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1.  How is intensive care reimbursed? A review of eight European countries 
Reimbursement schemes in intensive care are more complex than in other areas of healthcare, due to special procedures and high care needs. Knowledge regarding the principles of functioning in other countries can lead to increased understanding and awareness of potential for improvement. This can be achieved through mutual exchange of solutions found in other countries. In this review, experts from eight European countries explain their respective intensive care unit reimbursement schemes. Important conclusions include the apparent differences in the countries’ reimbursement schemes-despite all of them originating from a DRG system-, the high degree of complexity found, and the difficulties faced in several countries when collecting the data for this collaborative work. This review has been designed to assist the intensivist clinician and researcher in understanding neighbouring countries’ approaches and in putting research into the context of a European perspective. In addition, steering committees and decision makers might find this a valuable source to compare different reimbursement schemes.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-37
PMCID: PMC3843541  PMID: 24216146
Intensive care unit; Intensive care economics; Reimbursement; DRG system
2.  Perceptions of an open visitation policy by intensive care unit workers 
Background
An intensive care unit (ICU) admission is a stressful event for the patient and the patient’s family. Several studies demonstrated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder in family members of patients admitted to ICU. Some studies recognize that the open visitation policy (OVP) is related to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression for the patient and an improvement in family satisfaction. However, some issues have been presented as barriers for the adoption of that strategy. This study was designed to evaluate perceptions of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists (RTs) of an OVP and to quantify visiting times in a Brazilian private intensive care unit (ICU).
Methods
This observational and descriptive study was performed in the medical-surgical (22 beds) and neurologic ICU (8 beds) of Sírio-Libanês Hospital (HSL), São Paulo, Brazil. All physicians, nurses, and RTs from ICU were invited to participate in the study. A questionnaire was applied to all ICU workers who accepted to participate in the study. The questionnaire consisted of 22 questions about the visiting policy. During five consecutive days, we evaluated the time that the visitors stayed in the patient room, as well as the type of visitor.
Results
A total of 106 ICU workers participated in this study (42 physicians, 39 nurses, and 25 RTs). Only three of the questions exposed a negative perception of the visiting policy: 53.3% of the participants do not think that the OVP consistently increases family satisfaction with patient’s care; 59.4% of ICU workers think that the OVP impairs the organization of the patient’s care; 72.7% of participants believe that their work suffers more interruptions because of the OVP. The median visiting time per day was 11.5 hours.
Conclusions
According to physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists, the greatest impact of OVP is the benefit to the patients rather than to the family or to the staff. Furthermore, they feel that they need communication training to better interact with family members who are present in the ICU 24 hours per day.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-34
PMCID: PMC3854481  PMID: 24135292
Intensive care unit; Family; Visitation policy; Family centered care; Patient centered care
3.  Should we measure intra-abdominal pressures in every intensive care patient? 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S9.
Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is seldom measured by default in intensive care patients. This review summarises the current evidence on the prevalence and risk factors of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) to assist the decision-making for IAP monitoring.
IAH occurs in 20% to 40% of intensive care patients. High body mass index (BMI), abdominal surgery, liver dysfunction/ascites, hypotension/vasoactive therapy, respiratory failure and excessive fluid balance are risk factors of IAH in the general ICU population. IAP monitoring is strongly supported in mechanically ventilated patients with severe burns, severe trauma, severe acute pancreatitis, liver failure or ruptured aortic aneurysms. The risk of developing IAH is minimal in mechanically ventilated patients with positive end-expiratory pressure < 10 cmH2O, PaO2/FiO2 > 300, and BMI < 30 and without pancreatitis, hepatic failure/cirrhosis with ascites, gastrointestinal bleeding or laparotomy and the use of vasopressors/inotropes on admission. In these patients, omitting IAP measurements might be considered.
In conclusions, clear guidelines to select the patients in whom IAP measurements should be performed cannot be given at present. In addition to IAP measurements in at-risk patients, a clinical assessment of the signs of IAH should be a part of every ICU patient's bedside evaluation, leading to prompt IAP monitoring in case of the slightest suspicion of IAH development.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-S1-S9
PMCID: PMC3390289  PMID: 22873425
intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; patient monitoring; intensive care; epidemiology.
4.  Sedation in French intensive care units: a survey of clinical practice 
Background
Sedation is used frequently for patients in intensive care units who require mechanical ventilation, but oversedation is one of the main side effects. Different strategies have been proposed to prevent oversedation. The extent to which these strategies have been adopted by intensivists is unknown.
Methods
We developed a six-section questionnaire that covered the drugs used, modalities of drug administration, use of sedation scales and procedural pain scales, use of written local procedures, and targeted objectives of consciousness. In November 2011, the questionnaire was sent to 1,078 intensivists identified from the French ICU Society (SRLF) database.
