Risk factors for medical deterioration of psychiatric inpatients: Opportunities for early recognition and prevention

Peter Manu, Muhammad Asif, Sameer Khan, Husnein Ashraf, Anup Mani, Perihan Guvenek-Cokol, Hanna Lee, John M. Kane, Christoph U. Correll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Medical deterioration during admission to free-standing psychiatric hospitals is distressing for patients, interrupts bio-behavioral interventions, and places a substantial burden on health care resources. Emergency transfers to a general hospital are a reasonable marker of significant medical deterioration, but have not been assessed systematically. Objective: To use clinical data available at the time of psychiatric admission to identify risk factors for transfers to a general hospital. Method: Retrospective review of the hospital course of 1000 adults consecutively admitted for an average of 19.1 ± 21.3 days to a single free-standing psychiatric hospital in 2010. Results: One hundred forty-four patients (14.4%) were transferred to a general hospital. Transferred and not-transferred groups differed significantly with regard to age, presence of dementia, number of comorbid medical disorder, history of arterial hypertension, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, albumin, glucose, calcium, hemoglobin, and hematocrit (P <.001). In a multiple logistic regression analysis, blood urea nitrogen (odds ratio [OR], 63.2), hemoglobin (OR, 35.3), albumin (OR, 7.3) and age (OR, 5.73) were independently associated with transfers. Acute medical deteriorations occurred in 46.2% of patients with azotemia (BUN >24 mg/dL), 32.7% of those with anemia (Hb <12 g/L), 37.5 % of those with hypoalbuminemia (albumin <3.7 g/dL), and 37.4% of patients 65 and older. Conclusion: Medical deterioration of psychiatric inpatients correlates with higher BUN, lower albumin and hemoglobin, and older age. Baseline azotemia, anemia or hypoalbuminemia should trigger prompt medical evaluation and enhanced monitoring to prevent, identify, and treat somatic disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-974
Number of pages7
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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