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Rate and patterns of ICU admission among colorectal cancer patients: a single-center experience

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The purposes of this study were to evaluate, in colorectal cancer patients, the cause of ICU admission and to find predictors of death during and after hospitalization.


This is a retrospective study including all patients with colorectal cancer admitted in the ICU of a cancer hospital from January 1st 2003 to December 31 2012.


Among 3721 ICU admissions occurring during the study period, 119 (3.2 %) admissions dealt with colorectal cancer, of whom 89 were eligible and assessable. The main reasons for admission were of metabolic (24 %), hemodynamic (19 %), cardiovascular (18 %), gastrointestinal (16 %), respiratory (13 %), or neurologic (6 %) origin. These complications were due to cancer in 43 %, to the antineoplastic treatment in 25 %, or were unrelated to the cancer or its treatment in 33 %. A quarter of the patients died during hospitalization. Independent predictors of death were the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score (with risk of dying increasing by 42 % per unit of SOFA score), fever (with risk of dying multiplied by three per °C), and high values of GOT (with risk of dying multiplied by 1 % per unit increase), while cancer control (i.e., stage progression or not), compliance to the initial cancer treatment plan, and LDH ≤ median levels had prognostic significance for further longer survival after hospital discharge.


This is the first study looking at specific causes for unplanned ICU admission of patients with colorectal cancer. Hospital mortality was influenced by the characteristics of the complication that entailed the ICU admission while cancer characteristics retained their prognostic influence on survival after hospital discharge.

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Correspondence to A. P. Meert.

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Camus, M.F., Ameye, L., Berghmans, T. et al. Rate and patterns of ICU admission among colorectal cancer patients: a single-center experience. Support Care Cancer 23, 1779–1785 (2015).

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