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1.  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.
Background
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.
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001577.
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)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001577
PMCID: PMC3876981  PMID: 24391478
2.  A risk factor analysis of healthcare-associated fungal infections in an intensive care unit: a retrospective cohort study 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-10
PMCID: PMC3548709  PMID: 23298156
Intensive care unit; Fungal infection; Outbreak surveillance; Candida; Total parenteral nutrition
3.  Anemia, transfusion, and phlebotomy practices in critically ill patients with prolonged ICU length of stay: a cohort study 
Critical Care  2006;10(5):R140.
Introduction
Anemia among the critically ill has been described in patients with short to medium length of stay (LOS) in the intensive care unit (ICU), but it has not been described in long-stay ICU patients. This study was performed to characterize anemia, transfusion, and phlebotomy practices in patients with prolonged ICU LOS.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective chart review of consecutive patients admitted to a medical-surgical ICU in a tertiary care university hospital over three years; patients included had a continuous LOS in the ICU of 30 days or longer. Information on transfusion, phlebotomy, and outcomes were collected daily from days 22 to 112 of the ICU stay.
Results
A total of 155 patients were enrolled. The mean age, admission Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, and median ICU LOS were 62.3 ± 16.3 years, 23 ± 8, and 49 days (interquartile range 36–70 days), respectively. Mean hemoglobin remained stable at 9.4 ± 1.4 g/dl from day 7 onward. Mean daily phlebotomy volume was 13.3 ± 7.3 ml, and 62% of patients received a mean of 3.4 ± 5.3 units of packed red blood cells at a mean hemoglobin trigger of 7.7 ± 0.9 g/dl after day 21. Transfused patients had significantly greater acuity of illness, phlebotomy volumes, ICU LOS and mortality, and had a lower hemoglobin than did those who were not transfused. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified the following as independently associated with the likelihood of requiring transfusion in nonbleeding patients: baseline hemoglobin, daily phlebotomy volume, ICU LOS, and erythropoietin therapy (used almost exclusively in dialysis dependent renal failure in this cohort of patients). Small increases in average phlebotomy (3.5 ml/day, 95% confidence interval 2.4–6.8 ml/day) were associated with a doubling in the odds of being transfused after day 21.
Conclusion
Anemia, phlebotomy, and transfusions, despite low hemoglobin triggers, are common in ICU patients long after admission. Small decreases in phlebotomy volume are associated with significantly reduced transfusion requirements in patients with prolonged ICU LOS.
doi:10.1186/cc5054
PMCID: PMC1751075  PMID: 17002795
4.  Predictors of postoperative pulmonary complications after liver resection: Results from a tertiary care intensive care unit 
Background:
Postoperative pulmonary complication (PPC) is a serious complication after liver surgery and is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in the intensive care unit (ICU). Therefore, the early identification of risk factors of PPCs may help to reduce the adverse outcomes.
Objective:
The aim of this retrospective study was to determine the predictors of PPCs in patients undergoing hepatic resection. Design: Retrospective, observational.
Methods:
The patients admitted after hepatic resection in the gastrosurgical ICU of our institute between October 2009 and June 2013 was identified. The ICU charts were retrieved from the database to identify patients who developed PPCs. A comparison of risk factors was made between the patients who developed PPC (PPC group) against the patients who did not (no-PPC group).
Results:
Of 117 patients with hepatic resection, 28 patients developed PPCs. Among these, pneumonia accounted for 12 (42.8%) followed by atelectasis in 8 (28.5%) and pleural effusion in 3 (10.7%). Among the patients developing PPCs, 16 patients were over a 70-year-old (57.1%), 21 patients were smokers (75%) and 8 patients (28.5%) had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The requirement for blood transfusion and duration of mechanical ventilation were greater in the patients developing PPC (2000 ± 340 vs. 1000 ± 210 ml; 10 ± 4.5 vs. 3 ± 1.3 days).
