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1.  Prehospital Statin and Aspirin Use and the Prevalence of Severe Sepsis and ALI/ARDS 
Critical care medicine  2011;39(6):1343-1350.
To determine if prehospital statin use is associated with a lower risk of sepsis, ALI/ARDS, and mortality in critically ill patients. We also investigated the effect of combined prehospital use of both statins and aspirin.
Cross-sectional analysis of a prospective cohort
575 critically ill patients admitted to the medical or surgical ICU of an academic tertiary-care hospital
Measurements and Main Results
Of 575 patients, 149 (26%) were on statin therapy prior to hospitalization. A multivariable analysis including age, gender, current tobacco use, prehospital aspirin use, race, and APACHE II score revealed that patients on statin therapy prior to hospitalization were less likely to have or develop severe sepsis (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.96) or ALI/ARDS (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.99) during the first four ICU days. In-hospital mortality for patients with and without prehospital statin use (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.83) was similar. Patients who had prehospital use of both statins and aspirin had the lowest rates of severe sepsis, ALI/ARDS and mortality.
Prehospital use of statins may be protective against the sepsis and ALI. This effect may be potentiated by prehospital aspirin use.
PMCID: PMC3102130  PMID: 21336116
Acute Lung Injury; Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Severe Sepsis; Sepsis; Statin; Aspirin; Inflammation
2.  Statin therapy in critical illness: an international survey of intensive care physicians’ opinions, attitudes and practice 
Pleotropic effects of statins on inflammation are hypothesised to attenuate the severity of and possibly prevent the occurrence of the host inflammatory response to pathogen and infection-related acute organ failure. We conducted an international survey of intensive care physicians in Australia, New Zealand (ANZ) and United Kingdom (UK). The aims of the survey were to assess the current prescribing practice patterns, attitudes towards prescribing statin therapy in critically ill patients and opinions on the need for an interventional trial of statin therapy in critically ill patients.
Survey questions were developed through an iterative process. An expert group reviewed the resulting 26 items for face and content validity and clarity. The questions were further refined following pilot testing by ICU physicians from Australia, Canada and the UK. We used the online Smart SurveyTM software to administer the survey.
Of 239 respondents (62 from ANZ and 177 from UK) 58% worked in teaching hospitals; most (78.2%) practised in ‘closed’ units with a mixed medical and surgical case mix (71.0%). The most frequently prescribed statins were simvastatin (77.6%) in the UK and atorvastatin (66.1%) in ANZ. The main reasons cited to explain the choice of statin were preadmission prescription and pharmacy availability. Most respondents reported never starting statins to prevent (65.3%) or treat (89.1%) organ dysfunction. Only a minority (10%) disagreed with a statement that the risks of major side effects of statins when prescribed in critically ill patients were low. The majority (84.5%) of respondents strongly agreed that a clinical trial of statins for prevention is needed. More than half (56.5%) favoured rates of organ failure as the primary outcome for such a trial, while a minority (40.6%) favoured mortality.
Despite differences in type of statins prescribed, critical care physicians in the UK and ANZ reported similar prescription practices. Respondents from both communities agreed that a trial is needed to test whether statins can prevent the onset of new organ failure in patients with sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3416708  PMID: 22742644
Survey; Statin; Sepsis; Critical care; Clinical trials
3.  Statins do not prevent acute organ failure in ventilated ICU patients: single-centre retrospective cohort study 
Critical Care  2011;15(1):R74.
Observational studies suggest statin therapy reduces incident sepsis, but few studies have examined the impact on new organ failure. We tested the hypothesis that statin therapy, administered for standard clinical indications to ventilated intensive care unit patients, prevents acute organ failure without harming the liver.
We performed a retrospective, single-centre cohort study in a tertiary mixed medical/surgical intensive care unit. Mechanically ventilated patients without nonrespiratory organ failure within 24 hours after admission were assessed (during the first 15 days) for new acute organ failure (defined as Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score 3 or 4), liver failure (defined as new hepatic SOFA ≥3, or a 1.5 times increase of bilirubin from baseline to a value ≥20 mmol/l), and alanine transferase (ALT) > 165 IU/l. The effect of statin administration was explored in generalised linear mixed models.
A total of 1,397 patients were included. Two hundred and nineteen patients received a median (interquartile range) of three (two, eight) statin doses. Patients receiving statins were older (67.4 vs. 55.5 years, P < 0.0001), less likely female (25.1% vs. 37.9%, P = 0.0003) and sicker (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score 20.3 vs. 17.8, P < 0.0001). Considering outcome events at least 1 day after statin administration, statin patients were equally likely to develop acute organ failure (28.4% vs. 22.3%, P = 0.29) and hepatic failure (9.5% vs. 7.6%, P = 0.34), but were more likely to experience an ALT increase to > 165 IU/l ((11.2% vs. 4.8%, P = 0.0005). Multivariable analysis showed that APACHE II score (odds ratio (OR) = 1.05 per point; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.03 to 1.07) and APACHE II admission category (P < 0.0001), but not statin administration (OR = 1.21; 95% CI = 0.92 to 1.62), were significantly associated with acute organ failure occurring on or after the day of first statin administration. Statin administration was not associated with liver impairment (OR = 1.08; 95% CI = 0.66 to 1.77) but was associated with a rise in ALT > 165 IU/l (OR = 2.25; 95% CI = 1.32 to 3.84), along with APACHE II score (P = 0.016) and admission ALT (P = 0.0001).
Concurrent statin therapy does not appear to protect against the development of new acute organ failure in critically ill, ventilated patients. The lack of effect may be due to residual confounding, a relatively low number of doses received, or an absence of true effect. Randomised controlled trials are needed to confirm a protective effect.
PMCID: PMC3222007  PMID: 21356051
4.  Lost in translation? The pursuit of lung-protective ventilation 
Critical Care  2008;12(2):122.
Acute lung injury (ALI) and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) remain important causes of morbidity and mortality in the critically ill patient, with far-reaching short-term and long-term implications for individual patients and for healthcare providers. It is well accepted that mechanical ventilation can worsen lung injury, potentially worsening systemic organ function, and can thus impact on mortality in acute lung injury (ALI)/ARDS. Unfortunately, although the concept of minimizing such damage via lung-protective ventilatory strategies is widely acknowledged, effective integration of such an approach into clinical practice remains more elusive. The study by the Irish Critical Care Trials Group published in the previous edition of Critical Care describes a 10-week real-life survey of all intensive care unit admissions across Ireland, detailing for the first time the epidemiology of ALI/ARDS in this population and clinician's attempts to deliver lung-protective ventilation. The authors also report hypothesis-generating data on the implications of statin use in this population. The present commentary reviews aspects of this work, with particular attention to the implementation of low-tidal-volume/lung-protective ventilatory strategies in ALI/ARDS.
PMCID: PMC2447565  PMID: 18423069
5.  Association between statin therapy and outcomes in critically ill patients: a nested cohort study 
The effect of statin therapy on mortality in critically ill patients is controversial, with some studies suggesting a benefit and others suggesting no benefit or even potential harm. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between statin therapy during intensive care unit (ICU) admission and all-cause mortality in critically ill patients.