Results
The questionnaire was returned by 195 intensivists (response rate 18.1%), representing 135 of the 282 ICUs (47.8%) listed in the French ICU society (SRLF) database. The analysis showed that midazolam and sufentanil are the most frequently used hypnotics and opioids, respectively, administered in continuous intravenous (IV) infusions. IV boluses of hypnotics without subsequent continuous IV infusion are used occasionally (in <25% of patients) by 65% of intensivists. Anxiolytic benzodiazepines (e.g., clorazepam, alprazolam), hydroxyzine, and typical neuroleptics, via either an enteral or IV route, are used occasionally by two thirds of respondents. The existence of a written, local sedation management procedure in the ICU is reported by 55% of respondents, 54% of whom declare that they use it routinely. Written local sedation procedures mainly rely on titration of continuous IV hypnotics (90% of the sedation procedures); less frequently, sedation procedures describe alternative approaches to prevent oversedation, including daily interruption of continuous IV hypnotic infusion, hypnotic boluses with no subsequent continuous IV infusion, or the use of nonhypnotic drugs. Among the responding intensivists, 98% consider eye opening, either spontaneously or after light physical stimulation, a reasonable target consciousness level in patients with no severe respiratory failure or intracranial hypertension.
Conclusions
Despite a low individual response rate, the respondents to our survey represent almost half of the ICUs in the French SRLF database. The presence of a written local sedation procedure, a cornerstone of preventing oversedation, is reported by only half of respondents; when present, it is used in for a limited number of patients. Sedation procedures mainly rely on titration of continuous IV hypnotics, but other strategies to limit oversedation also are included in sedation procedures. French intensivists no longer consider severely altered consciousness a sedation objective for most patients.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-24
PMCID: PMC3751696  PMID: 23937955
Sedation; Midazolam; Propofol; Opioids; Intensive care unit; Mechanical ventilation; Practice survey; Oversedation
5.  Outbreak of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying qnrB1 and blaCTX-M15 in a French intensive care unit 
Background
The prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae is increasing globally and is a major clinical concern. Between June 2008 and September 2009, 4% of patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) were found to be colonized or infected by strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae multiresistant to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, and tobramycin; an investigation was initiated and isolates were characterized by molecular typing and resistance patterns.
Methods
Antibiotic susceptibilities were determined by Vitek2®, Etest®, and agar dilution. Gene encoding beta-lactamases and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance PMQR determinants (qnr, aac(6′)-Ib) were characterized by PCR, sequencing, and transfer assays. DiversiLab® fingerprints were used to study the relatedness of isolates.
Results
Fourteen isolates co-expressing blaCTX-M15, qnrB1, and aac(6′)-Ib-cr were identified. Genotypic analysis of these isolates identified 12 clonally related strains recovered from 10 patients. The increased prevalence of blaCTX-M15-qnrB1-aac(6′)-Ib-cr-producing K. pneumoniae coincided with the presence in the ICU of a patient originally from Nigeria. This patient was infected by a strain not clonally related to the others but harbouring qnrB1 and aac(6′)-Ib-cr genes, a finding not hitherto observed in France. We suspected transmission of resistance plasmids followed by rapid dissemination of the multiresistant K. pneumoniae clone by cross-transmission.
Conclusion
This study highlights the importance of microbiological screening for multidrug-resistant strains in ICUs, particularly among patients from regions in which multidrug-resistant bacteria are known to exist.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-18
PMCID: PMC3707830  PMID: 23815782
Outbreak; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase; Intensive care unit; Screening; Quinolone resistance
6.  Adverse event reporting in adult intensive care units and the impact of a multifaceted intervention on drug-related adverse events 
Background
Adverse events (AEs) frequently occur in intensive care units (ICUs) and affect negatively patient outcomes. Targeted improvement strategies for patient safety are difficult to evaluate because of the intrinsic limitations of reporting crude AE rates. Single interventions influence positively the quality of care, but a multifaceted approach has been tested only in selected cases. The present study was designed to evaluate the rate, types, and contributing factors of emerging AEs and test the hypothesis that a multifaceted intervention on medication might reduce drug-related AEs.
Methods
This is a prospective, multicenter, before-and-after study of adult patients admitted to four ICUs during a 24-month period. Voluntary, anonymous, self-reporting of AEs was performed using a detailed, locally designed questionnaire. The temporal impact of a multifaceted implementation strategy to reduce drug-related AEs was evaluated using the risk-index scores methodology.
Results
A total of 2,047 AEs were reported (32 events per 100 ICU patient admissions and 117.4 events per 1,000 ICU patient days) from 6,404 patients, totaling 17,434 patient days. Nurses submitted the majority of questionnaires (n = 1,781, 87%). AEs were eye-witnessed in 49% (n = 1,003) of cases and occurred preferentially during an elective procedure (n = 1,597, 78%) and on morning shifts (n = 1,003, 49%), with a peak rate occurring around 10 a.m. Drug-related AEs were the most prevalent (n = 984, 48%), mainly as a consequence of incorrect prescriptions. Poor communication among caregivers (n = 776) and noncompliance with internal guidelines (n = 525) were the most prevalent contributing factors for AE occurrence. The majority of AEs (n = 1155, 56.4%) was associated with minimal, temporary harm. Risk-index scores for drug-related AEs decreased from 10.01 ± 2.7 to 8.72 ± 3.52 (absolute risk difference 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 0.88-1.7; p < 0.01) following the introduction of the intervention.
