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26.  Contribution of the ethics committee of the French Intensive Care Society to describing a scenario for implementing organ donation after Maastricht type III cardiocirculatory death in France 
French law allows organ donation after death due to cardiocirculatory arrest. In the Maastricht classification, type III non-heart-beating donors are those who experience cardiocirculatory arrest after the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments. French authorities in charge of regulating organ donation (Agence de la Biomédecine, ABM) are considering organ collection from Maastricht type III donors. We describe a scenario for Maastricht type III organ donation that fully complies with the ethical norms governing care to dying patients. That organ donation may occur after death should have no impact on the care given to the patient and family. The dead-donor rule must be followed scrupulously: the organ retrieval procedure must neither cause nor hasten death. The decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatments, withdrawal modalities, and care provided to the patient and family must adhere strictly to the requirements set forth in patient-rights legislation (the 2005 Léonetti law in France) and should not be influenced in any way by the possibility of organ donation. A major ethical issue regarding the family is how best to transition from discussing treatment-withdrawal decisions to discussing possible organ retrieval for donation should the patient die rapidly after treatment withdrawal. Close cooperation between the healthcare team and the organ retrieval team is crucial to minimize the distress of family members during this transition. Modalities for implementing Maastricht type III organ donation are discussed here, including the best location for withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (operating room or intensive care unit).
PMCID: PMC3475084  PMID: 22747673
Organ donation; Treatment withdrawal; Cardiocirculatory arrest
27.  How caregivers view patient comfort and what they do to improve it: a French survey 
Intensive care unit (ICU) patients are exposed to many sources of discomfort. Most of these are related to the patient’s condition, but ICU design or how care is organized also can contribute. The present survey was designed to describe the opinions of ICU caregivers on sources of patient discomfort and to determine how they were dealt with in practice. The architectural and organizational characteristics of ICUs also were analyzed in relation to patient comfort.
An online, closed-ended questionnaire was developed. ICU caregivers registered at the French society of intensive care were invited to complete this questionnaire.
A total of 915 staff members (55% nurses) from 264 adult and 28 pediatric ICUs completed the questionnaire. Analysis of the answers reveals that: 68% of ICUs had only single-occupancy rooms, and 66% had natural light in each room; ICU patients had access to television in 59% of ICUs; a clock was present in each room in 68% of ICUs. Visiting times were <4 h in 49% of adult ICUs, whereas 64% of respondents considered a 24-h policy to be very useful or essential to patients’ well-being. A nurse-driven analgesia protocol was available in 42% of units. For caregivers, the main sources of patient discomfort were anxiety, feelings of restraint, noise, and sleep disturbances. Paramedics generally considered discomfort related to thirst, lack of privacy, and the lack of space and time references, whereas almost 50% of doctors ignored these sources of discomfort. Half of caregivers indicated they assessed sleep quality. A minority of caregivers declared regular use of noise-reduction strategies. Twenty percent of respondents admitted to having non-work-related conversations during patient care, and only 40% indicated that care often was or always was provided without closing doors. Family participation in care was planned in very few adult ICUs.
Results of this survey showed that ICUs are poorly equipped to ensure patient privacy and rest. Access by loved ones and their participation in care also is limited. The data also highlighted that some sources of discomfort are less often taken into account by caregivers, despite being considered to contribute significantly.
PMCID: PMC3700816  PMID: 23815804
Intensive care unit; Comfort; Survey; Organization; Opinions
28.  Management by the intensivist of gastrointestinal bleeding in adults and children 
Intensivists are regularly confronted with the question of gastrointestinal bleeding. To date, the latest international recommendations regarding prevention and treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding lack a specific approach to the critically ill patients. We present recommendations for management by the intensivist of gastrointestinal bleeding in adults and children, developed with the GRADE system by an experts group of the French-Language Society of Intensive Care (Société de Réanimation de Langue Française (SRLF), with the participation of the French Language Group of Paediatric Intensive Care and Emergencies (GFRUP), the French Society of Emergency Medicine (SFMU), the French Society of Gastroenterology (SNFGE), and the French Society of Digestive Endoscopy (SFED). The recommendations cover five fields of application: management of gastrointestinal bleeding before endoscopic diagnosis, treatment of upper gastrointestinal bleeding unrelated to portal hypertension, treatment of upper gastrointestinal bleeding related to portal hypertension, management of presumed lower gastrointestinal bleeding, and prevention of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in intensive care.
PMCID: PMC3526517  PMID: 23140348
Gastrointestinal bleeding; Intensive care; Ulcer; Gastric/esophageal varices; Recommendations
29.  Symptoms of depression in ICU physicians 
Work and family are the two domains from which most adults develop satisfaction in life. They also are responsible for stressful experiences. There is a perception in the community that work is increasingly the source of much of our stress and distress. Depressive symptoms may be related to repeated stressful experiences. Intensive care unit (ICU) physicians are exposed to major stressors. However, the existence of depressive symptoms in these doctors has been poorly studied. This study was designed to evaluate the prevalence and associated risk factors of depressive symptoms in junior and senior ICU physicians.