Conclusion:
Old age, chronic smoking, COPD, increased blood product transfusion, increased duration of mechanical ventilation and increased length of ICU stay increased the relative risk of PPC, presence of diabetes and occurrence of surgical complications (leak, dehiscence, etc.) were independent predictive variables for the development of PPC.
doi:10.4103/0972-5229.133882
PMCID: PMC4071679  PMID: 24987234
Hepatic resection; postoperative pulmonary complications; posthepatic resection complications
5.  Is intensive care necessary after elective abdominal aortic aneurysm repair? 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2004;47(5):359-363.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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
6.  Trauma admissions to the Intensive care unit at a reference hospital in Northwestern Tanzania 
Background
Major trauma has been reported to be a major cause of hospitalization and intensive care utilization worldwide and consumes a significant amount of the health care budget. The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics and treatment outcome of major trauma patients admitted into our ICU and to identify predictors of outcome.
Methods
Between January 2008 and December 2010, a descriptive prospective study of all trauma admissions to a multidisciplinary intensive care unit (ICU) of Bugando Medical Centre in Northwestern Tanzania was conducted.
Results
A total of 312 cases of major trauma were admitted in the ICU, representing 37.1% of the total ICU admissions. Males outnumbered females by a ratio of 5.5:1. Their median age was 27 years. Trauma admissions were almost exclusively emergencies (95.2%) and came mainly from the Accident and Emergency (60.6%) and Operating room (23.4%). Road traffic crash (RTC) was the most common cause of injuries affecting 70.8% of patients. Two hundred fourteen patients (68.6%) required surgical intervention. The overall ICU length of stay (LOS) for all trauma patients ranged from 1 to 59 days (median = 8 days). The median ICU length of hospital stay (LOS) for survivors and non-survivors were 8 and 5 days respectively. (P = 0.002). Mortality rate was 32.7%. Mortality rate of trauma patients was significantly higher than that of all ICU admissions (32.7% vs. 18.8%, P = 0.0012). According to multivariate logistic regression analysis, multiple injuries, severe head injuries and burns were responsible for a longer mean ICU stay (P < 0.001) whereas admission Glasgow Coma Score < 9, systolic blood pressure < 90 mmHg, injury severity core >16, prolonged duration of loss of consciousness, delayed ICU admission (0.028), the need for ventilatory support and finding of space occupying lesion on computed tomography scan significantly influenced mortality (P < 0.001).
Conclusion
Trauma resulting from road traffic crashes is a leading cause of intensive care utilization in our hospital. Urgent preventive measures targeting at reducing the occurrence of RTCs is necessary to reduce ICU trauma admissions in this region. Improved pre- and in-hospital care of trauma victims will improve the outcome of trauma patients admitted to our ICU.
doi:10.1186/1757-7241-19-61
PMCID: PMC3214823  PMID: 22024353
Intensive care unit; trauma admissions; prevalence; injury characteristics; outcome; Tanzania
7.  Intensive Care Unit Outcomes Among Patients With Lung Cancer in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare Registry 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(14):1686-1691.
Purpose
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Intensive care unit (ICU) use among patients with cancer is increasing, but data regarding ICU outcomes for patients with lung cancer are limited.
Patients and Methods
We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) –Medicare registry (1992 to 2007) to conduct a retrospective cohort study of patients with lung cancer who were admitted to an ICU for reasons other than surgical resection of their tumor. We used logistic and Cox regression to evaluate associations of patient characteristics and hospital mortality and 6-month mortality, respectively. We calculated adjusted associations for mechanical ventilation receipt with hospital and 6-month mortality.
Results
Of the 49,373 patients with lung cancer admitted to an ICU for reasons other than surgical resection, 76% of patients survived the hospitalization, and 35% of patients were alive 6 months after discharge. Receipt of mechanical ventilation was associated with increased hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio, 6.95; 95% CI, 6.89 to 7.01; P < .001), and only 15% of these patients were alive 6 months after discharge. Of all ICU patients with lung cancer, the percentage of patients who survived 6 months from discharge was 36% for patients diagnosed in 1992 and 32% for patients diagnosed in 2005, whereas it was 16% and 11% for patients who received mechanical ventilation, respectively.