Conclusions
AEs occurred in the ICU with a typical diurnal frequency distribution. Medication-related AEs were the most prevalent. By applying the risk-index scores methodology, we were able to demonstrate that our multifaceted implementation strategy focused on medication-related adverse events allowed to decrease drug related incidents.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-47
PMCID: PMC3526522  PMID: 23174137
Adverse events; Medical errors; Patient safety; Quality improvement; Intensive care; Reliability
7.  The transition from acute to chronic pain: might intensive care unit patients be at risk? 
Pain remains a significant problem for patients hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs). As research has shown, for some of these patients pain might even persist after discharge and become chronic. Exposure to intense pain and stress during medical and nursing procedures could be a risk factor that contributes to the transition from acute to chronic pain, which is a major disruption of the pain neurological system. New evidence suggests that physiological alterations contributing to chronic pain states take place both in the peripheral and central nervous systems. The purpose of this paper is to: 1) review cutting-edge theories regarding pain and mechanisms that underlie the transition from acute to chronic pain, such as increases in membrane excitability of peripheral and central nerve fibers, synaptic plasticity, and loss of the function of descending inhibitory pain fibers; 2) provide information on the association between the immune system and pain and its crucial contribution to development of chronic pain syndromes, and 3) discuss mechanisms at brain levels in the nervous system and their contribution to affective (i.e., emotional) states associated with chronic pain conditions. Finally, we will offer suggestions for ICU clinical interventions to attempt to prevent the transition from acute to chronic pain.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-36
PMCID: PMC3488025  PMID: 22898192
Pain; Acute; Chronic; Acute-to-chronic; Intensive care unit; Critical care; Nerve sensitization
8.  Short- and long-term outcomes of HIV-infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit: impact of antiretroviral therapy and immunovirological status 
Background
The purpose of this study was to assess the short- and long-term outcomes of HIV-infected patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) according to immunovirological status at admission and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use in ICU.
Methods
Retrospective study of 98 HIV-infected patients hospitalized between 1997 and 2008 in two medical ICU in Montpellier, France. The primary outcome was mortality in ICU. The secondary end point was probability of survival in the year following ICU admission.
Results
Eighty-two (83.6%) admissions in ICU were related to HIV infection and 45% of patients had received HAART before admission. Sixty-two patients (63.3%) were discharged from ICU, and 34 (34.7%) were alive at 1 year. Plasma HIV RNA viral load (VL) and CD4+ cell count separately were not associated with outcome. Independent predictors of ICU mortality were the use of vasopressive agents (odds ratio (OR), 3.779; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–12.861; p = 0.0334) and SAPS II score (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.003-1.077; p = 0.0319), whereas introducing or continuing HAART in ICU was protective (OR, 0.278; 95% CI, 0.082-0.939; p = 0.0393). Factors independently associated with 1-year mortality were immunovirological status with high VL (>3 log10/ml) and low CD4 (<200/mm3; hazard ratio (HR), 5.19; 95% CI, 1.328-20.279; p = 0.0179) or low VL (<3 log10/ml) and low CD4 (HR, 4.714; 95% CI, 1.178-18.867; p = 0.0284) vs. high CD4 and low VL, coinfection with C hepatitis virus (HR, 3.268; 95% CI, 1.29-8.278; p = 0.0125), the use of vasopressive agents (HR, 3.68; 95% CI, 1.394-9.716; p = 0.0085), and SAPS II score (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.057-1.124; p <0.0001). Introducing HAART in a patient with no HAART at admission was associated with a better long-term outcome (HR, 0.166; 95% CI, 0.043-0.642; p = 0.0093).
Conclusions
In a population of HIV-infected patients admitted to ICU, short- and long-term outcomes are related to acute illness severity and immunovirological status at admission. Complementary studies are necessary to identify HIV-infected patients who benefit from HAART use in ICU according to immunovirological status and the reasons of ICU admission.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-25
PMCID: PMC3465211  PMID: 22762133
Intensive care units; Human immunodeficiency virus; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Antiretroviral therapy; Prognostic factors; Critical care; Mortality
9.  The critically-ill pediatric hemato-oncology patient: epidemiology, management, and strategy of transfer to the pediatric intensive care unit 
Cancer is a leading cause of death in children. In the past decades, there has been a marked increase in overall survival of children with cancer. However, children whose treatment includes hematopoietic stem cell transplantation still represent a subpopulation with a higher risk of mortality. These improvements in mortality are accompanied by an increase in complications, such as respiratory and cardiovascular insufficiencies as well as neurological problems that may require an admission to the pediatric intensive care unit where most supportive therapies can be provided. It has been shown that ventilatory and cardiovascular support along with renal replacement therapy can benefit pediatric hemato-oncology patients if promptly established. Even if admissions of these patients are not considered futile anymore, they still raise sensitive questions, including ethical issues. To support the discussion and potentially facilitate the decision-making process, we propose an algorithm that takes into account the reason for admission (surgical versus medical) and the hemato-oncological prognosis. The algorithm then leads to different types of admission: full-support admission, “pediatric intensive care unit trial” admission, intensive care with adapted level of support, and palliative intensive care. Throughout the process, maintaining a dialogue between the treating physicians, the paramedical staff, the child, and his parents is of paramount importance to optimize the care of these children with complex disease and evolving medical status.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-14
PMCID: PMC3423066  PMID: 22691690
Oncology; Hematology; Cancer; Stem cell; Transplantation; Graft; Child; Pediatrics; Critical care; Intensive care
10.  Mild hypoglycemia is strongly associated with increased intensive care unit length of stay 
Background
Hypoglycemia is associated with increased mortality in critically ill patients. The impact of hypoglycemia on resource utilization has not been investigated. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the association of hypoglycemia, defined as a blood glucose concentration (BG) < 70 mg/dL, and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS) in three different cohorts of critically ill patients.
