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Multiple Organ Failure Causes Most ICU Deaths

After discharge, malignant tumor disease, chronic cardiovascular disease most frequent causes of death

FRIDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Multiple organ failure is responsible for about half of deaths of critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), while malignant tumor disease and chronic cardiovascular disease were the most frequent causes of death after ICU discharge, according to the results of a study published online Nov. 3 in Critical Care.

Viktoria D. Mayr, M.D., from Innsbruck Medical University in Austria, and colleagues examined the risk factors for death and causes of death in 3,700 critically ill patients before and after discharge from the ICU.

The researchers found that 47 percent of patients died of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, with central nervous system failure and cardiovascular failure being the most important risk factors (relative risk 16.07 and 11.83, respectively).

After ICU discharge, malignant tumor disease and exacerbation of chronic cardiovascular disease were responsible for most deaths. Malignant tumor disease accounted for 31.3 percent of hospital deaths and 33.2 percent of deaths after one year, while chronic cardiovascular disease accounted for 19.4 percent and 16.1 percent of deaths, respectively.

"In this primarily surgical critically ill patient population, acute or chronic multiple organ dysfunction syndrome prevailed over single-organ failure or unexpected cardiac arrest as a cause of death in the ICU," Mayr and colleagues conclude. "Malignant tumor disease and chronic cardiovascular disease were the most important causes of death after ICU discharge."

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