Opioid epidemic: ICU admissions, overdose deaths on the rise

As the opioid epidemic continues, intensive care units across the country are seeing more and more overdose patients and deaths, according to research presented at the American Thoracic Society's 2016 International Meeting, Medpage Today reports. An analysis of billing codes data found that more than 200 hospitals in 44 states saw a 46 percent increase in ICU admissions for opioid overdoses between 2009 and 2015. According to the analysis, the same ICUs saw an 86 percent increase in overdose deaths during that same six-year period. "What this means is that the opioid-use epidemic has probably reached a new level of crisis, and that despite everything we do in the ICU to keep patients alive, including ventilation, acute dialysis, life support and around-the-clock care, we are not seeing an improvement in mortality," said Jennifer P. Stevens, M.D., a critical care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the study's lead author. Article