Table 1

Guidelines for ICU discharge after cardiac surgery at the university hospitals Leuven

1. Respiratory criteria

The patient is extubated and weaned from mechanical ventilation or other forms of mechanical respiratory support.

His oxygenation is good, or at least comparable to his pre-operative situation. To accomplish this, 3-4 liters of nasal oxygen supplementation is allowed.

The patient has an adequate cough reflex and is able to maintain a safe upper airway.

2. Hemodynamic criteria

Inotropic support and vasopressor therapy have to be stopped upon discharge.

No major arrhythmias compromising hemodynamic stability should be present.

Atrial fibrillation is no contra-indication for discharge, provided an adequate rate control.

Patients, who are depending on external epicardial pacing after surgery, where no background rhythm or implanted pacemaker is present, cannot be discharged to the nursing ward.

3. Neurologic criteria

Patient is awake, capable of communication and has sufficient pain control with his current analgesic therapy regimen.

4. Bleeding

No major bleeding, defined as a persistent need of transfusion of more than 2 units of packed cells per day.

5. Other organ systems

No vital threats to other organ systems (such as the kidneys, the central nervous system,...) are present

Meyfroidt et al. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2011 11:64   doi:10.1186/1472-6947-11-64

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