A one-day national survey was conducted in adult intensive care units (ICU) in French public hospitals. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the Centers of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).
A total of 189 ICUs participated, and 901 surveys were returned (75.8% response rate). Symptoms of depression were found in 23.8% of the respondents using the CES-D scale. Fifty-eight percent of these intensivists presenting symptoms of depression wished to leave their job compared with only 33% of those who did not exhibit signs of depression as assessed by the CES-D scale (p < 0.0001). Multiple logistic regression showed that organizational factors were associated with the presence of depressive symptoms. Workload (long interval since the last nonworking weekend, absence of relief of service until the next working day after a night shift) and impaired relationships with other intensivists were independently associated with the presence of depressive symptoms. A high level of burnout also was related to the presence of depressive symptoms. In contrast, no demographic factors regarding ICU physicians and no factor related to the severity of illness of patients were retained by the model. The quality of relationships with other physicians (from other departments) was associated with the absence of depressive symptoms (protective effect).
Approximately one of four intensivists presented symptoms of depression. The next step could be to test whether organization modification is associated with less depressive symptoms and less desire to leave the job.
PMCID: PMC3543176  PMID: 22839744
Intensive care unit; Organizational management; Conflict; Burnout; Depression; Physicians
30.  Intra-abdominal pressure measurement using the FoleyManometer does not increase the risk for urinary tract infection in critically ill patients 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S10.
The aim of this study was to determine whether intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) monitoring using the FoleyManometer (Holtech Medical, Charlottenlund, Denmark) increases the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI).
A retrospective database review was conducted.
The study was conducted in the 12-bed medical intensive care unit of ZNA Stuivenberg Hospital (Antwerp, Belgium), a tertiary hospital.
There were 5,890 patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit of which 1,097 patients underwent intrabladder pressure (IBP) monitoring as estimate for IAP.
Crude and adjusted UTI rates were compared among patients undergoing IAP measurements with three different intrabladder methods: a modified homemade technique, a FoleyManometer with 35 ml reservoir, and a FoleyManometer low volume (FoleyManometerLV) with less than 10 ml priming volume.
Measurements and results
Four consecutive time periods of 24 months were defined and compared with regard to IAP measurement: period 1 (2000-2001), during which IAP monitoring was not used routinely (which serves as a control group), was compared with period 2 (2002-2003), using a modified homemade technique; period 3 (2004-2005), introducing the FoleyManometer; and finally period 4 (2006-2007), in which the FoleyManometerLV was introduced. The incidence of IBP measurements increased from 1.4% in period 1 to 45.4% in period 4 (p < 0.001). At the same time, the Simplified Acute Physiology Score (version 2) (SAPS-II) increased significantly from 24.4 ± 21.5 to 34.9 ± 18.7 (p < 0.001) together with the percentage of ventilated patients from 18.6% to 40.7% (p < 0.001). In total, 1,097 patients had IAP measurements via the bladder. The UTI rates were adjusted for disease severity by multiplying each crude rate with the ratio of control versus study patient SAPS-II probability of mortality. Crude and adjusted UTI rates per 1,000 catheter days (CD) were on average 16.1 and 12.8/1,000 CD, respectively, and were not significantly different between the four time periods.
Intrabladder pressure monitoring as estimate for IAP either via a closed transducer technique or the closed FoleyManometer technique seems safe and does not alter the risk of UTI in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3390297  PMID: 22873411
intra-abdominal pressure; abdominal compartment syndrome; abdominal hypertension; FoleyManometerLV; intensive care; intravesical pressure; intrabladder pressure; urinary tract infection
31.  Crew resource management in the ICU: the need for culture change 
Intensive care frequently results in unintentional harm to patients and statistics don’t seem to improve. The ICU environment is especially unforgiving for mistakes due to the multidisciplinary, time-critical nature of care and vulnerability of the patients. Human factors account for the majority of adverse events and a sound safety climate is therefore essential. This article reviews the existing literature on aviation-derived training called Crew Resource Management (CRM) and discusses its application in critical care medicine. CRM focuses on teamwork, threat and error management and blame free discussion of human mistakes. Though evidence is still scarce, the authors consider CRM to be a promising tool for culture change in the ICU setting, if supported by leadership and well-designed follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3488012  PMID: 22913855
Intensive care; Human factors; Safety climate; Crew resource management
32.  Human metapneumovirus infections on the ICU: a report of three cases 
Although human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is primarily known as a causative agent of respiratory tract infections in children, the virus also can cause respiratory infections in adults. hMPV infections tend to be mild and are self-limiting, but the infections can be severe in the elderly and immunocompromised patients. Because hMPV infection is quite common, it should be considered in every patient with respiratory failure in the intensive care unit (ICU). We describe three adult patients, including a young pregnant woman, with hMPV infection who required admission to our ICU. Two of them developed respiratory failure with indication for mechanical ventilation.
PMCID: PMC3519638  PMID: 22812412
Human metapneumovirus; hMPV; Respiratory tract infections; Intensive care; Respiratory insufficiency
33.  Adjunctive remifentanil infusion in deeply sedated and paralyzed ICU patients during fiberoptic bronchoscopy procedure: a prospective, randomized, controlled study 
Even with an adequate pain assessment, critically ill patients under sedation experience pain during procedures in the intensive care unit (ICU). We evaluated the effects of adjunctive administration of Remifentanil, a short-acting drug, in deeply sedated patient on variation of Bispectral Index (BIS) during a fiberoptic bronchoscopy.
A prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 18-bed ICU. Patients needing a tracheal fibroscopy under deep sedation (midazolam (0.1 mg/kg per hour) fentanyl (4 μg/kg per hour)) and neuromuscular blocking (atracurium 0.5 mg/kg) were included in the study. A continuous monitoring of BIS, arterial pressure, and heart rate were realized before, during, and after the fiberoptic exam. An adjunctive continuous placebo or Remifentanil infusion was started just before the fiberoptic exam with a target effect-site concentration of 4 ng/ml using a Base Primea pump.
Mean arterial pressure and heart rates were comparable between the placebo and Remifentanil groups at all times of the procedure. We did not observe differences in the variation of BIS values between the two groups during procedure. We described no change in BIS values relative to the placebo group in this population.
In deeply sedated and paralyzed patients, receiving analgesic support based on a scale score an additional administration of short-acting analgesic drug, such as Remifentanil, seems not to be necessary for acute pain control.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3487977  PMID: 22800647
Pain; Intensive care; Bispectral index; Remifentanil
34.  Incidence and prognosis of intra-abdominal hypertension in critically ill medical patients: a prospective epidemiological study 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S3.
The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) in patients with two or more categorized risk factors (CRF) for IAH, and their morbidity and mortality during their intensive care unit (ICU) stay.
Prospective cohort study carried out at a medical ICU. A total of 151 medical patients were enrolled during a period of 3 months. After ICU whole staff training, we conducted daily screening of the four CRF for IAH based on the World Society of Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (WSACS) guidelines (namely, diminished abdominal wall compliance, increased intraluminal content, increased abdominal content, and capillary leak syndrome or fluid resuscitation). In those patients with risk factors of at least two different categories (≥2 CRF), intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) was measured every 8 h during ICU stay. Data included demographics, main diagnosis on admission, severity scores, cumulative fluid balance, daily mean IAP, resolution of IAH, days of ICU and hospital stay, and mortality.
Eighty-seven patients (57.6%) had ≥2 CRF for IAH, 59 (67.8%) out of whom developed IAH. Patients with ≥2 CRF had a significantly higher mortality rate (41.4 vs. 14.3%, p < 0.001). Patients with IAH had higher body mass index, severity scores, organ dysfunctions/failures, number of CRF for IAH, days of ICU/hospital stay and hospital mortality rate (45.8 vs. 32.1%, p = 0.22). Non-resolution of IAH was associated with a higher mortality rate (64.7 vs. 35.3%, p = 0.001). None of the cohort patients developed abdominal compartment syndrome. The multivariate analysis showed that IAH development (odds ratio (OR) 4.09; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83-20.12) was a non-independent risk factor for mortality, and its non-resolution (OR 13.15; 95% CI 22.13-81.92) was an independent risk factor for mortality.
Critically ill medical patients admitted to ICU with ≥2 CRF have high morbidity, mortality rate, and incidence of IAH, so IAP should be measured and monitored as recommended by the WSACS. Our study highlights the importance of implementing screening and assessment protocols for an early diagnosis of IAH.
PMCID: PMC3390290  PMID: 22873419
intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; intra-abdominal pressure; multiple organ failure; critically ill patients; intensive care.
35.  Demographics and outcomes of critically ill patients transferred from other hospitals to a tertiary care academic referral center in Saudi Arabia 
The objective of this study was to examine the outcomes of critically ill patients who were transferred from other hospitals to a tertiary care center in Saudi Arabia as a quality improvement project.
This was a retrospective study of adult patients admitted to the medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care hospital. Patients were divided according to the source of referral into three groups: transfers from other hospitals, and direct admissions from emergency department (ED) and from hospital wards. Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was calculated. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the independent predictors of mortality.
Of the 7,654 patients admitted to the ICU, 611 patients (8%) were transferred from other hospitals, 2,703 (35.3%) were direct admissions from ED and 4,340 (56.7%) from hospital wards. Hospital mortality for patients transferred from other hospitals was not significantly different from those who were directly admitted from ED (35% vs. 33.1%, p = 0.37) but was lower than those who were directly admitted from hospital wards (35% vs. 51.2%, p < 0.0001). SMRs did not differ significantly across the three groups.
Critically ill patients who were transferred from other hospitals constituted 8% of all ICU admissions. Mortality of these patients was similar to patients with direct admission from the ED and lower than that of patients with direct admission from hospital wards. However, risk-adjusted mortality was not different from the other two groups.
