Background and Purpose: Patients suffering intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) are at risk for early neurologic deterioration and are often admitted to intensive care units (ICU) for observation. There is limited data on the safety of admitting low-risk patients with ICH to a non-ICU setting. We hypothesized that admitting such patients to a neurologic step-down unit (SDU) is safe and less resource-intensive. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of patients with primary ICH admitted to our SDU. We compared this cohort to a control group of ICH patients admitted to a neurologic-ICU (NICU) at a partner institution. We analyzed patients with supratentorial ICH ≤15 cc, Glasgow Coma Scale ≥ 13, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale ≤ 10, and no to minimal intraventricular hemorrhage. Primary end points were (re-)admission to an NICU and rates of hematoma expansion (HE). We also compared total NICU days and hospital length of stay (LOS). Results: Eighty patients with ICH were admitted to the SDU. Only 2 required transfer to the NICU for complications related to ICH, including 1 for HE. Seventy-four SDU patients met inclusion criteria and were compared to 58 patients admitted to an NICU. There was no difference in rates of NICU (re-)admission (7 vs 2, P =.17) or rates of HE (3 vs 5, P =.28). Median NICU days were 0 versus 1 (P <.001). Step-down unit admission was associated with shorter LOS (3 vs 4 days, P =.05). Conclusions: Select patients with ICH can be safely admitted to an SDU. This may reduce LOS and ICU utilization. We also propose criteria for admitting patients with ICH to an SDU.
- intensive care unit utilization
- intracerebral hemorrhage
- neurologic intensive care unit
- step-down unit
- transitional care unit