This was a nested cohort study within two randomised controlled trials conducted in a tertiary care ICU. All 763 patients who participated in the two trials were included in this study. Of these, 107 patients (14%) received statins during their ICU stay. The primary endpoint was all-cause ICU and hospital mortality. Secondary endpoints included the development of sepsis and severe sepsis during the ICU stay, the ICU length of stay, the hospital length of stay, and the duration of mechanical ventilation. Multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for clinically and statistically relevant variables.
Statin therapy was associated with a reduction in hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36-0.99). Statin therapy was associated with lower hospital mortality in the following groups: patients >58 years of age (aOR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.97), those with an acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE II) score >22 (aOR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.31-0.96), diabetic patients (aOR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.30-0.90), patients on vasopressor therapy (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.29-0.97), those admitted with severe sepsis (aOR = 0.22, 95% CI 0.07-0.66), patients with creatinine ≤100 μmol/L (aOR = 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.51), and patients with GCS ≤9 (aOR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.17-0.71). When stratified by statin dose, the mortality reduction was mainly observed with statin equipotent doses ≥40 mg of simvastatin (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.28-1.00). Mortality reduction was observed with simvastatin (aOR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.17-0.81) but not with atorvastatin (aOR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.84-1.46). Statin therapy was not associated with a difference in any of the secondary outcomes.
Statin therapy during ICU stay was associated with a reduction in all-cause hospital mortality. This association was especially noted in high-risk subgroups. This potential benefit needs to be validated in a randomised, controlled trial.
PMCID: PMC3199769  PMID: 21819615
6.  Statin therapy as prevention against development of acute respiratory distress syndrome: An observational study* 
Critical care medicine  2012;40(5):1470-1477.
The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors (“statins”) have anti-inflammatory properties and are associated with improved outcomes in critically ill patients. We investigated whether previous statin therapy affects outcomes in patients at risk for acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Patients were followed-up for the primary outcome of acute respiratory distress syndrome and secondary outcomes of intensive care unit and 60-day mortality, organ dysfunction, and ventilator-free days in a secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study. Receipt of statin therapy was recorded. Propensity score matching was used to adjust for confounding by indication.
Intensive care units at a tertiary care academic medical center.
Critically ill patients (2,743) with acute respiratory distress syndrome risk factors.
Measurements and Main Results
Acute respiratory distress syndrome developed in 738 (26%) patients; 413 patients (15%) received a statin within 24 hrs of intensive care unit admission. Those who had received a statin within 24 hrs had a lower rate of development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (odds ratio 0.56; 95% confidence interval 0.43–0.73; p < .0001). After multivariate adjustment for potential confounders, this association remained significant (odds ratio 0.69; 95% confidence interval 0.51–0.92; p = .01). However, after propensity score matching, the association was not statistically significant (odds ratio 0.79; 95% confidence interval 0.57–1.10; p = .16). Statin use was not associated with reduced acute respiratory distress syndrome mortality, organ dysfunction, or ventilator-free days. Results of the study were presented in accordance with STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) guidelines.
Statin therapy at the time of intensive care unit admission was not associated with a lower rate of development of acute respiratory distress syndrome after matching for patient propensity to receive statins. Statin therapy was not associated with improvements in acute respiratory distress syndrome mortality, organ failure, or days free from mechanical ventilation.
PMCID: PMC3939937  PMID: 22430234
ALI/ARDS; critical illness; statin
7.  Preadmission statin use and one-year mortality among patients in intensive care - A cohort study 
Critical Care  2010;14(2):R29.
Statins reduce risk of cardiovascular events and have beneficial pleiotropic effects; both may reduce mortality in critically ill patients. We examined whether statin use was associated with risk of death in general intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
Cohort study of 12,483 critically ill patients > 45 yrs of age with a first-time admission to one of three highly specialized ICUs within the Aarhus University Hospital network, Denmark, between 2001 and 2007. Statin users were identified through population-based prescription databases. We computed cumulative mortality rates 0-30 days and 31-365 days after ICU admission and mortality rate ratios (MRRs), using Cox regression analysis controlling for potential confounding factors (demographics, use of other cardiovascular drugs, comorbidity, markers of social status, diagnosis, and surgery).
1882 (14.3%) ICU patients were current statin users. Statin users had a reduced risk of death within 30 days of ICU admission [users: 22.1% vs. non-users 25.0%; adjusted MRR = 0.76 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.69 to 0.86)]. Statin users also had a reduced risk of death within one year after admission to the ICU [users: 36.4% vs. non-users 39.9%; adjusted MRR = 0.79 (95% CI: 0.73 to 0.86)]. Reduced risk of death associated with current statin use remained robust in various subanalyses and in an analysis using propensity score matching. Former use of statins and current use of non-statin lipid-lowering drugs were not associated with reduced risk of death.
Preadmission statin use was associated with reduced risk of death following intensive care. The associations seen could be a pharmacological effect of statins, but unmeasured differences in characteristics of statin users and non-users cannot be entirely ruled out.
PMCID: PMC2887131  PMID: 20214779
8.  Persistence with Statins and Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(9):e1000336.
In a retrospective cohort study, Gabriel Chodick and colleagues find a significant association between persistence with statin therapy and reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, but only a modest decrease in risk of osteoarthritis.
The beneficial effects of statins in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been suggested previously, but it is unclear whether statins may prevent its development. The aim of this retrospective cohort study was to explore whether persistent use of statins is associated with onset of RA.
Methods and Findings
The computerized medical databases of a large health organization in Israel were used to identify diagnosed RA cases among adults who began statin therapy between 1998 and 2007. Persistence with statins was assessed by calculating the mean proportion of follow-up days covered (PDC) with statins for every study participant. To assess the possible effects of healthy user bias, we also examined the risk of osteoarthritis (OA), a common degenerative joint disease that is unlikely to be affected by use of statins.
A total of 211,627 and 193,770 individuals were eligible for the RA and OA cohort analyses, respectively. During the study follow-up period, there were 2,578 incident RA cases (3.07 per 1,000 person-years) and 17,878 incident OA cases (24.34 per 1,000 person-years). The crude incidence density rate of RA among nonpersistent patients (PDC level of <20%) was 51% higher (3.89 per 1,000 person-years) compared to highly persistent patients who were covered with statins for at least 80% of the follow-up period. After adjustment for potential confounders, highly persistent patients had a hazard ratio of 0.58 (95% confidence interval 0.52–0.65) for RA compared with nonpersistent patients. Larger differences were observed in younger patients and in patients initiating treatment with high efficacy statins. In the OA cohort analysis, high persistence with statins was associated only with a modest decrement in risk ratio (hazard ratio = 0.85; 0.81–0.88) compared to nonadherent patients.
The present study demonstrates an association between persistence with statin therapy and reduced risk of developing RA. The relationship between continuation of statin use and OA onset was weak and limited to patients with short-term follow-up.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The role of statins in the management of diseases that have an inflammatory component is unclear. There is some evidence that statins may have anti-inflammatory and immunumodulatory properties, demonstrated by reducing the level of C-reactive protein that may play an important role in chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis—a chronic condition that is a major cause of disability. Some small studies have suggested a modest effect of statins in decreasing disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, but a recent larger study involving over 30,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed no beneficial effect. Furthermore, it has been suggested that statins may have a role in the primary prevention of rheumatoid arthritis, but so far there has been no solid evidence base to support this hypothesis. Before statins can potentially be included in the treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis, or possibly prescribed for the prevention of this condition, there needs to be a much stronger evidence base, such as larger studies with longer follow-up periods, which clearly demonstrates any significant clinical benefits of statin use.
