Demographics and Clinical Outcomes of Patients Admitted to a Respiratory Intensive Care Unit Located in a Rehabilitation Center

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INTRODUCTION: A recent survey of respiratory intensive care units (RICU) in Italy showed that RICUs in Italy are mainly (85%) located in acute care hospitals. Forty-seven percent of the patients are admitted from emergency departments, and only 18% are admitted from intensive care units (ICU), so the percentage of patients admitted for difficulty in weaning is low (8%). Patient demographics and admission patterns in RICUs located outside acute care hospitals have not been previously described. METHODS: We analyzed admission patterns, demographics, treatment, and outcomes of patients during the first year of operation of a 7-bed RICU located in a rehabilitation center that does not have an emergency department. RESULTS: In the 1-year study period, 96 RICU patients were admitted for acute or chronic respiratory failure. The patients' mean Simplified Acute Physiology Score II was 28.9 ± 3.6. Sixty-five percent of the patients were transferred from the ICU, 17% from medical wards of other hospitals, 7% and 5%, respectively, from the medical and surgical wards of our hospital, and 6% came directly from home for a periodic check. Difficulty in weaning from mechanical ventilation was the main reason for admission (42%), followed by simple monitoring (37%) and need for acute ventilatory invasive or noninvasive support (21%). Thirty-one patients had COPD, 23 had acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, 30 had post-surgical complications, and 12 had neuromuscular disease. Twenty-seven of 40 patients admitted for difficulty in weaning were liberated from ventilation. Intrahospital mortality was 13%. Fifty percent of patients were discharged directly to home; those patients' mean Dependence Nursing Scale score (which measures the degree of patient independence) improved during hospital stay (decreased from 23 to 12 [p < 0.05]), whereas the remaining patients were transferred to long-term facilities or an acute care hospital. CONCLUSIONS: The admission pattern at our RICU in a rehabilitation center is quite different from that of an RICU in an acute care hospital. Most of our patients are admitted from ICU because of difficulty with weaning. This may be the consequence of the institutional philosophy of rehabilitation centers, which strive to achieve greater patient independence.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Respiratory Intensive Care Unit, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Centro Medico di Pavia, Pavia, Italy, Viale Ludovico il Moro 33, 27100 Pavia, Italy;, Email: 2: Respiratory Intensive Care Unit, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Centro Medico di Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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