This study evaluated unplanned transfers from the intermediate care unit (IMCU) to the intensive care unit (ICU) among urgent admissions. This retrospective, observational study was conducted in 2 ICUs and 1 IMCU. Three patterns of urgent admission were assessed: admissions to the ICU only, admissions to the IMCU only, and admissions to the IMCU with subsequent transfer to the ICU. Of 5296 admissions analyzed, 1396 patients (26.4%) were initially admitted to the IMCU. Of these, 172 (12.3%) were transferred from the IMCU to the ICU. Mortality was higher in patients transferred from the IMCU to the ICU than in the 3900 ICU-only patients (odds ratio, 3.22; 95% CI, 1.52-6.80). Most transfers from the IMCU to the ICU (135; 78.5%) were due to deterioration of the condition for which the patient was admitted. Patient transfers from the IMCU to the ICU were common, were associated with increased hospital mortality, and were mostly due to deterioration in the condition that was the reason for admission.

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