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1.  Smart Care™ versus respiratory physiotherapy–driven manual weaning for critically ill adult patients: a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2015;19(1):246.
A recent meta-analysis showed that weaning with SmartCare™ (Dräger, Lübeck, Germany) significantly decreased weaning time in critically ill patients. However, its utility compared with respiratory physiotherapist–protocolized weaning is still a matter of debate. We hypothesized that weaning with SmartCare™ would be as effective as respiratory physiotherapy–driven weaning in critically ill patients.
Adult critically ill patients mechanically ventilated for more than 24 hours in the adult intensive care unit of the Albert Einstein Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil, were randomly assigned to be weaned either by progressive discontinuation of pressure support ventilation (PSV) with SmartCare™. Demographic data, respiratory function parameters, level of PSV, tidal volume (VT), positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), inspired oxygen fraction (FiO2), peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2), end-tidal carbon dioxide concentration (EtCO2) and airway occlusion pressure at 0.1 second (P0.1) were recorded at the beginning of the weaning process and before extubation. Mechanical ventilation time, weaning duration and rate of extubation failure were compared.
Seventy patients were enrolled 35 in each group. There was no difference between the two groups concerning age, sex or diagnosis at study entry. There was no difference in maximal inspiratory pressure, maximal expiratory pressure, forced vital capacity or rapid shallow breathing index at the beginning of the weaning trial. PEEP, VT, FiO2, SpO2, respiratory rate, EtCO2 and P0.1 were similar between the two groups, but PSV was not (median: 8 vs. 10 cmH2O; p =0.007). When the patients were ready for extubation, PSV (8 vs. 5 cmH2O; p =0.015) and PEEP (8 vs. 5 cmH2O; p <0.001) were significantly higher in the respiratory physiotherapy–driven weaning group. Total duration of mechanical ventilation (3.5 [2.0–7.3] days vs. 4.1 [2.7-7.1] days; p =0.467) and extubation failure (2 vs. 2; p =1.00) were similar between the two groups. Weaning duration was shorter in the respiratory physiotherapy–driven weaning group (60 [50–80] minutes vs. 110 [80–130] minutes; p <0.001).
A respiratory physiotherapy–driven weaning protocol can decrease weaning time compared with an automatic system, as it takes into account individual weaning difficulties.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT02122016. Date of Registration: 27 August 2013.
PMCID: PMC4511442
2.  Emotional Disorders in Pairs of Patients and Their Family Members during and after ICU Stay 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0115332.
Patients and family members undergo different experiences of suffering from emotional disorders during ICU stay and after ICU discharge. The purpose of this study was to compare the incidence of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in pairs (patient and respective family member), during stay at an open visit ICU and at 30 and 90-days post-ICU discharge. We hypothesized that there was a positive correlation with the severity of symptoms among pairs and different patterns of suffering over time.
A prospective study was conducted in a 22-bed adult general ICU including patients with >48 hours stay. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was completed by the pairs (patients/respective family member). Interviews were made by phone at 30 and 90-days post-ICU discharge using the Impact of Event Scale (IES) and the HADS. Multivariate models were constructed to predict IES score at 30 days for patients and family members.
Four hundred and seventy one family members and 289 patients were interviewed in the ICU forming 184 pairs for analysis. Regarding HADS score, patients presented less symptoms than family members of patients who survived and who deceased at 30 and 90-days (p<0.001). However, family members of patients who deceased scored higher anxiety and depression symptoms (p = 0.048) at 90-days when compared with family members of patients who survived. Patients and family members at 30-days had a similar IES score, but it was higher in family members at 90-days (p = 0.019). For both family members and patients, age and symptoms of anxiety and depression during ICU were the major determinants for PTSD at 30-days.
Anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms were higher in family members than in the patients. Furthermore, these symptoms in family members persisted at 3 months, while they decreased in patients.
PMCID: PMC4304779  PMID: 25616059
3.  Sepsis-related deaths in Brazil: an analysis of the national mortality registry from 2002 to 2010 
Critical Care  2014;18(6):608.
Limited population-based epidemiologic information about sepsis’ demography, including its mortality and temporal changes is available from developing countries. We investigated the epidemiology of sepsis deaths in Brazil using secondary data from the Brazilian Mortality Information System.
Retrospective descriptive analysis of Brazilian multiple-cause-of-death data between 2002 and 2010, with sepsis-associated International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code indicated as the cause of death. Population-based sepsis associated mortality rates and trends were estimated. Annual population-based mortality rates were calculated using age-stratified population estimates from the 2010 census provided by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics as denominators.
