Intensive care unit capacity strain and adherence to prophylaxis guidelines

J Crit Care. 2015 Dec;30(6):1303-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2015.08.015. Epub 2015 Aug 22.


Purpose: The purpose of the study is to examine the relationship between different measures of capacity strain and adherence to prophylaxis guidelines in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Materials and methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study within the Project IMPACT database. We used multivariable logistic regression to examine relationships between ICU capacity strain and appropriate usage of venous thromboembolism prophylaxis (VTEP) and stress ulcer prophylaxis (SUP).

Results: Of 776,905 patient-days eligible for VTEP, appropriate therapy was provided on 68%. Strain as measured by proportion of new admissions (odds ratio [OR], 0.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90-0.91) and census (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.97-0.98) was associated with decreased odds of receiving VTEP. With increasing strain as measured by new admissions, the degradation of VTEP utilization was more severe in ICUs with closed (OR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.83-0.88) than open (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.91-0.92) staffing models (interaction P<.001). Of 185425 patient-days eligible for SUP, 48% received appropriate therapy. Administration of SUP was not significantly influenced by any measure of strain.

Conclusions: Rising capacity strain in the ICU reduces the odds that patients will receive appropriate VTEP but not SUP. The variability among different types of ICUs in the extent to which strain degraded VTEP use suggests opportunities for systems improvement.

Keywords: Gastrointestinal hemorrhage; Intensive care units; Prophylaxis; Surge capacity; Venous thromboembolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Crowding
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / organization & administration
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy
  • Stomach Ulcer / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Venous Thromboembolism / drug therapy
  • Venous Thromboembolism / prevention & control*


  • Anticoagulants