Unanticipated Respiratory Compromise and Unplanned Intubations on General Medical and Surgical Floors.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

BACKGROUND: Unanticipated respiratory compromise that lead to unplanned intubations is a known phenomenon in hospitalized patients. Most events occur in patients at high risk in well-monitored units; less is known about the incidence, risk factors, and trajectory of patients thought at low risk on lightly monitored general care wards. The aims of our study were to quantify demographic and clinical characteristics associated with unplanned intubations on general care floors and to analyze the medications administered, monitoring strategies, and vital-sign trajectories before the event. METHODS: We performed a multicenter retrospective cohort study of hospitalized subjects on the general floor who had unanticipated, unplanned intubations on general care floors from August 2014 to February 2018. RESULTS: We identified 448 unplanned intubations. The incidence rate was 0.420 per 1,000 bed-days (95% CI 0.374-0.470) in the academic hospital and was 0.430 (95% CI 0.352-0.520) and 0.394 per 1,000 bed-days (95% CI 0.301-0.506) at our community hospitals. Extrapolating these rates to total hospital admissions in the United States, we estimate 64,000 events annually. The mortality rate was 49.1%. Within 12 h preceding the event, 35.3% of the subjects received opiates. All received vital-sign assessments. Most were monitored with pulse oximetry. In contrast, 2.5% were on cardiac telemetry, and only 4 subjects used capnography; 53.7% showed significant vital-sign changes in the 24 h before the event. However, 46.3% had no significant change in any vital signs. CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed unanticipated respiratory compromise that required an unplanned intubation of subjects on the general care floor, although not common, carried a high mortality. Besides pulse oximetry and routine vital-sign assessments, very little monitoring was in use. A significant portion of the subjects had no vital-sign abnormalities leading up to the event. Further research is needed to determine the phenotype of the different etiologies of unexpected acute respiratory failure to identify better risk stratification and monitoring strategies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bedoya, AD; Bhavsar, NA; Adagarla, B; Page, CB; Goldstein, BA; MacIntyre, NR

Published Date

  • September 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1233 - 1240

PubMed ID

  • 32156789

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7906607

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-3654

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.4187/respcare.07438


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States