PMCID: PMC3751539  PMID: 23937989
Emergency department; Hospital mortality; Hospital wards; Intensive care unit; Mortality; Ambulance; Trauma
36.  Management of children with sepsis and septic shock: a survey among pediatric intensivists of the Réseau Mère-Enfant de la Francophonie 
Pediatric sepsis represents an important cause of mortality in pediatric intensive care units (PICU). Although adherence to published guidelines for the management of severe sepsis patients is known to lower mortality, actual adherence to these recommendations is low. The aim of this study was to describe the initial management of pediatric patients with severe sepsis, as well as to describe the main barriers to the adherence to current guidelines on management of these patients.
A survey using a case scenario to assess the management of a child with severe sepsis was designed and sent out to all PICU medical directors of the 20 institutions member of the “Réseau Mère- Enfant de la Francophonie”. Participants were asked to describe in detail the usual management of these patients in their institution with regard to investigations, fluid and catecholamine management, intubation, and specific treatments. Participants were also asked to identify the main barriers to the application of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines in their center.
Twelve PICU medical directors answered the survey. Only two elements of the severe sepsis bundles had a low stated compliance rate: “maintain adequate central venous pressure” and “glycemic control” had a stated compliance of 8% and 25% respectively. All other elements of the bundles had a reported compliance of over 90%. Furthermore, the most important barriers to the adherence to Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines were the unavailability of continuous central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) monitoring and the absence of a locally written protocol.
In this survey, pediatric intensivists reported high adherence to the current recommendations in the management of pediatric severe sepsis regarding antibiotic administration, rapid fluid resuscitation, and administration of catecholamines and steroids, if needed. Technical difficulties in obtaining continuous ScvO2 monitoring and absence of a locally written protocol were the main barriers to the uniform application of current guidelines. We believe that the development of locally written protocols and of specialized teams could add to the achievement of the goal that every child in sepsis should be treated according to the latest evidence to heighten his chances of survival.
PMCID: PMC3608075  PMID: 23497713
Sepsis; Septic shock; Child; Pediatric intensive care unit
37.  Cumulative lactate and hospital mortality in ICU patients 
Both hyperlactatemia and persistence of hyperlactatemia have been associated with bad outcome. We compared lactate and lactate-derived variables in outcome prediction.
Retrospective observational study. Case records from 2,251 consecutive intensive care unit (ICU) patients admitted between 2001 and 2007 were analyzed. Baseline characteristics, all lactate measurements, and in-hospital mortality were recorded. The time integral of arterial blood lactate levels above the upper normal threshold of 2.2 mmol/L (lactate-time-integral), maximum lactate (max-lactate), and time-to-first-normalization were calculated. Survivors and nonsurvivors were compared and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis were applied.
A total of 20,755 lactate measurements were analyzed. Data are srpehown as median [interquartile range]. In nonsurvivors (n = 405) lactate-time-integral (192 [0–1881] min·mmol/L) and time-to-first normalization (44.0 [0–427] min) were higher than in hospital survivors (n = 1846; 0 [0–134] min·mmol/L and 0 [0–75] min, respectively; all p < 0.001). Normalization of lactate <6 hours after ICU admission revealed better survival compared with normalization of lactate >6 hours (mortality 16.6% vs. 24.4%; p < 0.001). AUC of ROC curves to predict in-hospital mortality was the largest for max-lactate, whereas it was not different among all other lactate derived variables (all p > 0.05). The area under the ROC curves for admission lactate and lactate-time-integral was not different (p = 0.36).
Hyperlactatemia is associated with in-hospital mortality in a heterogeneous ICU population. In our patients, lactate peak values predicted in-hospital mortality equally well as lactate-time-integral of arterial blood lactate levels above the upper normal threshold.
PMCID: PMC3599274  PMID: 23446002
Lactate; Critically ill; Intensive care units; In-hospital mortality
38.  Chronic alcohol exposure, infection, extended circulating white blood cells differentiated by flow cytometry and neutrophil CD64 expression: a prospective, descriptive study of critically ill medical patients 
A history of prolonged and excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk for infections. The goal of this study was to investigate circulating white blood cells (WBC) differentiated by flow cytometry and neutrophil CD64 expression in excessive alcohol drinkers versus abstinent or moderate drinkers, and in those with or without infection, in medical patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
All patients admitted between September 2009 and March 2010 with an ICU-stay of 3 days or more were eligible for inclusion. Upon admission, hematological exams were conducted by flow cytometry.