Methods
This is a retrospective investigation of prospectively collected data, including patients from two large observational cohorts: 3,263 patients admitted to Stamford Hospital (ST) and 2,063 patients admitted to three institutions in The Netherlands (NL) as well as 914 patients from the GLUCONTROL trial (GL), a multicenter prospective randomized controlled trial of intensive insulin therapy.
Results
Patients with hypoglycemia were more likely to be diabetic, had higher APACHE II scores, and higher mortality than did patients without hypoglycemia. Patients with hypoglycemia had longer ICU LOS (median [interquartile range]) in ST (3.0 [1.4-7.1] vs. 1.2 [0.8-2.3] days, P < 0.0001), NL (5.2 [2.6-10.3] vs. 2.0 [1.3-3.2] days, P < 0.0001), and GL (9 [5-17] vs. 5 [3-9] days, P < 0.0001). For the entire cohort of 6,240 patients ICU LOS was 1.8 (1.0-3.3) days for those without hypoglycemia and 3.0 (1.5-6.7) days for those with a single episode of hypoglycemia (P < 0.0001). This was a consistent finding even when patients were stratified by severity of illness or survivor status. There was a strong positive correlation between the number of episodes of hypoglycemia and ICU LOS among all three cohorts.
Conclusions
This multicenter international investigation demonstrated that hypoglycemia was consistently associated with significantly higher ICU LOS in heterogeneous cohorts of critically ill patients, independently of severity of illness and survivor status. More effective methods to prevent hypoglycemia in these patients may positively impact their cost of care.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-49
PMCID: PMC3273438  PMID: 22115519
hypoglycemia; intensive care unit; length of stay; resource utilization; APACHE II; mortality; intensive insulin therapy
11.  An observational study on rhabdomyolysis in the intensive care unit. Exploring its risk factors and main complication: acute kidney injury 
Background
Because neither the incidence and risk factors for rhabdomyolysis in the ICU nor the dynamics of its main complication, i.e., rhabdomyolysis-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) are well known, we retrospectively studied a large population of adult ICU patients (n = 1,769).
Methods
CK and sMb (serum myoglobin) and uMb (urinary myoglobin) were studied as markers of rhabdomyolysis and AKI (RIFLE criteria). Hemodialysis and mortality were used as outcome variables.
Results
Prolonged surgery, trauma, and vascular occlusions are associated with increasing CK values. CK correlates with sMb (p < 0.001) and peaks significantly later than sMb or uMb.
The logistic regression showed a positive correlation between CK and the development of AKI, with an OR of 2.21. Univariate logistic regression suggests that elevations of sMb and uMb are associated with the development of AKI, with odds ratios of 7.87 and 1.61 respectively. The ROC curve showed that for all three markers a significant correlation with AKI, for sMb with the greatest area under the curve. The best cutoff values for prediction of AKI were CK > 773 U/l; sMb > 368 μg/l and uMb > 38 μg/l respectively.
Conclusions
Because it also has extrarenal elimination kinetics, our data suggest that measuring myoglobin in patients at risk for rhabdomyolysis in the ICU may be useful.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-8
PMCID: PMC3614462  PMID: 23497406
Rhabdomyolysis; Intensive care unit–ICU; Creatine kinase; Creatine phosphokinase; Myoglobin; Serum myoglobin; Urinary myoglobin; Acute kidney injury
12.  Integrating palliative care with intensive care for critically ill patients with lung cancer 
With newer information indicating more favorable outcomes of intensive care therapy for lung cancer patients, intensivists increasingly are willing to initiate an aggressive trial of this therapy. Concerns remain, however, that the experience of the intensive care unit for patients with lung cancer and their families often may be distressing. Regardless of prognosis, all patients with critical illness should receive high-quality palliative care, including symptom control, communication about appropriate care goals, and support for both patient and family throughout the illness trajectory. In this article, we suggest strategies for integrating palliative care with intensive care for critically ill lung cancer patients. We address assessment and management of symptoms, knowledge and skill needed for effective communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration for patient and family support. We review the role of expert consultants in providing palliative care in the intensive care unit, while highlighting the responsibility of all critical care clinicians to address basic palliative care needs of patients and their families.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-3
PMCID: PMC3306209  PMID: 22339793
13.  Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) of the thenar eminence in anesthesia and intensive care 
Near infrared spectroscopy of the thenar eminence (NIRSth) is a noninvasive bedside method for assessing tissue oxygenation. The NIRS probe emits light with several wavelengths in the 700- to 850-nm interval and measures the reflected light mainly from a predefined depth. Complex physical models then allow the measurement of the relative concentrations of oxy and deoxyhemoglobin, and thus tissue saturation (StO2), as well as an approximation of the tissue hemoglobin, given as tissue hemoglobin index.
