Objective: To describe efficacy (mortality) and efficiency (length of admission) of intensive care (IC) treatment after admission due to a prior cardiothoracic operation or pneumonia, based on data from the Dutch National Intensive Care Evaluation (NICE) foundation.
Method: Data for the period 1 January 1997-31 December 2001 were extracted from the NICE databank for patients admitted after cardiothoracic surgery and for patients admitted with pneumonia. The variables changes in time, risk factors for mortality, and differences between hospitals were analysed.
Results: There were 25,463 admissions to 5 hospitals following cardiothoracic surgery and 1408 admissions to 18 hospitals due to pneumonia. An increase in valve surgery was noted in the cardiothoracic surgery group: from about 10% to about 25%. In the group undergoing valve operations, there was an increase in the average age of the patients and in the number of patients with comorbidity. No significant differences in mortality between hospitals were detected. However, the length of ICU treatment differed. Hospital mortality in the pneumonia group was 33.9%. Differences between hospitals with respect to mortality (both crude mortality and severity-of-illness adjusted mortality) and length of ICU admission were found.
Conclusion: With the NICE registration it is possible to detect differences and trends. This is a valuable tool for indicating where and how quality and efficiency in intensive care medicine can be improved.