Conclusion
Most patients with lung cancer enrolled in Medicare who are admitted to an ICU die within 6 months of admission. To improve patient-centered care, these results should guide shared decision making between patients with lung cancer and their clinicians before an ICU admission.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.40.0846
PMCID: PMC3383114  PMID: 22473159
8.  Variability of ICU Use in Adult Patients With Minor Traumatic Intracranial Hemorrhage 
Annals of emergency medicine  2012;61(5):10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.08.024.
Study objective
Patients with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage are frequently admitted to the ICU, although many never require critical care interventions. To describe ICU resource use in minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, we assess (1) the variability of ICU use in a cohort of patients with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage across multiple trauma centers, and (2) the proportion of adult patients with traumatic intracranial hemorrhage who are admitted to the ICU and never receive a critical care intervention during hospitalization. In addition, we evaluate the association between ICU admission and key independent variables.
Methods
A structured, historical cohort study of adult patients (aged 18 years and older) with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage was conducted within a consortium of 8 Level I trauma centers in the western United States from January 2005 to June 2010. The study population included patients with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, defined as an emergency department (ED) Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 15 (normal mental status) and an Injury Severity Score less than 16 (no other major organ injury). The primary outcome measure was initial ICU admission. The secondary outcome measure was a critical care intervention during hospitalization. Critical care interventions included mechanical ventilation, neurosurgical intervention, transfusion of blood products, vasopressor or inotrope administration, and invasive hemodynamic monitoring. ED disposition and the proportion of ICU patients not receiving a critical care intervention were compared across sites with descriptive statistics. The association between ICU admission and predetermined independent variables was analyzed with multivariable regression.
Results
Among 11,240 adult patients with traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, 1,412 (13%) had minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage and complete ED disposition data (mean age 48 years; SD 20 years). ICU use within this cohort across sites ranged from 50% to 97%. Overall, 847 of 888 patients (95%) with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage who were admitted to the ICU did not receive a critical care intervention during hospitalization (range between sites 80% to 100%). Three of 524 (0.6%) patients discharged home or admitted to the observation unit or ward received a critical care intervention. After controlling for severity of injury (age, blood pressure, and Injury Severity Score), study site was independently associated with ICU admission (odds ratios ranged from 1.5 to 30; overall effect P<.001).
Conclusion
Across a consortium of trauma centers in the western United States, there was wide variability in ICU use within a cohort of patients with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage. Moreover, a large proportion of patients admitted to the ICU never required a critical care intervention, indicating the potential to improve use of critical care resources in patients with minor traumatic intracranial hemorrhage.
doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.08.024
PMCID: PMC3880139  PMID: 23021347
9.  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.
Objective
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.
Design
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.
Setting
The ICU of a tertiary-care teaching hospital at the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.
Participants
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)].
Conclusions
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)
doi:10.1097/CCM.0b013e31819da8c7
PMCID: PMC4143892  PMID: 19325488
intensive care; human immunodeficiency virus; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; antiretroviral therapy; prognostic factors; critical care; mortality
10.  The epidemiology of intensive care unit-acquired hyponatraemia and hypernatraemia in medical-surgical intensive care units 
Critical Care  2008;12(6):R162.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusions
ICU-acquired hyponatraemia and hypernatraemia are common in critically ill patients and are associated with increased risk of hospital mortality.
doi:10.1186/cc7162
PMCID: PMC2646327  PMID: 19094227
11.  Hypothermia in a surgical intensive care unit 
BMC Anesthesiology  2005;5:7.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2253-5-7
PMCID: PMC1180426  PMID: 15938757
12.  Factors influencing physical functional status in intensive care unit survivors two years after discharge 
BMC Anesthesiology  2013;13:11.
Background
Studies suggest that in patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU), physical functional status (PFS) improves over time, but does not return to the same level as before ICU admission. The goal of this study was to assess physical functional status two years after discharge from an ICU and to determine factors influencing physical status in this population.
