September 26, 2019

Background Information: Critical care and emergency medicine are frequently intertwined as the resuscitation of critically ill patients occurs in both environments. While the majority of these patients come through the emergency department (ED), the resuscitation of critically ill patients is not defined by a geographic location, but rather a set of principles designed to deliver appropriate care in a timely fashion.1,2 Increased numbers of critically ill patients in combination with decreased availability of intensive care unit (ICU) beds and a shortage of intensivists has led to a shift in critical care being delivered in the ED.3 Furthermore the lack of ICU beds, among many other factors, have contributed to a prolonged length of stay (LOS) of already admitted patients known as “ED Boarding”. Another factor to consider, is that providing prolonged critical care in a traditional ED setting is challenging as it requires more staff and is often associated with increased mortality. Multiple studies have demonstrated an association of worsened outcomes when patient’s ED LOS is greater than 6 hours and, in the United States, 33% of all ICU admissions from the ED have an ED LOS greater than 6 hours.1,4 A proposed solution has been the development of ICUs housed within the ED known as ED-ICUs. While only a handful exist, this new method of care delivery aims to reduce the time it takes for patients to receive critical care and offset the strain on current ICUs (Table 1)4. The authors of this study sought to determine the association of ED-ICUs on 30-day mortality and inpatient ICU admission.
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