring in Neurocritical Care. Frontiers in Neurology, 9, 938. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.00938
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