Methods
The study reviewed all patients admitted to two non-trauma ICUs during a one-year period and included patients with age ≥ 18 yrs, ICU stay ≥ 24 h, and who were alive 24 months after ICU discharge. To assess PFS, Karnofsky Performance Status Scale scores and Lawton-Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) scores at ICU admission (K-ICU and L-ICU) were compared to the scores at the end of 24 months (K-24mo and L-24mo). Data at 24 months were obtained through telephone interviews.
Results
A total of 1,216 patients were eligible for the study. Twenty-four months after ICU discharge, 499 (41.6%) were alive, agreed to answer the interview, and had all hospital data available. PFS (K-ICU: 86.6 ± 13.8 vs. K-24mo: 77.1 ± 19.6, p < 0.001) and IADL (L-ICU: 27.0 ± 11.7 vs. L-24mo: 22.5 ± 11.5, p < 0.001) declined in patients with medical and unplanned surgical admissions. Most strikingly, the level of dependency increased in neurological patients (K-ICU: 86 ± 12 vs. K-24mo: 64 ± 21, relative risk [RR] 2.6, 95% CI, 1.8–3.6, p < 0.001) and trauma patients (K-ICU: 99 ± 2 vs. K-24mo: 83 ± 21, RR 2.7, 95% CI, 1.6–4.6, p < 0.001). The largest reduction in the ability to perform ADL occurred in neurological patients (L-ICU: 27 ± 7 vs. L-24mo: 15 ± 12, RR 3.3, 95% CI, 2.3–4.6 p < 0.001), trauma patients (L-ICU: 32 ± 0 vs. L-24mo: 25 ± 11, RR 2.8, 95% CI, 1.5–5.1, p < 0.001), patients aged ≥ 65 years (RR 1.4, 95% CI, 1.07–1.86, p = 0.01) and those who received mechanical ventilation for ≥ 8 days (RR 1.48, 95% CI, 1.02–2.15, p = 0.03).
Conclusions
Twenty-four months after ICU discharge, PFS was significantly poorer in patients with neurological injury, trauma, age ≥ 65 tears, and mechanical ventilation ≥ 8 days. Future studies should focus on the relationship between PFS and health-related quality of life in this population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2253-13-11
PMCID: PMC3701489  PMID: 23773812
Activities of Daily Living; Physical Functional Status; Intensive Care Unit; Long-term Care; Mortality; Prognosis; Health-related Quality of Life
13.  Nicotine withdrawal and agitation in ventilated critically ill patients 
Critical Care  2010;14(2):R58.
Introduction
Smoking is highly addictive, and nicotine abstinence is associated with withdrawal syndrome in hospitalized patients. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the impact of sudden nicotine abstinence on the development of agitation and delirium, and on morbidities and outcomes in critically ill patients who required respiratory support, either noninvasive ventilation or intubation, and mechanical ventilation.
Methods
We conducted a prospective, observational study in two intensive care units (ICUs). The 144 consecutive patients admitted to ICUs and requiring mechanical ventilation for >48 hours were included. Smoking status was assessed at ICU admission by using the Fagerström Test of Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Agitation, with the Sedation-Agitation Scale (SAS), and delirium, with the Intensive Care Delirium Screening Checklist (ICDSC), were tested twice daily during the ICU stay. Agitation and delirium were defined by SAS >4 and ICDSC >4, respectively. Nosocomial complications and outcomes were evaluated.
Results
Smokers (n = 44) were younger and more frequently male and were more likely to have a history of alcoholism and to have septic shock as the reason for ICU admission than were nonsmokers. The incidence of agitation, but not delirium, increased significantly in the smoker group (64% versus 32%; P = 0.0005). Nicotine abstinence was associated with higher incidences of self-removal of tubes and catheters, and with more interventions, including the need for supplemental sedatives, analgesics, neuroleptics, and physical restraints. Sedation-free days, ventilator-free days, length of stay, and mortality in ICUs did not differ between groups. Multivariate analysis identified active smoking (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.45-6.74; P = 0.003) as an independent risk factor for agitation. Based on a subgroup of 56 patients, analysis of 28 pairs of patients (smokers and nonsmokers in a 1:1 ratio) matched for age, gender, and alcoholism status found similar results regarding the role of nicotine withdrawal in increasing the risk of agitation during an ICU stay.
