Journal Article

Patient flow from critical care to renal services: a year-long survey in a critical care network*

S.E. Wright, S.V. Baudouin, N. Kaudeer, S. Shrestha, J. Malone, L. Burn and N.S. Kanagasundaram

in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine

Published on behalf of Association of Physicians of Great Britain and Ireland

Volume 101, issue 8, pages 643-648
Published in print August 2008 | ISSN: 1460-2725
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2393 | DOI:
Patient flow from critical care to renal services: a year-long survey in a critical care network*

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Background: The NSF for Renal Services stresses the importance of collaboration between renal services and critical care networks in managing patients with acute renal failure in the most clinically appropriate setting. Anecdotal evidence in our region suggested that some patients were remaining on critical care inappropriately because of a lack of capacity for step-down care in local renal units.

Aim: To determine the number of extra days patients spend on critical care receiving single-organ renal support before transfer to a renal unit.

Design: Prospective, multi-centre, service evaluation.

Methods: Prospective data were collected over a one-year period by either daily telephone calls or bedside review. Follow-up data were retrieved from electronic and patient records.

Results: Five hundred and forty-two patients received renal replacement therapy (RRT) in critical care. With 68 (12.5%) patients already receiving RRT for end-stage renal failure, this gave an incidence of new RRT on critical care of 234 per million population per year. The median duration of RRT on critical care was 4 days (range 1–30). One hundred and twenty-seven patients (23%) were discharged from critical care still requiring RRT. A period of single-organ renal support (median 2 days, range 1–8) was provided to 74 of these patients (58%) using 113 critical care bed days.

Discussion: Over half of patients receiving RRT on discharge from critical care in our network received a short period of single-organ renal support before step-down. This may represent either delayed discharge from critical care or a potential opportunity for care in an alternative high-dependency facility.

Journal Article.  3071 words. 

Subjects: Medicine and Health

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