Resource Utilization and Outcome in Gravely 111 Intensive Care Unit Patients With Predicted In-hospital Mortality Rates of 95% or Higher by APACHE III Scores: The Relationship With Physician and Family Expectations

Berge, Keith H.; Maiers, Deborah R.; David P. Schreiner; Jewell, Stephen M.; Bechtle, Perry S.; Schroeder, Darrell R.; Stevens, Susanna R.; Lanier, William L.
February 2005
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;Feb2005, Vol. 80 Issue 2, p166
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVE: To assess resource utilization and outcome in gravely ill patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and the potential association with health care workers' and family members' expectations. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated ICU patients with a predicted in-hospital mortality rate of 95% or higher (PM95) using the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation III (APACHE III) on 2 consecutive days. All patients were admitted to a single institution between September 30, 1994, and August 9, 2001. RESULTS: The APACHE III database contained data from 38,165 ICU patients during the study interval. Of these, 248 (0.65% of ICU admissions) achieved PM95 status and were included in the study. Between PM95 and hospital discharge, resource utilization (eg, blood transfusion, hemodialysis, surgery, and computed to-mography or magnetic resonance imaging) was extensive. A total of 23% of patients survived to hospital discharge, yet all but 1 were moderately or severely disabled. One year after achieving PM95, 10% (95% confidence interval, 7%-15%) of patients were alive. For 229 patients, the medical records contained physician documentation that indicated a likely fatal outcome. Thirty-six of these medical records documented unrealistic family expectations of a good outcome. The latter finding correlated with increased resource utilization without significant improvement in 1-year survival. In contrast, absence of physician documentation of a likely fatal outcome in 19 patients correlated with an improved likelihood of hospital (74%) and 1-year (47%) survival. CONCLUSION: Despite better-than-predicted survival outcomes, patient functionality and 1-year survival were poor. Unrealistic family expectations were associated with increased resource utilization without significant survival benefit, whereas absence of physician documentation of likely impending death (which correlated with improved survival) may denote the prognostication skills of experienced clinicians.


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