Why Was This Study Done?
This large study (more than 200,000 patients) with a long follow-up period (average of 10 years) was conducted to discover whether there was any kind of association between persistent use of statins and the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study among the members of Maccabi Healthcare Services (a health maintenance organization [HMO]) in Israel, which has 1.8-million enrollees and covers every section of the Israeli population, to identify statin users who were at least 18 years of age and did not have RA or a related disease at study entry. The cohort covered the period 1998–2007 and included members who were continuously enrolled in the HMO from 1995 to 1998. The researchers then analyzed the incidence of newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, recording the date of first diagnostic codes (International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision [ICD-9]) associated with rheumatoid arthritis during the study follow-up period. To assess any potential effects of “healthy adherer” bias (good adherence to medication in patients with a chronic illness may be more likely to lead to better health and improved survival), the researchers also examined any possible association between persistent statin use and the development of osteoarthritis, a common degenerative joint disease that is unlikely to be affected by statin use.
During the study follow-up period, there were 2,578 incident cases of rheumatoid arthritis and 17,878 incident cases of osteoarthritis. The crude incidence density rate of rheumatoid arthritis among patients who did not persistently take statins was 51% higher than that of patients who used statins for at least 80% of the follow-up period. Furthermore, patients who persistently used statins had a risk ratio of 0.58 for rheumatoid arthritis compared with patients who did not persistently use statins. In the osteoarthritis cohort analysis, high persistence with statin use was associated with a modest decrement in risk ratio (0.85) compared to patients who did not persist with statins.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study suggests that there is an association between persistence with statin therapy and reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Although the researchers took into account the possibility of healthy adherer bias (by comparing results with the osteoarthritis cohort), this study has other limitations, such as the retrospective design, and the nonrandomization of statin use, which could affect the interpretation of the results. However, the observed associations were greater than those that would be expected from methodological biases alone. Larger, systematic, controlled, prospective studies with high efficacy statins, particularly in younger adults who are at increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis, are needed to confirm these findings and to clarify the exact nature of the biological relationship between adherence to statin therapy and the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Arthritis Research UK provides a wide range of information on arthritis research
The American College of Rheumatology provides information on rheumatology research
Patient information on rheumatoid arthritis is available at Patient UK
Extensive information about statins is available at statin answers
PMCID: PMC2935457  PMID: 20838658
9.  Prevention of LPS-Induced Acute Lung Injury in Mice by Mesenchymal Stem Cells Overexpressing Angiopoietin 1 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(9):e269.
The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a clinical complication of severe acute lung injury (ALI) in humans, is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. ALI is characterized by disruption of the lung alveolar–capillary membrane barrier and resultant pulmonary edema associated with a proteinaceous alveolar exudate. Current specific treatment strategies for ALI/ARDS are lacking. We hypothesized that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), with or without transfection with the vasculoprotective gene angiopoietin 1 (ANGPT1) would have beneficial effects in experimental ALI in mice.
Methods and Findings
Syngeneic MSCs with or without transfection with plasmid containing the human ANGPT1 gene (pANGPT1) were delivered through the right jugular vein of mice 30 min after intratracheal instillation of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to induce lung injury. Administration of MSCs significantly reduced LPS-induced pulmonary inflammation, as reflected by reductions in total cell and neutrophil counts in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid (53%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 7%–101%; and 60%, CI 4%–116%, respectively) as well as reducing levels of proinflammatory cytokines in both BAL fluid and lung parenchymal homogenates. Furthermore, administration of MSCs transfected with pANGPT1 resulted in nearly complete reversal of LPS-induced increases in lung permeability as assessed by reductions in IgM and albumin levels in BAL (96%, CI 6%–185%; and 74%, CI 23%–126%, respectively). Fluorescently tagged MSCs were detected in the lung tissues by confocal microscopy and flow cytometry in both naïve and LPS-injured animals up to 3 d.
Treatment with MSCs alone significantly reduced LPS-induced acute pulmonary inflammation in mice, while administration of pANGPT1-transfected MSCs resulted in a further improvement in both alveolar inflammation and permeability. These results suggest a potential role for cell-based ANGPT1 gene therapy to treat clinical ALI/ARDS.
Using a mouse model of acute respiratory distress syndrome, Duncan Stewart and colleagues report that rescue with mesenchymal stem cells expressing human angiopoietin 1 can avert lung injury from lipopolysaccharide.
Editors' Summary
Critically ill people who have had an injury to their lungs, for example through pneumonia, trauma, or an immune response to infection, may end up developing a serious complication in the lung termed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). In ARDS, inflammation develops in the lung, and fluid builds up in the alveoli (the air sacs resembling “bunches of grapes” at the ends of the network of tubes in the lung). This buildup of fluid prevents oxygen from being carried efficiently from air into the blood; the individual consequently experiences problems breathing and can develop further serious complications, which contribute significantly to the burden of illness among people in intensive care units. The death rate among individuals who do develop ARDS is very high, upward of 30%. Normally, individuals with ARDS are given extra oxygen, and may need a machine to help them breathe; treatments also focus on addressing the underlying causes in each particular patient. However, currently there are very few specific treatments that address ARDS itself.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers here wanted to work toward new treatment options for individuals with ARDS. One possible approach involves cells known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cells are typically found in the bone marrow and have a property shared by very few other cell types in the body; they are able to carry on dividing and renewing themselves, and can eventually develop into many other types of cell. The researchers already knew that MSCs could become incorporated into injured lungs in mice and develop there into the tissue layers lining the lung. Some interesting work had also been done on a protein called angiopoeitin 1 (ANGPT1), which seemed to play a role in protecting against inflammation in blood vessels. Therefore, there was a strong rationale for carrying out experiments in mice to see if MSCs engineered to produce the ANGPT1 protein might “rescue” lung injury in mice. These experiments would be an initial step toward developing possible new treatments for humans with ARDS.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used a mouse model to mimic the human ARDS condition. This involved injecting the windpipe of experimental mice with lipopolysaccharide (a substance normally found on the outer surface of bacteria that brings about an immune reaction in the lung). After 30 minutes, the mice were then injected with either salt solution (as a control), the MSCs, or MSCs producing the ANGPT1 protein. The researchers then looked at markers of lung inflammation, the appearance of the lungs under a microscope, and whether the injected MSCs had become incorporated into the lung tissue.
