Clinical review: Emergency department overcrowding and the potential impact on the critically ill

Crit Care. 2005 Jun;9(3):291-5. doi: 10.1186/cc2981. Epub 2004 Oct 14.


Critical care constitutes a significant and growing proportion of the practice of emergency medicine. Emergency department (ED) overcrowding in the USA represents an emerging threat to patient safety and could have a significant impact on the critically ill. This review describes the causes and effects of ED overcrowding; explores the potential impact that ED overcrowding has on care of the critically ill ED patient; and identifies possible solutions, focusing on ED based critical care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care / trends*
  • Crowding*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans