Here and Gone: Rapid Transfer From the General Care Floor to the PICU


Children admitted to the general care floor sometimes require acute escalation of care and rapid transfer (RT) to the PICU shortly after admission. In this study, we aim to investigate the characteristics of RTs and the impact RTs have on patient outcomes, including PICU length of stay (LOS), mortality, and emergency transfer defined as critical care interventions occurring within 1 hour on either side of transfer to the PICU.


We conducted a 2-year, single-center, retrospective analysis including all patients admitted to the general care floor of a tertiary children’s hospital that were subsequently transferred to the PICU, with attention to those transferred within 4 hours of admission, meeting criteria as RTs. Patient-level data and outcomes were tracked. Statistical summaries were stratified by RT or non-RT strata and between-strata comparisons were performed. Significant univariate factors were entered into a multivariate logistic regression model and reduced with statistical significance required for final model inclusion.


Of 450 patients with an unplanned PICU transfer, 105 (23.3%) experienced RTs. Significant factors in the reduced multivariate logistic regression model associated with decreased risk for RT were increased baseline Pediatric Overall Performance Category (P = .046) and PICU origin of admission (P = .012). RT patients had shorter PICU LOSs (2.8 vs 5.5 days, P < .001) compared with non-RT patients despite a higher rate of emergency transfer (15.2% vs 7.5%, P = .018) and no difference in mortality (P = .741).


In this study, we demonstrate RTs have an increase in emergency transfer rate but no apparent risk of increased PICU LOS or mortality.

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