The Effect of a Neurocritical Care Service without a Dedicated Neuro-ICU on Quality of Care in Intracerebral Hemorrhage
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Introduction of neurocritical care services to dedicated neuro-ICUs is associated with improved quality of care. The impact of a neurocritical care service without a dedicated neuro-ICU has not been studied.
We retrospectively identified all patients admitted to our institution with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in two 12-month periods: immediately before the arrival of the first neurointensivist (“before”) and after the neurocritical care service was established (“after”). There was no nursing team, ICU housestaff/physician extender team, or physical unit dedicated to the care of patients with critical neurologic illness during either period. Using an uncontrolled before-after design, we compared clinical outcomes and performance on quality metrics between groups.
We included 74 patients with primary supratentorial ICH. Mortality, length of stay (LOS), proportion of patients with modified Rankin Score 0–3, and destination on discharge did not differ between groups when adjusted for confounders. Time to first two consecutive systolic blood pressure (SBP) measurements <180 mmHg was shorter in the “after” cohort (mean 4.5 vs. 3.2 h, p = 0.001). Area under the curve measurement for change in SBP from baseline over the first 24 h after ED arrival demonstrated greater, sustained SBP reduction in the “after” cohort (mean −187.9 vs. −720.9, p = 0.04). A higher proportion of patients were fed without passing a dysphagia screen in the “before” group (45 vs. 0 %, p < 0.001).
Introduction of a neurocritical service without a neuro-ICU at our institution was associated with a trend toward longer ICU LOS and improvement in some key metrics of quality of care for patients with ICH.