[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is interest in emergency medical admissions, the outcomes of major reconfigurations and the development of systems and processes for Acute Medicine. We report on the long-term outcomes of an Acute Medical Admissions Unit (AMAU), using a database of emergency admissions to St James' Hospital, Dublin, from 2002-2012.
All emergency admissions (67,971 episodes in 37,828 patients) were tracked and in-hospital mortality, length of stay and emergency 'wait' numbers and times summarized. We examined outcomes using generalized estimating equations, an extension of generalized linear models that permitted adjustment for correlated observations (readmissions). Margins statistics used adjusted predictions to test for interactions of key predictors while controlling for other variables using computations of the average marginal effect.
By episode, the in-hospital mortality averaged 5.8% (95%CI 5.6% - 5.9%); the relative risk reduction (RRR) was 35.0% between 2002 and 2012, from 7.0% to 4.6% (p = 0.001), with a number needed to treat (NNT) of 40.7. By unique patient the in-hospital mortality averaged 10.3% (95%CI 10.0% - 10.6%) with a RRR of 60.0% from 14.5% to 5.7% (p = 0.001), with a NNT of 11.4. Emergency Department 'wait' numbers decreased by 43%. The main mortality outcome predictors were Illness Severity, Charlson Co-Morbidity, Manchester Triage Category, O2 saturation, blood culture results, transfusion requirement, and a primary respiratory or neurological diagnosis; the model had a high AUROC - 0.88 (95% CI 0.87, 0.88).
Institution reform can result in substantial outcome and process measure benefits, improving care delivery to emergency medical admissions.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 01/2014; · 2.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to assess appropriate thromboprophylaxis prescription rates in a university hospital and to re-audit after a series of interventions. The notes of all acute medical patient admissions over a 4-week period were assessed for VTE risk factors and prescription of thromboprophylaxis. Subsequently, a series of hospital wide interventions including educational initiatives and a new drug prescription chart were introduced. 2 years post intervention the audit was repeated. Pre-intervention, 104 of 265 (39%) "at risk" patients were prescribed appropriate thromboprophylaxis. Post intervention the prescription rate increased to 108 of 188 (57%) "at risk patients". The results of the pre- intervention audit are consistent with the published literature. While there was a significant increase in prescription rates post intervention, over 40% of "at risk" patients still did not receive thromboprophylaxis highlighting the challenge in attempting to close the gap between guidelines and actual practice.
Irish medical journal 09/2013; 106(8):235-8. · 0.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Increasing hospital or specialist volumes has been shown to improve outcomes; there are little data on volumes and outcomes in emergency medical admissions. We have examined the hospital length of stay (LOS) and 30-day mortality for patients admitted under a consultant 'of the day' having high- or low-admission volumes. METHODS: An analysis was performed on all emergency medical patients admitted between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2011, using anonymous patient data. We calculated the numbers of unique patients admitted to each 'on call' consultant and allocated the latter to a high- (70th centile with 8/22 consultants) or low-volume (14/22 consultants) category. We examined outcomes (LOS and in-hospital 30-day mortality), by these cut-offs employing logistic regression to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). RESULTS: The hospital LOS was shorter (P < 0.001) for high [median 4.2, inter-quartile range (IQR) 1.7, 8.7] compared with the lower volume group (median 4.8, IQR 1.9, 9.7). There was a reduced 30-day in hospital mortality for high-volume (8.2%) compared with low-volume consultants (9.6%: P < 0.01). An admission under a high-volume consultant was independently predictive of survival, after adjustment for other outcome predictors including co-morbidity; the relative risk reduction was 25% [OR 0.75 (95% CI 0.68-0.82): P < 0.001]. CONCLUSION: In an era of increasing specialization, these data provide support for the concept that the frequency of being 'on-call' contributes to maintaining competence with an associated improvement in patient outcomes.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 05/2013; · 2.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Material deprivation in cold weather may increase the risk of hypothermia and contribute to excess winter mortality. To date, there were no local data to support the potential contribution of material deprivation to the incidence of hypothermia in Irish older people. AIM: To contribute evidence from a hospital-based perspective. METHODS: Patient series from St James's Hospital Dublin, Ireland. Of all patients aged ≥65 years experiencing their last medical admission between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2010, we selected those who presented with a body temperature of <35 °C. Their clinical characteristics were compared with those of a random sample of 200 age and gender-matched non-hypothermic patients. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of presentation with hypothermia. The following predictors were considered: age, gender, mean air temperature on the day of admission, year of admission, comorbidity, major diagnostic categories, and material deprivation as per the Irish National Deprivation Index (NDI). RESULTS: Eighty patients presented with hypothermia over the period. They presented in colder days (mean 8.8 vs. 10.8 °C, P < 0.001) were less likely to present in summer (P < 0.002), more likely to present in winter (P = 0.010), and their mortality was high (50 vs. 17 %, P < 0.001). The interaction NDI* air temperature was a significant multivariate predictor of hypothermia (OR = 1.03, 95 % CI 1.01-1.06, P = 0.033). CONCLUSIONS: The NDI could be an adequate tool to target fuel poverty in older people.
