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1.  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
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.  Impact of a surgical intensivist on the clinical outcomes of patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit 
An intensivist is a key factor in the mortality of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of an intensivist on clinical outcomes of patients admitted to a surgical ICU.
During the study period, the surgical ICU was converted from an open ICU to an intensivist-directed ICU managed by an intensivist who was board certified in both general surgery and critical care medicine. We compared consecutive patients admitted to the surgical ICU before and after implementing the intensivist-directed care. The primary outcome was ICU mortality, and secondary outcomes were hospital mortality, 90-day mortality, length of hospital stay, ICU-free days, ventilator-free days, and ICU readmission rate.
A total of 441 patients were included in this study: 188 before implementation of the intensivist and 253 after implementation. Clinical characteristics were not different between the two groups. ICU mortality decreased from 11.7% to 6.3% (P = 0.047) after implementation, and 90-day mortality also decreased significantly (P = 0.008). The adjusted hazard ratio of the intensivist for ICU mortality was 0.43 (95% confidence interval, 0.22-0.87; P = 0.020). ICU-free days (P = 0.013) and the hospital length of stay (P = 0.032) were significantly improved after implementing the intensivist-directed care. Before implementation period, 16.0% of patients were readmitted, compared with only 9.9% after implementation (P = 0.05).
Implementing intensivist-directed care in the surgical ICU was associated with significant improvements in ICU mortality and significant clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4062451  PMID: 24949324
Intensive care units; Critical illness; Specialization; General surgery; Mortality
4.  Hypothermia in a surgical intensive care unit 
BMC Anesthesiology  2005;5:7.
Inadvertent hypothermia is not uncommon in the immediate postoperative period and it is associated with impairment and abnormalities in various organs and systems that can lead to adverse outcomes. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence, the predictive factors and outcome of core hypothermia on admission to a surgical ICU.
All consecutive 185 adult patients who underwent scheduled or emergency noncardiac surgery admitted to a surgical ICU between April and July 2004 were admitted to the study. Tympanic membrane core temperature (Tc) was measured before surgery, on arrival at ICU and every two hours until 6 hours after admission. The following variables were also recorded: age, sex, body weight and height, ASA physical status, type of surgery, magnitude of surgical procedure, anesthesia technique, amount of intravenous fluids administered during anesthesia, use of temperature monitoring and warming techniques, duration of the anesthesia, ICU length of stay, hospital length of stay and SAPS II score. Patients were classified as either hypothermic (Tc ≤ 35°C) or normothermic (Tc> 35°C). Univariate analysis and multiple regression binary logistic with an odds ratio (OR) and its 95% Confidence Interval (95%CI) were used to compare the two groups of patients and assess the relationship between each clinical predictor and hypothermia. Outcome measured as ICU length of stay and mortality was also assessed.
Prevalence of hypothermia on ICU admission was 57.8%. In univariate analysis temperature monitoring, use of warming techniques and higher previous body temperature were significant protective factors against core hypothermia. In this analysis independent predictors of hypothermia on admission to ICU were: magnitude of surgery, use of general anesthesia or combined epidural and general anesthesia, total intravenous crystalloids administrated and total packed erythrocytes administrated, anesthesia longer than 3 hours and SAPS II scores. In multiple logistic regression analysis significant predictors of hypothermia on admission to the ICU were magnitude of surgery (OR 3.9, 95% CI, 1.4–10.6, p = 0.008 for major surgery; OR 3.6, 95% CI, 1.5–9.0, p = 0.005 for medium surgery), intravenous administration of crystalloids (in litres) (OR 1.4, 95% CI, 1.1–1.7, p = 0.012) and SAPS score (OR 1.0, 95% CI 1.0–1.7, p = 0.014); higher previous temperature in ward was a significant protective factor (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1–0.7, p = 0.003). Hypothermia was neither a risk factor for hospital mortality nor a predictive factor for staying longer in ICU.
The prevalence of patient hypothermia on ICU arrival was high. Hypothermia at time of admission to the ICU was not an independent factor for mortality or for staying longer in ICU.
PMCID: PMC1180426  PMID: 15938757
5.  Case mix, outcome and activity for patients admitted to intensive care units requiring chronic renal dialysis: a secondary analysis of the ICNARC Case Mix Programme Database 
Critical Care  2007;11(2):R50.
This report describes the case mix, outcome and activity for admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) of patients who require prior chronic renal dialysis for end-stage renal failure (ESRF), and investigates the effect of case mix factors on outcome.
This was a secondary analysis of a high-quality clinical database, namely the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC) Case Mix Programme Database, which includes 276,731 admissions to 170 adult ICUs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2004.
During the eight year study period, 1.3% (n = 3,420) of all patients admitted to ICU were receiving chronic renal dialysis before ICU admission. This represents an estimated ICU utilization of six admissions (32 bed-days) per 100 dialysis patient-years. The ESRF group was younger (mean age 57.3 years versus 59.5 years) and more likely to be male (60.2% versus 57.9%) than those without ESRF. Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score and Acute Physiology Score revealed greater severity of illness on admission in patients with ESRF (mean 24.7 versus 16.6 and 17.2 versus 12.6, respectively). Length of stay in ICU was comparable between groups (median 1.9 days versus 1.8 days) and ICU mortality was only slightly elevated in the ESRF group (26.3% versus 20.8%). However, the ESRF group had protracted overall hospital stay (median 25 days versus 17 days), and increased hospital mortality (45.3% versus 31.2%) and ICU readmission (9.0% vs. 4.7%). Multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted for case mix identified the increased hospital mortality to be associated with increasing age, emergency surgery and nonsurgical cases, cardiopulmonary resuscitation before ICU admission and extremes of physiological norms. The adjusted odds ratio for ultimate hospital mortality associated with chronic renal dialysis was 1.24 (95% confidence interval 1.13 to 1.37).
