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1.  Clinical review: Respiratory failure in HIV-infected patients - a changing picture 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):228.
Respiratory failure in HIV-infected patients is a relatively common presentation to ICU. The debate on ICU treatment of HIV-infected patients goes on despite an overall decline in mortality amongst these patients since the AIDS epidemic. Many intensive care physicians feel that ICU treatment of critically ill HIV patients is likely to be futile. This is mainly due to the unfavourable outcome of HIV patients with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia who need mechanical ventilation. However, the changing spectrum of respiratory illness in HIV-infected patients and improved outcome from critical illness remain under-recognised. Also, the awareness of certain factors that can affect their outcome remains low. As there are important ethical and practical implications for intensive care clinicians while making decisions to provide ICU support to HIV-infected patients, a review of literature was undertaken. It is notable that the respiratory illnesses that are not directly related to underlying HIV disease are now commonly encountered in the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. The overall incidence of P. jirovecii as a cause of respiratory failure has declined since the AIDS epidemic and sepsis including bacterial pneumonia has emerged as a frequent cause of hospital and ICU admission amongst HIV patients. The improved overall outcome of HIV patients needing ICU admission is related to advancement in general ICU care, including adoption of improved ventilation strategies. An awareness of respiratory illnesses in HIV-infected patients along with an appropriate diagnostic and treatment strategy may obviate the need for invasive ventilation and improve outcome further. HIV-infected patients presenting with respiratory failure will benefit from early admission to critical care for treatment and support. There is evidence to suggest that continuing or starting HAART in critically ill HIV patients is beneficial and hence should be considered after multidisciplinary discussion. As a very high percentage (up to 40%) of HIV patients are not known to be HIV infected at the time of ICU admission, the clinicians should keep a low threshold for requesting HIV testing for patients with recurrent pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC3706935  PMID: 23806117
2.  Circulating Mitochondrial DNA in Patients in the ICU as a Marker of Mortality: Derivation and Validation 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(12):e1001577.
In this paper, Choi and colleagues analyzed levels of mitochondrial DNA in two prospective observational cohort studies and found that increased mtDNA levels are associated with ICU mortality, and improve risk prediction in medical ICU patients. The data suggests that mtDNA could serve as a viable plasma biomarker in MICU patients.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a critical activator of inflammation and the innate immune system. However, mtDNA level has not been tested for its role as a biomarker in the intensive care unit (ICU). We hypothesized that circulating cell-free mtDNA levels would be associated with mortality and improve risk prediction in ICU patients.
Methods and Findings
Analyses of mtDNA levels were performed on blood samples obtained from two prospective observational cohort studies of ICU patients (the Brigham and Women's Hospital Registry of Critical Illness [BWH RoCI, n = 200] and Molecular Epidemiology of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome [ME ARDS, n = 243]). mtDNA levels in plasma were assessed by measuring the copy number of the NADH dehydrogenase 1 gene using quantitative real-time PCR. Medical ICU patients with an elevated mtDNA level (≥3,200 copies/µl plasma) had increased odds of dying within 28 d of ICU admission in both the BWH RoCI (odds ratio [OR] 7.5, 95% CI 3.6–15.8, p = 1×10−7) and ME ARDS (OR 8.4, 95% CI 2.9–24.2, p = 9×10−5) cohorts, while no evidence for association was noted in non-medical ICU patients. The addition of an elevated mtDNA level improved the net reclassification index (NRI) of 28-d mortality among medical ICU patients when added to clinical models in both the BWH RoCI (NRI 79%, standard error 14%, p<1×10−4) and ME ARDS (NRI 55%, standard error 20%, p = 0.007) cohorts. In the BWH RoCI cohort, those with an elevated mtDNA level had an increased risk of death, even in analyses limited to patients with sepsis or acute respiratory distress syndrome. Study limitations include the lack of data elucidating the concise pathological roles of mtDNA in the patients, and the limited numbers of measurements for some of biomarkers.
Increased mtDNA levels are associated with ICU mortality, and inclusion of mtDNA level improves risk prediction in medical ICU patients. Our data suggest that mtDNA could serve as a viable plasma biomarker in medical ICU patients.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Intensive care units (ICUs, also known as critical care units) are specialist hospital wards that provide care for people with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. In the US alone, more than 5 million people are admitted to ICUs every year. Different types of ICUs treat different types of problems. Medical ICUs treat patients who, for example, have been poisoned or who have a serious infection such as sepsis (blood poisoning) or severe pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs); trauma ICUs treat patients who have sustained a major injury; cardiac ICUs treat patients who have heart problems; and surgical ICUs treat complications arising from operations. Patients admitted to ICUs require constant medical attention and support from a team of specially trained nurses and physicians to prevent organ injury and to keep their bodies functioning. Monitors, intravenous tubes (to supply essential fluids, nutrients, and drugs), breathing machines, catheters (to drain urine), and other equipment also help to keep ICU patients alive.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although many patients admitted to ICUs recover, others do not. ICU specialists use scoring systems (algorithms) based on clinical signs and physiological measurements to predict their patients' likely outcomes. For example, the APACHE II scoring system uses information on heart and breathing rates, temperature, levels of salts in the blood, and other signs and physiological measurements collected during the first 24 hours in the ICU to predict the patient's risk of death. Existing scoring systems are not perfect, however, and “biomarkers” (molecules in bodily fluids that provide information about a disease state) are needed to improve risk prediction for ICU patients. Here, the researchers investigate whether levels of circulating cell-free mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are associated with ICU deaths and whether these levels can be used as a biomarker to improve risk prediction in ICU patients. Mitochondria are cellular structures that produce energy. Levels of mtDNA in the plasma (the liquid part of blood) increase in response to trauma and infection. Moreover, mtDNA activates molecular processes that lead to inflammation and organ injury.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured mtDNA levels in the plasma of patients enrolled in two prospective observational cohort studies that monitored the outcomes of ICU patients. In the Brigham and Women's Hospital Registry of Critical Illness study, blood was taken from 200 patients within 24 hours of admission into the hospital's medical ICU. In the Molecular Epidemiology of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome study (acute respiratory distress syndrome is a life-threatening inflammatory reaction to lung damage or infection), blood was taken from 243 patients within 48 hours of admission into medical and non-medical ICUs at two other US hospitals. Patients admitted to medical ICUs with a raised mtDNA level (3,200 or more copies of a specific mitochondrial gene per microliter of plasma) had a 7- to 8-fold increased risk of dying within 28 days of admission compared to patients with mtDNA levels of less than 3,200 copies/µl plasma. There was no evidence of an association between raised mtDNA levels and death among patients admitted to non-medical ICUs. The addition of an elevated mtDNA level to a clinical model for risk prediction that included the APACHE II score and biomarkers that are already used to predict ICU outcomes improved the net reclassification index (an indicator of the improvement in risk prediction algorithms offered by new biomarkers) of 28-day mortality among medical ICU patients in both studies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that raised mtDNA plasma levels are associated with death in medical ICUs and show that, among patients in medical ICUs, measurement of mtDNA plasma levels can improve the prediction of the risk of death from the APACHE II scoring system, even when commonly measured biomarkers are taken into account. These findings do not indicate whether circulating cell-free mtDNA increased because of the underlying severity of illness or whether mtDNA actively contributes to the disease process in medical ICU patients. Moreover, they do not provide any evidence that raised mtDNA levels are associated with an increased risk of death among non-medical (mainly surgical) ICU patients. These findings need to be confirmed in additional patients, but given the relative ease and rapidity of mtDNA measurement, the determination of circulating cell-free mtDNA levels could be a valuable addition to the assessment of patients admitted to medical ICUs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about intensive care
The Society of Critical Care Medicine provides information for professionals, families, and patients about all aspects of intensive care
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about intensive care (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity ICUsteps supports patients and their families through recovery from critical illness; its booklet Intensive Care: A Guide for Patients and Families is available in English and ten other languages; its website includes patient experiences and relative experiences of treatment in ICUs
Wikipedia has a page on ICU scoring systems (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3876981  PMID: 24391478
3.  Critical care management and outcome of severe Pneumocystis pneumonia in patients with and without HIV infection 
Critical Care  2008;12(1):R28.