The lipopolysaccharide brought about a large increase in the number of inflammatory cells in the lung fluid, which was reduced in the mice given MSCs. Furthermore, in mice given the MSCs producing ANGPT1 protein, the number of inflammatory cells was reduced to a level similar to that of mice that had not been given lipopolysaccharide. When the researchers looked at the appearance under the microscope of lungs from mice that had been given lipopolysaccharide, they saw signs of inflammation and fluid coming out into the lung air spaces. These signs were reduced among both mice treated with MSCs and those treated with MSCs producing ANGPT1. The researchers also measured the “leakiness” of the lung tissues in lipopolysaccharide-treated mice; MSCs seemed to reduce the leakiness to some extent, and the lungs of mice treated with MSCs producing ANGPT1 were no more leaky than those of mice that had never been injected with lipopolysaccharide. Finally, the MSCs were seen to be incorporated into lung tissue by three days after injection, but after that were lost from the lung.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Previous research done by the same group had shown that fibroblasts producing ANGPT1 could prevent lung injury in rats later given lipopolysaccharide. The experiments reported here go a step further than this, and suggest that MSCs producing ANGPT1 can “rescue” the condition of mouse lungs that had already been given lipopolysaccharide. In addition, treatment with MSCs alone also produced beneficial effects. This opens up a possible new treatment strategy for ARDS in humans. However, it should be emphasized that the animal model used here is not a precise parallel of ARDS in humans, and that more research remains to be done before human studies of this sort could be considered.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Medline Plus entry on acute respiratory distress syndrome, providing basic information about what ARDS is, its effects, and how it is currently managed
ARDS Network from the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health; the site provides frequently asked questions about ARDS as well as a list of clinical trials conducted by the network
Information about stem cells from the US National Institutes of Health, including information about the potential uses of stem cells
Wikipedia page about mesenchymal stem cells (note: Wikipedia is an internet encyclopedia anyone can edit)
PMCID: PMC1961632  PMID: 17803352
10.  Acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome in Ireland: a prospective audit of epidemiology and management 
Critical Care  2008;12(1):R30.
The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology and management of acute lung injury (ALI) and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in Ireland.
As part of a 10-week prospective national audit of patient demographics and organ failure incidence in intensive care in Ireland, all patients with ALI/ARDS in 14 participating centres were prospectively identified using American European Consensus Conference definitions.
There were 1,029 admissions during the study period; of these, 728 patients were invasively ventilated. A total of 196 (19%) patients had ALI/ARDS, and 141 of these (72%) had ALI/ARDS on admission and a further 55 (28%) developed ALI/ARDS after admission. For the patients with ALI/ARDS, the mean (± standard deviation) age was 58 ± 17 years and 62% were male. The most common predisposing risk factors were pneumonia (50%) and nonpulmonary sepsis (26%). Mean (± standard deviation) tidal volume/kg was 7.0 ± 1.7 ml/kg. Median (interquartile range) duration of ventilation was 6.8 (2.0 to 12.8) days. Median (interquartile range) length of stay in the intensive care unit was 10.0 (5.0 to 18.5) days. The overall intensive care unit mortality for ALI/ARDS was 32.3%. Lower baseline arterial oxygen tension/fraction of inspired oxygen ratio and higher Sequential Organ Failure Assessment scores were associated with increased mortality. Although not significant, patients receiving treatment with a statin during admission had a 73% lower odds of death (odds ratio 0.27, 95% confidence interval 0.06 to 1.21; P = 0.09).
The incidence of ALI/ARDS is high and is associated with significant mortality. Protective lung ventilation is used commonly throughout participating centres. With low tidal volume ventilation, the degree of hypoxaemia is associated with outcome. These data will inform future multicentre clinical trials in ALI/ARDS in Ireland.
PMCID: PMC2374618  PMID: 18312626
11.  Statin Use and Risk of Delirium in the Critically Ill 
Delirium is common in intensive care unit (ICU) patients and is a predictor of worse outcomes and neuroinflammation is a possible mechanism. The antiinflammatory actions of statins may reduce delirium.
To determine whether critically ill patients receiving statin therapy had a reduced risk of delirium than those not on statins.
A prospective cohort analysis of data from consecutive ICU patients admitted to a UK mixed medical and surgical critical care unit between August 2011 and February 2012; the Confusion Assessment Method for ICU was used to determine the days each patient was assessed as being free of delirium during ICU admission.
Measurements and Main Results
Delirium-free days, daily administration of statins, and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) were recorded. Four hundred and seventy consecutive critical care patients were followed, of whom 151 patients received statins. Using random-effects multivariable logistic regression, statin administration the previous evening was associated with the patient being assessed as free of delirium (odds ratio, 2.28; confidence interval, 1.01–5.13; P < 0.05) and with lower CRP (β = −0.52; P < 0.01) the following day. When the association between statin and being assessed as free of delirium was controlled for CRP, the effect size became nonsignificant (odds ratio, 1.56; confidence interval, 0.64–3.79; P = 0.32).
Ongoing statin therapy is associated with a lower daily risk of delirium in critically ill patients. An ongoing clinical trial, informed by this study, is investigating if statins are a potential therapy for delirium in the critically ill.
PMCID: PMC3974585  PMID: 24417431
delirium; statin; inflammation; C-reactive protein; critical care
12.  Statin Use and Risk of Delirium in the Critically Ill 
Rationale: Delirium is common in intensive care unit (ICU) patients and is a predictor of worse outcomes and neuroinflammation is a possible mechanism. The antiinflammatory actions of statins may reduce delirium.
Objectives: To determine whether critically ill patients receiving statin therapy had a reduced risk of delirium than those not on statins.
Methods: A prospective cohort analysis of data from consecutive ICU patients admitted to a UK mixed medical and surgical critical care unit between August 2011 and February 2012; the Confusion Assessment Method for ICU was used to determine the days each patient was assessed as being free of delirium during ICU admission.
Measurements and Main Results: Delirium-free days, daily administration of statins, and serum C-reactive protein (CRP) were recorded. Four hundred and seventy consecutive critical care patients were followed, of whom 151 patients received statins. Using random-effects multivariable logistic regression, statin administration the previous evening was associated with the patient being assessed as free of delirium (odds ratio, 2.28; confidence interval, 1.01–5.13; P < 0.05) and with lower CRP (β = −0.52; P < 0.01) the following day. When the association between statin and being assessed as free of delirium was controlled for CRP, the effect size became nonsignificant (odds ratio, 1.56; confidence interval, 0.64–3.79; P = 0.32).
Conclusions: Ongoing statin therapy is associated with a lower daily risk of delirium in critically ill patients. An ongoing clinical trial, informed by this study, is investigating if statins are a potential therapy for delirium in the critically ill.
PMCID: PMC3974585  PMID: 24417431
delirium; statin; inflammation; C-reactive protein; critical care
13.  Insulin like growth factor-I in acute subarachnoid hemorrhage: a prospective cohort study 
Critical Care  2010;14(2):R75.
Neuroendocrine deficiencies may affect recovery after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Insulin like growth factor-I (IGF-I) regulates neuronal growth and apoptosis in ischemic stroke. Our study was designed to a) characterize the behavior of serum IGF-I and growth hormone (GH) in the acute and late phases after aSAH reflecting possible pituitary gland function and b) evaluate the association between IGF-I and morbidity assessed by Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) and health related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with aSAH.
In this prospective cohort study, patients with aSAH (n = 30) were compared to patients who underwent elective aneurysm surgery (n = 16). Serum GH and IGF-I concentrations were measured daily for five (controls) or seven (aSAH) days and at three months. GOS and 15d HRQoL was measured at three months. A mixed models method was used for testing between the groups. For factors possibly affecting HRQoL in aSAH patients, we constructed a Bayesian predicting model using a P-course Bayesian classifier.
The mean IGF-I concentrations for days one to five were 8.1 ± 3.5 nmol/l in patients with aSAH and 11.2 ± 3.1 in the control group (P = 0.01). No corresponding difference was found at three months. Serum GH concentrations were similar in both patient groups. Severity of the aSAH did not affect serum IGF-I concentrations. Patients with GOS ≤ 4 had lower IGF-I concentrations and lower HRQoL than patients with GOS 5 (P = 0.02 and 0.003 respectively). The 15d HRQoL was 0.81 ± 0.16 in patients with aSAH and 0.86 ± 0.09 in control patients (P = 0.24). In the Bayesian model, the use of statins prior to aSAH, hyponatremia, high maximal sequential organ specific score (SOFAmax), and low cumulative IGF-I concentrations on days one to seven were associated with poor HRQoL (accuracy 89%, sensitivity 86%, and specificity 93%).