Patients with ESRF admitted to UK ICUs are more likely to be male and younger, with a medical cause of admission, and to have greater severity of illness than the non-ESRF population. Outcomes on the ICU were comparable between the two groups, but those patients with ESRF had greater readmission rates, prolonged post-ICU hospital stay and increased post-ICU hospital mortality. This study is by far the largest comparative outcome analysis to date in patients with ESRF admitted to the ICU. It may help to inform clinical decision-making and resource requirements for this patient population.
PMCID: PMC2206479  PMID: 17451605
6.  Identification and characterisation of the high-risk surgical population in the United Kingdom 
Critical Care  2006;10(3):R81.
Little is known about mortality rates following general surgical procedures in the United Kingdom. Deaths are most common in the 'high-risk' surgical population consisting mainly of older patients, with coexisting medical disease, who undergo major surgery. Only limited data are presently available to describe this population. The aim of the present study was to estimate the size of the high-risk general surgical population and to describe the outcome and intensive care unit (ICU) resource use.
Data on inpatient general surgical procedures and ICU admissions in 94 National Health Service hospitals between January 1999 and October 2004 were extracted from the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre database and the CHKS database. High-risk surgical procedures were defined prospectively as those for which the mortality rate was 5% or greater.
There were 4,117,727 surgical procedures; 2,893,432 were elective (12,704 deaths; 0.44%) and 1,224,295 were emergencies (65,674 deaths; 5.4%). A high-risk population of 513,924 patients was identified (63,340 deaths; 12.3%), which accounted for 83.8% of deaths but for only 12.5% of procedures. This population had a prolonged hospital stay (median, 16 days; interquartile range, 9–29 days). There were 59,424 ICU admissions (11,398 deaths; 19%). Among admissions directly to the ICU following surgery, there were 31,633 elective admissions with 3,199 deaths (10.1%) and 24,764 emergency admissions with 7,084 deaths (28.6%). The ICU stays were short (median, 1.6 days; interquartile range, 0.8–3.7 days) but hospital admissions for those admitted to the ICU were prolonged (median, 16 days; interquartile range, 10–30 days). Among the ICU population, 40.8% of deaths occurred after the initial discharge from the ICU. The highest mortality rate (39%) occurred in the population admitted to the ICU following initial postoperative care on a standard ward.
A large high-risk surgical population accounts for 12.5% of surgical procedures but for more than 80% of deaths. Despite high mortality rates, fewer than 15% of these patients are admitted to the ICU.
PMCID: PMC1550954  PMID: 16749940
7.  Readmissions and deaths following ICU discharge - a challenge for intensive care 
Identify patients at risk for intensive care unit readmission, the reasons for and rates of readmission, and mortality after their stay in the intensive care unit; describe the sensitivity and specificity of the Stability and Workload Index for Transfer scale as a criterion for discharge from the intensive care unit.
Adult, critical patients from intensive care units from two public hospitals in Porto Alegre, Brazil, comprised the sample. The patients' clinical and demographic characteristics were collected within 24 hours of admission. They were monitored until their final outcome on the intensive care unit (death or discharge) to apply the Stability and Workload Index for Transfer. The deaths during the first intensive care unit admission were disregarded, and we continued monitoring the other patients using the hospitals' electronic systems to identify the discharges, deaths, and readmissions.
Readmission rates were 13.7% in intensive care unit 1 (medical-surgical, ICU1) and 9.3% in intensive care unit 2 (trauma and neurosurgery, ICU2). The death rate following discharge was 12.5% from ICU1 and 4.2% from ICU2. There was a statistically significant difference in Stability and Workload Index for Transfer (p<0.05) regarding the ICU1 patients' outcome, which was not found in the ICU2 patients. In ICU1, 46.5% (N=20) of patients were readmitted very early (within 48 hours of discharge). Mortality was high among those readmitted: 69.7% in ICU1 and 48.5% in ICU2.
The Stability and Workload Index for Transfer scale showed greater efficacy in identifying patients more prone to readmission and death following discharge from a medical-surgical intensive care unit. The patients' intensive care unit readmission during the same hospitalization resulted in increased morbidity, mortality, length of stay, and total costs.
PMCID: PMC4031865  PMID: 23887757
Intensive care units; Patient readmission; Patient discharge; Mortality rate; Quality of health care; Hospitalization
8.  Anemia and blood transfusion in a surgical intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2010;14(3):R92.
Studies in intensive care unit (ICU) patients have suggested that anemia and blood transfusions can influence outcomes, but these effects have not been widely investigated specifically in surgical ICU patients.
We retrospectively analyzed the prospectively collected data from all adult patients (>18 years old) admitted to a 50-bed surgical ICU between 1st March 2004 and 30th July 2006.
