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.
Intensive care unit; Intensive care economics; Reimbursement; DRG system
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.
Oncology; Hematology; Cancer; Stem cell; Transplantation; Graft; Child; Pediatrics; Critical care; Intensive care
Sleep disturbance is commonly encountered amongst intensive care patients and has significant psychophysiological effects, which protract recovery and increases mortality. Bio-physiological monitoring of intensive care patients reveal alterations in sleep architecture, with reduced sleep quality and continuity. The etiological causes of sleep disturbance are considered to be multifactorial, although environmental stressors namely, noise, light and clinical care interactions have been frequently cited in both subjective and objective studies. As a result, interventions are targeted towards modifiable factors to ameliorate their impact. This paper reviews normal sleep physiology and the impact that sleep disturbance has on patient psychophysiological recovery, and the contribution that the clinical environment has on intensive care patients’ sleep.
Clinical care; Environment; Intensive care; Light; Sleep; Sleep deprivation; Sleep fragmentation; Noise
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.
intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; patient monitoring; intensive care; epidemiology.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Intensive care unit; Family; Visitation policy; Family centered care; Patient centered care
Thrombocytopenia is common in the intensive care unit. Potential mechanisms and etiologies behind this phenomenon are multiple and often entangled. We assessed the effect of a systematic approach, using routinely available tests, on the proportion of patients in whom the mechanism (primary objective) and etiology (secondary objective) of thrombocytopenia in a mixed intensive care unit (ICU) could be identified.
Before-and-after study of all patients with thrombocytopenia was used. ‘Before’ group had no intervention. New standard operating procedures for thrombocytopenia management were introduced. In the ‘After’ group, bone marrow aspiration; determination of fibrinogen dosage, prothrombin time, factor V, D-dimers; assay of fibrin monomers, ferritin, triglycerides, lactic acid dehydrogenase, aspartate transaminase, alanine aminotransferase, vitamin B12, folates, reticulocytes, haptoglobin, and bilirubin were performed.
In the Before group (n = 20), the mechanism (central, peripheral, or mixed) was identified in 10 % versus 83% in After group (n = 23) (p < 0.001) (48% peripheral, 35% mixed). Before intervention, ≥1 etiology was identified in 15% versus 95.7% in the After group (p < 0.001).
Systematic and extensive investigation using routine tests highlights the mechanisms and etiology of thrombocytopenia in most cases.
Thrombocytopenia; Intensive care unit; Bone marrow aspiration
Longstanding concerns regarding end of life in the ICU led in France to the publication of guidelines, updated in 2009, that take into account the insights provided by a recent law (Leonetti’s law) regarding patients’ rights. After the French President asked a specific expert to review end of life issues, the French Intensive Care Society (SRLF) surveyed their members (doctors and paramedics) about various aspects of end of life in the ICU.
SRLF members were invited to respond to a questionnaire, sent by Email, designed to assess their knowledge of Leonetti’s law and to determine how many caregivers would agree with the authorization of lethal drug administration in selected end of life situations.
Questionnaires returned by 616 (23%) of 2,700 members were analyzed. Most members (82.5%) reported that they had a good knowledge of Leonetti’s law, which most (88%) said they have often applied. One third of respondents had received ‘assisted death’ requests from patients and more than 50% from patients’ relatives. One quarter of respondents had experienced the wish to give lethal drugs to end of life patients. Assuming that palliative care in the ICU is well-managed, 25.7% of the respondents would approve a law authorizing euthanasia, while 26.5% would not. Answers were influenced by the fear of a possible risk of abuse. Doctors and nurses answered differently.
ICU caregivers appear to be well acquainted with Leonetti’s law. Nevertheless, in selected clinical situations with suitable palliative care, one quarter of respondents were in favor of a law authorizing administration of lethal drugs to patients.
Euthanasia; Palliative care; End of life; Intensive care unit
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sedation; Midazolam; Propofol; Opioids; Intensive care unit; Mechanical ventilation; Practice survey; Oversedation
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.
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.
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.
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.
hypoglycemia; intensive care unit; length of stay; resource utilization; APACHE II; mortality; intensive insulin therapy
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.
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.
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).
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.
Intensive care units; Human immunodeficiency virus; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Antiretroviral therapy; Prognostic factors; Critical care; Mortality
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adverse events; Medical errors; Patient safety; Quality improvement; Intensive care; Reliability
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.
