ICU physician-based determinants of life-sustaining therapy during nights and weekends: French multicenter study from the Outcomerea Research Group.


Garrouste-Orgeas M, Ben-Rehouma M, Darmon M, Ruckly S, Clec'h C, Adrie C, Tabah A, Vesin A, Schwebel C,Misset B, Timsit JF.

Crit Care Med. 2014 Nov;42(11):2393-400. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000000523.



OBJECTIVE: Patient- and organization-related factors are the most common influences affecting the ICU decision-making process. Few studies have investigated ICU physician-related factors and life-sustaining treatment use during nights and weekends, when staffing ratios are low. Here, we described patients admitted during nights/weekends and looked for physician-related determinants of life-sustaining treatment use in these patients after adjustment for patient- and center-related factors.

DESIGN: Multicenter observational cohort study of admission procedures during nights/weekends shifts.

SUBJECTS: ICU physicians working nights/weekends in 6 French ICUs.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Patient characteristics and intensity of care were extracted from the prospective Outcomerea database. Physician characteristics were age, gender, religion and religiosity, ICU experience, specialty, being a permanent ICU staff member, degree in ethics, and degree in intensive care. We used hierarchical mixed models to adjust on center, physician random effects, and admission patient characteristics. Of 156 physicians contacted, 119 (77%) participated. Patients admitted during nights/weekends were younger and had fewer comorbidities and lower treatment intensity during the shift. ICU physicians who are younger than 35 years used more renal replacement therapy (odds ratio, 1.04; 95% CI, 1-1.07; p = 0.04), invasive mechanical ventilation (odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.1-1.19; p = 0.04), and vasopressors (odds ratio, 1.16; 95% CI, 1.09-1.23; p < 0.0001). Internal or emergency medicine as the primary specialty was associated with invasive mechanical ventilation (odds ratio, 1.14; 95% CI, 1.04-1.24; p = 0.004) and vasopressor use (odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.02-1.17; p = 0.01). Noninvasive ventilation was used less often by physicians with more than 10 years of night/weekend shifts and more often by those with religious beliefs (odds ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01-1.08; p = 0.008).

CONCLUSIONS: Patients admitted during nights/weekends were younger and had fewer comorbidities. Age, specialty, ICU experience, and religious beliefs of the physicians were significantly associated life-sustaining treatments used.


Comment in : Subjectivity is objective: (Woody Allen, 1975). [Crit Care Med. 2014]