Overall, 281 adult were included, with 37% identified as at-risk drinkers. The only significant difference found in circulating WBC between at-risk and not-at-risk drinkers was a lower number of B lymphocytes in at-risk drinkers (P = 0.002). Four groups of patients were defined: not-at-risk drinkers with no infection (n = 66); not-at-risk drinkers with infection (n = 112); at-risk drinkers with no infection (n = 53); and at-risk drinkers with infection (n = 50). Whilst the presence of infection significantly reduced levels of noncytotoxic and cytotoxic T lymphocytes and significantly increased levels of CD16– monocytes in not-at-risk drinkers, with variation related to infection severity, infection had no effect on any of the variables assessed in at-risk drinkers. Post-hoc comparisons showed that B-lymphocyte, noncytotoxic, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte and CD16– counts in at-risk drinkers were similar to those in not-at-risk drinkers with infection and significantly lower than those in not-at-risk drinkers without infection. Neutrophil CD64 index varied significantly between groups, with variations related to infection, not previous alcohol consumption.
These results show that chronic alcohol exposure has an impact on the immune response to infection in critically ill medical patients. The absence of significant variations in circulating WBC seen in at-risk drinkers according to the severity of infection is suggestive of altered immune response.
PMCID: PMC3539872  PMID: 23272900
Alcohol; At-risk drinking; Intensive care unit; Infection; Flow cytometry; CD64 cells
39.  How to deal with dialysis catheters in the ICU setting 
Acute kidney insufficiency (AKI) occurs frequently in intensive care units (ICU). In the management of vascular access for renal replacement therapy (RRT), several factors need to be taken into consideration to achieve an optimal RRT dose and to limit complications. In the medium and long term, some individuals may become chronic dialysis patients and so preserving the vascular network is of major importance. Few studies have focused on the use of dialysis catheters (DC) in ICUs, and clinical practice is driven by the knowledge and management of long-term dialysis catheter in chronic dialysis patients and of central venous catheter in ICU patients. This review describes the appropriate use and management of DCs required to obtain an accurate RRT dose and to reduce mechanical and infectious complications in the ICU setting. To deliver the best RRT dose, the length and diameter of the catheter need to be sufficient. In patients on intermittent hemodialysis, the right internal jugular insertion is associated with a higher delivered dialysis dose if the prescribed extracorporeal blood flow is higher than 200 ml/min. To prevent DC colonization, the physician has to be vigilant for the jugular position when BMI < 24 and the femoral position when BMI > 28. Subclavian sites should be excluded. Ultrasound guidance should be used especially in jugular sites. Antibiotic-impregnated dialysis catheters and antibiotic locks are not recommended in routine practice. The efficacy of ethanol and citrate locks has yet to be demonstrated. Hygiene procedures must be respected during DC insertion and manipulation.
PMCID: PMC3526537  PMID: 23174157
Dialysis catheter; Intensive care unit; Catheter dysfunction; Catheter infection
40.  Recognition and management of abdominal compartment syndrome among German pediatric intensivists: results of a national survey 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S8.
Several decades ago, the beneficial effects of goal-directed therapy, which include decompressive laparotomy (DL) and open abdomen procedures in cases of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) in children, were proven in the context of closures of abdominal wall defects and large-for-size organ transplantations. Different neonatologic and pediatric disease patterns are also known to be capable of increasing intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). Nevertheless, a considerable knowledge transfer regarding such risk factors has hardly taken place. When left undetected and untreated, IAH threatens to evolve into abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS), which is accompanied by a mortality rate of up to 60% in children. Therefore, the present study looks at the recognition and knowledge of IAH/ACS among German pediatric intensivists.
In June 2010, a questionnaire was mailed to the heads of pediatric intensive care units of 205 German pediatric hospitals.
The response rate was 62%. At least one case of IAH was reported by 36% of respondents; at least one case of ACS, by 25%. Compared with adolescents, younger critically ill children appeared to develop IAH/ACS more often. Routine measurements of IAP were said to be performed by 20% of respondents. Bladder pressure was used most frequently (96%) to assess IAP. Some respondents (17%) only measured IAP in cases of organ dysfunction and failure. In 2009, the year preceding this study, 21% of respondents claimed to have performed a DL. Surgical decompression was indicated if signs of organ dysfunction were present. This was also done in cases of at least grade III IAH (IAP > 15 mmHg) without organ impairment.
Although awareness among pediatricians appears to have been increasing over the last decade, definitions and guidelines regarding the diagnosis and management of IAH/ACS are not applied uniformly. This variability could express an ever present lack of awareness and solid prospective data.
PMCID: PMC3390295  PMID: 22873424
intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; children; intensive care unit; questionnaire; decompressive laparotomy.
41.  Dexmedetomidine as adjunct treatment for severe alcohol withdrawal in the ICU 
Patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal in the intensive care unit (ICU) often require escalating doses of benzodiazepines and not uncommonly require intubation and mechanical ventilation for airway protection. This may lead to complications and prolonged ICU stays. Experimental studies and single case reports suggest the α2-agonist dexmedetomidine is effective in managing the autonomic symptoms seen with alcohol withdrawal. We report a retrospective analysis of 20 ICU patients treated with dexmedetomidine for benzodiazepine-refractory alcohol withdrawal.
Records from a 23-bed mixed medical-surgical ICU were abstracted from November 2008 to November 2010 for patients who received dexmedetomidine for alcohol withdrawal. The main analysis compared alcohol withdrawal severity scores and medication doses for 24 h before dexmedetomidine therapy with values during the first 24 h of dexmedetomidine therapy.