Here we review of current knowledge of the application of NIRSth in anesthesia and intensive care.
We performed an analytical and descriptive review of the literature using the terms “near-infrared spectroscopy” combined with “anesthesia,” “anesthesiology,” “intensive care,” “critical care,” “sepsis,” “bleeding,” “hemorrhage,” “surgery,” and “trauma” with particular focus on all NIRS studies involving measurement at the thenar eminence.
We found that NIRSth has been applied as clinical research tool to perform both static and dynamic assessment of StO2. Specifically, a vascular occlusion test (VOT) with a pressure cuff can be used to provide a dynamic assessment of the tissue oxygenation response to ischemia. StO2 changes during such induced ischemia-reperfusion yield information on oxygen consumption and microvasculatory reactivity. Some evidence suggests that StO2 during VOT can detect fluid responsiveness during surgery. In hypovolemic shock, StO2 can help to predict outcome, but not in septic shock. In contrast, NIRS parameters during VOT increase the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy in both hypovolemic and septic shock. Minimal data are available on static or dynamic StO2 used to guide therapy.
Although the available data are promising, further studies are necessary before NIRSth can become part of routine clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-11
PMCID: PMC3488540  PMID: 22569165
14.  Cardiac biomarkers in the intensive care unit 
Cardiac biomarkers (CB) were first developed for assisting the diagnosis of cardiac events, especially acute myocardial infarction. The discoveries of other CB, the better understanding of cardiac disease process and the advancement in detection technology has pushed the applications of CB beyond the 'diagnosis' boundary. Not only the measurements of CB are more sensitive, the applications have now covered staging of cardiac disease, timing of cardiac events and prognostication. Further, CB have made their way to the intensive care setting where their uses are not just confined to cardiac related areas. With the better understanding of the CB properties, CB can now help detecting various acute processes such as pulmonary embolism, sepsis-related myocardial depression, acute heart failure, renal failure and acute lung injury. This article discusses the properties and the uses of common CB, with special reference to the intensive care setting. The potential utility of "multimarkers" approach and microRNA as the future CB are also briefly discussed.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-8
PMCID: PMC3313856  PMID: 22397488
15.  The challenge of admitting the very elderly to intensive care 
The aging of the population has increased the demand for healthcare resources. The number of patients aged 80 years and older admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) increased during the past decade, as has the intensity of care for such patients. Yet, many physicians remain reluctant to admit the oldest, arguing a "squandering" of societal resources, that ICU care could be deleterious, or that ICU care may not actually be what the patient or family wants in this instance. Other ICU physicians are strong advocates for admission of a selected elderly population. These discrepant opinions may partly be explained by the current lack of validated criteria to select accurately the patients (of any age) who will benefit most from ICU hospitalization. This review describes the epidemiology of the elderly aged 80 years and older admitted in the ICU, their long-term outcomes, and to discuss some of the solutions to cope with the burden of an aging population receiving acute care hospitalization.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-29
PMCID: PMC3224497  PMID: 21906383
16.  Intensive care of the cancer patient: recent achievements and remaining challenges 
A few decades have passed since intensive care unit (ICU) beds have been available for critically ill patients with cancer. Although the initial reports showed dismal prognosis, recent data suggest that an increased number of patients with solid and hematological malignancies benefit from intensive care support, with dramatically decreased mortality rates. Advances in the management of the underlying malignancies and support of organ dysfunctions have led to survival gains in patients with life-threatening complications from the malignancy itself, as well as infectious and toxic adverse effects related to the oncological treatments. In this review, we will appraise the prognostic factors and discuss the overall perspective related to the management of critically ill patients with cancer. The prognostic significance of certain factors has changed over time. For example, neutropenia or autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT) have less adverse prognostic implications than two decades ago. Similarly, because hematologists and oncologists select patients for ICU admission based on the characteristics of the malignancy, the underlying malignancy rarely influences short-term survival after ICU admission. Since the recent data do not clearly support the benefit of ICU support to unselected critically ill allogeneic BMT recipients, more outcome research is needed in this subgroup. Because of the overall increased survival that has been reported in critically ill patients with cancer, we outline an easy-to-use and evidence-based ICU admission triage criteria that may help avoid depriving life support to patients with cancer who can benefit. Lastly, we propose a research agenda to address unanswered questions.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-5
PMCID: PMC3159899  PMID: 21906331
17.  Eligibility of patients withheld or withdrawn from life-sustaining treatment to organ donation after circulatory arrest death: epidemiological feasibility study in a French Intensive Care Unit 
Background
Transplantation brings sustainably improved quality of life to patients with end-stage organ failure. Persisting shortfall in available organs prompted French authorities and practitioners to focus on organ retrieval in patients withdrawn from life-sustaining treatment and awaiting cardiac arrest (Maastricht classification category III). The purpose of this study was to assess the theoretical eligibility of non-heart-beating donors dying in the intensive care unit (ICU) after a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment (WoWt).