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.
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.
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.
Outbreak; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase; Intensive care unit; Screening; Quinolone resistance
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.
Pain; Acute; Chronic; Acute-to-chronic; Intensive care unit; Critical care; Nerve sensitization
ICU patients frequently undergo chest radiographs (CXRs). The diagnostic and therapeutic efficacy of routine CXRs are now known to be low, but the discussion regarding specific indications for CXRs in critically ill patients and the safety of abandoning routine CXRs is still ongoing. We performed a survey of Dutch intensivists on the current practice of chest radiography in their departments.
Web-based questionnaires, containing questions regarding ICU characteristics, ICU patients, daily CXR strategies, indications for routine CXRs and the practice of radiologic evaluation, were sent to the medical directors of all adult ICUs in the Netherlands. CXR strategies were compared between all academic and non-academic hospitals and between ICUs of different sizes. A comparison was made between the survey results obtained in 2006 and 2013.
Of the 83 ICUs that were contacted, 69 (83%) responded to the survey. Only 7% of responding ICUs were currently performing daily routine CXRs for all patients, and 61% of the responding ICUs were said never to perform CXRs on a routine basis. A daily meeting with a radiologist is an established practice in 72% of the responding ICUs and is judged to be important or even essential by those ICUs. The therapeutic efficacy of routine CXRs was assumed by intensivists to be lower than 10% or to be between 10 and 20%. The efficacy of ‘on-demand’ CXRs was assumed to be between 10 and 60%. There is a consensus between intensivists to perform a routine CXR after endotracheal intubation, chest tube placement or central venous catheterization.
The strategy of daily routine CXRs for critically ill and mechanically ventilated patients has turned from being a common practice in 2006 to a rare current practice. Other routine strategies and an ‘on-demand only’ strategy have become more popular. Intensivists still assume the value of CXRs to be higher than the efficacy that is reported in the literature.
Chest radiography; Imaging; Intensive care
There have been few studies that have evaluated the quality of end-of-life
care (EOLC) for cancer patients in the ICU. The aim of this study was to explore the quality of transition to EOLC for cancer patients in ICU.
The study was undertaken on medical patients admitted to a specialist cancer hospital ICU over 6 months. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to explore quality of transition to EOLC using documentary evidence. Clinical parameters on ICU admission were reviewed to determine if they could be used to identify patients who were likely to transition to EOLC during their ICU stay.
Of 85 patients, 44.7% transitioned to EOLC during their ICU stay. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the patients’ records demonstrated that there was collaborative decision-making between teams, patients and families during transition to EOLC. However, 51.4 and 40.5% of patients were too unwell to discuss transition to EOLC and DNACPR respectively. In the EOLC cohort, 76.3% died in ICU, but preferred place of death known in only 10%. Age, APACHE II score, and organ support, but not cancer diagnosis, were identified as associated with transition to EOLC (p = 0.017, p < 0.0001 and p = 0.001).
Advanced EOLC planning in patients with progressive disease prior to acute deterioration is warranted to enable patients’ wishes to be fulfilled and ceiling of treatments agreed. Better documentation and development of validated tools to measure the quality EOLC transition on the ICU are needed.
Palliative; Intensive care; Communication; Do not resuscitate
Comparison of survival and quality of life in a mixed ICU population of patients 80 years of age or older with a matched segment of the general population.
We retrospectively analyzed survival of ICU patients ≥80 years admitted to the Haukeland University Hospital in 2000–2012. We prospectively used the EuroQol-5D to compare the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) between survivors at follow-up and an age- and gender-matched general population. Follow-up was 1–13.8 years.
The included 395 patients (mean age 83.8 years, 61.0 % males) showed an overall survival of 75.9 (ICU), 59.5 (hospital), and 42.0 % 1 year after the ICU. High ICU mortality was predicted by age, mechanical ventilator support, SAPS II, maximum SOFA, and multitrauma with head injury. High hospital mortality was predicted by an unplanned surgical admission. One-year mortality was predicted by respiratory failure and isolated head injury. We found no differences in HRQOL at follow-up between survivors (n = 58) and control subjects (n = 179) or between admission categories. Of the ICU non-survivors, 63.2 % died within 2 days after ICU admission (n = 60), and 68.3 % of these had life-sustaining treatment (LST) limitations. LST limitations were applied for 71.3 % (n = 114) of the hospital non-survivors (ICU 70.5 % (n = 67); post-ICU 72.3 % (n = 47)).