Irish Journal of Medical Science 12/2012; · 0.51 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Deprivation in the general population predicts mortality. We have investigated its relevance to an acute medical admission, using a database of all emergency admissions to St James' Hospital, Dublin, over a 10-year period (2002-11). METHODS: All emergency admissions, based on geocoding of residence, were allocated to a Small Area Health Research Unit division, with a corresponding deprivation index. We then examined this index as a univariate (unadjusted) and independent (adjusted) predictor of 30-day in-hospital mortality. RESULTS: The 30-day in-hospital mortality, over the 10-year period, was higher for those in the upper half of the deprivation distribution (9.6 vs. 8.6%; P = 0.002). Indeed, there was a stepwise increase in 30-day mortality over the quintiles of deprivation from 7.3% (Quintile 1) to 8.8, 10.0, 10.0 and 9.3%, respectively. Univariate logistic regression of the deprivation indices (quintiles) against outcome showed an increased risk (P = 0.002) of a 30-day death with odds ratios (ORs), respectively (compared with lowest deprivation quintile) of 1.39 [95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.21, 1.58], 1.47 (95% CI 1.29, 1.68), 1.44 (95% CI 1.26, 1.64) and 1.39 (95% CI 1.22, 1.59). The deprivation index was an independent predictor of outcome in a model when adjusted for illness severity and co-morbidity. The fully adjusted OR for a 30-day death was increased by 31% (P = 0.001) for patients in the upper half of the deprivation index distribution (OR 1.35; 95% CI 1.23, 1.48; P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Deprivation, independent of co-morbidity or acute illness severity, is an independent predictor of 30-day mortality in acute medical admissions.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 12/2012; · 2.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The utility of risk stratification following an emergency medical admission has been debated. We have examined the predictability of outcomes, from a database of all emergency admissions to St James' Hospital, Dublin, over a six year period (2005-2010).
Analysis was performed using the hospital in-patient enquiry system, linked to the patient administration system and laboratory data. The utility of a fractional polynomial laboratory only model to predict 30-day in-hospital mortality was determined.
The AUROC for the laboratory parameters to predict a 30 day death was 0.90 ( 95% CI 0.89, 0.90) in the 2002 - 2010 derivation dataset and was 0.88 (95% CI 0.86, 0.90) in the 2011 validation set. The addition of co-morbidity measures did not improve the model prediction (0.89 : 95% CI 0.88 - 0.89).
A fractional polynomial laboratory only model can reliably predict 30-day hospital mortality following an emergency medical admission, potentially allowing resources to be risk focused and patients to be prioritised.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Aim: to describe the characteristics and outcomes of homeless people admitted to our Internal Medicine service in St. James's Hospital, Dublin (Ireland), between 2002 and 2011. Methods: we interrogated an anonymized in-patient database. Results: there were 1,460 homeless admissions (623 unique patients; 39% admitted more than once). Most patients were young, male, and had low comorbidity levels. Thirty-seven percent of the admissions were alcohol-related and 27% substance abuse-related. Thirteen percent had an active psychiatric illness. Their in-patient mortality rate was 5%. Seventytwo percent were discharged without the residential arrangement being explicitly documented, 15% self-discharged or absconded, and 8% were discharged to a residential facility. Conclusion: results are novel in our context and will be relevant for local policy and practice.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Both physiological- and laboratory-derived variables, alone or in combination, have been used to predict mortality among acute medical admissions. Using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) not as an estimate of glomerular filtration rate but as an outcome predictor for hospital mortality, we examined the relationship between the MDRD value and in-hospital death during an emergency medical admission.