Little is known about the most severe forms of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) in HIV-negative as compared with HIV-positive patients. Improved knowledge about the differential characteristics and management modalities could guide treatment based on HIV status.
We retrospectively compared 72 patients (73 cases, 46 HIV-positive) admitted for PCP from 1993 to 2006 in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital.
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients increased from 1993 (0%) to 2006 (6.5%). At admission, all but one non-HIV patient were receiving corticosteroids. Twenty-three (85%) HIV-negative patients were receiving an additional immunosuppressive treatment. At admission, HIV-negative patients were significantly older than HIV-positive patients (64 [18 to 82] versus 37 [28 to 56] years old) and had a significantly higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II (38 [13 to 90] versus 27 [11 to 112]) but had a similar PaO2/FiO2 (arterial partial pressure of oxygen/fraction of inspired oxygen) ratio (160 [61 to 322] versus 183 [38 to 380] mm Hg). Ventilatory support was required in a similar proportion of HIV-negative and HIV-positive cases (78% versus 61%), with a similar proportion of first-line non-invasive ventilation (NIV) (67% versus 54%). NIV failed in 71% of HIV-negative and in 13% of HIV-positive patients (p < 0.01). Mortality was significantly higher in HIV-negative than HIV-positive cases (48% versus 17%). The HIV-negative status (odds ratio 3.73, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 12.60) and SAPS II (odds ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.12) were independently associated with mortality at multivariate analysis.
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients in our unit increased from 1993 to 2006. The course of the disease and the outcome were worse in HIV-negative patients. NIV often failed in HIV-negative cases, suggesting that NIV must be watched closely in this population.
PMCID: PMC2374632  PMID: 18304356
4.  Outcome of HIV-associated Pneumocystis pneumonia in hospitalized patients from 2000 through 2003 
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected persons. Epidemiology of PCP in the recent era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is not well known and the impact of HAART on outcome of PCP has been debated.
To determine the epidemiology of PCP in HIV-infected patients and examine the impact of HAART on PCP outcome.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of 262 patients diagnosed with PCP between January 2000 and December 2003 at a county hospital at an academic medical center. Death while in the hospital was the main outcome measure. Multivariate modeling was performed to determine predictors of mortality.
Overall hospital mortality was 11.6%. Mortality in patients requiring intensive care was 29.0%. The need for mechanical ventilation, development of a pneumothorax, and low serum albumin were independent predictors of increased mortality. One hundred and seven patients received HAART before hospitalization and 16 patients were started on HAART while in the hospital. HAART use either before or during hospitalization was not associated with mortality.
Overall hospital mortality and mortality predictors are similar to those reported earlier in the HAART era. PCP diagnoses in HAART users likely represented failing HAART regimens or non-compliance with HAART.
PMCID: PMC2551597  PMID: 18796158
5.  Early Predictors of Mortality from Pneumocystis jirovecii Pneumonia in HIV-Infected Patients: 1985–2006 
Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) remains the leading cause of opportunistic infection among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected persons. Previous studies of PCP that identified case-fatality risk factors involved small numbers of patients, were performed over few years, and often focused on patients who were admitted to the intensive care unit.
The objective of this study was to identify case-fatality risk factors present at or soon after hospitalization among adult HIV-infected patients admitted to University College London Hospitals (London, United Kingdom) from June 1985 through June 2006.
Patients and Methods
We performed a review of case notes for 494 consecutive patients with 547 episodes of laboratory-confirmed PCP.
Overall mortality was 13.5%. Mortality was 10.1% for the period from 1985 through 1989, 16.9% for the period from 1990 through June 1996, and 9.7% for the period from July 1996 through 2006 (P = .142). Multivariate analysis identified factors associated with risk of death, including increasing patient age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11–2.23; P = .011), subsequent episode of PCP (AOR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.14–4.52; P = .019), low hemoglobin level at hospital admission (AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60–0.83; P < .001), low partial pressure of oxygen breathing room air at hospital admission (AOR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.60–0.81; P < .001), presence of medical comorbidity (AOR, 3.93; 95% CI, 1.77–8.72; P = .001), and pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (AOR, 6.95; 95% CI, 2.26–21.37; P =.001). Patients with a first episode of PCP were sicker (mean partial pressure of oxygen at admission ± standard deviation, 9.3 ± 2.0 kPa) than those with a second or third episode of PCP (mean partial pressure of oxygen at admission ± standard deviation, 9.9 ± 1.9 kPa; P =.008), but mortality among patients with a first episode of PCP (12.5%) was lower than mortality among patients with subsequent episodes of PCP (22.5%) (P = .019). No patient was receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy before presentation with PCP, and none began highly active antiretroviral therapy during treatment of PCP.
