ICU Diagnoses That Are Causing Medical Costs to Soar

Hospitals are always looking to lower their ICU costs, not only because their ability to deliver care to patients depends on their financial solvency, but also because they want to keep patient bills as low as possible. The advent of the electronic ICU has shown a lot of promise in lowering patient bills because this technology has shown to lower ICU stays, but there are still some diagnoses that are causing medical costs to soar and until ICUs get a handle on these conditions, the bills are only going to increase.


Sepsis is the number one condition that results in ICU stays and it is often deadly. Approximately 1.7 million Americans get sepsis each year as a result of an extreme response to an infection. Basically, sepsis is the body poisoning itself and causing organ failure, tissue damage, and, if not treated in a timely manner, death. Sepsis is often developed while the patient is in the hospital for a primary infection and 42% of people who are in the ICU with Sepsis eventually die.

Infectious and Parasitic Diseases

The second most common condition that leads to ICU stays is infectious and parasitic disease. This category is a bit broad, since there are numerous infections and parasitic diseases that can put a patient in critical condition. While these diseases are often due to poor hygiene and unsanitary conditions, infections can be contagious so that people who don’t have poor hygiene or live in unsanitary conditions can also be affected. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that led to millions of ICU admissions and, unfortunately, deaths.

Cardiac and Coronary Conditions

Complications of cardiac procedures such as valve replacements and bypass surgery lead to the third-most ICU admissions. Research even indicates that patients who have had heart attacks and are sent to the ICU for care fare worse than if they are placed on a cardiac floor. This is because they don’t always get the tests that have been proven to detect heart issues while in the ICU. Adding a tele icu system in the ICU may help determine when these types of tests are necessary for cardiac patients.

Respiratory Conditions

People who have respiratory conditions that require the use of a ventilator are almost always placed in the ICU. Regardless of the reason a patient goes to the ICU, more than half of them suffer from acute respiratory failure, difficulty breathing, compromised lung function, or another respiratory issue and require a ventilator in addition to other medical interventions. For example, patients who have COVID-19 have an infectious disease that results in decreased lung function. As such, both the infection and the respiratory failure make the ICU necessary.

Craniotomy and Other Intracranial Procedures

Patients who have had brain surgery or other procedures inside their skull usually must spend at least some time in the ICU. This number also includes patients with head injuries that require procedures to reduce swelling on or remove fluid from the brain.


These five medical diagnoses are responsible for most of the extended stays in ICUs that are not only unprofitable for hospitals, but also outrageously expensive for patients. By adding technology such as tele ICU services to ICUs, these conditions can be monitored better, thereby reducing the overall patient length of stay.