IGF-I concentrations are low during acute aSAH, which may have an impact on morbidity.
Trial registration Identifier NCT00614887
PMCID: PMC2887198  PMID: 20426845
14.  Personalized Prediction of Lifetime Benefits with Statin Therapy for Asymptomatic Individuals: A Modeling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(12):e1001361.
In a modeling study conducted by Myriam Hunink and colleagues, a population-based cohort from Rotterdam is used to predict the possible lifetime benefits of statin therapy, on a personalized basis.
Physicians need to inform asymptomatic individuals about personalized outcomes of statin therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, current prediction models focus on short-term outcomes and ignore the competing risk of death due to other causes. We aimed to predict the potential lifetime benefits with statin therapy, taking into account competing risks.
Methods and Findings
A microsimulation model based on 5-y follow-up data from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort of individuals aged 55 y and older living in the Ommoord district of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was used to estimate lifetime outcomes with and without statin therapy. The model was validated in-sample using 10-y follow-up data. We used baseline variables and model output to construct (1) a web-based calculator for gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy and (2) color charts for comparing these gains to the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) charts. In 2,428 participants (mean age 67.7 y, 35.5% men), statin therapy increased total life expectancy by 0.3 y (SD 0.2) and CVD-free life expectancy by 0.7 y (SD 0.4). Age, sex, smoking, blood pressure, hypertension, lipids, diabetes, glucose, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and creatinine were included in the calculator. Gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy increased with blood pressure, unfavorable lipid levels, and body mass index after multivariable adjustment. Gains decreased considerably with advancing age, while SCORE 10-y CVD mortality risk increased with age. Twenty-five percent of participants with a low SCORE risk achieved equal or larger gains in CVD-free life expectancy than the median gain in participants with a high SCORE risk.
We developed tools to predict personalized increases in total and CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy. The predicted gains we found are small. If the underlying model is validated in an independent cohort, the tools may be useful in discussing with patients their individual outcomes with statin therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects the heart and/or the blood vessels and is a major cause of illness and death worldwide. In the US, for example, coronary heart disease—a CVD in which narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by fatty deposits slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack—is the leading cause of death, and stroke—a CVD in which the brain's blood supply is interrupted—is the fourth leading cause of death. Established risk factors for CVD include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and high blood levels of a fat called low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”). Because many of these risk factors can be modified by lifestyle changes and by drugs, CVD can be prevented. Thus, physicians can assess a healthy individual's risk of developing CVD using a CVD prediction model (equations that take into account the CVD risk factors to which the individual is exposed) and can then recommend lifestyle changes and medications to reduce that individual's CVD risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
Current guidelines recommend that asymptomatic (healthy) individuals whose likely CVD risk is high should be encouraged to take statins—cholesterol-lowering drugs—as a preventative measure. Statins help to prevent CVD in healthy people with a high predicted risk of CVD, but, like all medicines, they have some unwanted side effects, so it is important that physicians can communicate both the benefits and drawbacks of statins to their patients in a way that allows them to make an informed decision about taking these drugs. Telling a patient that statins will reduce his or her short-term risk of CVD is not always helpful—patients really need to know the potential lifetime benefits of statin therapy. That is, they need to know how much longer they might live if they take statins. Here, the researchers use a mathematical model to predict the personalized lifetime benefits (increased total and CVD-free life expectancy) of statin therapy for individuals without a history of CVD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the Rotterdam Ischemic Heart Disease & Stroke Computer Simulation (RISC) model, which simulates the life courses of individuals through six health states, from well through to CVD or non-CVD death, to estimate lifetime outcomes with and without statin therapy in a population of healthy elderly individuals. They then used these outcomes and information on baseline risk factors to develop a web-based calculator suitable for personalized prediction of the lifetime benefits of statins in routine clinical practice. The model estimated that statin therapy increases average life expectancy in the study population by 0.3 years and average CVD-free life expectancy by 0.7 years. The gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy associated with statin therapy increased with blood pressure, unfavorable cholesterol levels, and body mass index (an indicator of body fat) but decreased with age. Notably, the web-based calculator predicted that some individuals with a low ten-year CVD risk might achieve a similar or larger gain in CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy than some individuals with a high ten-year risk. So, for example, both a 55-year-old non-smoking woman with a ten-year CVD mortality risk of 2% (a two in a hundred chance of dying of CVD within ten years) and a 65-year-old male smoker with a ten-year CVD mortality risk of 15% might both gain one year of CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that statin therapy can lead on average to small gains in total life expectancy and slightly larger gains in CVD-free life expectancy among healthy individuals, and show that life expectancy benefits can be predicted using an individual's risk factor profile. The accuracy and generalizability of these findings is limited by the assumptions included in the model (in particular, the model did not allow for the known side effects of statin therapy) and by the data fed into it—importantly, the risk prediction model needs to be validated using an independent dataset. If future research confirms the findings of this study, the researchers' web-based calculator could provide complementary information to the currently recommended ten-year CVD mortality risk assessment. Whether communication of personalized outcomes will ultimately result in better clinical outcomes remains to be seen, however, because patients may be less likely to choose statin therapy when provided with more information about its likely benefits.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The web-based calculator for personalized prediction of lifetime benefits with statin therapy is available (after agreement to software license)
The American Heart Association provides information about many types of cardiovascular disease for patients, carers, and professionals, including information about drug therapy for cholesterol and a heart attack risk calculator
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and about statins
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy; information is also available on statins, including personal stories about deciding to take statins
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on a wide range of cardiovascular diseases
The European Society of Cardiology's cardiovascular disease risk assessment model (SCORE) is available
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on heart diseases, vascular diseases, stroke, and statins (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3531501  PMID: 23300388
15.  Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock: 2008 
Intensive Care Medicine  2007;34(1):17-60.
To provide an update to the original Surviving Sepsis Campaign clinical management guidelines, “Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines for management of severe sepsis and septic shock,” published in 2004.
Modified Delphi method with a consensus conference of 55 international experts, several subsequent meetings of subgroups and key individuals, teleconferences, and electronic-based discussion among subgroups and among the entire committee. This process was conducted independently of any industry funding.
We used the GRADE system to guide assessment of quality of evidence from high (A) to very low (D) and to determine the strength of recommendations. A strong recommendation [1] indicates that an intervention's desirable effects clearly outweigh its undesirable effects (risk, burden, cost), or clearly do not. Weak recommendations [2] indicate that the tradeoff between desirable and undesirable effects is less clear. The grade of strong or weak is considered of greater clinical importance than a difference in letter level of quality of evidence. In areas without complete agreement, a formal process of resolution was developed and applied. Recommendations are grouped into those directly targeting severe sepsis, recommendations targeting general care of the critically ill patient that are considered high priority in severe sepsis, and pediatric considerations.
