Intensive care unit length of stay: Benchmarking based on Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) IV*

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Objective:To revise and update the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) model for predicting intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay.Design:Observational cohort study.Setting:One hundred and four ICUs in 45 U.S. hospitals.Patients:Patients included 131,618 consecutive ICU admissions during 2002 and 2003, of which 116,209 met inclusion criteria.Interventions:None.Measurements and Main Results:The APACHE IV model for predicting ICU length of stay was developed using ICU day 1 patient data and a multivariate linear regression procedure to estimate the precise ICU stay for randomly selected patients who comprised 60% of the database. New variables were added to the previous APACHE III model, and advanced statistical modeling techniques were used. Accuracy was assessed by comparing mean observed and mean predicted ICU stay for the excluded 40% of patients. Aggregate mean observed ICU stay was 3.86 days and mean predicted 3.78 days (p < .001), a difference of 1.9 hrs. For 108 (93%) of 116 diagnoses, there was no significant difference between mean observed and mean predicted ICU stay. The model accounted for 21.5% of the variation in ICU stay across individual patients and 62% across ICUs. Correspondence between mean observed and mean predicted length of stay was reduced for patients with a short (≤1.7 days) or long (≥9.4 days) ICU stay and a low (<20%) or high (>80%) risk of death on ICU day 1.Conclusions:The APACHE IV model provides clinically useful ICU length of stay predictions for critically ill patient groups, but its accuracy and utility are limited for individual patients. APACHE IV benchmarks for ICU stay are useful for assessing the efficiency of unit throughput and support examination of structural, managerial, and patient factors that affect ICU stay.

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