There was a 61.5% reduction in benzodiazepine dosing after initiation of dexmedetomidine (n = 17; p < 0.001) and a 21.1% reduction in alcohol withdrawal severity score (n = 11; p = .015). Patients experienced less tachycardia and systolic hypertension following dexmedetomidine initiation. One patient out of 20 required intubation. A serious adverse effect occurred in one patient, in whom dexmedetomidine was discontinued for two 9-second asystolic pauses noted on telemetry.
This observational study suggests that dexmedetomidine therapy for severe alcohol withdrawal is associated with substantially reduced benzodiazepine dosing, a decrease in alcohol withdrawal scoring and blunted hyperadrenergic cardiovascular response to ethanol abstinence. In this series, there was a low rate of mechanical ventilation associated with the above strategy. One of 20 patients suffered two 9-second asystolic pauses, which did not recur after dexmedetomidine discontinuation. Prospective trials are warranted to compare adjunct treatment with dexmedetomidine versus standard benzodiazepine therapy.
PMCID: PMC3464179  PMID: 22620986
Alcohol withdrawal delirium; Alcohol withdrawal syndrome; Dexmedetomidine; Intensive care; Critical care; Benzodiazepines
42.  Lung ultrasound in the critically ill 
Lung ultrasound is a basic application of critical ultrasound, defined as a loop associating urgent diagnoses with immediate therapeutic decisions. It requires the mastery of ten signs: the bat sign (pleural line), lung sliding (yielding seashore sign), the A-line (horizontal artifact), the quad sign, and sinusoid sign indicating pleural effusion, the fractal, and tissue-like sign indicating lung consolidation, the B-line, and lung rockets indicating interstitial syndrome, abolished lung sliding with the stratosphere sign suggesting pneumothorax, and the lung point indicating pneumothorax. Two more signs, the lung pulse and the dynamic air bronchogram, are used to distinguish atelectasis from pneumonia. All of these disorders were assessed using CT as the “gold standard” with sensitivity and specificity ranging from 90% to 100%, allowing ultrasound to be considered as a reasonable bedside “gold standard” in the critically ill. The BLUE-protocol is a fast protocol (<3 minutes), which allows diagnosis of acute respiratory failure. It includes a venous analysis done in appropriate cases. Pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and pneumothorax yield specific profiles. Pulmonary edema, e.g., yields anterior lung rockets associated with lung sliding, making the “B-profile.” The FALLS-protocol adapts the BLUE-protocol to acute circulatory failure. It makes sequential search for obstructive, cardiogenic, hypovolemic, and distributive shock using simple real-time echocardiography (right ventricle dilatation, pericardial effusion), then lung ultrasound for assessing a direct parameter of clinical volemia: the apparition of B-lines, schematically, is considered as the endpoint for fluid therapy. Other aims of lung ultrasound are decreasing medical irradiation: the LUCIFLR program (most CTs in ARDS or trauma can be postponed), a use in traumatology, intensive care unit, neonates (the signs are the same than in adults), many disciplines (pulmonology, cardiology…), austere countries, and a help in any procedure (thoracentesis). A 1992, cost-effective gray-scale unit, without Doppler, and a microconvex probe are efficient. Lung ultrasound is a holistic discipline for many reasons (e.g., one probe, perfect for the lung, is able to scan the whole-body). Its integration can provide a new definition of priorities. The BLUE-protocol and FALLS-protocol allow simplification of expert echocardiography, a clear advantage when correct cardiac windows are missing.
PMCID: PMC3895677  PMID: 24401163
Lung ultrasound; Acute respiratory failure; Acute circulatory failure; Pulmonary oedema; Pulmonary embolism; Pneumonia; Pneumothorax; Interstitial syndrome; Fluid therapy; Haemodynamic assessment; Intensive care unit
43.  Alteration of skin perfusion in mottling area during septic shock 
Mottling score has been reported to be a strong predictive factor during septic shock. However, the pathophysiology of mottling remains unclear.
In patients admitted in ICU for septic shock, we measured on the same area the mean skin perfusion by laser Doppler, the mottling score, and variations of both indices between T1 (6 hours after vasopressors were started) and T2 (24 hours later).
Fourteen patients were included, SAPS II was 56 [37–71] and SOFA score at T1 was 10 [7–12]. The mean skin surface area analyzed was 4108 ± 740 mm2; 1184 ± 141 measurements were performed over each defined skin surface area. Skin perfusion was significantly different according to mottling score and decreased from 37 [31–42] perfusion units (PUs) for a mottling score of [0–1] to 22 [20–32] PUs for a mottling score of [2–3] and 23 [16–28] for a score of [4–5] (Kruskal-Wallis test, P = 0.05). We analyzed skin perfusion changes during resuscitation in each patient and together with mottling score variations between T1 and T2 using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Among the 14 patients included, mottling score increased (worsened) in 5 patients, decreased (improved) in 5 patients, and remained stable in 4 patients. Baseline skin perfusion at T1 was arbitrarily scored 100%. Mean skin perfusion significantly decreased in all the patients whose mottling score worsened from 100% baseline to 63.2 ± 10.7% (P = 0.001), mean skin perfusion significantly increased in all patients whose mottling score improved from 100% baseline to 172.6 ± 46.8% (P = 0.001), and remained stable in patients whose mottling score did not change (100.5 ± 6.8%, P = 0.95).
