Severe Rise in Opioid Overdose ICU Admissions From 2009 to 2015

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Average annual mortality rate was 7%, with increase to 10% in 2015
Average annual mortality rate was 7%, with increase to 10% in 2015

HealthDay News — From 2009 to 2015 there was an increase in opioid overdose admissions requiring intensive care, as well as in associated mortality, according to a study published online August 11 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Jennifer P. Stevens, MD, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues analyzed all adult admissions using a retrospective cohort study from 162 hospitals in 44 states to describe the incidence of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions for opioid overdose over time (adults were discharged between Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept. 31, 2015). The final cohort included 22,783,628 admissions, of which 4,145,068 required ICU care. 

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Over the entire study, the researchers identified 52.4 ICU admissions for overdose per 10,000 ICU admissions. There was a 34% increase in opioid overdose admissions requiring intensive care during this time period, from 44 to 59 per 10,000 ICU admissions. The average mortality rate of patients with ICU admissions with overdoses was 7%, but this increased to 10% in 2015.

"Our findings raise the need for a national approach to developing safe strategies to care for patients with overdose in the ICU, to providing coordinated resources in the hospital for patients and families, and to helping survivors maintain sobriety on discharge," the authors write.

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