Methods
We collected the clinical and biological characteristics of all consecutive patients admitted to our ICU and qualified for a WoWt procedure under the terms of the French Leonetti law governing end-of-life care during a 12-month period. The theoretical organ donor eligibility (for kidney, liver, or lung retrieval) of deceased patients was determined a posteriori 1) according to routine medical criteria for graft selection and 2) according to the WoWt measures implemented and their impact on organ viability.
Results
A total of 596 patients (mean age: 67 ± 16 yr; gender ratio M/F: 1.6; mean SAPS (Simplified Acute Physiology Score) II: 54 ± 24) was admitted to the ICU, of which 84 patients (mean age: 71 ± 14 yr, 14% of admissions, gender ratio M/F: 3.2) underwent WoWt measures. Eight patients left the unit alive. Forty-four patients presented a contraindication ruling out organ retrieval either preexisting admission (n = 20) or emerged during hospitalization (n = 24). Thirty-two patients would have been eligible as kidney (n = 23), liver (n = 22), or lung donors (n = 2). Cardiopulmonary support was withdrawn in only five of these patients, and three died within 120 minutes after withdrawal (the maximum delay compatible with organ viability for donor grafts).
Conclusions
In this pilot study, a significant number of patients deceased under WoWt conditions theoretically would have been eligible for organ retrieval. However, the WoWt measures implemented in our unit seems incompatible with donor organ viability. A French multicenter survey of end-of-life practices in ICU may help to identify potential appropriate organ donors and to interpret nation-specific considerations of the related professional, legal, and ethical frameworks.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-36
PMCID: PMC3826506  PMID: 24199966
Tissue and organ harvesting; Withholding treatment; Life support care; Medical futility; Organ donation
18.  Evaluation of the depth of sedation in an intensive care unit based on the photo motor reflex variations measured by video pupillometry 
Background
Evaluating depth of sedation in the intensive care unit (ICU) is crucial for the management of mechanically ventilated patients but can be challenging in some situations. Because the depth of hypnosis is correlated with the decrease in photomotor reflex (PMR), we suggest using pupillometric video as an automated, noninvasive, simple, and reproducible technique to evaluate the depth of sedation in ICU patients. We compare the effectiveness of this procedure to the bispectral index (BIS).
Methods
Thirty-one patients requiring sedation and ventilation were included in this monocentric, observational study. The posology of hypnotics and morphinics were based on the Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS). PMR was measured by the Neurolight® (IDMED) system and BIS value by BIS Vista® (Anandic Medical Systems). RASS, PMR, and BIS were measured three times daily in all patients. Data acquired by pupillometric video included variation in pupillary diameter (ΔPD), latency time (LT), and maximal speed of pupillary constriction (Vmax). These parameters were analyzed after having classified BIS values in three groups (<40 heavy sedation; 40 ≤ BIS ≤ 60 acceptable sedation; >60 light sedation). Exclusion criteria were neurological or ophthalmologic pathologies that could interfere with PMR.
Results
There was a significant difference in Vmax and ΔPD between the BIS < 40 group and 40 ≤ BIS ≤ 60 groups (p < 0.0001 for each) and between the BIS < 40 and BIS > 60 groups (p < 0.0001 for each). There were no significant differences in Vmax and ΔPD between the 40 ≤ BIS ≤ 60 and BIS > 60 groups. There was no correlation between any of the BIS groups and LT.
Conclusions
Vmax and ΔPD seem to be relevant criteria compared with the BIS and the RASS. Pupillometric video monitoring of depth of sedation could be beneficial in ICU patients, especially for those under myorelaxant drugs, where no clinical evaluation of sedation is possible.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-5
PMCID: PMC3605207  PMID: 23433043
Sedation; Photomotor reflex; Video pupillometry; Bispectral index
19.  Lactate clearance for death prediction in severe sepsis or septic shock patients during the first 24 hours in Intensive Care Unit: an observational study 
Background
This study was design to investigate the prognostic value for death at day-28 of lactate course and lactate clearance during the first 24 hours in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), after initial resuscitation.
Methods
Prospective, observational study in one surgical ICU in a university hospital. Ninety-four patients hospitalized in the ICU for severe sepsis or septic shock were included. In this septic cohort, we measured blood lactate concentration at ICU admission (H0) and at H6, H12, and H24. Lactate clearance was calculated as followed: [(lactateinitial - lactatedelayed)/ lactateinitial] x 100%].
