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Minerva Anestesiologica 2003 July-August;69(7-8):625-39


language: English, Italian

Demand and availability of Intensive Care beds. A study based on the data collected at the SUEM 118 Central of Padua from October 1996 to December 2001

Barbieri S., Feltracco P., Michieletto E., Basso I., Spagna A., Giron G.

Department of Pharmacology and Anesthesia “E. Meneghetti” University of Padua, Padua, Italy


Aim. This study aims to evaluate the management of intensive care beds according to the demands received by the SUEM 118 of Padua*.
It has been carried out by examining the reports drawn up by SUEM physicians from October 1996 to December 2001. The study rated the number of patients for whom an admission to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was required, according to the specific clinical situation at the moment of the request. A secondary objective was to evaluate if the critically ill patients had been admitted and treated in the most appropriate medical facility.
Methods. The research is based on 7 087 reports concerning a population of adult and pediatric patients for whom an ICU bed was required in the period previously mentioned. For each report, it analyses the following data (keeping them anonymous): date of demand, main pathology and severity of clinical condition, sex and age, provenence and destination.
Results. Even though the number of annual demands for an ICU bed made to SUEM Central 118 has remained unchanged (approximately 1 350 per year), the number of beds made available in the operating rooms of the Hospital of Padua markedly increased. What has been experienced so far, and the data collected in this study has revealed, was that the requests for an intensive treatment for the overall population (hospitalized and non hospitalized) increased disproportionally in relation to the availability of ICU beds. In fact, the total number of hospitalizations in the different ICUs rose steadily year by year (from 3 495 in 1996 to 4 640 in 2001).
Conclusion. The Hospital of Padua is a landmark center for patients who need specialized treatment. It is therefore important to increase the assistance and safety standards of its ICUs. In recent years there has been a great need for specialized ICUs either for more aggressive procedures (neurosurgical, cardiosurgical, respiratory, cardiologic, etc.) or for the increased use of adequate and invasive treatment for advanced diseases. The available resources of ICU beds should be more rationally distributed between the peripheral and the Regional Hospitals, since the activation of an ICU bed in the operating theatre is a valid, transient option.

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