We have shown that mottling score variations and skin perfusion changes during septic shock resuscitation were correlated, providing additional evidence that mottling reflects skin hypoperfusion.
PMCID: PMC3848827  PMID: 24040941
Septic shock; Microcirculation; Mottling; Intensive care medicine
44.  Recognition and management of abdominal compartment syndrome among German anesthetists and surgeons: a national survey 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S7.
Abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is a life threatening condition that may affect any critically ill patient. Little is known about the recognition and management of ACS in Germany.
A questionnaire was mailed to departments of surgery and anesthesia from German hospitals with more than 450 beds.
Replies (113) were received from 222 eligible hospitals (51%). Most respondents (95%) indicated that ACS plays a role in their clinical practice. Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is not measured at all by 26%, while it is routinely done by 30%. IAP is mostly (94%) assessed via the intra-vesical route. Of the respondents, 41% only measure IAP in patients expected to develop ACS; 64% states that a simpler, more standardized application of IAP measurement would lead to increased use in daily clinical practice.
German anesthesiologists and surgeons are familiar with ACS. However, approximately one fourth never measures IAP, and there is considerable uncertainty regarding which patients are at risk as well as how often IAP should be measured in them.
PMCID: PMC3390300  PMID: 22873423
abdominal compartment syndrome; intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; intensive care unit; survey; questionnaire; bladder pressure; intra-vesical pressure measurement.
45.  Continuous insulin administration via complex central venous catheter infusion tubing is another risk factor for blood glucose imbalance. A retrospective study 
We assessed the potential impact of infusion tubing on blood glucose imbalance in ICU patients given intensive insulin therapy (IIT). We compared the incidence of blood glucose imbalance in patients equipped, in a nonrandomized fashion, with either conventional tubing or with a multiport infusion device.
We retrospectively analyzed the nursing files of 35 patients given IIT through the distal line of a double-lumen central venous catheter. A total of 1389 hours of IIT were analyzed for occurrence of hypoglycemic events [defined as arterial blood glucose below 90 mg/dL requiring discontinuation of insulin].
Twenty-one hypoglycemic events were noted (density of incidence 15 for 1000 hours of ITT). In 17 of these 21 events (81%), medication had been administered during the previous hour through the line connected to the distal lumen of the catheter. Conventional tubing use was associated with a higher density of incidence of hypoglycemic events than multiport infusion device use (23 vs. 2 for 1,000 hours of IIT; rate ratio = 11.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.71–48.8; p < 0.001).
The administration of on-demand medication through tubing carrying other medications can lead to the delivery of significant amounts of unscheduled products. Hypoglycaemia observed during IIT could be related to this phenomenon. The use of a multiport infusion device with a limited dead volume could limit hypoglycemia in patients on IIT.
PMCID: PMC3409028  PMID: 22697362
Hypoglycemia; Intensive care unit; Infusion tubing; Central venous catheter; Intensive insulin therapy
46.  Management of thrombocytopenia in the ICU (pregnancy excluded) 
Thrombocytopenia is a very frequent disorder in the intensive care unit. Many etiologies should be searched, and therapeutic approaches differ according to these different causes. However, no guideline exists regarding optimum practices for these situations in critically ill patients. We present recommendations for the management of thrombocytopenia in intensive care unit, excluding pregnancy, developed by an expert group of the French-Language Society of Intensive Care (Société de Réanimation de Langue Française (SRLF), the French Language Group of Paediatric Intensive Care and Emergencies (GFRUP) and of the Haemostasis and Thrombosis Study Group (GEHT) of the French Society of Haematology (SFH). The recommendations cover six fields of application: definition, epidemiology, and prognosis; diagnostic approach; therapeutic aspects; thrombocytopenia and sepsis; iatrogenic thrombocytopenia, with a special focus on heparin-induced thrombocytopenia; and thrombotic microangiopathy.
PMCID: PMC3488545  PMID: 22929300
Thrombocytopenia; Critical care; Adults; Expert recommendations
47.  Statins in the critically ill 
The use or misuse of statins in critically ill patients recently attracted the attention of intensive care clinicians. Indeed, statins are probably the most common chronic treatment before critical illness and some recent experimental and clinical data demonstrated their beneficial effects during sepsis, acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or after aneurismal subarachnoidal hemorrhage (aSAH). Due to the heterogeneity of current studies and the lack of well-designed prospective studies, definitive conclusions for systematic and large-scale utilization in intensive care units cannot be drawn from the published evidence. Furthermore, the extent of statins side effects in critically ill patients is still unknown. For the intensive care clinician, it is a matter of individually identifying the patient who can benefit from this therapy according to the current literature. The purpose of this review is to describe the mechanisms of actions of statins and to synthesize the clinical data that underline the relevant effects of statins in the particular setting of critical care, in an attempt to guide the clinician through his daily practice.