Results
The mean time between severe sepsis diagnosis and H0 (ICU admission) was 8.0 ± 4.5 hours. Forty-two (45%) patients died at day 28. Lactate clearance was higher in survivors than in nonsurvivors patients for H0-H6 period (13 ± 38% and −13 ± 7% respectively, p = 0.021) and for the H0-H24 period (42 ± 33% and −17 ± 76% respectively, p < 0.001). The best predictor of death at day 28 was lactate clearance for the H0-H24 period (AUC = 0.791; 95% CI 0.6-0.85). Logistic regression found that H0-H24 lactate clearance was independently correlated to a survival status with a p = 0.047 [odds ratio = 0.35 (95% CI 0.01-0.76)].
Conclusions
During the first 24 hr in the ICU, lactate clearance was the best parameter associated with 28-day mortality rate in septic patients. Protocol of lactate clearance-directed therapy should be considered in septic patients, even after the golden hours.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-3
PMCID: PMC3614435  PMID: 23398782
Sepsis; Lactate; Lactate clearance; Prognostic factor; Goal-directed therapy
20.  Delirium in postoperative nonventilated intensive care patients: risk factors and outcomes 
Background
Delirium features can vary greatly depending on the postoperative population studied; however, most studies focus only on high-risk patients. Describing the impact of delirium and risk factors in mixed populations can help in the development of preventive actions.
Methods
The occurrence of delirium was evaluated prospectively in 465 consecutive nonventilated postoperative patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) using the confusion assessment method (CAM). Patients with and without delirium were compared. A multiple logistic regression was performed to identify the main risk factors for delirium in the first 24 h of admission to the SICU and the main predictors of outcomes.
Results
Delirium was diagnosed in 43 (9.2%) individuals and was more frequent on the second and third days of admission. The presence of delirium resulted in longer lengths of SICU and hospital stays [6 days (3–13) vs. 2 days (1–3), p < 0.001 and 26 days (12–39) vs. 6 days (3–13), p <0.001, respectively], as well as higher hospital and SICU mortality rates [16.3% vs. 4.0%, p = 0.004 and 6.5% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.042, respectively]. The risk factors for delirium were age (odds ratio (OR), 1.04 [1.02-1.07]), Acute Physiologic Score (APS; OR, 1.11 [1.04-1.2]), emergency surgery (OR, 8.05 [3.58-18.06]), the use of benzodiazepines (OR, 2.28 [1.04-5.00]), and trauma (OR, 6.16 [4.1-6.5]).
Conclusions
Delirium negatively impacts postoperative nonventilated patients. Risk factors can be used to detect high-risk patients in a mixed population of SICU patients.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-51
PMCID: PMC3544687  PMID: 23272945
Delirium; Postoperative; Surgery; Confusion assessment method
21.  Vasculitic emergencies in the intensive care unit: a special focus on cryoglobulinemic vasculitis 
Vasculitis is characterized by the infiltration of vessel walls by inflammatory leukocytes with reactive damage and subsequent loss of vessel integrity. The clinical course of systemic vasculitis may be punctuated by acute life-threatening manifestations that require intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Furthermore, the diagnosis may be established in the ICU after admission for a severe inaugural symptom, mostly acute respiratory failure. Among the systemic vasculitides, cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (CV) has been rarely studied in an ICU setting. Severe CV-related complications may involve the kidneys, lungs, heart, gut, and/or central nervous system. The diagnosis of CV in the ICU may be delayed or completely unrecognized. A high level of suspicion is critical to obtain a timely and accurate diagnosis and to initiate appropriate treatment. We describe severe acute manifestations of CV based on six selected patients admitted to our ICU. That all six patients survived suggests the benefit of prompt ICU admission of patients with severe CV.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-31
PMCID: PMC3488028  PMID: 22812447
Cryoglobulinemia; Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis; Acute respiratory failure; Acute kidney injury; Vasculitis; Systemic disease
22.  The rising problem of antimicrobial resistance in the intensive care unit 
Mainly due to its extremely vulnerable population of critically ill patients, and the high use of (invasive) procedures, the intensive care unit (ICU) is the epicenter of infections. These infections are associated with an important rise in morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. The additional problem of multidrug-resistant pathogens boosts the adverse impact of infections in ICUs. Several factors influence the rapid spread of multidrug-resistant pathogens in the ICU, e.g., new mutations, selection of resistant strains, and suboptimal infection control. Among gram-positive organisms, the most important resistant microorganisms in the ICU are currently methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci. In gram-negative bacteria, the resistance is mainly due to the rapid increase of extended-spectrum Beta-lactamases (ESBLs) in Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, and Proteus species and high level third-generation cephalosporin Beta-lactamase resistance among Enterobacter spp. and Citrobacter spp., and multidrug resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter species. To conclude, additional efforts are needed in the future to slow down the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Constant evaluation of current practice on basis of trends in MDR and antibiotic consumption patterns is essential to make progress in this problematic matter.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-47
PMCID: PMC3231873  PMID: 22112929
23.  Erythropoietin in the intensive care unit: beyond treatment of anemia 
Erythropoietin (EPO) is the major hormone stimulating the production and differentiation of red blood cells. EPO is used widely for treating anemia of critical illness or anemia induced by chemotherapy. EPO at pharmacological doses is used in this setting to raise hemoglobin levels (by preventing the apoptosis of erythroid progenitor cells) and is designed to reduce patient exposure to allogenic blood through transfusions. Stroke, heart failure, and acute kidney injury are a frequently encountered clinical problem. Unfortunately, in the intensive care unit advances in supportive interventions have done little to reduce the high mortality associated with these conditions. Tissue protection with EPO at high, nonpharmacological doses after injury has been found in the brain, heart, and kidney of several animal models. It is now well known that EPO has anti-apoptotic effects in cells other than erythroid progenitor cells, which is considered to be independent of EPOs erythropoietic activities. This review article summarizes what is known in preclinical models of critical illness and discusses why this does not correlate with randomized, controlled clinical trials.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-40
PMCID: PMC3224459  PMID: 21943500
24.  Mechanical ventilation and clinical practice heterogeneity in intensive care units: a multicenter case-vignette study 
Background
Observational studies on mechanical ventilation (MV) show practice variations across ICUs. We sought to determine, with a case-vignette study, the heterogeneity of processes of care in ICUs focusing on mechanical ventilation procedures, and whether organizational patterns or physician characteristics influence practice variations.
