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Difference in ICU care between the US and UK reflect extremes of bed availability
Date:4/13/2011

Patients who receive intensive care services are very different in the United States than in the United Kingdom, according to a new study that compared admission and mortality statistics from ICUs in each country. The study found that U.K. patients are much sicker upon ICU admission, whereas U.S. patients are more likely to require continuing care after discharge and are often sent to skilled care facilities instead of home.

"The U.S. has about seven times as many ICU beds available per capita than the U.K. We wanted to compare the two because they represent extremes of ICU availability in developed countries," said lead author, Hannah Wunsch, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and epidemiology at Columbia University. "We wanted to look at the effect of that different availability of care to understand what impact that has on the delivery of critical care. What happens when you are on those extremes?"

Their findings are published online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Read the full study here.

Dr. Wunsch and colleagues examined data from Project IMPACT (PI) in the U.S., and Case Mix Programme (CMP) in the U.K., both large prospective datasets abstracted from clinical records of voluntarily participating ICUs by trained data collectors, according to precise rules and definitions. The researchers merged the datasets and used variables that were confirmed to be defined similarly in both countries.

They analyzed all medical admissions to ICUs from 2002 to 2004, excluding surgical admissions, patients younger than 16 years, and readmissions to the ICU during the same hospital stay.

The researchers then calculated the relative degree of illness of patients, length of stay, and hospital mortality and discharge status.


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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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