Conclusions
Nicotine withdrawal was associated with agitation and higher morbidities in critically ill patients. These results suggest the need to look specifically at those patients with tobacco dependency by using the FTND in ICU settings. Identifying patients at risk of behavioral disorders may lead to earlier interventions in routine clinical practice.
doi:10.1186/cc8954
PMCID: PMC2887179  PMID: 20380688
14.  Early tracheostomy in intensive care trauma patients improves resource utilization: a cohort study and literature review 
Critical Care  2004;8(5):R347-R352.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/cc2924
PMCID: PMC1065024  PMID: 15469579
intensive care; mechanical ventilation; resource utilization; Saudi Arabia; trauma; tracheostomy; weaning
15.  Impact of intensive care unit-acquired infection on hospital mortality in Japan: A multicenter cohort study 
Objectives
To elucidate factors associated with hospital mortality in intensive care unit (ICU) patients and to evaluate the impact of ICU-acquired infection on hospital mortality in the context of the drug resistance of pathogens.
Methods
By using the Japanese Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (JANIS) database, 7,374 patients who were admitted to the 34 participating ICUs between July 2000 and May 2002, were aged 16 years or older, and who stayed in the ICU for 48 to 1,000 hours, did not transfer to another ICU, and did not become infected within 2 days after ICU admission, were followed up until hospital discharge or to Day 180 after ICU discharge. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) with the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for hospital mortality were calculated using Cox’s proportional hazard model.
Results
After adjusting for sex, age, and severity-of-illness (APACHE II score), a significantly higher HR for hospital mortality was found in ventilator use, central venous catheter use, and ICU-acquired drug-resistant infection, with a significantly lower HR in elective or urgent operations and urinary catheter use. The impact of ICU-acquired infection on hospital mortality was different between drug-susceptible pathogens (HR 1.11,95% CI:0.94–1.31) and drug-resistant pathogens (HR 1.42,95% CI: 1.15–1.77).
Conclusions
The use of a ventilator or a central venous catheter, and ICU-acquired drug-resistant infection were associated with a high risk of hospital mortality in ICU patients. The potential impact on hospital mortality emphasizes the importance of preventive measures against ICU-acquired infections, especially those caused by drug-resistant pathogens.
doi:10.1007/BF02897932
PMCID: PMC2723393  PMID: 21432299
multicenter cohort study; hospital mortality; ICU; nosocomial infection; drug resistance
16.  Ventilatory and Intensive Care Requirements Following Oesophageal Resection 
INTRODUCTION
The aim of this study was to analyse the results of early postoperative extubation following oesophagectomy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
All patients who had undergone oesophageal resection between 1994 and 2001 were identified from a prospectively collected database. Their records were then reviewed in order to analyse morbidity and mortality along with intensive care unit (ICU) and ventilatory requirements. All patients were extubated immediately following surgery and monitored on a surgical high dependency unit (HDU).
RESULTS
A total of 98 resections were undertaken (76 men; mean age, 64.3 years; range, 40–80 years). Surgical procedures were Ivor-Lewis (71), left thoraco-abdominal (15) and transhiatal (12) oesophagectomies. Overall, 8 patients died and 13 patients had anastomotic leaks. Sixteen patients required ventilation and admission to ICU, of whom 5 died. Three patients died on HDU following an elective decision not to transfer to ICU. Reasons for ventilation and ICU admission were anastomotic leaks (6), respiratory problems (6), left ventricular failure (1), cardiac arrest (1), small bowel herniation through the hiatus (1) and ischaemic stomach requiring revision of anastomosis (1). No patient required ventilation and admission to ICU within 48 h of original surgery.