Key recommendations, listed by category, include: early goal-directed resuscitation of the septic patient during the first 6 hrs after recognition (1C); blood cultures prior to antibiotic therapy (1C); imaging studies performed promptly to confirm potential source of infection (1C); administration of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy within 1 hr of diagnosis of septic shock (1B) and severe sepsis without septic shock (1D); reassessment of antibiotic therapy with microbiology and clinical data to narrow coverage, when appropriate (1C); a usual 7–10 days of antibiotic therapy guided by clinical response (1D); source control with attention to the balance of risks and benefits of the chosen method (1C); administration of either crystalloid or colloid fluid resuscitation (1B); fluid challenge to restore mean circulating filling pressure (1C); reduction in rate of fluid administration with rising filing pressures and no improvement in tissue perfusion (1D); vasopressor preference for norepinephrine or dopamine to maintain an initial target of mean arterial pressure ≥ 65 mm Hg (1C); dobutamine inotropic therapy when cardiac output remains low despite fluid resuscitation and combined inotropic/vasopressor therapy (1C); stress-dose steroid therapy given only in septic shock after blood pressure is identified to be poorly responsive to fluid and vasopressor therapy (2C); recombinant activated protein C in patients with severe sepsis and clinical assessment of high risk for death (2B except 2C for post-operative patients). In the absence of tissue hypoperfusion, coronary artery disease, or acute hemorrhage, target a hemoglobin of 7–9 g/dL (1B); a low tidal volume (1B) and limitation of inspiratory plateau pressure strategy (1C) for acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); application of at least a minimal amount of positive end-expiratory pressure in acute lung injury (1C); head of bed elevation in mechanically ventilated patients unless contraindicated (1B); avoiding routine use of pulmonary artery catheters in ALI/ARDS (1A); to decrease days of mechanical ventilation and ICU length of stay, a conservative fluid strategy for patients with established ALI/ARDS who are not in shock (1C); protocols for weaning and sedation/analgesia (1B); using either intermittent bolus sedation or continuous infusion sedation with daily interruptions or lightening (1B); avoidance of neuromuscular blockers, if at all possible (1B); institution of glycemic control (1B) targeting a blood glucose < 150 mg/dL after initial stabilization ( 2C ); equivalency of continuous veno-veno hemofiltration or intermittent hemodialysis (2B); prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis (1A); use of stress ulcer prophylaxis to prevent upper GI bleeding using H2 blockers (1A) or proton pump inhibitors (1B); and consideration of limitation of support where appropriate (1D).
Recommendations specific to pediatric severe sepsis include: greater use of physical examination therapeutic end points (2C); dopamine as the first drug of choice for hypotension (2C); steroids only in children with suspected or proven adrenal insufficiency (2C); a recommendation against the use of recombinant activated protein C in children (1B).
There was strong agreement among a large cohort of international experts regarding many level 1 recommendations for the best current care of patients with severe sepsis. Evidenced-based recommendations regarding the acute management of sepsis and septic shock are the first step toward improved outcomes for this important group of critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC2249616  PMID: 18058085
Sepsis; Severe sepsis; Septic shock; Sepsis syndrome; Infection; GRADE; Guidelines; Evidence-based medicine; Surviving Sepsis Campaign; Sepsis bundles
16.  Diabetes, insulin, and development of acute lung injury 
Critical care medicine  2009;37(8):2455-2464.
Recently, many studies have investigated the immunomodulatory effects of insulin and glucose control in critical illness. This review examines evidence regarding the relationship between diabetes and the development of acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), reviews studies of lung injury related to glycemic and nonglycemic metabolic features of diabetes, and examines the effect of diabetic therapies.
Data Sources and Study Selection
A MEDLINE/PubMed search from inception to August 1, 2008, was conducted using the search terms acute lung injury, acute respiratory distress syndrome, hyperglycemia, diabetes mellitus, insulin, hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, including combinations of these terms. Bibliographies of retrieved articles were manually reviewed.
Data Extraction and Synthesis
Available studies were critically reviewed, and data were extracted with special attention to the human and animal studies that explored a) diabetes and ALI; b) hyperglycemia and ALI; c) metabolic nonhyperglycemic features of diabetes and ALI; and d) diabetic therapies and ALI.
Clinical and experimental data indicate that diabetes is protective against the development of ALI/ARDS. The pathways involved are complex and likely include effects of hyperglycemia on the inflammatory response, metabolic abnormalities in diabetes, and the interactions of therapeutic agents given to diabetic patients. Multidisciplinary, multifaceted studies, involving both animal models and clinical and molecular epidemiology techniques, are essential.
PMCID: PMC3103784  PMID: 19531947
acute respiratory distress syndrome; acute lung injury; hyperglycemia; diabetes mellitus; insulin
17.  Study protocol: The Improving Care of Acute Lung Injury Patients (ICAP) study 
Critical Care  2005;10(1):R9.
The short-term mortality benefit of lower tidal volume ventilation (LTVV) for patients with acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS) has been demonstrated in a large, multi-center randomized trial. However, the impact of LTVV and other critical care therapies on the longer-term outcomes of ALI/ARDS survivors remains uncertain. The Improving Care of ALI Patients (ICAP) study is a multi-site, prospective cohort study that aims to evaluate the longer-term outcomes of ALI/ARDS survivors with a particular focus on the effect of LTVV and other critical care therapies.
Consecutive mechanically ventilated ALI/ARDS patients from 11 intensive care units (ICUs) at four hospitals in the city of Baltimore, MD, USA, will be enrolled in a prospective cohort study. Exposures (patient-based, clinical management, and ICU organizational) will be comprehensively collected both at baseline and throughout patients' ICU stay. Outcomes, including mortality, organ impairment, functional status, and quality of life, will be assessed with the use of standardized surveys and testing at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after ALI/ARDS diagnosis. A multi-faceted retention strategy will be used to minimize participant loss to follow-up.
On the basis of the historical incidence of ALI/ARDS at the study sites, we expect to enroll 520 patients over two years. This projected sample size is more than double that of any published study of long-term outcomes in ALI/ARDS survivors, providing 86% power to detect a relative mortality hazard of 0.70 in patients receiving higher versus lower exposure to LTVV. The projected sample size also provides sufficient power to evaluate the association between a variety of other exposure and outcome variables, including quality of life.
The ICAP study is a novel, prospective cohort study that will build on previous critical care research to improve our understanding of the longer-term impact of ALI/ARDS, LTVV and other aspects of critical care management. Given the paucity of information about the impact of interventions on long-term outcomes for survivors of critical illness, this study can provide important information to inform clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC1550857  PMID: 16420652
18.  Treating statin-intolerant patients 
Statins are effective in reducing cardiovascular events and are safe for almost all patients. Nevertheless, intolerance to statins is frequently faced in clinical practice. This is mostly due to muscular symptoms (myalgia with or without increase of plasma creatinine kinase) and/or elevation of hepatic aminotransferases, which overall constitutes approximately two-thirds of reported adverse events during statin therapy. These side effects raise concerns in patients as well as in doctors and are likely to reduce patients’ adherence and, as a consequence, the cardiovascular benefit. Therefore, it is mandatory that clinicians improve their knowledge on the clinical aspects of muscular and hepatic side effects of statin therapy as well as their ability to manage patients with statin intolerance. Besides briefly examining the clinical aspects and the mechanisms that are proposed to be responsible for the most common statin-associated side effects, the main purpose of this article is to review the available approaches to manage statin-intolerant patients. The first step is to determine whether the adverse events are indeed related to statin therapy. If so, lowering the dosage or changing statin, alternate dosing options, or the use of nonstatin compounds may be practical strategies. The cholesterol-lowering potency as well as the usefulness of these different approaches in treating statin-intolerant patients will be examined based on currently available data. However, the cardiovascular benefit of these strategies has not been well established, so their use has to be guided by a careful clinical assessment of each patient.