Mortality risk factors for PCP were identifiable at or soon after hospitalization. The trend towards improved outcome after June 1996 occurred in the absence of highly active antiretroviral therapy.
PMCID: PMC2735405  PMID: 18190281
6.  Survival of HIV‐infected patients in the intensive care unit in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy 
Thorax  2007;62(11):964-968.
Several studies have described improved outcomes for HIV‐infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). A study was undertaken to examine the outcome from the ICU for HIV‐infected patients and to identify prognostic factors.
A retrospective study of HIV‐infected adults admitted to a university affiliated hospital ICU between January 1999 and December 2005 was performed. Information was collected on patient demographics, receipt of HAART (no patient began HAART on the ICU), reason for ICU admission and hospital course. Outcomes were survival to ICU discharge and to hospital discharge.
102 patients had 113 admissions to the ICU; HIV infection was newly diagnosed in 31 patients. Survival (first episode ICU discharge and hospital discharge) was 77% and 68%, respectively, compared with 74% and 65% for general medical patients. ICU and hospital survival was 78% and 67% in those receiving HAART, and 75% and 66% in those who were not. In univariate analysis, factors associated with survival were: haemoglobin (OR = 1.25, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.51, for an increase of 1 g/dl), CD4 count (OR = 1.59, 95% CI 0.98 to 2.58, for a 10‐fold increase in cells/µl), APACHE II score (OR = 0.51, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.90, for a 10 unit increase) and mechanical ventilation (OR = 0.29, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.83).
The outcome for HIV‐infected patients admitted to the ICU was good and was comparable to that in general medical patients. More than a quarter of patients had newly diagnosed HIV infection. Patients receiving HAART did not have a better outcome.
PMCID: PMC2117109  PMID: 17517829
7.  Benefit of antiretroviral therapy on survival of human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients admitted to an intensive care unit 
Critical care medicine  2009;37(5):1605-1611.
To evaluate the impact of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the prognostic factors for in-intensive care unit (ICU) and 6-month mortality in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted in patients admitted to the ICU from 1996 through 2006. The follow-up period extended for 6 months after ICU admission.
The ICU of a tertiary-care teaching hospital at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
A total of 278 HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU were selected. We excluded ICU readmissions (37), ICU admissions who stayed less than 24 hours (44), and patients with unavailable medical charts (36).
Outcome Measure
In-ICU and 6-month mortality.
Main Results
Multivariate logistic regression analysis and Cox proportional hazards models demonstrated that the variables associated with in-ICU and 6-month mortality were sepsis as the cause of admission (odds ratio [OR] = 3.16 [95% confidence interval [CI] 1.65– 6.06]); hazards ratio [HR] = 1.37 [95% CI 1.01–1.88]), an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score > 19 [OR = 2.81 (95% CI 1.57–5.04); HR = 2.18 (95% CI 1.62–2.94)], mechanical ventilation during the first 24 hours [OR = 3.92 (95% CI 2.20–6.96); HR = 2.25 (95% CI 1.65–3.07)], and year of ICU admission [OR = 0.90 (95% CI 0.81– 0.99); HR = 0.92 [95% CI 0.87– 0.97)]. CD4 T-cell count <50 cells/mm3 was only associated with ICU mortality [OR = 2.10 (95% CI 1.17– 3.76)]. The use of ART in the ICU was negatively predictive of 6-month mortality in the Cox model [HR = 0.50 (95% CI 0.35– 0.71)], especially if this therapy was introduced during the first 4 days of admission to the ICU [HR = 0.58 (95% CI 0.41– 0.83)]. Regarding HIV-infected patients admitted to ICU without using ART, those who have started this treatment during ICU stay presented a better prognosis when time and potential confounding factors were adjusted for [HR 0.55 (95% CI 0.31– 0.98)].
The ICU outcome of HIV-infected patients seems to be dependent not only on acute illness severity, but also on the administration of antiretroviral treatment. (Crit Care Med 2009; 37: 000–000)
PMCID: PMC4143892  PMID: 19325488
intensive care; human immunodeficiency virus; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; antiretroviral therapy; prognostic factors; critical care; mortality
8.  Short- and long-term outcomes of HIV-infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit: impact of antiretroviral therapy and immunovirological status 
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.
PMCID: PMC3465211  PMID: 22762133
Intensive care units; Human immunodeficiency virus; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Antiretroviral therapy; Prognostic factors; Critical care; Mortality
9.  HIV: primary and secondary prophylaxis for opportunistic infections 
Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0908.
Opportunistic infections can occur in up to 40% of people with HIV infection and a CD4 count less than 250/mm3, although the risks are much lower with use of highly active antiretroviral treatment.
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) and toxoplasmosis? What are the effects of antituberculosis prophylaxis in people with HIV infection? What are the effects of prophylaxis for disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease for people with, and without, previous MAC disease? What are the effects of prophylaxis for cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus (HSV), and varicella zoster virus (VZV)? What are the effects of prophylaxis for invasive fungal disease in people with, and without, previous fungal disease? What are the effects of discontinuing prophylaxis against opportunistic pathogens in people on highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART)? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to March 2008 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 43 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: aciclovir; antituberculosis prophylaxis; atovaquone; azithromycin (alone or plus rifabutin); clarithromycin (alone, or plus rifabutin and ethambutol); discontinuing prophylaxis for CMV, MAC, and PCP; ethambutol added to clarithromycin; famciclovir; fluconazole; isoniazid; itraconazole; oral ganciclovir; rifabutin (alone or plus macrolides); trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole; and valaciclovir.
Key Points
Opportunistic infections can occur in up to 40% of people with HIV infection and a CD4 count less than 250/mm3, although the risks are much lower with use of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART). HAART has reduced the rate of Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP), toxoplasmosis, and other opportunistic infections, so the absolute benefits of prophylactic regimens for opportunistic infections are probably smaller in people with HIV who are also taking HAART, and even smaller for those whose HIV is suppressed.
Primary prophylaxis with trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole may reduce the risk of PCP, and has been found to be more effective than pentamidine or dapsone. Atovaquone may prevent PCP in people who cannot tolerate trimethoprim−sulfamethoxazole.We don't know whether these drugs prevent toxoplasmosis as we found few RCTs, but there is consensus that standard trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole prophylaxis or dapsone should offer adequate coverage for toxoplasmosis.