Of the 5925 patients admitted during the study period, 1833 (30.9%) received a blood transfusion in the ICU. Hemoglobin concentrations were < 9 g/dl on at least one occasion in 57.6% of patients. Lower hemoglobin concentrations were associated with a higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score II and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score, greater mortality rates, and longer ICU and hospital lengths of stay. Transfused patients had higher ICU (12.5 vs. 3.2%) and hospital (18.3 vs. 6.5%) mortality rates (both p < 0.001) than non-transfused patients. However, ICU and in-hospital mortality rates were similar among transfused and non-transfused matched pairs according to a propensity score (n = 1184 pairs), and after adjustment for possible confounders in a multivariable analysis, higher hemoglobin concentrations (RR 0.97[0.95-0.98], per 1 g/dl, p < 0.001) and blood transfusions (RR 0.96[0.92-0.99], p = 0.031) were independently associated with a lower risk of in-hospital death, especially in patients aged from 66 to 80 years, in patients admitted to the ICU after non-cardiovascular surgery, in patients with higher severity scores, and in patients with severe sepsis.
In this group of surgical ICU patients, anemia was common and was associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Higher hemoglobin concentrations and receipt of a blood transfusion were independently associated with a lower risk of in-hospital death. Randomized control studies are warranted to confirm the potential benefit of blood transfusions in these subpopulations.
PMCID: PMC2911729  PMID: 20497535
9.  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
10.  Effect of Intensive Care Unit Organizational Model and Structure on Outcomes in Patients with Acute Lung Injury 
Rationale: Prior studies supported an association between intensive care unit (ICU) organizational model or staffing patterns and outcome in critically ill patients.
Objectives: To examine the association of closed versus open models with patient mortality across adult ICUs in King County (WA).
Methods: Cohort study of patients with acute lung injury (ALI).
Measurements and Main Results: ICU structure, organization, and patient care practices were assessed using self-administered mail questionnaires completed by the medical director and nurse manager. We defined closed ICUs as units that required patient transfer to or mandatory patient comanagement by an intensivist and open ICUs as those relying on other organizational models. Outcomes were obtained from the King County Lung Injury Project, a population-based cohort of patients with ALI. The main endpoint was hospital mortality. Of 24 eligible ICUs, 13 ICUs were designated closed and 11 open. Complete survey data were available for 23 (96%) ICUs. Higher physician and nurse availability was reported in closed versus open ICUs. A total of 684 of 1,075 (63%) of patients with ALI were cared for in closed ICUs. After adjusting for potential confounders, patients with ALI cared for in closed ICUs had reduced hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.53, 0.89; P = 0.004). Consultation by a pulmonologist in open ICUs was not associated with improved mortality (adjusted odds ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.74, 1.20; P = 0.62). These findings were robust for varying assumptions about the study population definition.
Conclusions: Patients with ALI cared for in a closed-model ICU have reduced mortality. These data support recommendations to implement structured intensive care in the United States.
PMCID: PMC1994237  PMID: 17556721
intensive care unit; intensivist; outcome; practice patterns; Leapfrog Group
11.  Assessment of risk factors related to healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection at patient admission to an intensive care unit in Japan 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:303.
Healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) infection in intensive care unit (ICU) patients prolongs ICU stay and causes high mortality. Predicting HA-MRSA infection on admission can strengthen precautions against MRSA transmission. This study aimed to clarify the risk factors for HA-MRSA infection in an ICU from data obtained within 24 hours of patient ICU admission.
We prospectively studied HA-MRSA infection in 474 consecutive patients admitted for more than 2 days to our medical, surgical, and trauma ICU in a tertiary referral hospital in Japan. Data obtained from patients within 24 hours of ICU admission on 11 prognostic variables possibly related to outcome were evaluated to predict infection risk in the early phase of ICU stay. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent risk factors for HA-MRSA infection.
Thirty patients (6.3%) had MRSA infection, and 444 patients (93.7%) were infection-free. Intubation, existence of open wound, treatment with antibiotics, and steroid administration, all occurring within 24 hours of ICU admission, were detected as independent prognostic indicators. Patients with intubation or open wound comprised 96.7% of MRSA-infected patients but only 57.4% of all patients admitted.
Four prognostic variables were found to be risk factors for HA-MRSA infection in ICU: intubation, open wound, treatment with antibiotics, and steroid administration, all occurring within 24 hours of ICU admission. Preemptive infection control in patients with these risk factors might effectively decrease HA-MRSA infection.
PMCID: PMC3219579  PMID: 22044716
12.  Risk Factors for Severe Outcomes following 2009 Influenza A (H1N1) Infection: A Global Pooled Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(7):e1001053.
This study analyzes data from 19 countries (from April 2009 to Jan 2010), comprising some 70,000 hospitalized patients with severe H1N1 infection, to reveal risk factors for severe pandemic influenza, which include chronic illness, cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.
Since the start of the 2009 influenza A pandemic (H1N1pdm), the World Health Organization and its member states have gathered information to characterize the clinical severity of H1N1pdm infection and to assist policy makers to determine risk groups for targeted control measures.