CONCLUSIONS
Patients undergoing oesophageal resection can be safely managed on a surgical HDU without routine postoperative ventilation. Although ventilation and ICU will be required in a significant number due to postoperative complications, this is unlikely to occur in the first 48 h. The requirement for an ICU bed to be available on the day of surgery should, therefore, no longer be considered necessary. This has important implications for the scheduling of elective oesophageal surgery.
doi:10.1308/003588406X98694
PMCID: PMC1964621  PMID: 16834853
Oesophagectomy; Postoperative ventilation; Intensive care
17.  Identification and characterisation of the high-risk surgical population in the United Kingdom 
Critical Care  2006;10(3):R81.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/cc4928
PMCID: PMC1550954  PMID: 16749940
18.  How do COPD comorbidities affect ICU outcomes? 
Background and aim
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) frequently require admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) for application of mechanical ventilation (MV). We aimed to determine whether comorbidities and clinical variables present at ICU admission are predictive of ICU mortality.
Methods
A retrospective, observational cohort study was performed in a tertiary teaching hospital’s respiratory ICU using data collected between January 2008 and December 2012. Previously diagnosed COPD patients who were admitted to the ICU with ARF were included. Patients’ demographics, comorbidities, body mass index (BMI), ICU admission data, application of noninvasive and invasive MV (NIV and IMV, respectively), cause of ARF, length of ICU and hospital stay, and mortality were recorded from their files. Patients were grouped according to mortality (survival versus non-survival), and all the variables were compared between the two groups.
Results
During the study period, a total of 1,013 COPD patients (749 male) with a mean age (standard deviation) of 70±10 years met the inclusion criteria. Comorbidities of the non-survival group (female/male, 40/131) were significantly higher compared with the survival group (female/male, 224/618): arrhythmia (24% vs 11%), hypertension (42% vs 34%), coronary artery disease (28% vs 11%), and depression (7% vs 3%) (P<0.001, P<0.035, P<0.001, and P<0.007, respectively). Logistic regression revealed the following mortality risk factors: need of IMV, BMI <20 kg/m2, pneumonia, coronary artery disease, arrhythmia, hypertension, chronic hypoxia, and higher acute physiology and chronic health evaluation II (APACHE II) scores. The respective odds ratios, confidence intervals, and P-values for each of these were as follows: 27.7, 15.7–49.0, P<0.001; 6.6, 3.5–412.7, P<0.001; 5.1, 2.9–8.8, P<0.001; 2.9, 1.5–5.6, P<0.001; 2.7, 1.4–5.2, P<0.003; 2.6, 1.5–4.4, P<0.001; 2.2, 1.2–3.9, P<0.008; and 1.1, 1.03–1.11, P<0.001.
Conclusion
Patients with severe COPD and cardiac comorbidities and cachexia should be closely monitored in ICU due to their high risk of ICU mortality.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S70257
PMCID: PMC4207568  PMID: 25378919
comorbidity; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; intensive care unit
19.  Increased liver stiffness denotes hepatic dysfunction and mortality risk in critically ill non-cirrhotic patients at a medical ICU 
Critical Care  2011;15(6):R266.
Introduction
Hepatic dysfunction is a common finding in critically ill patients on the ICU and directly influences survival. Liver stiffness can be measured by the novel method of transient elastography (fibroscan) and is closely associated with hepatic fibrosis in patients with chronic liver disease, but also is increased in patients with acute hepatitis, acute liver failure and cholestasis. We investigated liver stiffness as a potentially useful tool for early detection of patients with hepatic deterioration and risk stratification with respect to short- and long-term mortality.
Methods
We prospectively evaluated 108 consecutive critically ill patients at our medical intensive care unit (ICU) with subsequent longitudinal liver stiffness measurements (admission, Day 3, Day 7 and weekly thereafter) during the course of ICU treatment. Outcome was followed after discharge (median observation time 237 days).