PMCID: PMC3138147  PMID: 21779147
statin therapy; atorvastatin; rosuvastatin; aminotransferase levels; myopathy
19.  Diagnostic utility of B-type natriuretic peptide in critically ill patients with pulmonary edema: a prospective cohort study 
Critical Care  2008;12(1):R3.
Distinguishing pulmonary edema due to acute lung injury (ALI) or the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) from hydrostatic or cardiogenic edema is challenging in critically ill patients. B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) can effectively identify congestive heart failure in the emergency room setting but, despite increasing use, its diagnostic utility has not been validated in the intensive care unit (ICU).
We performed a prospective, blinded cohort study in the medical and surgical ICUs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Patients were eligible if they were admitted to the ICU with respiratory distress, bilateral pulmonary edema and a central venous catheter suggesting either high-pressure (cardiogenic) or low-pressure (ALI/ARDS) pulmonary edema. BNP levels were measured within 48 hours of ICU admission and development of pulmonary edema and onward up to three consecutive days. All levels were drawn simultaneously with the measurement of right atrial or pulmonary artery wedge pressure. The etiology of pulmonary edema – cardiogenic or ALI/ARDS – was determined by three intensivists blinded to BNP levels.
We enrolled a total of 54 patients (33 with ALI/ARDS and 21 with cardiogenic edema). BNP levels were lower in patients with ALI/ARDS than in those with cardiogenic edema (496 ± 439 versus 747 ± 476 pg/ml, P = 0.05). At an accepted cutoff of 100 pg/ml, specificity for the diagnosis of ALI/ARDS was high (95.2%) but sensitivity was poor (27.3%). Cutoffs at higher BNP levels improved sensitivity at considerable cost to specificity. Invasive measures of filling pressures correlated poorly with initial BNP levels and subsequent day BNP values fluctuated unpredictably and without correlation with hemodynamic changes and net fluid balance.
BNP levels drawn within 48 hours of admission to the ICU do not reliably distinguish ALI/ARDS from cardiogenic edema, do not correlate with invasive hemodynamic measurements, and do not track predictably with changes in volume status on consecutive daily measurements.
PMCID: PMC2374600  PMID: 18194554
20.  Is statin discontinuation an option in patients who have had a stroke? 
There is clear evidence that long-term statin therapy can prevent the recurrence of vascular events, but in clinical practice, many patients discontinue statin therapy.
To evaluate the effect of statin interruption on clinical outcome in patients discharged after an acute ischemic stroke.
The present study was conducted at an Italian community hospital and enrolled consecutive stroke patients who were discharged from January 2000 to June 2005. Inclusion criteria were absence of any major concurrent illness, absence of any clinical and laboratory evidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) or of any other major cardiac affect or cardiac embolism, and discharge on statin therapy. After exclusions, 631 patients (51% male; mean ± SD age 70.2 ± 7.6 years) were enrolled. All participants were followed up for 12 months. Adherence to prescribed medications was evaluated by telephone interview at 1, 6 and 12 months after discharge. Switching from one cardiovascular agent to another of the same class was considered adherence to the prescribed therapy. Univariate and multivariate Cox proportionalhazards regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors for occurrence of the primary end point, and to identify clinical and demographic variables associated with statin therapy discontinuation during the follow-up period.
The primary end point was death from any cause within 12 months of discharge.
At discharge, 409 (77.6%) patients received a prescription for atorvastatin and 222 (22.4%) patients received a prescription for simvastatin. During the follow-up period, 246 (38.9%) patients discontinued statin therapy; the discontinuation rates were similar for both statins (P=0.544). Seventy-one (28.8%) patients stated mild adverse effects—such as dyspepsia, fatigue, headache and myalgia—as the reason for statin interruption. No instance of major adverse event was reported. In the remaining 175 (71.2%) cases, neither the patient nor the primary care physician could provide any specific medical reason for statin discontinuation. Multivariate analysis identified increasing age (hazard ratio [HR] 1.006 per year, 95% CI 1.004-1.009; P= 0.01) and female sex (HR 1.07, 95% CI 1.03-1.11; P= 0.02) as risk factors for statin discontinuation. By contrast, patients with diabetes were more likely to continue statin therapy (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.79-0.91; P=0.03). A total of 116 patients died within 1 year of discharge. Ninety-two (79.3%) of these patients had discontinued statin therapy compared with 154 (29.9%) patients who survived (P=0.0001), and statin interruption was identified as an independent predictor of 12-month all-cause mortality (HR 2.78, 95% CI 1.96-3.72; P=0.003). Other independent predictors of death within the first year after the stroke event were increased age, obesity, diabetes, stroke severity on admission, and antiplatelet therapy discontinuation.
A considerable proportion of patients with acute ischemic stroke are at increased risk of death within the first year after the index event because they discontinue statin therapy, often without a specific medical reason.
PMCID: PMC2615565  PMID: 18059384
coronary heart disease; death; statins; stroke; treatment discontinuation
21.  Rosuvastatin for Sepsis-Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome 
The New England journal of medicine  2014;370(23):2191-2200.
In the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), inflammation in the lungs and other organs can cause life-threatening organ failure. Inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (statins) can modulate inflammatory responses. Previous observational studies suggested that statins improved clinical outcomes in patients with sepsis. We hypothesized that rosuvastatin therapy would improve clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with sepsis-associated ARDS.
We conducted a multicenter trial in which patients with sepsis-associated ARDS were randomly assigned to receive either enteral rosuvastatin or placebo in a double-blind manner. The primary outcome was mortality before hospital discharge home or until study day 60 if the patient was still in a health care facility. Secondary outcomes included the number of ventilator-free days (days that patients were alive and breathing spontaneously) to day 28 and organ-failure–free days to day 14.
The study was stopped because of futility after 745 of an estimated 1000 patients had been enrolled. There was no significant difference between study groups in 60-day in-hospital mortality (28.5% with rosuvastatin and 24.9% with placebo, P = 0.21) or in mean (±SD) ventilator-free days (15.1±10.8 with rosuvastatin and 15.1±11.0 with placebo, P = 0.96). The groups were well matched with respect to demographic and key physiological variables. Rosuvastatin therapy, as compared with placebo, was associated with fewer days free of renal failure to day 14 (10.1±5.3 vs. 11.0±4.7, P = 0.01) and fewer days free of hepatic failure to day 14 (10.8±5.0 vs. 11.8±4.3, P = 0.003). Rosuvastatin was not associated with an increased incidence of serum creatine kinase levels that were more than 10 times the upper limit of the normal range.
Rosuvastatin therapy did not improve clinical outcomes in patients with sepsis-associated ARDS and may have contributed to hepatic and renal organ dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC4241052  PMID: 24835849
22.  The role of angiogenic factors and their soluble receptors in acute lung injury (ALI)/ acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with critical illness 
Acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are characterized by a disruption of the endothelium and alveolar epithelial barriers involving increased microvascular permeability, thus resulting in the set of protein-rich pulmonary edema. Angiogenic factors and their receptors, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF-receptor (VEGFR) and the angiopoietin (Ang)/Tie2 signaling pathways, play pivotal roles in both angiogenesis and microvascular permeability. The aim of the study was to assess the relationship between angiogenic factors, their soluble receptors and ALI/ARDS associated with critically ill patients, including sepsis, severe trauma, and post-cardiac arrest syndrome (PCAS).