The total number of annual deaths recorded in Brazil increased over the decade, from 982,294 deaths reported in 2002 to 1,133,761 deaths reported in 2010. The number of sepsis associated deaths also increased both in absolute numbers and proportions from 95,972 (9.77% of total deaths) in 2002 to 186,712 deaths (16.46%) in 2010. The age-adjusted rate of sepsis-associated mortality increased from 69.5 deaths per 100,000 to 97.8 deaths per 100,000 population from 2002 to 2010 (P <0.001). Sepsis-associated mortality was higher in individuals older than 60 years of age as compared to subjects aged 0 to 20 years (adjusted rate ratio 15.7 (95% confidence interval (CI) 15.6 to 15.8)) and in male subjects (1.15 (95% CI 1.15 to 1.16)).
Between 2002 and 2010 the contribution of sepsis to all cause mortality as reported in multiple-cause-of-death forms increased significantly in Brazil. Age-adjusted mortality rates by sepsis also increased in the last decade. Our results confirm the importance of sepsis as a significant healthcare issue in Brazil.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13054-014-0608-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4240892  PMID: 25370578
4.  Intensive care unit visitation policies in Brazil: a multicenter survey 
This study aimed to determine which visitation policy was the most predominant in Brazilian intensive care units and what amenities were provided to visitors.
Eight hundred invitations were sent to the e-mail addresses of intensivist physicians and nurses who were listed in the research groups of the Brazilian Association of Intensive Care Network and the Brazilian Research in Intensive Care Network. The e-mail contained a link to a 33-item questionnaire about the profile of their intensive care unit.
One hundred sixty-two questionnaires from intensive care units located in all regions of the country, but predominantly in the Southeast and South (58% and 16%), were included in the study. Only 2.6% of the intensive care units reported having liberal visitation policies, while 45.1% of the intensive care units allowed 2 visitation periods and 69.1% allowed 31-60 minutes of visitation per period. In special situations, such as end-of-life cases, 98.7% of them allowed flexible visitation. About half of them (50.8%) did not offer any bedside amenities for visitors. Only 46.9% of the intensive care units had a family meeting room, and 37% did not have a waiting room.
Restrictive visitation policies are predominant in Brazilian intensive care units, with most of them allowing just two periods of visitation per day. There is also a lack of amenities for visitors.
PMCID: PMC4304460  PMID: 25607261
Visitors to patients; Patient-centered-care/standards; Professional-family relations; Professional-patient relations; Intensive care units/standards; Questionnaires
5.  Adding value to mechanical ventilation 
Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia  2014;40(5):455-457.
PMCID: PMC4263327  PMID: 25410834
6.  Early sedation and clinical outcomes of mechanically ventilated patients: a prospective multicenter cohort study 
Critical Care  2014;18(4):R156.
Sedation overuse is frequent and possibly associated with poor outcomes in the intensive care unit (ICU) patients. However, the association of early oversedation with clinical outcomes has not been thoroughly evaluated. The aim of this study was to assess the association of early sedation strategies with outcomes of critically ill adult patients under mechanical ventilation (MV).
A secondary analysis of a multicenter prospective cohort conducted in 45 Brazilian ICUs, including adult patients requiring ventilatory support and sedation in the first 48 hours of ICU admissions, was performed. Sedation depth was evaluated after 48 hours of MV. Multivariate analysis was used to identify variables associated with hospital mortality.
A total of 322 patients were evaluated. Overall, ICU and hospital mortality rates were 30.4% and 38.8%, respectively. Deep sedation was observed in 113 patients (35.1%). Longer duration of ventilatory support was observed (7 (4 to 10) versus 5 (3 to 9) days, P = 0.041) and more tracheostomies were performed in the deep sedation group (38.9% versus 22%, P = 0.001) despite similar PaO2/FiO2 ratios and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) severity. In a multivariate analysis, age (Odds Ratio (OR) 1.02; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00 to 1.03), Charlson Comorbidity Index >2 (OR 2.06; 95% CI, 1.44 to 2.94), Simplified Acute Physiology Score 3 (SAPS 3) score (OR 1.02; CI 95%, 1.00 to 1.04), severe ARDS (OR 1.44; CI 95%, 1.09 to 1.91) and deep sedation (OR 2.36; CI 95%, 1.31 to 4.25) were independently associated with increased hospital mortality.