Methods and Findings
Data were collected on approximately 70,000 laboratory-confirmed hospitalized H1N1pdm patients, 9,700 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), and 2,500 deaths reported between 1 April 2009 and 1 January 2010 from 19 countries or administrative regions—Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, the United States, and the United Kingdom—to characterize and compare the distribution of risk factors among H1N1pdm patients at three levels of severity: hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths. The median age of patients increased with severity of disease. The highest per capita risk of hospitalization was among patients <5 y and 5–14 y (relative risk [RR] = 3.3 and 3.2, respectively, compared to the general population), whereas the highest risk of death per capita was in the age groups 50–64 y and ≥65 y (RR = 1.5 and 1.6, respectively, compared to the general population). Similarly, the ratio of H1N1pdm deaths to hospitalizations increased with age and was the highest in the ≥65-y-old age group, indicating that while infection rates have been observed to be very low in the oldest age group, risk of death in those over the age of 64 y who became infected was higher than in younger groups. The proportion of H1N1pdm patients with one or more reported chronic conditions increased with severity (median = 31.1%, 52.3%, and 61.8% of hospitalized, ICU-admitted, and fatal H1N1pdm cases, respectively). With the exception of the risk factors asthma, pregnancy, and obesity, the proportion of patients with each risk factor increased with severity level. For all levels of severity, pregnant women in their third trimester consistently accounted for the majority of the total of pregnant women. Our findings suggest that morbid obesity might be a risk factor for ICU admission and fatal outcome (RR = 36.3).
Our results demonstrate that risk factors for severe H1N1pdm infection are similar to those for seasonal influenza, with some notable differences, such as younger age groups and obesity, and reinforce the need to identify and protect groups at highest risk of severe outcomes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
In April 2009, a new strain of influenza A H1N1 was first identified in Mexico and the United States and subsequently spread around the world. In June 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic alert phase 6, which continued until August 2010. Throughout the pandemic, WHO and member states gathered information to characterize the patterns of risk associated with the new influenza A H1N1 virus infection and to assess the clinical picture. Although risk factors for severe disease following seasonal influenza infection have been well documented in many countries (for example, pregnancy; chronic medical conditions such as pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, neuromuscular, hematologic, and metabolic disorders; some cognitive conditions; and immunodeficiency), risk factors for severe disease following infection early in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic were largely unknown.
Why Was This Study Done?
Many countries have recently reported data on the association between severe H1N1 influenza and a variety of underlying risk factors, but because these data are presented in different formats, making direct comparisons across countries is difficult, with no clear consensus for some conditions. Therefore, to assess the frequency and distribution of known and new potential risk factors for severe H1N1 infection, this study was conducted to collect data (from 1 April 2009 to 1 January 2010) from surveillance programs of the Ministries of Health or National Public Health Institutes in 19 countries―Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong (special administrative region), Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
As part of routine surveillance, countries were asked to provide risk factor data on laboratory-confirmed H1N1 in patients who were admitted to hospital, admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), or had died because of their infection, using a standardized format. The researchers grouped potential risk conditions into four categories: age, chronic medical illnesses, pregnancy (by trimester), and other conditions that were not previously considered as risk conditions for severe influenza outcomes, such as obesity. For each risk factor (except pregnancy), the researchers calculated the percentage of each group of patients using the total number of cases reported in each severity category (hospitalization, admission to ICU, and death). To evaluate the risk associated with pregnancy, the researchers used the ratio of pregnant women to all women of childbearing age (age 15–49 years) at each level of severity to describe the differences between levels.
The researchers were able to collect data on approximately 70,000 patients requiring hospitalization, 9,700 patients admitted to the ICU, and 2,500 patients who died from H1N1 infection. The proportion of patients with H1N1 with one or more reported chronic conditions increased with severity—the median was 31.1% of hospitalized patients, 52.3% of patients admitted to the ICU, and 61.8% of patients who died. For all levels of severity, pregnant women in their third trimester consistently accounted for the majority of the total of pregnant women. The proportion of patients with obesity increased with increasing disease severity—median of 6% of hospitalized patients, 11.3% of patients admitted to the ICU, and 12.0% of all deaths from H1N1.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that risk factors for severe H1N1 infection are similar to those for seasonal influenza, with some notable differences: a substantial proportion of people with severe and fatal cases of H1N1 had pre-existing chronic illness, which indicates that the presence of chronic illness increases the likelihood of death. Cardiac disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes are important risk factors for severe disease that will be especially relevant for countries with high rates of these illnesses. Approximately 2/3 of hospitalized people and 40% of people who died from H1N1 infection did not have any identified pre-existing chronic illness, but this study was not able to comprehensively assess how many of these cases had other risk factors, such as pregnancy, obesity, smoking, and alcohol misuse. Because of large differences between countries, the role of risk factors such as obesity and pregnancy need further study—although there is sufficient evidence to support vaccination and early intervention for pregnant women. Overall, the findings of this study reinforce the need to identify and target high-risk groups for interventions such as immunization, early medical advice, and use of antiviral medications.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
WHO provides a Global Alert and Response (GAR) with updates on a number of influenza-related topics
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on risk factors and H1N1
PMCID: PMC3130021  PMID: 21750667
13.  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
14.  Discriminative Power of EuroSCORE in Predicting Morbidity and Prolonged Hospital Stay in an Iranian Sample Population 
Background: The EuroSCORE is a simple and rigorous risk stratification model and is, thus, commonly used in predicting the early and late outcomes of cardiac surgery across the world. We aimed to assess the discriminative power of the EuroSCORE model to predict postoperative morbidity and total prolonged length of stay in hospital (LOS) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stay in an Iranian group of cardiac surgical population.
Methods: In a prospective study, the additive EuroSCORE model was applied to 570 patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) at Tehran Heart Center. The discrimination power of the EuroSCORE model was tested by the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve and the calibration by comparing the observed and predicted outcomes across the risk spectrum assessed using the Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test.
