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Admission patterns and outcomes of postoperative oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer patients admitted to critical care in the UK: An analysis of the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre Case Mix Programme database

      Abstract

      Surgery for head and neck malignancy may be complex with postoperative admission to critical care units (CCUs) often required. There are, however, increasing demands on this resource. We examined a national intensive care database to assess patterns of admission and outcomes for patients following surgery for malignancies of the oral cavity and oropharynx. An analysis was performed of the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme database. Data were extracted on case mix and outcomes for patients coded as ‘malignant neoplasm of the oropharynx requiring surgery’ admitted to critical care between 2010 and 2019. Data included admission numbers, demographics, comorbidities, physiology scores, and outcomes including length of stay and mortality. There were 9,843 admissions for patients with malignancies of the oral cavity and oropharynx from 156 CCUs over the ten-year period. Admissions increased from 486 in 2010 to 1,381 in 2019. These admissions accounted for 0.42% of overall admissions in 2010 and 0.78% in 2019. The median age of patients was 63 years and 63.5% were male. The median length of stay in critical care was 38 hours (Interquartile range (IQR) 20.4, 64.3 hours). The median length of total hospital stay was 15 days (IQR 10, 23 days). Mortality in critical care was low (0.7%). Admissions to CCUs following surgery for malignancies of the oral cavity and oropharynx have increased over the last decade but remain low overall. With increasing demand for this resource, ongoing monitoring of utilisation is important.

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