Objectives: To describe intrahospital transport complications in critically ill patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation.
Design: Prospective multicenter cohort study.
Setting: Twelve French ICUs belonging to the OUTCOMEREA study group.
Patients: Patients older than or equal to 18 years old admitted in the ICU and requiring invasive mechanical ventilation between April 2000 and November 2010 were included.
Measurements and Main Results: Six thousand two hundred forty-two patients on invasive mechanical ventilation were identified in the OUTCOMEREA database. The statistical analysis included a description of demographic and clinical characteristics of the cohort, identification of risk factors for intrahospital transport and construction of an intrahospital transport propensity score, and an exposed/unexposed study to compare complication of intrahospital transport (excluding transport to the operating room) after adjustment on the propensity score, length of stay, and confounding factors on the day before intrahospital transport. Three thousand and six intrahospital transports occurred in 1,782 patients (28.6%) (1–17 intrahospital transports/patient). Transported patients had higher admission Simplified Acute Physiology Score II values (median [interquartile range], 51 [39–65] vs 46 [33–62], p < 10–4) and longer ICU stay lengths (12 [6–23] vs 5 [3–11] d, p < 10–4). Post-intrahospital transport complications were recorded in 621 patients (37.4%). We matched 1,659 intrahospital transport patients to 3,344 nonintrahospital transport patients according to the intrahospital transport propensity score and previous ICU stay length. After adjustment, intrahospital transport patients were at higher risk for various complications (odds ratio = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.7–2.2; p < 10–4), including pneumothorax, atelectasis, ventilator-associated pneumonia, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and hypernatremia. Intrahospital transport was associated with a longer ICU length of stay but had no significant impact on mortality.
Conclusions: Intrahospital transport increases the risk of complications in ventilated critically ill patients. Continuous quality improvement programs should include specific procedures to minimize intrahospital transport-related risks.