Introduction: Patients with haematological malignancy admitted to intensive care have a high mortality. Adverse prognostic factors include the number of organ failures, invasive mechanical ventilation and previous bone marrow transplantation. Severity-of-illness scores may underestimate the mortality of critically ill patients with haematological malignancy. This study investigates the relationship between admission characteristics and outcome in patients with haematological malignancies admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and assesses the performance of three severity-of-illness scores in this population.
Methods: A secondary analysis of the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme Database was conducted on admissions to 178 adult, general ICUs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 1995 and 2007. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with hospital mortality. The Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II and ICNARC score were evaluated for discrimination (the ability to distinguish survivors from nonsurvivors); and the APACHE II, SAPS II and ICNARC mortality probabilities were evaluated for calibration (the accuracy of the estimated probability of survival).
Results: There were 7,689 eligible admissions. ICU mortality was 43.1% (3,312 deaths) and acute hospital mortality was 59.2% (4,239 deaths). ICU and hospital mortality increased with the number of organ failures on admission. Admission factors associated with an increased risk of death were bone marrow transplant, Hodgkin's lymphoma, severe sepsis, age, length of hospital stay prior to intensive care admission, tachycardia, low systolic blood pressure, tachypnoea, low Glasgow Coma Score, sedation, PaO2:FiO2, acidaemia, alkalaemia, oliguria, hyponatraemia, hypernatraemia, low haematocrit, and uraemia. The ICNARC model had the best discrimination of the three scores analysed, as assessed by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.78, but all scores were poorly calibrated. APACHE II had the highest accuracy at predicting hospital mortality, with a standardised mortality ratio of 1.01. SAPS II and the ICNARC score both underestimated hospital mortality.
Conclusions: Increased hospital mortality is associated with the length of hospital stay prior to ICU admission and with severe sepsis, suggesting that, if appropriate, such patients should be treated aggressively with early ICU admission. A low haematocrit was associated with higher mortality and this relationship requires further investigation. The severity-of-illness scores assessed in this study had reasonable discriminative power, but none showed good calibration.