Resuscitation room management of critically ill nontraumatic patients in a German emergency department (OBSERvE-study)

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Management of critically ill nontrauma (CINT) patients in the resuscitation room (RR) of the emergency department (ED) is very challenging. Detailed data describing the characteristics and management of this population are lacking. This observational study describes the epidemiology, management and outcome in CINT ED patients in the RR.

Patients and methods

From September 2014 to August 2015, data were collected prospectively on adult CINT patients admitted to the RR of a single German University ED. Patient characteristics, out-of-hospital/in-hospital treatment, admission-related diseases, time intervals for diagnostics and interventions plus outcome were recorded using a self-developed questionnaire.


A total of 34 303 patients were admitted to the ED; of these 21 074 patients were admitted for nontrauma emergencies and because of acute life-threatening problems. Five hundred and thirty-two CINT patients were admitted to the RR (median age: 71 years, 58.3% men). The main problems on admission were obstructed airway (3.8%, A), respiratory insufficiency (26.5%, B), shock (35.5%, C), unconsciousness (33.3%, D) or other (0.9%, E). Out-of-hospital and in-hospital management included intravenous access (96.8 vs. 76.9%), 12-lead ECG (50.0 vs. 86.5%), invasive airway management (30.1 vs. 27.1%), noninvasive and invasive ventilation (7.0 vs. 16.4% and 30.1 vs. 57.2%), catecholamines (16.2 vs. 24.1%), arterial line (0.2 vs. 58.1%) and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (18.4 vs. 12.2%). The mean length of stay was 34±24 min. At day 30, all-cause mortality was 34.2% (patients with and without cardiopulmonary resuscitation: 72.7 vs. 24.0%, P<0.001).


Observation of critically ill patients in the resuscitation room of the Emergency Department shows the challenge of care for CINT patients in the ED. With high levels of mortality, there is an urgent need for structured ED management guidelines.

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