An analysis was performed on all emergency medical patients admitted between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2008, using the hospital in-patient enquiry system, linked to the patient administration system and laboratory datasets. Hospital mortality (any in-patient death within 30 days) was obtained from a database of deaths occurring during the same period under physicians participating in the 'on-call' roster. Logistic regression was used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for MDRD value.
Univariate analysis identified those with MDRD value of <60 as possessing increased mortality risk. Their 30-day mortality rate was 21.63 versus 4.35% for patients without an abnormal value (P < 0.0001) with an OR of 6.07 (95% CI's 5.49, 6.73: P < 0.001). After adjustment for 12 other outcome predictors including comorbidity, the OR was 4.63 (4.08, 5.25: P < 0.0001). Using the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) class, the respective mortality rates by 30 days increased with a lower MDRD value, from 2.8% in KDOQI Class 1 to 48.6% in KDOQI Class 5. Outcome prediction of in-hospital death, at 5 and 30 days with the MDRD, yielded areas under the receiver operator curves of 0.84 (0.83, 0.84) and 0.77 (0.77, 0.78).
Many factors predict survival following an emergency medical admission. The MDRD value offers a novel readily available and reliable estimate of mortality risk.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A weekend emergency medical admission has been associated with a higher mortality. We have examined all weekend admissions to St James' Hospital, Dublin between 2002 and 2009.
We divided admissions by weekday or weekend (Saturday or Sunday) presentation. We utilised a multivariate logistic model, to determine whether a weekend admission was independently predictive of 30 day outcome.
There were 49337 episodes recorded in 25883 patients; 30-day inhospital mortality at the weekend (9.9% vs. 9.0%) had an unadjusted Odds Ratio of 1.11 (95% CI 0.99, 1.23: p=0.057). In the full risk unlike the univariate) model, a weekend admission was not independently predictive (OR 1.05; 95% CI: 0.88, 1.24). The case-mix for a weekend admission differed; with more neurological diagnoses (22.8% vs 20.4% : p = 0.001) and less gastrointestinal disease (18.3% vs 21.1% : p = 0.001). A biochemistry only illness severity score predicted a higher mortality for weekend admissions.
Patients admitted at the weekend had an approximate 11% increased 30-day in-hospital mortality, compared with a weekday admission. However, admission at the weekend was not independently predictive in a risk model that included Illness Severity (age and biochemical markers) and co-morbidity. Sicker patients, with a worse outcome, are admitted over the weekend; these considerations should inform the allocation of healthcare resources.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine the relationship between admission serum albumin and 30-day mortality during an emergency medical admission.
An analysis was performed of all emergency medical patients admitted to St. James's Hospital (SJH), Dublin between 1st January 2002 and 31st December 2008, using the hospital in-patient enquiry (HIPE) system, linked to the patient administration system, and laboratory datasets. Mortality was defined as an in-hospital death within 30 days. Logistic regression was used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals for defined albumin subsets.
Univariate analysis using predefined criteria based on distribution, identified the groups of <10% and between 10 and 25% of the serum albumin frequency distribution as at increased mortality risk. Their mortality rates were 31.7% and 15.4% respectively; their unadjusted odds rates were 6.35 (5.68, 7.09) and 2.11 (1.90, 2.34). Patients in the lowest 25% of the distribution had a 30-day mortality of 19.9% and this significantly increased risk persisted, after adjustment for other outcome predictors including co-morbidity and illness severity (OR 2.95 (2.49, 3.48): p<0.0001).
Serum albumin is predictive of 30-day mortality in emergency medical patients; mortality is non-linearly related to baseline albumin. The disproportionate increased death risk for patients in the lowest 25% of the frequency distribution (<36 g/L) is not due to co-morbidity factors or acute illness severity.
European Journal of Internal Medicine 02/2010; 21(1):17-20. · 2.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To develop and validate an in-hospital mortality risk prediction tool for unselected acutely ill medical patients using routinely collected physiological and laboratory data.
Analysis of all emergency medical patients admitted to St James's Hospital (SJH), Dublin, between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2007. Validation using a dataset of acute medical admissions from Nenagh Hospital 2000-04.
