For Immediate Release

Northwest Hospital Researchers Find Enhanced Emergency Department and ICU Collaboration Shows Benefit for Sepsis Patients

Re-evaluating ICU Admission Guidelines Improved Survival and Decreased Costs

Randallstown, MD –  Researchers at Northwest Hospital and LifeBridge Health Critical Care in Randallstown, Maryland, have found that re-evaluating intensive care admission guidelines and creating a more collaborative culture between the Emergency Department (ED) and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) led to better results for patients with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection.

Researchers presented their findings at the recent meeting of the American College of Chest Surgeons in Montreal, Canada. The study was also published in CHEST Journal, the publication of the American College of Chest Physicians.

“When deciding to admit a patient to the ICU, many people might think having a strict admissions criteria would ensure that hospital resources are used most efficiently and keep costs down,” explains lead author Joseph Carrington, D.O. “However, we found that strict ICU standards prevented admissions for many patients who could benefit from our services.”

He adds, “We decided to try lowering our ICU admission thresholds, including working to create a more collaborative culture between the ED and the ICU. By admitting previously considered ‘borderline’ patients into the ICU, we found these earlier interventions decreased patient complications in the ED and on other units. In turn, overall length of stay, mortality and transfers to the ICU decreased, creating a significant cost-savings and freeing up ICU beds and resources.”

The study looked at nearly 900 patients with sepsis at one community hospital. Researchers compared mortality and length of stay before and after easing the ICU admission criteria. They found overall mortality decreased from 14.38 percent to 7.85 percent (a 45.4 percent decrease). They also found that length of ICU stay decreased by nearly 26 percent (3.97 days compared to 2.94 days).

“While our data is encouraging, and we have seen similar results at larger tertiary care center in our area, we believe more study on this subject is needed. We want to find the best use of our skills and resources to benefit our patients,” says Jaime Barnes, D.O., medical director for critical care services at LifeBridge Health and chief of the critical care division at Northwest Hospital.

About Northwest Hospital:
Located in Randallstown, Maryland, Northwest Hospital serves the health care needs of people in the northwest Baltimore metro area, western Baltimore City, and Carroll and Howard counties. Northwest Hospital is part of LifeBridge Health, one of the largest providers of health services in Maryland. In addition to Northwest Hospital, LifeBridge Health includes Sinai Hospital, Carroll Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, and related subsidiaries and affiliates. For more information, go to

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Sharon Boston