Different Harm and Mortality in Critically Ill Medical vs Surgical Patients: Retrospective Analysis of Variation in Adverse Events in Different Intensive Care Units

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Perm J


BACKGROUND: Institutional harm reduction campaigns are essential in improving safe practice in critical care. Our institution embarked on an aggressive project to measure harm. We hypothesized that critically ill surgical patients were at increased risk of harm compared with medical intensive care patients.

METHODS: Three years of administrative data for patients with at least 1 Intensive Care Unit day at an urban tertiary care center were assembled. Data were accessed from the Henry Ford Health System No Harm Campaign in Detroit, MI. Harm was defined as any unintended physical injury resulting from medical care. Patients were deemed surgical if they had at least 1 procedure in the operating room. Univariate analysis was used to compare surgical patients with nonsurgical. Logistic regression was used for risk adjustment in predicting harm and death.

RESULTS: The study included 19,844 patients, of whom 7483 (37.7%) were surgical. The overall mortality was 7.8% (n = 1554). More surgical patients experienced harm than did nonsurgical patients (2923 [39.1%] vs 2798 [22.6%], odds ratio [OR] = 2.2, p < 0.001). Surgical patients were less likely to die (6.2% vs 8.8%, p < 0.001). Surgical patients were more likely to experience harm (OR = 2.1) but had lower mortalities (OR = 0.45) vs other harmed patients (OR = 3.8; all p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Most harm in surgically critically ill patients is procedure related. Preliminary data show that harm is associated with death, yet both surgical and African American patients experience more harm with a lower mortality rate.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; African Americans; Aged; Critical Care; Critical Illness; Female; Harm Reduction; Humans; Inpatients; Intensive Care Units; Male; Medical Errors; Michigan; Middle Aged; Retrospective Studies; Surgical Procedures, Operative; Tertiary Care Centers

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