Using routinely collected vital signs and laboratory findings, a composite 5-day in-hospital mortality risk score, designated medical admissions risk system (MARS), was developed using an iterative approach involving logistic regression and multivariable fractional polynomials. Results are presented as area under receiver operating characteristics curves (AUROC) as well as Hosmer and Lemeshow goodness-of-fit statistics.
A total of 10 712 and 3597 unique patients were admitted to SJH and Nenagh Hospital, respectively. The final score included nine variables [age, heart rate, mean arterial pressure, respiratory rate, temperature, urea, potassium (K), haematocrit and white cell count]. The AUROC for 5-day in-hospital mortality was 0.93 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92-0.94] for the SJH cohort (Hosmer and Lemeshow test, P = 0.32) and 0.92 (95% CI 0.90-0.94) for the external Nenagh hospital validation cohort (Hosmer and Lemeshow test, P = 0.28).
In-hospital mortality estimation using only routinely collected emergency department admission data is possible in unselected acute medical patients using the MARS system. Such a score applied to acute medical patients at the time of admission, could assist senior clinical decision makers in promptly and accurately focusing limited clinical resources. Further studies validating the impact of this model on clinical outcomes are warranted.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 10/2009; 103(1):23-32. · 2.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum sodium has been shown to predict mortality in heart and liver failure.
To determine whether serum sodium independently predicts in-hospital mortality during any emergency medical admission.
An analysis was performed of all emergency medical patients admitted to St James's Hospital (SJH), Dublin between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2006, using the hospital inpatient enquiry (HIPE) system, linked to the patient administration system and laboratory datasets. Hospital mortality was obtained from a database of 20 deaths occurring during the same period under physicians participating in the 'on call' roster.
The serum sodium was determined at admission in all cases where it was deemed clinically necessary. Logistic regression was used to calculate crude and 25 adjusted odds ratios (ORs). Factors adjusted for included age, illness severity score (Modified Apache II score), major disease category, ICU stay, year effect, blood transfusion, gender and sepsis.
A total of 14 239 patients (47.5% male) were included in the analysis. Mortality had a U-shaped distribution and was highest in patients whose sodium level was <125 or >140 mmol/l. The unadjusted OR of death within 30 days of admission was 3.36 (95% CI 2.59-4.36) and 4.07 (95% CI 2.95-5.63) with sodium level <125 and >140 mmol/l, respectively. Adjustment for all of the factors above reduced the mortality odds in all hyponatraemia groups but all remained significant predictors of mortality. After adjustment for illness severity score the OR ratio for death in the >140 mmol/l group fell to 1.41 (95% CI 0.97-2.07).
The serum sodium is a powerful initial marker of likely mortality in unselected general medical patients. The increased death rate in hyponatraemic patients is independent of other clinical variables, whereas mortality in the hypernatraemic group is primarily a factor of illness severity.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 12/2008; 102(3):175-82. · 2.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the impact of the introduction of an acute medical admission unit (AMAU) on all-cause hospital mortality in unselected patients undergoing acute medical admission to a teaching hospital.
Analysis of data recorded in the hospital in-patient enquiry (HIPE) system relating to all emergency medical patients admitted to St James's Hospital (SJH), Dublin between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2006.
The reference year was 2002, during which patients were admitted to a variety of wards under the care of a named consultant physician. In 2003, two centrally located wards were re-configured to function as an AMAU, and all emergency medical patients were admitted to this unit following emergency department evaluation. Hospital mortality was obtained from a database of deaths occurring during this period and linked to HIPE data.
Following the introduction of the AMAU process, all-cause hospital mortality decreased from 12.6% in 2002 to 7.0% in 2006 (P < 0.0001), representing a 44.4% relative reduction during the course of the 5-year observation period (P < 0.0001). The Odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for all-cause mortality in 2006 compared with 2002 was 0.28 (0.23, 0.35). This effect was powerfully independent of other covariates, including Charlson co-morbidity and illness severity score (APACHE II), in binary logistic regression analysis and was observed across a wide cross-section of diagnostic groups.
The introduction of an AMAU significantly improved all-cause hospital mortality in acute unselected medical patients. The delivery of Acute Medicine may be enhanced by structural reform with emphasis on focus and volume. Prospective studies validating similar models elsewhere should be explored.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 07/2008; 101(6):457-65. · 2.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the impact of reorganisation of an acute admissions process on numbers of people in the emergency department (ED) awaiting admission to a hospital bed in a major teaching hospital.