Tuberculosis can be prevented by standard primary prophylaxis in people who are tuberculin skin test positive. Short-term combination treatment has similar efficacy to long-term isoniazid monotherapy, but is associated with a greater risk of adverse effects.
Azithromycin or clarithromycin reduce the risk of disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease as primary prophylaxis for people without prior MAC disease. Adding rifabutin may also be beneficial in this population, but is also associated with an increased risk of adverse effects. There is consensus that secondary prophylaxis with clarithromycin plus ethambutol decreases the risk of relapse in people with previous MAC disease. It remains unclear whether adding rifabutin to the dual drug regimen confers additional benefit as secondary prophylaxis, and the three-drug combination increases adverse effects.
Aciclovir as secondary prophylaxis reduces the risk of herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella zoster virus infection (VZV) and all-cause mortality. Valaciclovir may reduce the risk of recurrent HSV infection, but it may be associated with serious adverse effects.There is consensus that famciclovir is effective as secondary prophylaxis against HSV or VZV and that ganciclovir is effective as secondary prophylaxis against CMV, HSV, or VZV.
Fluconazole and itraconazole as primary prophylaxis may reduce the risk of invasive fungal infections, but azoles have been associated with potentially serious interactions with other drugs. As secondary prophylaxis, itraconazole seems effective in reducing relapse of Penicillium marneffei, but seems less effective than fluconazole at reducing recurrence of cryptococcal meningitis.
In people who have responded to HAART and have a CD4 cell count greater than 100/mm3 to 200/mm3 (depending on the condition), discontinuation of primary or secondary prophylactic treatment for PCP, toxoplasmosis, MAC, herpes virus, or invasive fungal disease infection seems safe.
PMCID: PMC3217757  PMID: 21418688
10.  Admissions to intensive care unit of HIV-infected patients in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy: etiology and prognostic factors 
Critical Care  2011;15(4):R202.
Although access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has prolonged survival and improved life quality, HIV-infected patients with severe immunosuppression or comorbidities may develop complications that require critical care support in intensive care units (ICU). This study aimed to describe the etiology and analyze the prognostic factors of HIV-infected Taiwanese patients in the HAART era.
Medical records of all HIV-infected adults who were admitted to ICU at a university hospital in Taiwan from 2001 to 2010 were reviewed to record information on patient demographics, receipt of HAART, and reason for ICU admission. Factors associated with hospital mortality were analyzed.
During the 10-year study period, there were 145 ICU admissions for 135 patients, with respiratory failure being the most common cause (44.4%), followed by sepsis (33.3%) and neurological disease (11.9%). Receipt of HAART was not associated with survival. However, CD4 count was independently predictive of hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], per-10 cells/mm3 decrease, 1.036; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.003 to 1.069). Admission diagnosis of sepsis was independently associated with hospital mortality (AOR, 2.91; 95% CI, 1.11 to 7.62). A hospital-to-ICU interval of more than 24 hours and serum albumin level (per 1-g/dl decrease) were associated with increased hospital mortality, but did not reach statistical significance in multivariable analysis.
Respiratory failure was the leading cause of ICU admissions among HIV-infected patients in Taiwan. Outcome during the ICU stay was associated with CD4 count and the diagnosis of sepsis, but was not associated with HAART in this study.
PMCID: PMC3387644  PMID: 21871086
11.  Low Tidal Volume Ventilation Is Associated with Reduced Mortality in HIV-infected Patients with Acute Lung Injury 
Thorax  2008;63(11):988-993.
Respiratory failure remains the leading indication for intensive care unit admission and a leading cause of death for HIV-infected patients in spite of overall improvements in ICU mortality. It is unclear if these improvements are due to combination antiretroviral therapy, low tidal-volume ventilation for acute lung injury, or both.
Our aims were to identify therapies and clinical factors associated with mortality in acute lung injury among HIV-infected patients with respiratory failure in the period 1996–2004. A secondary aim was to compare mortality before and after introduction of a low tidal-volume ventilation protocol in 2000.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of 148 consecutive HIV-infected adults admitted to the ICU at San Francisco General Hospital with acute lung injury requiring mechanical ventilation. We abstracted demographic and clinical information, including data on mechanical ventilation, from medical records, and performed multivariate analysis using logistic regression.
In-hospital mortality was similar before and after introduction of a low tidal-volume ventilation protocol, although the study was not powered to exclude a clinically significant difference (Risk Difference −5.4%, 95% Confidence Interval −21% to 11%, p=0.51). Combination antiretroviral therapy was not clearly associated with mortality, except in patients with Pneumocystis pneumonia. Among all those with acute lung injury, lower tidal volume was associated with decreased mortality (Adjusted Odds Ratio 0.76 per 1 mL/kg decrease, 95% Confidence Interval 0.58 − 0.99, p=0.043), after controlling for Pneumocystis pneumonia, serum albumin, illness severity, gas-exchange impairment, and plateau pressure.
Lower tidal volume ventilation was independently associated with reduced mortality in HIV-infected patients with acute lung injury and respiratory failure.
PMCID: PMC2677080  PMID: 18535118
HIV/AIDS; Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Adult; Intensive Care; Tidal Volume; Antiretroviral Therapy; Highly Active
12.  Pneumocystis Pneumonia in HIV-Infected and Immunocompromised Non-HIV Infected Patients: A Retrospective Study of Two Centers in China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101943.
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is an emerging infectious disease in immunocompromised hosts. However, the clinical characteristics of these patients are poorly understood in mainland China.
We performed a retrospective study of PCP from 2008 to 2012. Information was collected regarding clinical manifestations, hospitalization, and outcome. A prognostic analysis was performed using a Cox regression model.
151 cases of PCP were included; 46 non-HIV and 105 HIV cases. All-cause mortality (15.2% vs. 12.4%, p = 0.64) and the results of time-to-event analysis (log-rank test, p = 0.62) were similar between non-HIV and HIV infected cases, respectively. From 2008 to 2012, time from admission to initial treatment in non-HIV infected PCP patients showed declining trend [median (range) 20 (9–44) vs. 12 (4–24) vs. 9 (2–23) vs. 7 (2–22) vs. 7 (1–14) days]. A similar trend was observed for all-cause mortality (33.3% vs. 20.0% vs.14.3% vs. 14.3% vs. 6.7%). Patients with four or more of the following clinical manifestations (cough, dyspnea, fever, chest pain, and weight loss) [adjusted HR (AHR) 29.06, 95% CI 2.13–396.36, P = 0.01] and admission to intensive care unit (ICU) [AHR 22.55, 95% CI 1.36–375.06, P = 0.03] were independently associated with all-cause mortality in non-HIV infected PCP patients. Variables associated with mortality in HIV infected PCP patients were admission to ICU (AHR 72.26, 95% CI 11.76–443.87, P<0.001) and albumin ≤30 g/L (AHR 9.93 95% CI 1.69–58.30, P = 0.01).
