Unexpected events occurring during the intra-hospital transport of critically ill ICU patients

Indian J Crit Care Med. 2014 Jun;18(6):354-7. doi: 10.4103/0972-5229.133880.


Background: Intra-hospital transport of critically ill patients is a challenging task. However, despite the improvements in intra-hospital transport practices, adverse event incidents remain high and constitute a significant risk for the transport of the critically ill ICU patients.

Objectives: To observe the number and types of unexpected-events (UEs) occurring during intra-hospital transport of critically ill ICU patients. Interventions provided along with outcome.

Materials and methods: This was a prospective observational study of 254 intra-hospital critically-ill ICU patients of our hospital transported for diagnostic purposes during April 2012 - March 2013. The escorting intensivist completed the data of unexpected events during transport.

Results: A total of 254 patients were observed prospectively for UEs during intra-hospital transfer of critically ill patients. The overall UEs observed were 139 among 64 patients. Among the UEs which occurred, the maximum were miscellaneous causes [89 (64.00%)] like oxygen probe [38 (27.33%)] or ECG lead displacement [27 (19.42%)]. Major events like fall in spo2 >5% observed in 15 (10.79%) patients, BP variation > 20% from baseline in 22 (15.82%) patients, altered mental status in 5 (3.59%), and arrhythmias in 6 (4.31%) patients. Among 64 (100%) patients with UEs, 3 (2.15%) patients with serious adverse events have been aborted from transport.

Conclusion: Unexpected-events (UEs) are common during transport of critically ill ICU patients and these adverse events can be reduced when critically ill patients are accompanied by intensivist/medically qualified person during transport and following strict transport guidelines.

Keywords: Adverse events; intensivist; intra-hospital transport; unexpected events.