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Revista Médica del Uruguay

Print version ISSN 0303-3295On-line version ISSN 1688-0390


LEYES, Laureano; PORCIRES, Fausto; GODINO, Mario  and  BARBATO, Marcelo. Study of the impact of safety issues and adverse events in the intensive care unit. Rev. Méd. Urug. [online]. 2020, vol.36, n.3, pp.9-30.  Epub Sep 01, 2020. ISSN 0303-3295.


critically ill patients are extremely vulnerable to iatrogenia. Adverse events (AEs) contribute to the morbidity and mortality of hospitalized patients and therefore detection and prevention are of the essence.


to study the impact of AEs selected from an intensive care unit and the resulting harm. To set the bases to create a system for the notification of adverse events.


prospective study of impact using two methods: voluntary report and auditing of medical records.


174 patients were included in the study. 107 adverse events were identified in 35% of patients. The most prevalent issues were probe and catheter exit-site (42%) and those related to high-risk drugs (12.8%). Age (p=0.046), length of stay in the ICU (p=0.001) and need of sedoanalgesia (p=0.039) were independently associated to the presence of adverse events. 76.6% of the events resulted in harm, although they were not associated to higher mortality (p=0.96).


AEs are highly frequent in the intensive care unit. Probe and catheter exit-sites are the most prevalent source. Also, adverse events are related to the need for mechanical ventilation, sedoanalgesia and length of stay in the intensive care unit. Voluntary reporting is a useful tool to identify adverse events.

Keywords : Patient safety; Intensive care units; Adverse event; Patient harm.

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