Upon admission comprehensive clinical assessment including assessment of four or more clinical manifestations (cough, dyspnea, fever, chest pain, and weight loss) in non-HIV infected PCP patients and albumin ≤30 g/L in HIV infected patients might improve prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4100803  PMID: 25029342
13.  Etiology and Outcome of Patients with HIV Infection and Respiratory Failure Admitted to the Intensive Care Unit 
Background. Although access to HAART has prolonged survival and improved quality of life, HIV-infected patients with severe immunosuppression or comorbidities may develop complications that require critical care support. Our objective is to evaluate the etiology of respiratory failure in patients with HIV infection admitted to the ICU, its relationship with the T-lymphocytes cell count as well as the use of HAART, and its impact on outcome. Methods. A single-center, prospective, and observational study among all patients with HIV-infection and respiratory failure admitted to the ICU from December 1, 2011, to February 28, 2013, was conducted. Results. A total of 42 patients were admitted during the study period. Their median CD4 cell count was 123 cells/μL (mean 205.7, range 2.0–694.0), with a median HIV viral load of 203.5 copies/mL (mean 58,676, range <20–367,649). At the time of admission, 23 patients (54.8%) were receiving HAART. Use of antiretroviral therapy at ICU admission was not associated with survival, but it was associated with higher CD4 cell counts and lower HIV viral loads. Twenty-five patients (59.5%) had respiratory failure secondary to non-HIV-related diseases. Mechanical ventilation was required in 36 patients (85.1%). Thirteen patients (31.0%) died. Conclusions. Noninfectious etiologies of respiratory failure account for majority of HIV-infected patients admitted to ICU. Increased mortality was observed among patients with sepsis as etiology of respiratory failure (HIV related and non-AIDS related), in those receiving mechanical ventilation, and in patients with decreased CD4 cell count. Survival was not associated with the use of HAART. Complementary studies are warranted to address the impact of HAART on outcomes of HIV-infected patients with respiratory failure admitted to ICU.
PMCID: PMC3771454  PMID: 24065988
14.  Clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia admitted to intensive care: a case-control study 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:516.
There is limited epidemiologic data on patients with acute myelogenous (myeloid) leukemia (AML) requiring life-sustaining therapies in the intensive care unit (ICU). Our objectives were to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes in critically ill AML patients.
This was a retrospective case-control study. Cases were defined as adult patients with a primary diagnosis of AML admitted to ICU at the University of Alberta Hospital between January 1st 2002 and June 30th 2008. Each case was matched by age, sex, and illness severity (ICU only) to two control groups: hospitalized AML controls, and non-AML ICU controls. Data were extracted on demographics, course of hospitalization, and clinical outcomes.
In total, 45 AML patients with available data were admitted to ICU. Mean (SD) age was 54.8 (13.1) years and 28.9% were female. Primary diagnoses were sepsis (32.6%) and respiratory failure (37.3%). Mean (SD) APACHE II score was 30.3 (10.3), SOFA score 12.6 (4.0) with 62.2% receiving mechanical ventilation, 55.6% vasoactive therapy, and 26.7% renal replacement therapy. Crude in-hospital, 90-day and 1-year mortality was 44.4%, 51.1% and 71.1%, respectively. AML cases had significantly higher adjusted-hazards of death (HR 2.23; 95% CI, 1.38-3.60, p = 0.001) compared to both non-AML ICU controls (HR 1.69; 95% CI, 1.11-2.58, p = 0.02) and hospitalized AML controls (OR 1.0, reference variable). Factors associated with ICU mortality by univariate analysis included older age, AML subtype, higher baseline SOFA score, no change or an increase in early SOFA score, shock, vasoactive therapy and mechanical ventilation. Active chemotherapy in ICU was associated with lower mortality.
AML patients may represent a minority of all critically ill admissions; however, are not uncommonly supported in ICU. These AML patients are characterized by high illness severity, multi-organ dysfunction, and high treatment intensity and have a higher risk of death when compared with matched hospitalized AML or non-AML ICU controls. The absence of early improvement in organ failure may be a useful predictor for mortality for AML patients admitted to ICU.
PMCID: PMC2955611  PMID: 20920175
15.  Should highly active antiretroviral therapy be prescribed in critically ill HIV-infected patients during the ICU stay? A retrospective cohort study 
The impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) remains controversial. We evaluate impact of HAART prescription in HIV-infected patients admitted to the ICU of Tourcoing Hospital from January 2000 to December 2009.
There were 91 admissions concerning 85 HIV-infected patients. Reasons for ICU admission were an AIDS-related diagnosis in 46 cases (51%). Fifty two patients (57%) were on HAART at the time of ICU admission, leading to 21 immunovirologic successes (23%). During the ICU stay, HAART was continued in 29 patients (32%), and started in 3 patients (3%). Only one patient experienced an adverse event related to HAART. Mortality rate in ICU and 6 months after ICU admission were respectively 19% and 27%. Kaplan-Meier estimates of the cumulative unajusted survival probability over 6 months were higher in patients treated with HAART during the ICU stay (Log rank: p = 0.04). No benefit of HAART in ICU was seen in the adjusted survival proportion at 6 months or during ICU stay. Prescription of HAART during ICU was associated with a trend to lower incidence of new AIDS-related events at 6 months (respectively 17% and 34% with and without HAART, p = 0.07), and with higher incidence of antiretroviral resistance after ICU stay (respectively 25% and 7% with and without HAART, p = 0.02).
Our results suggest a lower death rate over 6 months in critically ill HIV-infected patients taking HAART during ICU stay. The optimal time to prescribe HAART in critically ill patients needs to be better defined.
PMCID: PMC3544704  PMID: 23020962
HIV; Intensive care; HAART
16.  Acute respiratory failure in kidney transplant recipients: a multicenter study 
Critical Care  2011;15(2):R91.
Data on pulmonary complications in renal transplant recipients are scarce. The aim of this study was to evaluate acute respiratory failure (ARF) in renal transplant recipients.
