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1.  SvO2 to monitor resuscitation of septic patients: let's just understand the basic physiology 
Critical Care  2011;15(6):1005.
Real-time monitoring of mixed venous oxygen blood saturation (SvO2) or of central venous oxygen blood saturation is often used during resuscitation of septic shock. However, the meaning of these parameters is far from straightforward. In the present commentary, we emphasize that SvO2 - a global marker of tissue oxygen balance - can never be simplistically used as a marker of preload responsiveness, which is an intrinsic marker of cardiac performance. In some septic shock patients, because of profound hypovolemia or myocardial dysfunction, SvO2 can be low but obviously cannot alone indicate whether a fluid challenge would increase cardiac output. In other patients, because of a profound impairment of oxygen extraction capacities, SvO2 can be abnormally high even in patients who are still able to respond positively to fluid infusion. In any case, other reliable dynamic parameters can help to address the important question of fluid responsiveness/unresponsiveness. However, whether fluid administration in fluid responders and high SvO2 would be efficacious to reduce tissue dysoxia in the most injured tissues is still uncertain.
doi:10.1186/cc10491
PMCID: PMC3388677  PMID: 22078239
2.  Early administration of norepinephrine increases cardiac preload and cardiac output in septic patients with life-threatening hypotension 
Critical Care  2010;14(4):R142.
Introduction
We sought to examine the cardiac consequences of early administration of norepinephrine in severely hypotensive sepsis patients hospitalized in a medical intensive care unit of a university hospital.
Methods
We included 105 septic-shock patients who already had received volume resuscitation. All received norepinephrine early because of life-threatening hypotension and the need to achieve a sufficient perfusion pressure rapidly and to maintain adequate flow. We analyzed the changes in transpulmonary thermodilution variables associated with the increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP) induced by norepinephrine when the achieved MAP was ≥65 mm Hg.
Results
Norepinephrine significantly increased MAP from 54 ± 8 to 76 ± 9 mm Hg, cardiac index (CI) from 3.2 ± 1.0 to 3.6 ± 1.1 L/min/m2, stroke volume index (SVI) from 34 ± 12 to 39 ± 13 ml/m2, global end-diastolic volume index (GEDVI) from 694 ± 148 to 742 ± 168 ml/m2, and cardiac function index (CFI) from 4.7 ± 1.5 to 5.0 ± 1.6 per min. Beneficial hemodynamic effects on CI, SVI, GEDVI, and CFI were observed in the group of 71 patients with a baseline echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) >45%, as well as in the group of 34 patients with a baseline LVEF ≤45%. No change in CI, SVI, GEDVI, or CFI was observed in the 17 patients with baseline LVEF ≤45% for whom values of MAP ≥75 mm Hg were achieved with norepinephrine.
Conclusions
Early administration of norepinephrine aimed at rapidly achieving a sufficient perfusion pressure in severely hypotensive septic-shock patients is able to increase cardiac output through an increase in cardiac preload and cardiac contractility. This effect remained in patients with poor cardiac contractility except when values of MAP ≥75 mm Hg were achieved.
doi:10.1186/cc9207
PMCID: PMC2945123  PMID: 20670424
4.  Critical care management and outcome of severe Pneumocystis pneumonia in patients with and without HIV infection 
Critical Care  2008;12(1):R28.
Background
Little is known about the most severe forms of Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP) in HIV-negative as compared with HIV-positive patients. Improved knowledge about the differential characteristics and management modalities could guide treatment based on HIV status.
Methods
We retrospectively compared 72 patients (73 cases, 46 HIV-positive) admitted for PCP from 1993 to 2006 in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital.
Results
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients increased from 1993 (0%) to 2006 (6.5%). At admission, all but one non-HIV patient were receiving corticosteroids. Twenty-three (85%) HIV-negative patients were receiving an additional immunosuppressive treatment. At admission, HIV-negative patients were significantly older than HIV-positive patients (64 [18 to 82] versus 37 [28 to 56] years old) and had a significantly higher Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS) II (38 [13 to 90] versus 27 [11 to 112]) but had a similar PaO2/FiO2 (arterial partial pressure of oxygen/fraction of inspired oxygen) ratio (160 [61 to 322] versus 183 [38 to 380] mm Hg). Ventilatory support was required in a similar proportion of HIV-negative and HIV-positive cases (78% versus 61%), with a similar proportion of first-line non-invasive ventilation (NIV) (67% versus 54%). NIV failed in 71% of HIV-negative and in 13% of HIV-positive patients (p < 0.01). Mortality was significantly higher in HIV-negative than HIV-positive cases (48% versus 17%). The HIV-negative status (odds ratio 3.73, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 12.60) and SAPS II (odds ratio 1.07, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.12) were independently associated with mortality at multivariate analysis.
Conclusion
The yearly incidence of ICU admissions for PCP in HIV-negative patients in our unit increased from 1993 to 2006. The course of the disease and the outcome were worse in HIV-negative patients. NIV often failed in HIV-negative cases, suggesting that NIV must be watched closely in this population.
doi:10.1186/cc6806
PMCID: PMC2374632  PMID: 18304356

Results 1-4 (4)