Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer related death worldwide and survival is poor. Patients with lung cancer may develop a critical illness, but it is unclear what features are associated with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission.
This retrospective, observational, population-based study of linked cancer registration, ICU, hospital discharge and mortality data described the factors associated with ICU admission in patients with lung cancer. The cohort comprised all incident cases of adult lung cancer diagnosed between 1st January 2000 and 31st December 2009 in the West of Scotland, UK, who were subsequently admitted to an ICU within 2 years of cancer diagnosis. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with admission.
26,731 incident cases of lung cancer were diagnosed with 398 (1.5%) patients admitted to an ICU. Patients were most commonly admitted with respiratory conditions and there was a high rate of invasive mechanical ventilation. ICU, in-hospital and six-month survival were 58.5, 42.0 and 31.2%, respectively. Surgical treatment of lung cancer increased the odds of ICU admission (OR 7.23 (5.14-10.2)). Odds of admission to ICU were reduced with older age (75-80 years OR 0.69 (0.49-0.94), > 80 years OR 0.21 (0.12-0.37)), female gender (OR 0.73 (0.59-0.90)) and radiotherapy (OR 0.54 (0.39-0.73)) or chemotherapy treatment (OR 0.52 (0.38-0.70)).
1.5% of patients diagnosed with lung cancer are admitted to an ICU but both short term and long term survival was poor. Factors associated with ICU admission included age < 75 years, male gender and surgical treatment of cancer.