Profile of adult intensive care units in Brazil: systematic review of observational studies

Luciana Mara Meireles Aguiar Gabriela de Sousa Martins Renato Valduga André Paz Gerez Eduardo Cunha do Carmo Katiane da Costa Cunha Graziella França Bernardelli Cipriano Marianne Lucena da Silva About the authors



To identify the clinical and epidemiological profile of adult intensive care units in Brazil.


A systematic review was performed using a comprehensive strategy to search PubMed®, Embase, SciELO, and the Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde. The eligibility criteria for this review were observational studies that described the epidemiological and/or clinical profile of critically ill patients admitted to Brazilian intensive care units and were published between 2007 and 2020.


From the 4,457 identified studies, 27 were eligible for this review, constituting an analysis of 113 intensive care units and a final sample of 75,280 individuals. There was a predominance of male and elderly patients. Cardiovascular diseases were the main cause of admission to the intensive care unit. The Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score was the most widely used disease severity assessment system. The length of stay and mortality in the intensive care unit varied widely between institutions.


These results can help guide the planning and organization of intensive care units, providing support for decision-making and the implementation of interventions that ensure better quality patient care.

Registration PROSPERO: CRD4201911808.

Critical care outcomes; Health services research; Epidemiology; Intensive care units; Brazil

Associação de Medicina Intensiva Brasileira - AMIB Rua Arminda, 93 - Vila Olímpia, CEP 04545-100 - São Paulo - SP - Brasil, Tel.: (11) 5089-2642 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil