Background: We identified risk factors and clinical outcomes associated with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Methods: This prospective cohort study included 4,144 patients admitted to the medical ICU of an urban teaching hospital during a 3-year period. Results: A total of 627 patients were classified as having ambulatory care-sensitive conditions (ie, potentially preventable. ICU admissions). Black race, decreasing Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score, younger age, female sex, and absence of immunodeficiency were independently associated with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions. Patients classified as having ambulatory care-sensitive conditions accounted for 2,006 ventilator days, 2,508 ICU days, and 5,392 hospital days. The hospital mortality rate was statistically lower for patients with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions than for patients without these conditions. Patients classified as having ambulatory care-sensitive conditions were also statistically more likely than other patients to lack health insurance and to sign out of the hospital against medical advice. Conclusion: Patients with ambulatory care-sensitive conditions account for a substantial portion of all admissions to the intensive care unit. These data suggest that interventions aimed at preventing such admissions could improve ICU bed use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-178
Number of pages7
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


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