We conducted a retrospective observational study in nine transplant centers of consecutive kidney transplant recipients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) for ARF from 2000 to 2008.
Of 6,819 kidney transplant recipients, 452 (6.6%) required ICU admission, including 200 admitted for ARF. Fifteen (7.5%) of these patients had combined kidney-pancreas transplantations. The most common causes of ARF were bacterial pneumonia (35.5%), cardiogenic pulmonary edema (24.5%) and extrapulmonary acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) (15.5%). Pneumocystis pneumonia occurred in 11.5% of patients. Mechanical ventilation was used in 93 patients (46.5%), vasopressors were used in 82 patients (41%) and dialysis was administered in 104 patients (52%). Both the in-hospital and 90-day mortality rates were 22.5%. Among the 155 day 90 survivors, 115 patients (74.2%) were dialysis-free, including 75 patients (65.2%) who recovered prior renal function. Factors independently associated with in-hospital mortality were shock at admission (odds ratio (OR) 8.70, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 3.25 to 23.29), opportunistic fungal infection (OR 7.08, 95% CI 2.32 to 21.60) and bacterial infection (OR 2.53, 95% CI 1.07 to 5.96). Five factors were independently associated with day 90 dialysis-free survival: renal Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score on day 1 (OR 0.68/SOFA point, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.88), bacterial infection (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.90), three or four quadrants involved on chest X-ray (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.91), time from hospital to ICU admission (OR 0.98/day, 95% CI 0.95 to 0.99) and oxygen flow at admission (OR 0.93/liter, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.99).
In kidney transplant recipients, ARF is associated with high mortality and graft loss rates. Increased Pneumocystis and bacterial prophylaxis might improve these outcomes. Early ICU admission might prevent graft loss.
PMCID: PMC3219351  PMID: 21385434
17.  Community-acquired pneumonia on the intensive care unit: secondary analysis of 17,869 cases in the ICNARC Case Mix Programme Database 
Critical Care  2006;10(Suppl 2):S1.
This paper describes the case mix, outcome and activity for admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).
We conducted a secondary analysis of a high quality clinical database, the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme Database, of 301,871 admissions to 172 adult ICUs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 1995 to 2004. Cases of CAP were identified from pneumonia admissions excluding nosocomial pneumonias and the immuno-compromised. It was not possible to review data from the time of hospital admission; therefore, some patients who developed hospital-acquired/nosocomial pneumonia may have been included.
We identified 17,869 cases of CAP (5.9% of all ICU admissions). There was a 128% increase in admissions for CAP from 12.8 per unit to 29.2 per unit during the study period compared to only a 24% rise in total ICU admissions (p < 0.001). Eighty-five percent of admissions were from within the same hospital. Fifty-nine percent of cases were admitted to the ICU <2 days, 21.5% between 2 and 7 days, and 19.5% >7 days after hospital admission. Between 1995 and 1999 and 2000 and 2004 there was a rise in admissions from accident and emergency (14.8% to 16.8%; p < 0.001) and high dependency units (6.9% to 11.9%; p < 0.001) within the same hospital, those aged >74 (18.5 to 26.1%; p < 0.001), and mean APACHE II score (6.83 to 6.91; p < 0.001). There was a fall in past history of severe respiratory problems (8.7% to 6.4%; p < 0.001), renal replacement therapy (1.6% to 1.2%; p < 0.01), steroid treatment (3.4% to 2.8%; p < 0.05), sedation/paralysis (50.2% to 40.4%; p < 0.001), cardiopulmonary resuscitation prior to admission (7.5% to 5.5%; p < 0.001), and septic shock (7.3% to 6.6%; p < 0.001). ICU mortality was 34.9% and ultimate hospital mortality 49.4%. Mortality was 46.3% in those admitted to the ICU within 2 days of hospital admission rising to 50.4% in those admitted at 2 to 7 days and 57.6% in those admitted after 7 days following hospital admission.
CAP makes up a small, but important and rising, proportion of adult ICU admissions. Survival of over half of all cases vindicates the use of ICU facilities in CAP management. Nevertheless, overall mortality remains high, especially in those admitted later in their hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC3226135  PMID: 16934135
18.  Pneumocystis Pneumonia in Giant Cell Arteritis: A Case Series 
Arthritis care & research  2011;63(5):761-765.
To describe the clinical presentation, laboratory findings and outcome of patients with Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) and biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis (GCA) seen at a tertiary referral center.
Using ICD-9 codes, all patients with GCA and PCP between January 1, 1976 and December 31, 2008 were identified. Medical records were reviewed. PCP was defined by the identification of Pneumocystis jiroveci organism in the clinical setting of pneumonia.
We identified 7 GCA patients (5 women and 2 men) who developed PCP; mean age at diagnosis was 71.6 (±6.1) years. Median time from GCA diagnosis to PCP diagnosis was 3 (range 1–18) months. All patients were on prednisone at diagnosis of PCP; median dose 50 (range 30–80) mg daily. None were on PCP prophylaxis. PCP was diagnosed by positive smear on broncho-alveolar lavage fluid in 6 patients (86%) and positive sputum polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 1 patient. All patients were hospitalized; median duration 17 (range 12–39) days. Four patients (57%) were admitted to intensive care unit. Three patients (43%) required mechanical ventilation. Two patients (29%) died; both were on mechanical ventilation.
PCP is rare among patients with GCA. However, this preventable infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
PMCID: PMC3091984  PMID: 21240966
Giant cell arteritis; Pneumocystis jiroveci; Pneumocystis pneumonia; corticosteroids
19.  A risk factor analysis of healthcare-associated fungal infections in an intensive care unit: a retrospective cohort study 
The incidence of fungal healthcare-associated infection (HAI) has increased in a major teaching hospital in the northern part of Taiwan over the past decade, especially in the intensive care units (ICUs). The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that were responsible for the outbreak and trend in the ICU.
Surveillance fungal cultures were obtained from “sterile” objects, antiseptic solutions, environment of infected patients and hands of medical personnel. Risk factors for comparison included age, gender, admission service, and total length of stay in the ICU, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores at admission to the ICU, main diagnosis on ICU admission, use of invasive devices, receipt of hemodialysis, total parenteral nutrition (TPN) use, history of antibiotic therapy before HAI or during ICU stay in no HAI group, and ICU discharge status (ie, dead or alive). Univariable analysis followed by multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the independent risk factors for ICU fungal HAIs and ICU mortality.
