Objective: Multicenter data from 2 decades ago demonstrated that critically ill and injured patients spending more than 6 hours in the emergency department (ED) before transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU) had higher mortality rates. A contemporary analysis of ED length of stay in critically injured patients at American College of Surgeons’ Trauma Quality Improvement Program (ACS-TQIP) centers was performed to test whether prolonged ED length of stay is still associated with mortality. Methods: This was an observational cohort study of critically injured patients admitted directly to ICU from the ED in ACS-TQIP centers from 2010-2015. Spending more than 6 hours in the ED was defined as prolonged ED length of stay. Patients with prolonged ED length of stay were matched to those with non-prolonged ED length of stay and mortality was compared. Main Results: A total of 113,097 patients were directly admitted from the ED to the ICU following injury. The median ED length of stay was 167 minutes. Prolonged ED length of stay occurred in 15,279 (13.5%) of patients. Women accounted for 29.4% of patients with prolonged ED length of stay but only 25.8% of patients with non-prolonged ED length of stay, P < 0.0001. Mortality rates were similar after matching—4.5% among patients with prolonged ED length of stay versus 4.2% among matched controls. Multivariable logistic regression of the matched cohorts demonstrated prolonged ED length of stay was not associated with mortality. However, women had higher adjusted mortality compared to men Odds Ratio = 1.41, 95% Confidence Interval 1.28 -1.61, P < 0.0001. Conclusion: Prolonged ED length of stay is no longer associated with mortality among critically injured patients. Women are more likely to have prolonged ED length of stay and mortality.
- length of stay
- patient admission
- resource utilization
- statistic propensity matching