Methods
We conducted a cross-sectional multicenter study using the case-vignette methodology. Descriptive analyses were calculated for each organizational pattern and respondent characteristics. An Index of Qualitative Variation (IQV, from 0, no heterogeneity, to a maximum of 1) was calculated.
Results
Forty ICUs from France (N = 33) and Switzerland (N = 7) participated; 396 physicians answered our case-vignettes. There was major heterogeneity of management processes related to MV within and across centers (mean IQV per center 0.51, SD 0.09). We observed the lowest variability (mean IQV per question < 0.4) for questions related to intubation procedure, ventilation of acute respiratory distress syndrome and the use of the semirecumbent position. We observed a high variability (mean IQV per question > 0.6) for questions related to management of endotracheal tube or suctioning, management of sedation and analgesia, and respect of autonomy. Heterogeneity was independent of respondent characteristics and of the presence of written procedures. There was a correlation between the processes associated with the highest variability (mean IQV per question > 0.6) and the annual volume of ICU admission (r = 0.32 (0.01 to 0.58)) and MV (r = 0.38 (0.07 to 0.63)). Within ICUs there was a large heterogeneity regarding knowledge of a local written procedure.
Conclusions
Large clinical practice variations were found among ICUs. High volume centers were more likely to have heterogeneous practices. The presence of a local written procedure or respondent characteristics did not influence practice variation.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-4-2
PMCID: PMC3922080  PMID: 24484902
Mechanical ventilation; Clinical practice; Volume-outcome; Protocols
25.  Relative cost and outcomes in the intensive care unit of acute lung injury (ALI) due to pandemic influenza compared with other etiologies: a single-center study 
Background
Critical illness due to 2009 H1N1 influenza has been characterized by respiratory complications, including acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and associated with high mortality. We studied the severity, outcomes, and hospital charges of patients with ALI/ARDS secondary to pandemic influenza A infection compared with ALI and ARDS from other etiologies.
Methods
A retrospective review was conducted that included patients admitted to the Cleveland Clinic MICU with ALI/ARDS and confirmed influenza A infection, and all patients admitted with ALI/ARDS from any other etiology from September 2009 to March 2010. An itemized list of individual hospital charges was obtained for each patient from the hospital billing office and organized by billing code into a database. Continuous data that were normally distributed are presented as the mean ± SD and were analyzed by the Student’s t test. The chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to evaluate differences in proportions between patient subgroups. Data that were not normally distributed were compared with the Wilcoxon rank-sum test.
Results
Forty-five patients were studied: 23 in the H1N1 group and 22 in the noninfluenza group. Mean ± SD age was similar (44 ± 13 and 51 ± 17 years, respectively, p = 0.15). H1N1 patients had lower APACHE III scores (66 ± 20 vs. 89 ± 32, p = 0.015) and had higher Pplat and PEEP on days 1, 3, and 14. Hospital and ICU length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation were comparable. SOFA scores over the first 2 weeks in the ICU indicate more severe organ failure in the noninfluenza group (p = 0.017). Hospital mortality was significantly higher in the noninfluenza group (77 vs. 39%, p = 0.016). The noninfluenza group tended to have higher overall charges, including significantly higher cost of blood products in the ICU.
Conclusions
ALI/ARDS secondary to pandemic influenza infection is associated with more severe respiratory compromise but has lower overall acuity and better survival rates than ALI/ARDS due to other causes. Higher absolute charges in the noninfluenza group are likely due to underlying comorbid medical conditions.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-41
PMCID: PMC3503790  PMID: 22929215
ARDS; ALI; Influenza A; Novel influenza; Mechanical ventilation; Hospital cost

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