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ATS 2013: Delayed ICU Transfer Increases Mortality Risk

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The Particulars: Previous research has indicated that early intervention appears to improve outcomes for many conditions that are indications for inpatient transfer to the ICU. These findings suggest that delaying ICU transfer may increase in-hospital mortality.

Data Breakdown: For a study, researchers used the Cardiac Arrest Risk Triage (CART) early warning score to examine outcomes after delayed transfer from the hospital ward to the ICU. Among patients transferred to the ICU within 6 hours of reaching a critical CART score, the mortality rate was 27%, compared with a 45% rate seen in those for whom transfer was delayed beyond 6 hours. Each 1 hour increase in transfer delay was associated with a 7% higher risk of ICU mortality.

Take Home Pearls: Use of an early warning score, such as CART, appears to identify patients who require transfer to the ICU. Every 1 hour delay in transferring patients with a critical CART score appears to increase ICU mortality.

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