Results: The mean age was 59.03 ± 0.73 years and 429 out of the 570 (75.3%) patients were men. The overall morbidity rate was 47.5%. The observed morbidity in the high-risk patients (EuroSCORE > 6) was significantly greater than that in the low-risk patients (EuroSCORE ≤ 6). Furthermore, 51.2% of the patients had LOS beyond 14 days. Both prolonged LOS (> 14 days) and prolonged ICU stay (> 72 hours) were more prevalent in the high-risk group than in the low-risk group. The discriminative power of the EuroSCORE in predicting morbidity, prolonged LOS, and ICU stay was poor with an area under the ROC curve of 0.617, 0.598, and 0.581, respectively. However, this risk score showed good calibrations for morbidity (p value = 0.119), prolonged LOS (p value = 0.958), and prolonged ICU stay (p value = 0.620).
Conclusion: The EuroSCORE provided inappropriate discrimination in predicting early morbidity and prolonged LOS and ICU stay in our study population. Creating a revised model may enable us to accurately predict outcomes in Iranian CABG patients.
PMCID: PMC4277786  PMID: 25561965
Coronary artery bypass • Risk assessment • ROC curve
15.  Long-term survival of chronic dialysis patients following survival from an episode of multiple-organ failure 
Critical Care  2009;13(3):R65.
This study aimed to examine the long-term outcome for patients with end-stage renal failure (ESRF) who survived multiple-organ failure.
We performed a review of databases from the renal medicine service and intensive care units (ICU) of the participating hospitals within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK. Patients with ESRF admitted to ICU who required support of two or more organ systems or were ventilated for more than 36 hours were included. To provide a comparison we examined the survival of a comparator group of ESRF patients in the general population with similar demographic and disease characteristics to our study group. We also examined the outcome for ESRF patients admitted to ICU who died prior to discharge.
Survival data for two years following discharge from ICU were examined for the impact of age, prior dialysis history, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores and medical or surgical status. Of the 199 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 111 (56%) survived their ICU stay. Sixty-two (56%) of the survivors remained alive two years following discharge. There was no group difference in survival with regards to age, dialysis history or APACHE II scores. Those admitted with a medical rather than surgical diagnosis were less likely to survive two years (P < 0.01). Patients who died in ICU had higher APACHE II scores (P < 0.0001) and were more likely to have a medical diagnosis. By log rank analysis two-year mortality was significantly higher (P = 0.003) in the ICU survivors than the comparator group with ESRF. This difference was lost when patients who died within a month of discharge were excluded.
ESRF patients with multiple-organ failure have a high mortality, with the increased risk of death continuing into the early post-ICU period. Those with non-surgical diagnoses have the highest risk. Survival within the group who live beyond the early post-ICU period appears similar to the background population of ESRF patients.
PMCID: PMC2717420  PMID: 19416530
16.  Intensive care unit-acquired urinary tract infections in a regional critical care system 
Critical Care  2005;9(2):R60-R65.
Few studies have evaluated urinary tract infections (UTIs) specifically acquired within intensive care units (ICUs), and the effect of such infections on patient outcome is unclear. The objectives of this study were to describe the occurrence, microbiology, and risk factors for acquiring UTIs in the ICU and to determine whether these infections independently increase mortality.
A surveillance cohort study was conducted among all adults admitted to multi-system and cardiovascular surgery ICUs in the Calgary Health Region (CHR, population about 1 million) between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2002.
During the 3 years, 4465 patients were admitted 4915 times to a CHR ICU for 48 hours or more. A total of 356 ICU-acquired UTIs (defined as at least 105 colony-forming units/ml of one or two organisms 48 hours or more after ICU admission) occurred among 290 (6.5%) patients, yielding an overall incidence density of ICU-acquired UTIs of 9.6 per 1000 ICU days. Four bacteremic/fungemic ICU-acquired UTIs occurred (0.1 per 1000 ICU days). Development of an ICU-acquired UTI was more common in women (relative risk [RR] 1.58; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.43–1.75; P < 0.0001) and in medical (9%) compared with non-cardiac surgical (6%), and cardiac surgical patients (2%). The most common organisms isolated were Escherichia coli (23%), Candida albicans (20%), and Enterococcus species (15%). Antibiotic-resistant organisms were identified among 14% isolates. Although development of an ICU-acquired UTI was associated with significantly higher crude in-hospital mortality (86/290 [30%] vs. 862/4167 [21%]; RR = 1.43; 95% CI 1.19–1.73; P < 0.001); an ICU-acquired UTI was not an independent predictor for death.
Development of an ICU-acquired UTI is common in critically ill patients. Although a marker of increased morbidity associated with critical illness, it is not a significant attributable cause of mortality.
PMCID: PMC1175915  PMID: 15774051
incidence; intensive care unit; mortality; urinary tract infection
17.  Early tracheostomy in intensive care trauma patients improves resource utilization: a cohort study and literature review 
Critical Care  2004;8(5):R347-R352.
Despite the integral role played by tracheostomy in the management of trauma patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), its timing remains subject to considerable practice variation. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of early tracheostomy on the duration of mechanical ventilation, ICU length of stay, and outcomes in trauma ICU patients.
The following data were obtained from a prospective ICU database containing information on all trauma patients who received tracheostomy over a 5-year period: demographics, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, Simplified Acute Physiology Score II, Glasgow Coma Scale score, Injury Severity Score, type of injuries, ICU and hospital outcomes, ICU and hospital length of stay (LOS), and the type of tracheostomy procedure (percutaneous versus surgical). Tracheostomy was considered early if it was performed by day 7 of mechanical ventilation. We compared the duration of mechanical ventilation, ICU LOS and outcome between early and late tracheostomy patients. Multivariate analysis was performed to assess the impact of tracheostomy timing on ICU stay.