There was a significant trend in ICU fungal HAIs from 1998 to 2009 (P < 0.001). A total of 516 episodes of ICU fungal HAIs were identified; the rates of various infections were urinary tract infection (UTI) (54.8%), blood stream infection (BSI) (30.6%), surgical site infection (SSI) (6.6%), pneumonia (4.5%), other sites (3.5%). The fungi identified were: yeasts (54.8%), Candida albicans (27.3%), Candida tropicalis (6.6%), Candida glabrata (6.6%), Candida parapsilosis (1.9%), Candida species (0.8%), and other fungi (1.9%). Candida albicans accounted for 63% of all Candida species. Yeasts were found in the environment of more heavily infected patients. The independent risk factors (P < 0.05) of developing ICU fungal HAIs from all sites were TPN use, sepsis, surgical patients, mechanical ventilation and an indwelling urinary catheter. The independent risk factors for ICU fungal UTI included TPN use, mechanical ventilation and an indwelling urinary catheter. The independent risk factors for ICU fungal BSI included TPN use, sepsis, and higher APACHE II score. The independent risk factors for ICU fungal pneumonia included TPN use, surgical patients. The independent risk factors for ICU fungal SSI included surgical patients, and TPN use. The odds ratios of TPN use in various infection types ranged from 3.51 to 8.82. The risk of mortality in patients with ICU fungal HAIs was over 2 times that of patients without ICU HAIs in the multiple logistic regression analysis (P < 0.001).
There was a secular trend of an increasing number of fungal HAIs in our ICU over the past decade. Patients with ICU fungal HAIs had a significantly higher mortality rate than did patients without ICU HAIs. Total parenteral nutrition was a significant risk factor for all types of ICU fungal HAIs, and its use should be monitored closely.
PMCID: PMC3548709  PMID: 23298156
Intensive care unit; Fungal infection; Outbreak surveillance; Candida; Total parenteral nutrition
20.  Impact of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system on the outcome of critically ill adult patients: a before-after study 
Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems are recommended to improve patient safety and outcomes. However, their effectiveness has been questioned. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of CPOE implementation on the outcome of critically ill patients.
This was an observational before-after study carried out in a 21-bed medical and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care center. It included all patients admitted to the ICU in the 24 months pre- and 12 months post-CPOE (Misys®) implementation. Data were extracted from a prospectively collected ICU database and included: demographics, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, admission diagnosis and comorbid conditions. Outcomes compared in different pre- and post-CPOE periods included: ICU and hospital mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation, and ICU and hospital length of stay. These outcomes were also compared in selected high risk subgroups of patients (age 12-17 years, traumatic brain injury, admission diagnosis of sepsis and admission APACHE II > 23). Multivariate analysis was used to adjust for imbalances in baseline characteristics and selected clinically relevant variables.
There were 1638 and 898 patients admitted to the ICU in the specified pre- and post-CPOE periods, respectively (age = 52 ± 22 vs. 52 ± 21 years, p = 0.74; APACHE II = 24 ± 9 vs. 24 ± 10, p = 0.83). During these periods, there were no differences in ICU (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.7-1.3) and in hospital mortality (aOR 1.00, 95% CI 0.8-1.3). CPOE implementation was associated with similar duration of mechanical ventilation and of stay in the ICU and hospital. There was no increased mortality or stay in the high risk subgroups after CPOE implementation.
The implementation of CPOE in an adult medical surgical ICU resulted in no improvement in patient outcomes in the immediate phase and up to 12 months after implementation.
PMCID: PMC3248372  PMID: 22098683
Intensive care unit; critical illness; CPOE; safety management; mortality; morbidity
21.  The epidemiology of intensive care unit-acquired hyponatraemia and hypernatraemia in medical-surgical intensive care units 
Critical Care  2008;12(6):R162.
Although sodium disturbances are common in hospitalised patients, few studies have specifically investigated the epidemiology of sodium disturbances in the intensive care unit (ICU). The objectives of this study were to describe the incidence of ICU-acquired hyponatraemia and hypernatraemia and assess their effects on outcome in the ICU.
We identified 8142 consecutive adults (18 years of age or older) admitted to three medical-surgical ICUs between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2006 who were documented to have normal serum sodium levels (133 to 145 mmol/L) during the first day of ICU admission. ICU acquired hyponatraemia and hypernatraemia were respectively defined as a change in serum sodium concentration to below 133 mmol/L or above 145 mmol/L following day one in the ICU.
A first episode of ICU-acquired hyponatraemia developed in 917 (11%) patients and hypernatraemia in 2157 (26%) patients with an incidence density of 3.1 and 7.4 per 100 days of ICU admission, respectively, during 29,142 ICU admission days. The incidence of both ICU-acquired hyponatraemia (age, admission diagnosis, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, length of ICU stay, level of consciousness, serum glucose level, body temperature, serum potassium level) and ICU-acquired hypernatraemia (baseline creatinine, APACHE II score, mechanical ventilation, length of ICU stay, body temperature, serum potassium level, level of care) varied according to patients' characteristics. Compared with patients with normal serum sodium levels, hospital mortality was increased in patients with ICU-acquired hyponatraemia (16% versus 28%, p < 0.001) and ICU-acquired hypernatraemia (16% versus 34%, p < 0.001).
ICU-acquired hyponatraemia and hypernatraemia are common in critically ill patients and are associated with increased risk of hospital mortality.
PMCID: PMC2646327  PMID: 19094227
22.  Admission factors associated with hospital mortality in patients with haematological malignancy admitted to UK adult, general critical care units: a secondary analysis of the ICNARC Case Mix Programme Database 
Critical Care  2009;13(4):R137.
Patients with haematological malignancy admitted to intensive care have a high mortality. Adverse prognostic factors include the number of organ failures, invasive mechanical ventilation and previous bone marrow transplantation. Severity-of-illness scores may underestimate the mortality of critically ill patients with haematological malignancy. This study investigates the relationship between admission characteristics and outcome in patients with haematological malignancies admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and assesses the performance of three severity-of-illness scores in this population.
A secondary analysis of the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme Database was conducted on admissions to 178 adult, general ICUs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland between 1995 and 2007. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with hospital mortality. The Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II and ICNARC score were evaluated for discrimination (the ability to distinguish survivors from nonsurvivors); and the APACHE II, SAPS II and ICNARC mortality probabilities were evaluated for calibration (the accuracy of the estimated probability of survival).
