Epidemiology and patterns of care of patients admitted to Italian Intensive Cardiac Care units: The BLITZ-3 registry

Gianni Casella, Matteo Cassin, Francesco Chiarella, Alessandra Chinaglia, Maria R. Conte, Giuseppe Fradella, Donata Lucci, Aldo P. Maggioni, Salvatore Pirelli, Giampaolo Scorcu, Luigi Oltrona Visconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intensive cardiac care units (ICCUs) have shifted from the observation of patients with myocardial infarction to the care of different acute cardiac diseases. However, few data on such an evolution are available. Methods and results: From 7 to 20 April 2008, 6986 consecutive patients admitted to 81% of Italian ICCUs were prospectively enrolled. Patients observed were mainly elderly men (median age 72 years) with several co-morbidities. Most of them were triaged to ICCU from the emergency room, but 15% of admissions were transfer-in from other hospitals. Several diagnostic and therapeutic procedures were applied (78% had echocardiography and 35% coronary angiography) during the ICCU stay [median length 4 days, interquartile range (IQR) 2-5]. The discharge diagnosis was ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in 21%, non-ST-elevation ACS in 31%, acute heart failure (AHF) in 14% and other acute non-ACS, non-AHF cardiac diseases in 34%. Of those with ST-elevation ACS, 60% received reperfusion (15% fibrinolysis and 45% primary percutaneous coronary intervention). The overall in-ICCU crude mortality was 3.3%. CONCLUSION: The BLITZ-3 survey provides a unique snapshot of current epidemiology and patterns of care of patients admitted to ICCUs. Although ACS still remains the most frequent admission diagnosis, the number of non-ACS patients is substantial. However, the correct standard of care for these non-ACS patients has to be defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-461
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Acute cardiac care
  • Intensive cardiac care unit
  • Organization
  • Reperfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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