An ad hoc committee for SIAARTI (Gruppo di Studio Ad Hoc Della Commissione di Bioetica Della SIAARTI) listed priorities for selecting which patients should be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Use of a priority system can optimize use of scarce or expensive resources. The authors are from multiple institutions in Italy.


Patient selection: admission to the ICU


Patient Status

Additional Information

1 (highest expected benefit)

current critical illness expected to significantly benefit with ICU care

level of care not available outside of the ICU


potentially critical illness and/or potential serious complications likely to benefit from closer monitoring or more aggressive management

includes acute exacerbation of a chronic illness


critical illness with undefined benefit from ICU care

includes acute exacerbation of an illness with limited life expectancy

4 (lowest expected benefit)

no benefit from ICU care, with potential for harm

includes non-critical illness, terminal stage of an irreversible disease, or refusal by a competent person

Do not admit to ICU

absolutely no possibility of recovering an acceptable quality of life

includes permanent vegetative state



• ICU care includes both aggressive management and intensive monitoring.

• A current critical illness should have failure in one or more organ systems.


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