The mean age of the group was 73.3 ±8.6 years, and men comprised 54 percent. Using a probability of 0.5 and greater to predict death, the model using hospital admission variables had a sensitivity of 72 percent and a specificity of 79 percent, while the model including variables available at 24 hours had a sensitivity of 88 percent and a specificity of 100 percent.
Patients with cardiac pulmonary edema and respiratory failure comprise a large number of the critically ill at our hospital. In 1985, they represented 27.3 percent of medical admissions receiving mechanical ventilation, and 16.2 percent of patient days in our medical intensive care unit. With an increase in the number of elderly and chronically ill in the population, we expect that increasing numbers of these patients will be cared for in the future.
The in-hospital mortality in our study of 36.3 percent was similar to the 30 percent reported by Weiner et al, but more than twice the 17 percent reported by Goldberger et al and the 16 percent reported by Plotnick et al. This difference may reflect the study criterion that required respiratory failure, as well as the larger proportion of patients with myocardial infarction and hemodynamic instability in our study.