Early deep sedation is associated with adverse outcomes and constitutes an independent predictor of hospital mortality in mechanically ventilated patients.
PMCID: PMC4223597  PMID: 25047960
7.  In vitro and in vivo validation of stored swine erythrocyte viability to establish an experimental model of homologous red blood cell transfusion: a pilot study 
To develop experimental models of erythrocyte transfusion, the first step is to ensure the viability of the red blood cells transfused. In this pilot study, we assessed the viability of transfused red blood cells with validation in vitro and in vivo of homologous swine erythrocytes stored for 14 days.
Blood collected from one Agroceres® swine was stored in two red blood cell units. In vivo validation was performed by labeling the red blood cells with Na251CrO4 and recovering the viable erythrocytes after 24 hours of infusion in one autologous and four homologous animals. In vitro validation was performed at baseline and after 14 days in sixteen red blood cell units by measuring hemoglobin, hematocrit, hemolysis index and free hemoglobin. A post-mortem splenectomy was performed to evaluate the splenic sequestration of erythrocytes, and the radioactivity of the supernatant samples was counted to evaluate intravascular hemolysis.
After 14 days of storage, the red blood cell units had lower volumes and equivalent total concentrations of hemoglobin and hematocrit compared to human standards. The free hemoglobin concentration increased from 31.0±9.3 to 112.4±31.4mg/dL (p<0.001), and the hemolysis index increased from 0.1±0.1 to 0.5±0.1% (p<0.001). However, these tests were within the acceptable range for human standards. The percentage of radioactivity in supernatant samples was similar at baseline and after 24 hours, thus excluding significant hemolysis. No evidence of splenic sequestration of radioactive erythrocytes was found.
Swine red blood cells stored for 14 days are viable and can be used in experimental studies of transfusion. These validation experiments are important to aid investigators in establishing experimental models of transfusion.
PMCID: PMC4188465  PMID: 25295823
Transfusion medicine; Erythrocytes; In vitro; Swine; Validation studies
8.  Severe hypoxemia during veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation: exploring the limits of extracorporeal respiratory support 
Clinics  2014;69(3):173-178.
Veno-venous extracorporeal oxygenation for respiratory support has emerged as a rescue alternative for patients with hypoxemia. However, in some patients with more severe lung injury, extracorporeal support fails to restore arterial oxygenation. Based on four clinical vignettes, the aims of this article were to describe the pathophysiology of this concerning problem and to discuss possibilities for hypoxemia resolution.
Considering the main reasons and rationale for hypoxemia during veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, some possible bedside solutions must be considered: 1) optimization of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation blood flow; 2) identification of recirculation and cannula repositioning if necessary; 3) optimization of residual lung function and consideration of blood transfusion; 4) diagnosis of oxygenator dysfunction and consideration of its replacement; and finally 5) optimization of the ratio of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation blood flow to cardiac output, based on the reduction of cardiac output.
Therefore, based on the pathophysiology of hypoxemia during veno-venous extracorporeal oxygenation support, we propose a stepwise approach to help guide specific interventions.
PMCID: PMC3935134  PMID: 24626942
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation; Hypoxemia; Respiratory Failure; Respiratory Insufficiency
9.  Is the ICU staff satisfied with the computerized physician order entry? A cross-sectional survey study 
To evaluate the satisfaction of the intensive care unit staff with a computerized physician order entry and to compare the concept of the computerized physician order entry relevance among intensive care unit healthcare workers.
We performed a cross-sectional survey to assess the satisfaction of the intensive care unit staff with the computerized physician order entry in a 30-bed medical/surgical adult intensive care unit using a self-administered questionnaire. The questions used for grading satisfaction levels were answered according to a numerical scale that ranged from 1 point (low satisfaction) to 10 points (high satisfaction).
The majority of the respondents (n=250) were female (66%) between the ages of 30 and 35 years of age (69%). The overall satisfaction with the computerized physician order entry scored 5.74±2.14 points. The satisfaction was lower among physicians (n=42) than among nurses, nurse technicians, respiratory therapists, clinical pharmacists and diet specialists (4.62±1.79 versus 5.97±2.14, p<0.001); satisfaction decreased with age (p<0.001). Physicians scored lower concerning the potential of the computerized physician order entry for improving patient safety (5.45±2.20 versus 8.09±2.21, p<0.001) and the ease of using the computerized physician order entry (3.83±1.88 versus 6.44±2.31, p<0.001). The characteristics independently associated with satisfaction were the system's user-friendliness, accuracy, capacity to provide clear information, and fast response time.
