Outcomes of Intensive Care Patients Older Than 90 Years: An 11-Year National Observational Study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Aug;68(8):1842-1846. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16624. Epub 2020 Jun 27.


Background/objectives: Many intensive care unit (ICU) physicians are reluctant to admit patients aged 90 years and older, although evidence to support these decisions is scarce. Although the body of evidence on outcomes of patients aged 80 years and older is growing, it does not include patients aged 90 years and older. The aim of this study was to compare the short- and long-term mortality of ICU patients aged 90 years and older in the Netherlands with ICU patients aged 80 to 90 years, that is, octogenarians.

Design: Multicenter national cohort study over an 11-year period (2008-2018), using data of the National Intensive Care Evaluation (NICE) registry and the Dutch insurance claims registry.

Setting: All 82 ICUs in the Netherlands.

Participants: All patients aged 80 years and older at the time of ICU admission.

Measurements: A total of 104,754 patients aged 80 years and older, of whom 9,495 (9%) were 90 years and older, were admitted to Dutch ICUs during the study period.

Results: ICU mortality of the patients aged 90 years and older was lower (13.8% vs 16.1%; P < .001) and hospital mortality was similar (26.1% vs 25.7%; P = .41) compared with octogenarians. After 3 months, mortality was higher for the patients aged 90 years and older (43.1% vs 33.7%; P < .001) and after 1-year mortality was 55.0% vs 42.7%; P < .001.

Conclusion: In the Netherlands, mortality rates of patients aged 90 years and older admitted to the ICU are not as disappointing as often assumed. They have a lower ICU mortality and a similar hospital mortality compared with octogenarians. Nevertheless, their longer term mortality is higher compared with octogenarians. However, almost 3 of 4 patients leave the hospital alive, and almost half of the patients aged 90 years and older are still alive 1 year after their ICU admission. J Am Geriatr Soc 68:1842-1846, 2020.

Keywords: ICU; critical care; octogenarians; older patients; outcome.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Critical Care Outcomes
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality / trends*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Registries