Of 653 trauma ICU patients, 136 (21%) required tracheostomies, 29 of whom were early and 107 were late. Age, sex, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, Simplified Acute Physiology Score II and Injury Severity Score were not different between the two groups. Patients with early tracheostomy were more likely to have maxillofacial injuries and to have lower Glasgow Coma Scale score. Duration of mechanical ventilation was significantly shorter with early tracheostomy (mean ± standard error: 9.6 ± 1.2 days versus 18.7 ± 1.3 days; P < 0.0001). Similarly, ICU LOS was significantly shorter (10.9 ± 1.2 days versus 21.0 ± 1.3 days; P < 0.0001). Following tracheostomy, patients were discharged from the ICU after comparable periods in both groups (4.9 ± 1.2 days versus 4.9 ± 1.1 days; not significant). ICU and hospital mortality rates were similar. Using multivariate analysis, late tracheostomy was an independent predictor of prolonged ICU stay (>14 days).
Early tracheostomy in trauma ICU patients is associated with shorter duration of mechanical ventilation and ICU LOS, without affecting ICU or hospital outcome. Adopting a standardized strategy of early tracheostomy in appropriately selected patients may help in reducing unnecessary resource utilization.
PMCID: PMC1065024  PMID: 15469579
intensive care; mechanical ventilation; resource utilization; Saudi Arabia; trauma; tracheostomy; weaning
18.  Variation exists in rates of admission to intensive care units for heart failure patients across hospitals in the United States 
Circulation  2013;127(8):923-929.
Despite increasing attention on reducing relatively costly hospital practices while maintaining the quality of care, few studies have examined how hospitals use the intensive care unit (ICU), a high-cost setting, for patients admitted with heart failure (HF). We characterized hospital patterns of ICU admission for patients with HF and determined their association with the use of ICU-level therapies and patient outcomes.
Methods and Results
We identified 166,224 HF discharges from 341 hospitals in the 2009–10 Premier Perspective® database. We excluded hospitals with <25 HF admissions, patients <18 years old, and transfers. We defined ICU as including medical ICU, coronary ICU, and surgical ICU. We calculated the percent of patients admitted directly to an ICU. We compared hospitals in the top-quartile (high ICU admission) with the remaining quartiles. The median percentage of ICU admission was 10% (Interquartile Range 6% to 16%; range 0% to 88%). In top-quartile hospitals, treatments requiring an ICU were used less often: percentage of ICU days receiving mechanical ventilation (6% top quartile versus 15% others), non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (8% versus 19%), vasopressors and/or inotropes (9% versus 16%), vasodilators (6% versus 12%), and any of these interventions (26% versus 51%). Overall HF in-hospital risk standardized mortality was similar (3.4% versus 3.5%; P = 0.2).
ICU admission rates for HF varied markedly across hospitals and lacked association with in-hospital risk-standardized mortality. Greater ICU use correlated with fewer patients receiving ICU interventions. Judicious ICU use could reduce resource consumption without diminishing patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3688061  PMID: 23355624
congestive heart failure; mortality
19.  Intensive care acquired infection is an independent risk factor for hospital mortality: a prospective cohort study 
Critical Care  2006;10(2):R66.
The aim of this study was to elucidate the impact of intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired infection on hospital mortality.
Patients with a longer than 48 hour stay in a mixed 10 bed ICU in a tertiary-level teaching hospital were prospectively enrolled between May 2002 and June 2003. Risk factors for hospital mortality were analyzed with a logistic regression model.
Of 335 patients, 80 developed ICU-acquired infection. Among the patients with ICU-acquired infections, hospital mortality was always higher, regardless of whether or not the patients had had infection on admission (infection on admission group (IAG), 35.6% versus 17%, p = 0.008; and no-IAG, 25.7% versus 6.1%, p = 0.023). In IAG (n = 251), hospital stay was also longer in the presence of ICU-acquired infection (median 31 versus 16 days, p < 0.001), whereas in no-IAG (n = 84), hospital stay was almost identical with and without the presence of ICU-acquired infection (18 versus 17 days). In univariate analysis, the significant risk factors for hospital mortality were: Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score >20, sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score >8, ICU-acquired infection, age ≥ 65, community-acquired pneumonia, malignancy or immunosuppressive medication, and ICU length of stay >5 days. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, ICU-acquired infection remained an independent risk factor for hospital mortality after adjustment for APACHE II score and age (odds ratio (OR) 4.0 (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.0–7.9)) and SOFA score and age (OR 2.7 (95% CI: 2.9–7.6)).
ICU-acquired infection was an independent risk factor for hospital mortality even after adjustment for the APACHE II or SOFA scores and age.
PMCID: PMC1550870  PMID: 16626503
20.  End-stage renal disease and outcome in a surgical intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2013;17(6):R298.
End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is associated with an increased propensity for critical illness, but whether ESRD is independently associated with a greater risk of death after major surgical procedures is unclear.
This was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from all adult (>18 years) patients admitted to a 50-bed surgical intensive care unit (ICU) between January 2004 and January 2009. ESRD was defined as the need for chronic peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis for at least 6 weeks prior to ICU admission. We used multivariable logistic regression analysis and propensity-score matching to adjust for possible confounders.
