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Night-shift intensivists’ impact on ICU patient mortality

A study published in the May 31, 2012 issue of New England Journal of Medicine examines the impact that night-shift staffing of ICUs by intensivists has on patient mortality.  The findings, based on responses to an ICU staffing survey and analysis of medical records from 25 hospitals representing 49 ICUs and over 65,000 patients, support the conclusion that for ICUs in which intensivists are not routinely used or consulted during the day shifts (low-intensity staffing), their presence on the night shift lowers patient mortality.  In those ICUs where intensivists are used on a 24-hour rotation (high-intensity staffing), the presence of intensivists during the night shift has no statistically significant impact on patient mortality.   

Source: Wallace, David J., and others.  Nighttime intensivist staffing and mortality among critically ill patients.  New England Journal of Medicine.  366(22):2093-2101, May 31, 2012.  http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMsa1201918

More on intensivists: Campbell, Victoria.  Intensive enough?  New England Journal of Medicine.  366(22):2125-2125, May 31, 2012.  http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMe1203772

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