Department of Emergency Medicine

Emergency Medicine

Clinical Decision Unit at HUP

The Clinical Decision Unit - CDU (Now called the "ED Observation Unit - EDOU") of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) Department of Emergency Medicine is an eight bed, short-stay inpatient unit located in the rear of the main clinical space of the Emergency Department (ED).

The core mission of the CDU is to improve and expedite the management of patients with medical or traumatic conditions requiring inpatient management but whose care can, on average, be completed in 24 hours or less.

Approximately 38% of the patients admitted to the CDU have the chief complaint of acute chest pain. They are patients with low risk for Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) who are admitted to rule out myocardial infarction. In keeping with the American College of Emergency Physicians Practice Guidelines for chest pain and ACS, every patients’ evaluation includes either an Exercise Stress Test or a Computerized Tomography Coronary Angiogram.

The next most common medical diagnoses admitted to the CDU are cellulitis and/or abscess, reactive airway disease, hyperglycemia, dehydration, and sickle cell disease.

In addition, the HUP CDU is tailored to meet the specific needs of the clinical demands of the HUP ED: a level one trauma center and tertiary referral center for patients with carbon monoxide poisoning requiring hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Stable carbon monoxide poisoning patients requiring three hyperbaric oxygen treatments are admitted to the HUP CDU from the HUP ED as well as transferred to the CDU from regional hospitals.

The CDU admits patients with cardiac contusions, closed head injuries, and other traumatic injuries with a high likelihood of being discharged within 24 hours.

The CDU is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is staffed around-the-clock by Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners (CRNPs) and Registered Nurses (RNs). Emergency Medicine attending physicians cover the unit on a daily basis, rounding on the patients each morning, helping direct the clinical management of the patients, and evaluating new admissions. In addition, attending physician consultation is available from the ED staff around-the-clock.