PMCID: PMC3488539  PMID: 22709377
Mevalonate; HMG-CoA reductase; Sepsis; Acute lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Subarachnoid hemorrhage
48.  Comparison of superior vena cava and femoroiliac vein pressure according to intra-abdominal pressure 
Previous studies have shown a good agreement between central venous pressure (CVP) measurements from catheters placed in superior vena cava and catheters placed in the abdominal cava/common iliac vein. However, the influence of intra-abdominal pressure on such measurements remains unknown.
We conducted a prospective, observational study in a tertiary teaching hospital. We enrolled patients who had indwelling catheters in both superior vena cava (double lumen catheter) and femoroiliac veins (dialysis catheter) and into the bladder. Pressures were measured from all the sites, CVP, femoroiliac venous pressure (FIVP), and intra-abdominal pressure.
A total of 30 patients were enrolled (age 62 ± 14 years; SAPS II 62 (52–76)). Fifty complete sets of measurements were performed. All of the studied patients were mechanically ventilated (PEP 3 cmH20 (2–5)). We observed that the concordance between CVP and FIVP decreased when intra-abdominal pressure increased. We identified 14 mmHg as the best intra-abdominal pressure cutoff, and we found that CVP and FIVP were significantly more in agreement below this threshold than above (94% versus 50%, P = 0.002).
We reported that intra-abdominal pressure affected agreement between CVP measurements from catheter placed in superior vena cava and catheters placed in the femoroiliac vein. Agreement was excellent when intra-abdominal pressure was below 14 mmHg.
PMCID: PMC3424143  PMID: 22742667
Intensive unit care; Central venous pressure; Superior vena cava; Femoroiliac vena; Intra-abdominal pressure
49.  Perioperative fluid and volume management: physiological basis, tools and strategies 
Fluid and volume therapy is an important cornerstone of treating critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and in the operating room. New findings concerning the vascular barrier, its physiological functions, and its role regarding vascular leakage have lead to a new view of fluid and volume administration. Avoiding hypervolemia, as well as hypovolemia, plays a pivotal role when treating patients both perioperatively and in the intensive care unit. The various studies comparing restrictive vs. liberal fluid and volume management are not directly comparable, do not differ (in most instances) between colloid and crystalloid administration, and mostly do not refer to the vascular barrier's physiologic basis. In addition, very few studies have analyzed the use of advanced hemodynamic monitoring for volume management.
This article summarizes the current literature on the relevant physiology of the endothelial surface layer, discusses fluid shifting, reviews available research on fluid management strategies and the commonly used fluids, and identifies suitable variables for hemodynamic monitoring and their goal-directed use.
PMCID: PMC3159903  PMID: 21906324
50.  Sleep quality in mechanically ventilated patients: comparison between NAVA and PSV modes 
Mechanical ventilation seems to occupy a major source in alteration in the quality and quantity of sleep among patients in intensive care. Quality of sleep is negatively affected with frequent patient-ventilator asynchronies and more specifically with modes of ventilation. The quality of sleep among ventilated patients seems to be related in part to the alteration between the capacities of the ventilator to meet patient demand. The objective of this study was to compare the impact of two modes of ventilation and patient-ventilator interaction on sleep architecture.
Prospective, comparative crossover study in 14 conscious, nonsedated, mechanically ventilated adults, during weaning in a university hospital medical intensive care unit. Patients were successively ventilated in a random ordered cross-over sequence with neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA) and pressure support ventilation (PSV). Sleep polysomnography was performed during four 4-hour periods, two with each mode in random order.
The tracings of the flow, airway pressure, and electrical activity of the diaphragm were used to diagnose central apneas and ineffective efforts. The main abnormalities were a low percentage of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, for a median (25th-75th percentiles) of 11.5% (range, 8-20%) of total sleep, and a highly fragmented sleep with 25 arousals and awakenings per hour of sleep. Proportions of REM sleep duration were different in the two ventilatory modes (4.5% (range, 3-11%) in PSV and 16.5% (range, 13-29%) during NAVA (p = 0.001)), as well as the fragmentation index, with 40 ± 20 arousals and awakenings per hour in PSV and 16 ± 9 during NAVA (p = 0.001). There were large differences in ineffective efforts (24 ± 23 per hour of sleep in PSV, and 0 during NAVA) and episodes of central apnea (10.5 ± 11 in PSV vs. 0 during NAVA). Minute ventilation was similar in both modes.
NAVA improves the quality of sleep over PSV in terms of REM sleep, fragmentation index, and ineffective efforts in a nonsedated adult population.
PMCID: PMC3224529  PMID: 21955588

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