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VOLUME 18 , ISSUE 2 ( February, 2014 ) > List of Articles

RESEARCH ARTICLE

Preventability of death in a medical intensive care unit at a university hospital in a developing country

Houda Mouad, Jihane Belayachi, Naoufel Madani, Redouane Abouqal

Keywords : Adverse events, intensive care unit, medical errors, patient safety, preventable mortality

Citation Information : Mouad H, Belayachi J, Madani N, Abouqal R. Preventability of death in a medical intensive care unit at a university hospital in a developing country. Indian J Crit Care Med 2014; 18 (2):88-94.

DOI: 10.4103/0972-5229.126078

License: CC BY-ND 3.0

Published Online: 01-02-2014

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2014; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Abstract

Objective: To determine the incidence and characteristics of preventable in-ICU deaths. Materials and Methods: A one-year observational study was conducted in a medical ICU of a teaching hospital. All patients who died in medical ICU beyond 24 h were analyzed and reviewed during daily medical meeting. A death was considered preventable when it would not have occurred if the patient had received ordinary standards of care appropriate for the time of study. Preventability of death was classified by using a 1-6 point preventability scale. The types of medical errors causing preventable in-ICU deaths and the contributory factors to deaths were identified. Results: 120 deaths (47 ± 19 years, 57 months-63 weeks) were analyzed (mortality: 23%; 95% confidence interval (CI):15-31%). At admission, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score was 18 ± 7.6 and Charlson comorbidity index was 1.3 ± 1.6. The main diagnosis was infectious disease (57%) and respiratory disease (23%). The median period between the ICU admission and death was 5 days. The rate of preventable in-ICU deaths was 14.1% (17/120). The most common medical errors related to occurrence of preventable in-ICU deaths were therapeutic error (52.9%) and inappropriate technical procedure (23.5%). The preventable in-ICU deaths were associated with inadequate training or supervision of clinical staff (58.8%), no protocol (47.1%), inadequate functioning of hospital departments (29.4%), unavailable equipment (23.5%), and inadequate communication (17.6%). Conclusion: According to our study, one to two in-ICU deaths would be preventable per month. Our results suggest that the implementation of supervision and protocols could improve outcomes for critically ill patients.


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