oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Hard lessons from a retrospective review of admissions to a five-bed intensive care unit in a large referral general hospital

Volume 33, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



A four-year retrospective review of admissions to the five-bed intensive care unit (ICU) of Harare Central Hospital, which is a 1000-bed referral hospital, was carried out using medical records from 1982 to 1985. The aim of the study was to highlight problem areas, in order to suggest solutions through the development of management protocols which would help reduce mortality. The total adult admissions to this unit over this period were 788, i.e. 0,42 per cent of the total hospital admissions. The average age of the patients was 33,6 years and the duration of stay in the ICU was 4,4 days. The majority of patients (70%) were admitted postoperatively for mechanical ventilatory support. The overall mortality rate was 37,2 percent. Head injury, septicaemia, tetanus and acute renal failure were the major contributors. There was a marked seasonally related variation in the degree of hypothermia among post-operative patients. Improvement in the criteria for admission to and discharge from the ICU, allocation of more beds and the introduction of a high care unit are recommended.

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