Unplanned transfer to an ICU within 48 hours of admission from the emergency department (ED) can be considered an adverse event. Screening at risk for such an event is a challenge for ED staff. Our purpose was to identify the clinical and biological variables which may be identified in the ED setting and can predict short-term unplanned secondary transfer to the intensive care setting.
This was a three-year retrospective case controlled monocentric study. The cases were patients transferred to a medical ICU within 48 hours of admission to the general wards from the ED. Each case was matched to two controls (patients not transferred to the ICU) based on age, gender, year of admission, and hospital unit. A conditional logistic regression was performed.
Three hundred nineteen patients, including 107 cases and 212 controls, were studied. Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) was the most frequent diagnosis (23% of cases) followed by sepsis (16%). We identified six predictive factors of an unplanned short-term transfer to the ICU. Former smoking status, fever between 38°C and 40°C, dyspnea as the chief complaint in the ED, a lower MEDS score, an elevated acute physiology age chronic health evaluation score, and the ordering of an arterial blood gas each correlate with secondary transfer to an intensive care setting.
We report a higher risk of short-term unscheduled ICU transfer in patients meeting these criteria. These patients should be closely monitored and frequently re-evaluated before being transferred to a general ward.