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South African Medical Journal

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Critical care admission of South African (SA) surgical patients: Results of the SA Surgical Outcomes Study

D.L. Skinner, K de Vasconcellos, R Wise, T.M. Esterhuizen, C Fourie, A Goolam Mahomed, P.D. Gopalan, I Joubert, H Kluyts, L.R. Mathivha, B Mrara, J.P. Pretorius, G Richards, O Smith, M.G.L. Spruyt, R.M. Pearse, T.E. Madiba, B.M. Biccard

Abstract


Background. Appropriate critical care admissions are an important component of surgical care. However, there are few data describing postoperative critical care admission in resource-limited low- and middle-income countries.

Objective. To describe the demographics, organ failures, organ support and outcomes of non-cardiac surgical patients admitted to critical care units in South Africa (SA).

Methods. The SA Surgical Outcomes Study (SASOS) was a 7-day national, multicentre, prospective, observational cohort study of all patients ≥16 years of age undergoing inpatient non-cardiac surgery between 19 and 26 May 2014 at 50 government-funded hospitals. All patients admitted to critical care units during this study were included for analysis.

Results. Of the 3 927 SASOS patients, 255 (6.5%) were admitted to critical care units; of these admissions, 144 (56.5%) were planned, and 111 (43.5%) unplanned. The incidence of confirmed or strongly suspected infection at the time of admission was 35.4%, with a significantly higher incidence in unplanned admissions (49.1 v. 24.8%, p<0.001). Unplanned admission cases were more frequently hypovolaemic, had septic shock, and required significantly more inotropic, ventilatory and renal support in the first 48 hours after admission. Overall mortality was 22.4%, with unplanned admissions having a significantly longer critical care length of stay and overall mortality (33.3 v. 13.9%, p<0.001).

Conclusion. The outcome of patients admitted to public sector critical care units in SA is strongly associated with unplanned admissions. Adequate ‘high care-dependency units’ for postoperative care of elective surgical patients could potentially decrease the burden on critical care resources in SA by 23%. This study was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02141867).




http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.2017.v107i5.11455
AJOL African Journals Online