Unplanned ICU Admission is Associated With Worse Clinical Outcomes in Geriatric Trauma Patients

Hillary E. Mulvey, Richard D. Haslam, Adam D. Laytin, Carrie A. Diamond, Carrie A. Sims

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Geriatric trauma patients who require an unplanned ICU admission (UIA) may experience worse outcomes. As such, the American College of Surgeons initiated the Trauma Quality Improvement Program which tracks UIA as a quality benchmark. We sought to determine the overall rate and impact of UIA in our geriatric trauma population and to identify predictive risk factors. Methods: All geriatric trauma patients (≥65) admitted to an urban, level I trauma center from January 2012 to June 2018 were identified. A retrospectively collected administrative database was queried for demographics, comorbidities, injury characteristics, and outcomes. UIA were identified and medical records were queried. Univariate analysis followed by binary logistic regression analysis were performed (P < 0.05 = significant). Results: Of the 2923 geriatric patients identified, 95 (3.3%) patients experienced UIA, most commonly secondary to respiratory (34.7%) and cardiac (22.1%) events. Patients with UIA were older (81 versus 78, P = 0.04), and had higher injury severity score (10 versus 9, P < 0.01) and Charlson comorbidity indices (5 versus 4, P = 0.02). On logistic regression, age (OR 1.027, P = 0.04) and injury severity score (OR 1.032, P < 0.01) were predictive of unplanned ICU admission. Of the UIA, 69.4% were readmissions, or “bounce backs”. Patients initially admitted to the ICU had 2.5 increased odds of requiring UIA. Patients with UIA experienced longer hospital stays (15 versus 5, P < 0.01), more days in the ICU (6 versus 1, P < 0.01), and higher rates of mortality (11.6% versus 5.0%, P = 0.02). Conclusions: Despite relatively low injury severity, geriatric trauma patients requiring UIA have a significant increase in morbidity and mortality. Those initially admitted to the ICU are at especially high risk for UIA, suggesting the benefit of strategies to provide an extra layer of care post-ICU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Geriatric
  • Injury severity
  • Intensive care unit
  • Readmission
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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