In total, 12,938 adult patients were admitted during the study period; 199 patients had ESRD at ICU admission, giving a prevalence of 1.5%. Patients with ESRD were more likely to be male (72.9% versus 63.0%, P = 0.004) and had higher severity scores, a higher incidence of diabetes mellitus and cirrhosis, and a lower incidence of cancer at ICU admission than those without ESRD. Patients with ESRD were more likely to have any type of organ failure at ICU admission and during the ICU stay. Patients with ESRD had higher ICU and hospital mortality rates (23.1% and 31.2% versus 5.5% and 10.0%, respectively, P <0.001 pairwise) and longer ICU length of stay (2 (1 to 7) versus 1 (1 to 3) days, P <0.001). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, ESRD was independently associated with a greater risk of in-hospital death (odds ratio = 3.84, 95% confidence interval 2.68 to 5.5, P <0.001). In 199 pairs of patients, hematologic and hepatic failures were more prevalent, ICU and hospital mortality rates were higher (23.1% versus 15.1% and 31.2% versus 19.1%, P <0.05 pairwise), and ICU length of stay was longer (2 (1 to 7) versus 1 (1 to 7) days, P <0.001) in patients with ESRD.
In this large cohort of surgical ICU patients, presence of ESRD at ICU admission was associated with greater morbidity and mortality and independently associated with a greater risk of in-hospital death. Our data can be useful in preoperative risk stratification.
PMCID: PMC4057028  PMID: 24365096
21.  Is intensive care necessary after elective abdominal aortic aneurysm repair? 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2004;47(5):359-363.
To review morbidity and mortality of patients undergoing elective, open repair of infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms and were admitted postoperatively to a surgical stepdown unit rather than routinely to the intensive care unit (ICU), we carried out a retrospective review.
All patients undergoing this type of repair in our centre, a division of vascular surgery in a tertiary-care teaching hospital in Ontario, over a 27-month period were reviewed. A consecutive 230 patients who underwent aneurysm repair from September 1999 through November 2001 were routinely admitted to a surgical stepdown unit postoperatively, with only a minority of patients requiring admission to ICU. We reviewed the rate of initial ICU admission and that of subsequent ICU admission after stepdown-unit admission. We also assessed morbidity, mortality and length of hospital stay for patients admitted to ICU as well as those admitted to the stepdown unit.
ICU admission was avoided in 204 (89%) of these patients. The remaining 26 patients (11%) required ICU admission at some point during their hospital stay. Only 3 patients (1%) originally admitted to the stepdown unit subsequently required postoperative admission to ICU.
Our experience demonstrates that proper preoperative assessment and selection allows the majority of elective infrarenal aneurysm repairs to be safely cared for postoperatively in a stepdown unit, and that subsequent ICU admissions are rare.
PMCID: PMC3211944  PMID: 15540689
22.  Intensive Insulin Therapy is Associated with Reduced Infectious Complications in Burn Patients 
Surgery  2008;144(4):629-637.
Intensive insulin therapy to control blood glucose levels has reduced mortality in surgical, but not medical intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Control of blood glucose levels has also been shown to reduce morbidity in surgical ICU patients. There is very little data for use of intensive insulin therapy in the burn patient population. We sought to evaluate our experience with intensive insulin therapy in burn injured ICU patients with regard to mortality, morbidity, and use of hospital resources.
Study Design
Burn patients admitted to our American College of Surgeons Level 1 verified Burn Center ICU from 7/1/2004 to 6/30/2006 were studied. An intensive insulin therapy protocol was initiated for ICU patients admitted starting 7/1/2005 with a blood glucose target of 100–140 mg/dL. The two groups of patients studied were control (7/1/2004 to 6/30/2005) and intensive insulin therapy (7/1/2005 to 6/30/2006). All glucose values for the hospitalization were analyzed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.
152 ICU patients admitted with burn injury were available for study. No difference in mortality was evident between the control and intensive insulin therapy groups. After adjusting for patient risk, the intensive insulin therapy group was found to have a decreased rate of pneumonia, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and urinary tract infection. In patients with a maximum glucose value > 140 mg/dL, the risk for an infection was significantly increased (OR 11.3, 95% CI 4–32, p-value <0.001). Presence of a maximum glucose value > 140 mg/dL was associated with a sensitivity of 91% and specificity of 62% for an infectious complication.
Intensive insulin therapy for burn injured patients admitted to the ICU was associated with a reduced incidence of pneumonia, ventilator associated pneumonia, and urinary tract infection. Intensive insulin therapy did not result in a change in mortality or length of stay when adjusting for confounding variables. Measurement of a blood glucose level > 140 mg/dL should heighten the clinical suspicion for presence of an infection in patients with burn injury.
PMCID: PMC3571713  PMID: 18847648
23.  Significance of Preoperative Total Lymphocyte Count as a Prognostic Criterion in Adult Cardiac Surgery 
Evaluation of operational risk is a consequential goal in perioperative management of patients in cardiac surgery. Preoperative total lymphocyte count (PTLC) is a prognostic criterion of adverse major cardiovascular outcomes.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of PTLC as an independent predictor of postoperative morbidity and mortality in cardiac surgery.