We studied all emergency medical patients admitted to St James' Hospital, Dublin, between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2004. In 2002, patients were admitted to a variety of wards from the ED when a hospital bed became available. In 2003, two centrally located wards were reconfigured to function as an acute medical admissions unit (AMAU) (bed capacity 59), and all emergency patients were admitted directly to this unit from the ED (average 15 admissions per day). The maximum permitted length of stay on the AMAU was 5 days. We recorded the number of patients in the ED, who were awaiting the availability of a hospital bed, at 0700 and 1700 on the days of recording during the 36 month study period.
The impact of the AMAU reduced overall hospital length of stay from 7 days in 2002 to 5 days in 2003 and 2004 (p<0.0001). The median number of patients waiting in the ED for a hospital bed reduced from 14 in 2002 to 9 in 2003 and 8 in 2004 (p<0.0001). While age and sex of patients did not differ over the years, the factors that independently contributed to the number of patients awaiting admission were the day of the week, the month of the year, and and the extent of the comorbidity index on the previous day's intake (p<0.0001).
This study found that reorganisation of a system for acute medical admissions can significantly impact on the number of patients awaiting admission to a hospital bed, and allow an ED to operate efficiently and at a level of risk acceptable to patients.
Emergency Medicine Journal 05/2006; 23(5):363-7. · 1.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To find out if there was a difference between hospital consultants, all trained in acute general medicine, in length of stay (LOS), re-admission rates, resource utilisation, and diagnostic coding, among patients admitted as emergencies to St James' Hospital (SJH) Dublin.
A retrospective analysis was performed of data on discharges from hospital, recorded in the hospital in-patient enquiry (HIPE) system, relating to 9204 episodes among 6968 emergency medical patients admitted to SJH between 1 January 2002 and 31 October 2003. For comparative analysis, four physician groups were defined consisting of gastroenterology (GI, n = 4), respiratory (n = 3), general internal medicine (GIM, n = 2), or specialty (n = 5).
GIM consultants had the shortest LOS (median 5 days); GIM and respiratory consultants were less likely to have long stay patients (> 30 days, p<0.0001). Patients re-admitted under the same consultant had a longer LOS than those re-admitted under a different consultant (p<0.0001). Endoscopy and GI radiology investigations were used most by GI consultants, computed tomography of the thorax by respiratory, ECHO by respiratory and specialty, and computed tomography of brain by GIM and specialty consultants. GI diagnostic codings were more frequent with GI consultants (p<0.0001), respiratory diagnoses and malignancy with respiratory (p<0.0001 for both), diabetes and hypertension with specialty (p = 0.0017), and heart failure more with GIM consultants (p = 0.001).
This study found that the HIPE database was very powerful in predicting differences between hospital consultants in LOS, re-admission rates, resource utilisation, and disease coding. It would be of interest to examine the extent to which protocols and guidelines could reduce such variations.
Postgraduate Medical Journal 05/2005; 81(955):327-32. · 1.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While many UK hospitals have introduced an acute medical admissions unit (AMAU) to facilitate an efficient emergency admission process and reduce length of hospital stay (LOS), there is a lack of such data in the Republic of Ireland.
To determine the impact of an AMAU on emergency department (ED) wait times for a hospital bed, consultant practice, and LOS.
Retrospective analysis of data recorded in the hospital in-patient enquiry (HIPE) system.
We studied all emergency medical patients admitted to St James' Hospital Dublin between 1 January 2002 and 31 December 2003. In 2002, patients were admitted directly to a variety of wards, many of which were not affiliated with a medical specialty, under the care of a named consultant physician. In 2003, two centrally located wards were re-configured to function as an AMAU, and all emergency patients were admitted to this unit.
For all physician teams, median LOS shortened significantly from 2002 to 2003 (6 vs. 5 days, p<0.0001). Overall, patients seen by general physicians had a shorter LOS (5 days) than that of those seen by sub-specialists (6 days) (p<0.0001). The number of patients waiting in the ED for a hospital bed was reduced by 30% from 2002 to 2003 (p<0.001). Extrapolated cost savings for the hospital with the introduction of the AMAU were estimated at approximately 4039 bed-days and 1 714 152.
Introduction of the AMAU speeded access to acute medical service and reduced costs.
QJM: monthly journal of the Association of Physicians 04/2005; 98(4):283-9. · 2.36 Impact Factor