There were 7,689 eligible admissions. ICU mortality was 43.1% (3,312 deaths) and acute hospital mortality was 59.2% (4,239 deaths). ICU and hospital mortality increased with the number of organ failures on admission. Admission factors associated with an increased risk of death were bone marrow transplant, Hodgkin's lymphoma, severe sepsis, age, length of hospital stay prior to intensive care admission, tachycardia, low systolic blood pressure, tachypnoea, low Glasgow Coma Score, sedation, PaO2:FiO2, acidaemia, alkalaemia, oliguria, hyponatraemia, hypernatraemia, low haematocrit, and uraemia. The ICNARC model had the best discrimination of the three scores analysed, as assessed by the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.78, but all scores were poorly calibrated. APACHE II had the highest accuracy at predicting hospital mortality, with a standardised mortality ratio of 1.01. SAPS II and the ICNARC score both underestimated hospital mortality.
Increased hospital mortality is associated with the length of hospital stay prior to ICU admission and with severe sepsis, suggesting that, if appropriate, such patients should be treated aggressively with early ICU admission. A low haematocrit was associated with higher mortality and this relationship requires further investigation. The severity-of-illness scores assessed in this study had reasonable discriminative power, but none showed good calibration.
PMCID: PMC2750195  PMID: 19706163
23.  Adjunctive steroid in HIV-negative patients with severe Pneumocystis pneumonia 
Respiratory Research  2013;14(1):87.
High-dose steroid therapy has been proven effective in AIDS-related Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) but not in non-AIDS-related cases. We evaluated the effects on survival of steroids in HIV-negative patients with PCP.
Retrospective study patients admitted to the ICU with hypoxemic PCP. We compared patients receiving HDS (≥1 mg/Kg/day prednisone equivalent), low-dose steroids (LDS group, <1 mg/Kg/day prednisone equivalent), and no steroids (NS group). Variables independently associated with ICU mortality were identified.
139 HIV-negative patients with PCP were included. Median age was 48 [40–60] years. The main underlying conditions were hematological malignancies (n=55, 39.6%), cancer (n=11, 7.9%), and solid organ transplantation (n=73, 52.2%). ICU mortality was 26% (36 deaths). The HDS group had 72 (51.8%) patients, the LDS group 35 (25%) patients, and the NS group 32 (23%) patients. Independent predictors of ICU mortality were SAPS II at ICU admission (odds ratio [OR], 1.04/point; [95%CI], 1.01-1.08, P=0.01), non-hematological disease (OR, 4.06; [95%CI], 1.19-13.09, P=0.03), vasopressor use (OR, 20.31; 95%CI, 6.45-63.9, P<0.001), and HDS (OR, 9.33; 95%CI, 1.97-44.3, P=0.02). HDS was not associated with the rate of ICU-acquired infections.
HDS were associated with increased mortality in HIV-negative patients with PCP via a mechanism independent from an increased risk of infection.
PMCID: PMC3765749  PMID: 23981859
Pneumocystis jiroveci infection; Immunocompromised host; Mortality
24.  Outcome of lung cancer patients admitted to the intensive care unit with acute respiratory failure 
Hippokratia  2013;17(1):60-63.
Background: Previous studies have shown that the outcome of lung cancer patients who were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), especially those requiring mechanical ventilation, is extremely poor. The present study was conducted in order to assess the outcome of a recent cohort of lung cancer patients admitted to the ICU with acute respiratory failure.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of the medical records of 105 lung cancer patients who were admitted to the ICU between January 2008 and January 2011 was performed. Severity of illness on the first day of ICU admission was assessed using the acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) II and the sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scoring systems. Associated organ failure was determined according to the Knaus criteria.
Results: Eighty four (80%) patients were diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, 14 (13.3%) with small cell lung cancer, one patient with mesothelioma, and in the remaining 6 patients, the type of lung cancer could not be determined. Significant factors on admission were APACHE II and SOFA scores, poor performance status and severe comorbidity. During ICU stay, the main risk factors for poor outcome were the long term mechanical ventilation duration, use of vasopressors, more than two organ system failures and septic condition. The overall ICU, hospital and 6-month mortality rates were 44.7% (47/105), 56.1% (59/105) and 77.1% (81/105) respectively.
Conclusions: The present data show that the medical intensive care unit outcome of lung cancer patients is improving. Further studies of patients selected to ICU admission are needed to assess long-term mortality, quality of life, ability to continue chemotherapy and economic cost.
PMCID: PMC3738280  PMID: 23935346
Lung cancer; intensive care unit; respiratory failure
25.  Pneumocystis Pneumonia in Hospitalized Patients; A Detailed Examination of Symptoms, Management, and Outcomes in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected Persons 
Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is a life-threatening infection for immunocompromised individuals. There are robust data and clear guidelines for prophylaxis and treatment of HIV-related Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (HIV-PCP), yet few data and no guidelines for non-HIV related Pneumocystis pneumonia (NH-PCP). We postulated that prevention and inpatient management of HIV-PCP differed from NH-PCP.
We performed a retrospective case review of all pathologically confirmed cases of PCP seen at the University of Alabama Medical Center from 1996 to 2008. Data on clinical presentation, hospital course, and outcome were collected using a standardized data collection instrument. Bivariate analysis compared prophylaxis, adjunctive corticosteroids, and clinical outcomes between patients with HIV-PCP and NH-PCP.
Our analysis of the cohort included 97 cases of PCP; 65 HIV and 32 non-HIV cases. Non-HIV cases rarely received primary prophylaxis (4% vs. 38%, p=0.01) and received appropriate antibiotics later in the course of hospitalization (5.2 vs 1.1 days, P<0.005). Among transplant patients, NH-PCP was diagnosed a mean of 1,066 days after transplantation and most patients were on low-dose corticosteroids (87%) at the time of disease onset. No significant differences in adjunctive corticosteroid use (69% vs. 77%, p=0.39) and 90-day mortality (41% vs. 28%, p=0.20) were detected.
Patients who have undergone organ or stem cell transplant remain at risk for PCP for many years after transplantation. In our cohort, patients who developed NH-PCP were rarely given prophylaxis and initiation of appropriate antibiotics was significantly delayed compared to cases of HIV-PCP. Medical providers should be aware of the ongoing risk for NH-PCP, even late after transplantation, and consider more aggressive approaches to both prophylaxis and earlier empiric therapy for PCP.
PMCID: PMC3889465  PMID: 22548840
Pneumocystis Pneumonia; Transplant; Infectious Complications

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