Patients and Methods:
Of 1604 patients scheduled for cardiac surgery between September, 2012 and March, 2013, a total of 1171 consecutive patients underwent elective primary valvular heart surgery and coronary artery bypass grafting. The patients were divided to three groups according to their PTLCs. The baseline characteristics and postoperative mortality and morbidity of the patients as well as the intensive care unit (ICU) stay according to the PTLCs were recorded and analyzed. The only inclusion criterion was a preoperative complete blood count. Exclusion criteria included: ages under 18 or over 80 years old, emergency surgery, adult patients with congenital heart disease and previous open heart surgery, and patients with any bacterial or viral infection during two weeks before the surgery. Protocol of anesthetic medications was used in all the patients similarly and according to standard. All the patients were admitted to the ICU after the surgery.
A PTLC < 1500 cells/µL was associated with significantly high mortality and morbidity (P = 0.0001). In-hospital mortality and major composite morbidity were 9.65% and 28.4%, respectively. Low PTLC was associated with more frequent need for inotropic and intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) support (P < 0.001), dialysis-dependent acute renal failure (P = 0.0001), postoperative superficial wound infections (P = 0.0001) and prolong ICU stay (P = 0.0001).
Our study results showed that low PTLC was an independent, valuable prognostic criterion, with high sensitivity and specificity for evaluation of postoperative morbidity and mortality in cardiac surgery.
PMCID: PMC4183084  PMID: 25289377
Total Lymphocyte Count; Cardiopulmonary Bypass; Mortality; Morbidity; Postoperative Complications
24.  Parsonnet score is a good predictor of the duration of intensive care unit stay following cardiac surgery 
Heart  2000;83(4):429-432.
OBJECTIVE—To investigate the value of the Parsonnet score (PS) in identifying preoperatively patients that are likely to spend < 24 hours on the intensive care unit (ICU) following cardiac surgery.
METHOD—Prospectively collected data on 5591 patients were analysed. PS, mortality, the length of stay on the ICU (ICU-LOS), number of patients with clinical evidence of stroke, need for haemofiltration, resternotomy for bleeding, tracheostomy, and use of intra-aortic balloon pump were documented as outcomes. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve constructed using PS as a predictor of ICU stay < 24 hours identified a PS of 10 as the best cut off point that would predict ICU-LOS < 24 hours. The patients were therefore stratified by PS into two groups, those with a PS of 0 to 9 (PS 0-9) and those with a PS of 10 and above (PS 10+).
RESULTS—The ROC curve constructed using PS as a predictor of ICU stay < 24 hours had an area under the curve of 0.70 (0.01). The maximum efficiency of the test was at a sensitivity of 0.68. This corresponded to PS 10. The positive predictive value of the test at this score was 90.5%. Patients with PS 0-9 had a mean ICU stay of 1.49 days, while patients with PS 10+ had a mean ICU stay of 2.89 days (p = 0.01). The risk of stroke, use of intra-aortic balloon pump, requirement for haemofiltration, need for tracheostomy, and risk of resternotomy for bleeding were each significantly less in patients with PS 0-9 versus those with a score of PS 10+ (p < 0.01 in all cases). The risk of a single complication was 4.7% (PS 0-9) v 15.2% (PS 10+) (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSION—PS is an impartial and objective method of predicting postoperative complications and ICU stay < 24 hours. This is of value in selecting a cohort of patients likely to maintain a smooth flow of patients through the cardiothoracic unit when resources are limited to a few free ICU beds.

Keywords: Parsonnet score; intensive care; length of hospital stay; rationing
PMCID: PMC1729388  PMID: 10722544
25.  Incidences and clinical outcomes of acute kidney injury in ICU: a prospective observational study in Sri Lanka 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:305.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common and a serious complication among patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), and has been the focus of many studies leading to recent advances in diagnosis and classification. The incidence and outcome of AKI in Sri Lankan ICUs is largely unknown. The aim of this study was to describe the incidence, severity and outcome of AKI among patients admitted to the medical ICU, National Hospital, Colombo, Sri Lanka (NHSL).
Patients admitted to the medical ICU, NHSL, over a period of 6 months were studied prospectively.
Standard demographic, physiological and clinical data were collected. Severity of illness was assessed using SOFA (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment) score. Diagnosis of AKI was based on Acute Kidney Injury Network (AKIN) criteria.
Of 212 patients screened, 108 satisfied the inclusion criteria; males 67(61.5%); mean age 47.8 years(SD 19.4, range 12-94). Mean duration of ICU stay was 11.6 days (SD 10.6, range 2-55). Eighty one (75.0%) received mechanical ventilation. Forty nine (45.4%) had sepsis. ICU mortality was 38.9% and AKI was present in 60.2%. The majority of AKI patients (38, 58.5%) had AKI stage 3. Patients with AKI were at higher risk of death (p < 0.01). Neither age, gender, nor the presence of co-morbidities were associated with increased risk of AKI. Patients with AKI had significantly longer ICU stay (Log-Rank Chi Square: 23.186, p < 0.0001). Both the incidence of AKI and ICU mortality were higher in patients with SOFA scores over 9 (Pearson Chi-Square 7.581, p = 0.006, and 11.288, p = 0.001 respectively).
The incidence of AKI is high at 60% among our ICU patients, and those with AKI had higher mortality and longer duration of ICU stay. Age, gender or the presence of co-morbidities was not associated with a higher risk of AKI. Patients with SOFA scores over 9 within the first 24 hours were more likely to develop AKI and had higher risk of death.
PMCID: PMC4049500  PMID: 24884808
Acute kidney injury; Intensive care; Critical care; Sepsis; Mortality; ICU stay

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