Results
Liver stiffness could be reliably measured in 71% of ICU patients at admission (65% at Day 3, 63% at Day 7). Critically ill patients (n = 108) had significantly increased liver stiffness compared to sex- and age-matched standard care patients (n = 25). ICU patients with decompensated cirrhosis showed highest liver stiffness, whereas other critical diseases (for example, sepsis) and comorbidities (for example, diabetes, obesity) did not impact stiffness values. At admission to the ICU, liver stiffness is closely related to hepatic damage (liver synthesis, cholestasis, fibrosis markers). During the course of ICU treatment, fluid overload (renal failure, volume therapy) and increased central venous pressure (mechanical ventilation, heart failure) were major factors determining liver stiffness. Liver stiffness values > 18 kilopascal (kPa) at ICU admission were associated with increased ICU and long-term mortality, even in non-cirrhotic patients.
Conclusions
Considering that liver stiffness cannot be validly measured in about 30% of ICU patients, transient elastography performed at ICU admission might be a useful tool to early identify liver dysfunction and predict mortality in critically ill patients at a medical ICU.
doi:10.1186/cc10543
PMCID: PMC3388655  PMID: 22082207
20.  Survival Analysis of 314 Episodes of Sepsis in Medical Intensive Care Unit in University Hospital: Impact of Intensive Care Unit Performance and Antimicrobial Therapy 
Croatian medical journal  2006;47(3):385-397.
Aim
To evaluate epidemiology of sepsis in medical intensive care unit (ICU) in an university hospital, and the impact of ICU performance and appropriate empirical antibiotic therapy on survival of septic patients.
Methods
Observational, partly prospective study conducted over 6 years assessed all patients meeting the criteria for sepsis at ICU admission at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital in Zagreb. Clinical presentation of sepsis was defined according to 2001 International Sepsis Definitions Conference. Demographic data, admission category, source of infection, severity of sepsis, ICU or hospital stay and outcome, ICU performance, and appropriateness of empirical antibiotic therapy were analyzed.
Results
The analysis included 314 of 5022 (6.3%) patients admitted to ICU during the study period. There were 176 (56.1%) ICU survivors. At the ICU admission, sepsis was present in 100 (31.8%), severe sepsis in 89 (28.6%), and septic shock in 125 (39.8%) patients with mortality rates 17%, 33.7%, 72.1%, respectively. During ICU treatment, 244 (77.7%) patients developed at least one organ dysfunction syndrome. Of 138 (43.9%) patients who met the criteria for septic shock, 107 (75.4) were non-survivors (P<0.001). Factors associated with in-ICU mortality were acquisition of sepsis at another department (odds ratio [OR] 0.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.02-0.19), winter season (OR 0.42; 0.20-0.89), limited mobility (OR 0.28; 0.14-0.59), ICU length of stay (OR 0.82; 0.75-0.91), sepsis-related organ failure assessment (SOFA) score on day 1 (OR 0.80; 0.72-0.89), history of global heart failure (OR 0.33; 0.16-0.67), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)-connected respiratory failure (OR 0.50; 0.27-0.93), septic shock present during ICU treatment (OR 0.03; 0.01-0.10), and negative blood culture at admission (OR 2.60; 0.81-6.23). Microbiological documentation of sepsis was obtained in 235 (74.8%) patients. Urinary tract infections were present in 168 (53.5%) patients, followed by skin or soft tissue infections in 58 (18.5%) and lower respiratory tract infections in 44 (14.0%) patients. Lower respiratory tract as focus of sepsis was connected with worse outcome (P<0.001). Empirical antibiotic treatment was considered adequate in 107 (60.8%) survivors and 42 (30.4%) non-survivors. Patients treated with adequate empirical antibiotic therapy had significantly higher survival time in hospital (log-rank, P = 0.001).
Conclusion
The mortality rate of sepsis was unacceptably high. The odds for poor outcome increased with acquisition of sepsis at another department, winter season, limited mobility, higher SOFA score on day 1, history of chronic global heart failure, COPD-connected respiratory failure, and septic shock present during ICU treatment, whereas longer ICU length of stay, positive blood culture, and adequate empirical antibiotic therapy were protective factors.
