The BLITZ-3 study prospectively evaluated the epidemiology of hospital admissions, the patterns of care and the most important comorbidities in intensive cardiac care unit (ICCU) patients. Distribution and level of appropriateness of hospital admissions in relation to type of ICCU were analyzed (type A, 32%, without cardiac cath lab or cardiac surgery; type B, 49%, with cath lab; type C, 19%, with both cath lab and cardiac surgery). The caseload was estimated on the basis of different levels of mortality risk during the ICCU stay: high (>5.1%), intermediate (0.7-5.1%), low (< or = 0.7%). A total of 6986 consecutive patients admitted to 332 ICCUs were enrolled. A median number of 19 patients (interquartile range 15-26) was admitted to each center during the 14 days of enrollment; 28% of the ICCUs admitted more than 25 patients, 48% between 15 and 25, and 24% less than 15. A higher number of type A ICCUs admitted less than 15 patients (p<0.0001), whereas a higher number of type C ICCUs admitted more than 25 patients (p<0.0001). Hospital admissions for ST-elevation myocardial infarction occurred more frequently in type B or C ICCUs (p<0.0001), whereas hospital admission for heart failure mostly occurred in type A ICCUs (p<0.0001). The number of patients not undergoing reperfusion (p<0.0001) or treated with thrombolytic therapy (p<0.0001) was higher in the type A ICCUs. Coronary revascularization with primary percutaneous coronary intervention was performed more frequently in type B and C ICCUs (p<0.0001). Similarly, patients hospitalized for acute coronary syndrome underwent coronary angiography (p<0.0001) and percutaneous coronary intervention more frequently in type B and C ICCUs (p<0.0001). Prevalence of low-risk rather than intermediate- or high-risk patients was higher in type A ICCUs (p<0.05), and prevalence of high- or intermediate-risk patients was higher in type C ICCUs (p<0.05). The results of the BLITZ-3 study should lead the Italian cardiological community to reflect upon the needed number of ICCUs, the role of Spoke centers for their integration in the interhospital network, and inappropriate hospital admissions for low-risk conditions.
[Distribution and appropriateness of hospital admissions, resource utilization in the Italian intensive cardiac care units. The BLITZ-3 study] / L. O., Visconti; G., Scorcu; M., Cassin; G., Casella; A., Chinaglia; M. R., Conte; G., Fradella; D., Lucci; A. P., Maggioni; S., Pirelli; F., Chiarella; Autore, Camillo. - In: GIORNALE ITALIANO DI CARDIOLOGIA. - ISSN 1827-6806. - 12:1(2011). [10.1714/547.6494]