Critical value reporting has been widely adopted by hospitals throughout the world, but there were few reports about neonatal critical values. This study aimed to analyze characteristics of the neonatal critical values considered at our center and to provide information on improving neonatal intensive care.
A retrospective study of critical values at a newborn tertiary center in China was conducted to assess neonatal critical values according to test, distribution, reporting time, patient outcome and the impact to the therapy.
In total, 926 critical values were recorded. Overall, 66.52% (616/926) of the items were reported within 24 hours of admission, 50.28% (465/926) during duty times and 54.75% (507/926) in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The routine coagulation test was the most frequent source of critical values. Electrocardiography, blood gas analysis and therapeutic drug monitoring of drug levels were associated with the highest rates of treatment intervention (100%); routine coagulation tests were the lowest (23.14%). Sample quality was the main cause of false-positive critical values.
The incidence of neonatal critical values peaked during the first 24 hours post-admission and during duty periods. Each newborn center needs to enact rapid treatment guidelines to address common critical values in order to facilitate clinical interventions. Periodically reviewing critical values could help to optimize clinical practices.
Key words: critical care; critical value; management strategies; newborn