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Medicina Intensiva

versão impressa ISSN 0210-5691


GARCIA-CORDOBA, F. et al. Decrease of unnecessary chest x-rays in Intensive Care Unit: application of a combined cycle of quality improvement. Med. Intensiva [online]. 2008, vol.32, n.2, pp.71-77. ISSN 0210-5691.

Purpose. To demonstrate that interdisciplinary consensus improves the quality of work in the daily Intensive Care Unit (ICU), thus avoiding unnecessary routine x-ray examinations. We propose to monitor the results to maintain this low percentage of requests for x-rays. Design. Cycle of improvement in care quality. Setting. An 18-bed polyvalent ICU. Patients. A random sample of patients admitted in ICU during one month. Interventions. Establishment of basic agreed on protocol for routine chest portable x-ray (CPR) indications. After assessing the excessive amount of CPR according to those criteria, all intensivists accepted their application. Five years later, a second assessment of the degree of non-compliance was carried out and a monitoring schedule was established in order to avoid making unnecessary CPR again. Furthermore, a consensus between two intensivists was considered obligatory before a CPR request. Accordingly, all non-urgent CPR forms were signed by two intensivists, following the mentioned clinical criteria. Variable. Unsuitable portable chest x-ray indications. Results. In 1997, the overall non-compliance rate (ONCR) was 16.9%. After reducing it to 6.1%, lack of follow-up led to a non-compliance rate of 27.6% in 2003. Stable patients with uncomplicated ischemic heart disease (44.4% in 1997 and 53.8% in 2003) accounted for most of the inadequate ONCR indications. By using the consensus system for requesting routine portable x-rays that required the agreement of two intensivists achieved a reduction of non-compliance to 2.5% in 2003. The monitoring schedule designed has made it possible to follow the time of compliance degree and detect relaxation in the prescriptions. Conclusions. Unnecessary CPR can be easily reduced stressing our control in clinically stable patients. The requirement to justify a routine request (agreement between intensivists) makes it possible to decrease the number of CPRs. Periodic monitoring is the definitive tool for a successful improvement cycle.

Palavras-chave : improvement cycle; chest portable x-ray; Intensive Care Unit.

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