PMCID: PMC2080418  PMID: 16758516
21.  Impact of a surgical intensivist on the clinical outcomes of patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit 
Purpose
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
Implementing intensivist-directed care in the surgical ICU was associated with significant improvements in ICU mortality and significant clinical outcomes.
doi:10.4174/astr.2014.86.6.319
PMCID: PMC4062451  PMID: 24949324
Intensive care units; Critical illness; Specialization; General surgery; Mortality
22.  Anemia and blood transfusion in a surgical intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2010;14(3):R92.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/cc9026
PMCID: PMC2911729  PMID: 20497535
23.  Liver and Pancreatic Resection in the Elderly 
HPB Surgery  1997;10(4):259-261.
Background: Liver resection, or pancreaticoduodenectomy, has traditionally been thought to have a high morbidity and. mortality rate among the elderly. Recent improvements in surgical and anesthetic techniques, an increasing number of elderly patients, and an increasing need to justify use of limited health care resources prompted an assessment of recent surgical outcomes.
Methods: Five hundred seventy-seven liver resections (July 1985–July 1994) performed for metastatic colorectal cancer and 488 pancreatic resections (October 1983–July 1994) performed for pancreatic malignancies were identified in departmental data bases. Outcomes of patients younger than age 70 years were compared with those of patients age 70 years or older.
Results: Liver resection for 128 patients age 70 years or older resulted in a 4% perioperative. mortality rate and a 42% complication rate. Median hospital stay was 13 days, and 8% of the patients required admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Median survival was 40 months, and the 5-year survival rate was 35%. No difference were found between results for the elderly and those for younger patients who had undergone liver resection, except for a minimally shorter hospital stay fortheyoungerpatients (median, 12 days vs. 13 days p=0.003). Pancreatic resection for 138 elderly patients resulted in a mortality rate of 6% and a complication rate of 45%. Median stay was 20 days, and 19% of the patients required ICU admission, results identical to those for the younger cohort. Long-term survival was poorer for the elderly patients, with a 5-year survival rate of 21% compared with 29% for the younger cohort (p=0.03).
Conclusions: Major liver or pancreatic resections can be performed for the elderly with acceptable morbidity and mortality rates and possible long-term survival. Chronologic age alone is not a contraindication to liver or pancreatic resection for malignancy.
doi:10.1155/1997/84160
PMCID: PMC2423881  PMID: 9184883
24.  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.
Introduction
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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).
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/cc5785
PMCID: PMC2206479  PMID: 17451605
25.  A case-control study of readmission to the intensive care unit after cardiac surgery 
Background
The aim of this study was to identify predictors of repeated admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) of patients who underwent cardiac surgery procedures.
Material/Methods
This retrospective study analyzed 169 patients who underwent isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) between January 2009 and December 2010. The case group contained 54 patients who were readmitted to the ICU during the same hospitalization and the control group comprised 115 randomly selected patients.
Results
Logistic regression analysis revealed that independent predictors for readmission to the ICU after CABG were: older age of patients (odds ratio [OR] 1.04; CI 1.004–1.08); body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2 (OR 2.55; CI 1.31–4.97); EuroSCORE II >3.9% (OR 3.56; CI 1.59–7.98); non-elective surgery (OR 2.85; CI 1.37–5.95); duration of operation >4 h (OR 3.44; CI 1.54–7.69); bypass time >103 min (OR 2.5; CI 1.37–4.57); mechanical ventilation >530 min (OR 3.98; CI 1.82–8.7); and postoperative central nervous system (CNS) disorders (OR 3.95; CI 1.44–10.85). The hospital mortality of patients who were readmitted to the ICU was significantly higher compared to the patients who did not require readmission (17% vs. 3.8%, p=0.025).
Conclusions
Identification of patients at risk of ICU readmission should focus on older patients, those who have higher BMI, who underwent non-elective surgery, whose operation time was more than 4 hours, and who have postoperative CNS disorders. Careful optimization of these high-risk patients and caution before discharging them from the ICU may help reduce the rate of ICU readmission, mortality, length of stay, and cost.
doi:10.12659/MSM.883814
PMCID: PMC3628941  PMID: 23446428
cardiac surgical procedures; complications; intensive care units; patient readmission

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