Six months after its implementation, healthcare workers were satisfied, albeit not entirely, with the computerized physician order entry. The overall users' satisfaction with computerized physician order entry was lower among physicians compared to other healthcare professionals. The factors associated with satisfaction included the belief that digitalization decreased the workload and contributed to the intensive care unit quality with a user-friendly and accurate system and that digitalization provided concise information within a reasonable time frame.
PMCID: PMC4031891  PMID: 24770682
Medical order entry system; Physician practice patterns; Health care surveys; Attitude of health personnel; Job satisfaction
10.  The Impact of Endotracheal Suctioning on Gas Exchange and Hemodynamics During Lung-Protective Ventilation in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome 
Respiratory care  2006;51(5):497-502.
To evaluate the respiratory and hemodynamic effects of open suctioning (OS) versus closed suctioning (CS) during pressure-control (PC) and volume-control (VC) ventilation, using a lung-protective ventilation strategy in an animal model of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
Animal laboratory in a university hospital.
Randomized cross-over evaluation.
Eight female Dorset sheep.
Lung lavage was used to simulate ARDS. We applied VC and PC mechanical ventilation with a tidal volume of 6 mL/kg and positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), adjusted based on a table of PEEP versus fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2). Suctioning was performed for 10 s with a suction pressure of −100 mm Hg, during both OS and CS. OS and CS were randomly performed with each animal. Hemodynamics and arterial blood gases were recorded before, during, and after endotracheal suctioning.
The PaO2/FIO2 ratios before suctioning were similar in all groups, as were the PEEP and FIO2. PaO2/FIO2 was lower after OS than after CS/VC or CS/PC. There was no post-suctioning difference in oxygenation between CS/VC and CS/PC. PaCO2 recorded 10 min after suctioning was greater than the presuctioning value, in all groups. Intrapulmonary shunt fraction increased between baseline and 10 min post-suctioning with OS and CS/VC, but did not significantly increase with CS/PC. There were no significant changes in hemodynamics pre-suctioning versus post-suctioning with OS, CS/VC, or CS/PC.
PaO2/FIO2 was better maintained during CS with both VC and PC modes during lung-protective ventilation for ARDS, as compared with OS, and shunt fraction post-suctioning changed least with PC.
PMCID: PMC3818709  PMID: 16638159
airway suctioning; closed suctioning; open suctioning; lung-protective ventilation; intensive care; ventilator
12.  Rationale and study design of ViPS – variable pressure support for weaning from mechanical ventilation: study protocol for an international multicenter randomized controlled open trial 
Trials  2013;14:363.
In pressure support ventilation (PSV), a non-variable level of pressure support is delivered by the ventilator when triggered by the patient. In contrast, variable PSV delivers a level of pressure support that varies in a random fashion, introducing more physiological variability to the respiratory pattern. Experimental studies show that variable PSV improves gas exchange, reduces lung inflammation and the mean pressure support, compared to non-variable PSV. Thus, it can theoretically shorten weaning from the mechanical ventilator.
The ViPS (variable pressure support) trial is an international investigator-initiated multicenter randomized controlled open trial comparing variable vs. non-variable PSV. Adult patients on controlled mechanical ventilation for more than 24 hours who are ready to be weaned are eligible for the study. The randomization sequence is blocked per center and performed using a web-based platform. Patients are randomly assigned to one of the two groups: variable PSV or non-variable PSV. In non-variable PSV, breath-by-breath pressure support is kept constant and targeted to achieve a tidal volume of 6 to 8 ml/kg. In variable PSV, the mean pressure support level over a specific time period is targeted at the same mean tidal volume as non-variable PSV, but individual levels vary randomly breath-by-breath. The primary endpoint of the trial is the time to successful weaning, defined as the time from randomization to successful extubation.
ViPS is the first randomized controlled trial investigating whether variable, compared to non-variable PSV, shortens the duration of weaning from mechanical ventilation in a mixed population of critically ill patients. This trial aims to determine the role of variable PSV in the intensive care unit.