Overall 1-year survival was 42.0 %. Survival rates beyond that were comparable to those of the general octogenarian population. Among survivors at follow-up, HRQOL was comparable to that of the age- and sex-matched general population. Patients admitted for planned surgery had better short- and long-term survival rates than those admitted for medical reasons or unplanned surgery for 3 years after ICU admittance. The majority of the ICU non-survivors died within 2 days, and most of these had LST limitation decisions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13613-015-0053-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Intensive care unit; Elderly; Octogenarians; Survival; Mortality; HRQOL; Long-term outcome
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).
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.
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.
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.
Rhabdomyolysis; Intensive care unit–ICU; Creatine kinase; Creatine phosphokinase; Myoglobin; Serum myoglobin; Urinary myoglobin; Acute kidney injury
Earlobe arterialized capillary blood gas analysis can be used to estimate arterial gas content and may be suitable for diagnosis and management of critically ill patients. However, its utility and applicability in the ICU setting remains unexplored.
A prospective observational validation study was designed to evaluate this technique in a cohort of mechanically ventilated adult critically ill patients admitted to a polyvalent ICU. Precision and agreement between capillary gas measures and arterial references was examined. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) diagnosis capabilities with the proposed technique were also evaluated. Finally, factors associated with sampling failure were explored.
Fifty-five patients were included into this study. Precision of capillary samples was high (Coefficient of Variation PO2 = 9.8%, PCO2 = 7.7%, pH = 0.3%). PO2 measures showed insufficient agreement levels (Concordance Correlation Coefficient = 0.45; bias = 12 mmHg; percentage of error = 19.3%), whereas better agreement was observed for PCO2 and pH (Concordance Correlation Coefficient = 0.94 and 0.93 respectively; depreciable bias; percentage of error 11.4% and 0.5% respectively). The sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing ARDS were 100% and 92.3% using capillary gasometric measures. Sampling was unsuccessful in 43.6% of cases due to insufficient blood flow. Age > 65 years was independently associated with failure (odds ratio = 1.6), however hemodynamic failure and norepinephrine treatment were also influencing factors.
Earlobe capillary blood gas analysis is precise and can be useful for detecting extreme gasometrical values. Diagnosis of ARDS can be done accurately using capillary measurements. Although this technique may be insufficient for precise management of patients in the ICU, it has the potential for important benefits in the acute phase of various critical conditions and in other critical care arenas, such as in emergency medicine, advanced medical transport and pre-hospital critical care.
Acute respiratory failure; Arterialized; Capillary blood; Emergency medicine; Intensive care medicine; Mechanical ventilation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The death of a loved one is often an ordeal and a tragedy for those who witness
it, as death is not merely the end of a life, but also the end of an existence,
the loss of a unique individual who is special and irreplaceable. In some
situations, end-of-life signs, such as agonal gasps, can be an almost unbearable
“sight” because the physical manifestations are hard to watch and
can lead to subjective interpretation and irrational fears. Ethical unease
arises as the dying patient falls prey to death throes and to the manifestations
of ebbing life and the physician can only stand by and watch. From this point
on, medicine can put an end to suffering by the use of neuromuscular blockade,
but in so doing life ceases at the same time. It is difficult, however, not to
respond to the distress of loved ones and caregivers. The ethical problem then
becomes the shift from the original ethical concern, i.e. the dying patient, to
the patient’s loved ones. Is such a rupture due to a difference in nature
or a difference in degree, given that the dying patient remains a person and not
a thing as long as the body continues to lead its own life, expressed through
movement and sound? Because there cannot be any simple and unequivocal answer to
this question, the SRLF Ethics Commission is offering ethical reflections on
end-of-life signs and symptoms in the intensive care setting, and on the use of
neuromuscular blockade in this context, with presentations on the subject by two
philosophers and members of the SRLF Ethics Commission, Ms Lise Haddad and Prof
Dominique Folscheid. The SRLF Ethics Commission hopes to provide food for
thought for everyone on this topic, which undoubtedly calls for further
contributions, the aim being not to provide ready-made solutions or policy, but
rather to allow everyone to ponder this question in all conscience.
Ethics; End of life; Critical care; Gasps
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.