One hundred fifty-nine critically ill patients, including 50 patients with sepsis, 57 patients with severe trauma and 52 resuscitated after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, were divided into three subgroups: including 25 ALI patients, 101 ARDS patients and 22 non-ALI/ARDS patients. The serum levels of angiogenic factors were measured at the time of admission (day 1), as well as day 3 and day 5 and then were compared among the ALI, ARDS and non-ALI/ARDS groups. Their predictive values for developing ALI/ARDS and 28-day mortality were evaluated.
Higher levels of sVEGFR1 and Ang2 were observed in the ALI and ARDS patients than in the non-ALI/ARDS patients during the entire study period. The Ang2/Ang1 ratio in the ARDS group was also significantly higher than that in the non-ALI/ADRS group. The sVEGFR2 levels in the ARDS group on day 1 were significantly lower than those of the non-ALI/ADRS group. In addition, significant positive correlations were seen between the sVEGFR1, Ang2, Ang2/Ang1, and the development of ALI/ARDS in critical illness. There were also significant negative correlations between the minimal value of sVEGFR2, the maximal value of Ang1 and the ALI/ARDS group. In particular, sVEGFR2 and Ang2 were independent predictors of developing ALI/ARDS. Moreover, Ang2 and sVEGFR2 also independently predicted the mortality in ALI/ARDS patients.
Angiogenic factors and their soluble receptors, particularly sVEGFR2 and Ang2, are thus considered to be valuable predictive biomarkers in the development of ALI/ARDS associated with critical illness and mortality in ALI/ARDS patients.
PMCID: PMC3574858  PMID: 23394254
Acute lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Angiogenic factors; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Angiopoietin; Outcome
23.  Vitamin D deficiency and risk of acute lung injury in severe sepsis and severe trauma: a case-control study 
The aim of this study was to determine the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) levels at the onset of critical illness and the development of acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS) in patients with sepsis or trauma.
We performed two nested case-control studies of 478 patients with sepsis and trauma with or without ALI/ARDS admitted to the medical, surgical and trauma ICUs of a tertiary-care center. Cases consisted of patients with either sepsis or trauma and ALI/ARDS; controls consisted of equivalent numbers of matched patients with either sepsis or trauma alone. We measured serum 25-OHD levels the morning after ICU admission and used multivariable regression to assess the relationship between 25-OHD and diagnosis of ALI/ARDS during the first four ICU days, controlling for age, gender, diabetes, smoking status and season.
25-OHD levels did not differ between cases with ALI/ARDS and controls in either the sepsis or trauma cohorts. Using a conditional logistic regression model, sepsis patients during the winter season with higher 25-OHD levels were more likely to develop acute lung injury (odds ratio 1.68, 95% confidence interval of 1.05 to 2.69, P = 0.03). This association did not hold for the trauma cohort in either season. Sepsis and trauma patients had a lower risk of hospital mortality at higher 25-OHD levels but neither relationship reached significance. Higher one-year mortality after trauma was associated with lower 25-OHD levels (HR 0.50, CI 0.35,0.72 P = 0.001).
Serum 25-OHD measured early after admission to intensive care is not associated with the development of acute lung injury, hospital or one-year mortality in critically ill patients with sepsis although lower 25-OHD levels were associated with higher one-year mortality in patients with severe trauma.
PMCID: PMC3944729  PMID: 24559079
Vitamin D; Sepsis; Trauma; Acute lung injury; Critical illness
24.  Pre-Admission Statin Use and In-Hospital Severity of 2009 Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) Disease 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18120.
Statins are drugs that are used to lower plasma cholesterol levels. Recently, contradictory claims have been made about possible additional effects of statins on progression of a variety of inflammatory disorders, including infections. We therefore examined the clinical course of patients admitted to hospital with 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1), who were or weren't taking statins at time of admission.
A retrospective case-control study was performed using the United Kingdom Influenza Clinical Information Network (FLU-CIN) database, containing detailed information on 1,520 patients admitted to participating hospitals with confirmed 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infection between April 2009 and January 2010. We confined our analysis to those aged over 34 years. Univariate analysis was used to calculate unadjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (95%CI) for factors affecting progression to severe outcome (high dependency or intensive care unit level support) or death (cases); two multivariable logistic regression models were then established for age and sex, and for age, sex, obesity and “indication for statin” (e.g., heart disease or hypercholesterolaemia).
We found no statistically significant association between pre-admission statin use and severity of outcome after adjustment for age and sex [adjusted OR: 0.81 (95% CI: 0.46–1.38); n = 571]. After adjustment for age, sex, obesity and indication for statin, the association between pre-admission statin use and severe outcome was not statistically significant; point estimates are compatible with a small but clinically significant protective effect of statin use [adjusted OR: 0.72 (95% CI: 0.38–1.33)].
In this group of patients hospitalized with pandemic influenza, a significant beneficial effect of pre-admission statin use on the in-hospital course of illness was not identified. Although the database from which these observations are derived represents the largest available suitable UK hospital cohort, a larger study would be needed to confirm whether there is any benefit in this setting.
PMCID: PMC3081811  PMID: 21541017
Shock (Augusta, Ga.)  2008;29(6):656-661.
There are few blood biomarkers predictive of mortality in adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and none that currently serve as therapeutic targets. Here, we ask whether a circulating protein angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) correlates with severity of lung injury and mortality in a surgical intensive care unit cohort with acute lung injury (ALI)/ARDS. Tie 2 is a tyrosine kinase receptor expressed on endothelial cells. One ligand, angiopoietin 1, phosphorylates Tie 2 and stabilizes adult vasculature. An alternate ligand, Ang2, serves as a context-dependent antagonist and disrupts barrier function. Previously, our laboratory detected high circulating Ang2 levels in septic patients and a correlation with low PaO2/Fio2. In this study, daily plasma was collected in 63 surgical intensive care unit patients. Eighteen patients met clinical criteria for ALI or ARDS. The median Ang2 at admission in patients who never developed ALI/ARDS was 3.7 ng/mL (interquartile range [IQR], 5.6; n = 45). The Ang2 on the day a patient met criteria for ALI/ARDS was 5.3 ng/mL (IQR, 6.7) for survivors (n = 11) and 19.8 ng/mL (IQR, 19.2) for nonsurvivors (n = 7; P = 0.004). To explore the mechanism of high Ang 2 leading to increased permeability, plasma from patients with ALI was applied to cultured lung endothelial cells and found to disrupt normal junctional architecture. This effect can be rescued with the Tie 2 agonist angiopoietin 1. A patient’s convalescent (low Ang2) plasma did not disrupt junctional architecture. Although further studies with larger sample sizes will be needed to confirm these results, high Ang2 in critically ill patients with ALI/ARDS is associated with a poor outcome. These data, coupled with our cell culture experiments, suggest that antagonism of Ang2 may provide a future novel therapeutic target for ARDS.
PMCID: PMC4037741  PMID: 18091573
Angiopoietin; ALI; ARDS; endothelium; surgical intensive care unit

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