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The importance of risk reduction in critically ill patients

Valentin, Andreas

Current Opinion in Critical Care: October 2010 - Volume 16 - Issue 5 - p 482–486
doi: 10.1097/MCC.0b013e32833cb861
Critical care outcomes: Edited by Philipp Metnitz

Purpose of review Intensive care patients are per definition at risk for an unfavourable outcome while at the same time being exposed to the risks of a very complex and invasive process of care. This review addresses this extrinsic risk with respect to causative factors and strategies for risk reduction.

Recent findings A growing amount of evidence shows that the actual risk of an unfavourable outcome in critically ill patients depends on the quality of the process of care. Several domains have been identified in which changes in infrastructure, process, and culture can result in a substantial risk reduction and increased patient safety. Important examples refer to work environment and workload of intensive care professionals, safety climate, information flow, and continuity of care. Recent studies have demonstrated that routine procedures in intensive care are amenable to considerable improvement.

Summary This review discusses recent findings related to the reduction of risk in critically ill patients with respect to the process of intensive care medicine and the conditions under which that care is provided.

General and Medical ICU Rudolfstiftung Hospital, Vienna, Austria

Correspondence to Andreas Valentin, MD, MBA, General and Medical ICU, Rudolfstiftung Hospital, Juchgasse 25, A-1030 Vienna, Austria Tel: +43 1 711652224; fax: +43 1 711652229; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.