Trial registration NCT01769053
PMCID: PMC3827000  PMID: 24176188
Mechanical ventilation; Weaning; Pressure support ventilation; Variable ventilation; Intensive care unit; Critical care
13.  Perceptions of an open visitation policy by intensive care unit workers 
An intensive care unit (ICU) admission is a stressful event for the patient and the patient’s family. Several studies demonstrated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder in family members of patients admitted to ICU. Some studies recognize that the open visitation policy (OVP) is related to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression for the patient and an improvement in family satisfaction. However, some issues have been presented as barriers for the adoption of that strategy. This study was designed to evaluate perceptions of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists (RTs) of an OVP and to quantify visiting times in a Brazilian private intensive care unit (ICU).
This observational and descriptive study was performed in the medical-surgical (22 beds) and neurologic ICU (8 beds) of Sírio-Libanês Hospital (HSL), São Paulo, Brazil. All physicians, nurses, and RTs from ICU were invited to participate in the study. A questionnaire was applied to all ICU workers who accepted to participate in the study. The questionnaire consisted of 22 questions about the visiting policy. During five consecutive days, we evaluated the time that the visitors stayed in the patient room, as well as the type of visitor.
A total of 106 ICU workers participated in this study (42 physicians, 39 nurses, and 25 RTs). Only three of the questions exposed a negative perception of the visiting policy: 53.3% of the participants do not think that the OVP consistently increases family satisfaction with patient’s care; 59.4% of ICU workers think that the OVP impairs the organization of the patient’s care; 72.7% of participants believe that their work suffers more interruptions because of the OVP. The median visiting time per day was 11.5 hours.
According to physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists, the greatest impact of OVP is the benefit to the patients rather than to the family or to the staff. Furthermore, they feel that they need communication training to better interact with family members who are present in the ICU 24 hours per day.
PMCID: PMC3854481  PMID: 24135292
Intensive care unit; Family; Visitation policy; Family centered care; Patient centered care
14.  Late recognition and illness severity are determinants of early death in severe septic patients 
Clinics  2013;68(5):586-591.
To identify the independent variables associated with death within 4 days after the first sepsis-induced organ dysfunction.
In this prospective observational study, severe sepsis and septic shock patients were classified into 3 groups: Group 1, survivors; Group 2, late non-survivors; and Group 3, early non-survivors. Early death was defined as death occurring within 4 days after the first sepsis-induced organ dysfunction. Demographic, clinical and laboratory data were collected and submitted to univariate and multinomial analyses.
The study included 414 patients: 218 (52.7%) in Group 1, 165 (39.8%) in Group 2, and 31 (7.5%) in Group 3. A multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score after the first 24 hours, nosocomial infection, hepatic dysfunction, and the time elapsed between the onset of organ dysfunction and the sepsis diagnosis were associated with early mortality. In contrast, Black race and a source of infection other than the urinary tract were associated with late death. Among the non-survivors, early death was associated with Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, chronic renal failure, hepatic dysfunction Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score after 24 hours, and the duration of organ dysfunction.
Factors related to patients' intrinsic characteristics and disease severity as well as the promptness of sepsis recognition are associated with early death among severe septic patients.
PMCID: PMC3654307  PMID: 23778420
Prognosis; Mortality; Sepsis
15.  Clinical outcomes of patients requiring ventilatory support in Brazilian intensive care units: a multicenter, prospective, cohort study 
Critical Care  2013;17(2):R63.
Contemporary information on mechanical ventilation (MV) use in emerging countries is limited. Moreover, most epidemiological studies on ventilatory support were carried out before significant developments, such as lung protective ventilation or broader application of non-invasive ventilation (NIV). We aimed to evaluate the clinical characteristics, outcomes and risk factors for hospital mortality and failure of NIV in patients requiring ventilatory support in Brazilian intensive care units (ICU).
In a multicenter, prospective, cohort study, a total of 773 adult patients admitted to 45 ICUs over a two-month period requiring invasive ventilation or NIV for more than 24 hours were evaluated. Causes of ventilatory support, prior chronic health status and physiological data were assessed. Multivariate analysis was used to identifiy variables associated with hospital mortality and NIV failure.
Invasive MV and NIV were used as initial ventilatory support in 622 (80%) and 151 (20%) patients. Failure with subsequent intubation occurred in 54% of NIV patients. The main reasons for ventilatory support were pneumonia (27%), neurologic disorders (19%) and non-pulmonary sepsis (12%). ICU and hospital mortality rates were 34% and 42%. Using the Berlin definition, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) was diagnosed in 31% of the patients with a hospital mortality of 52%. In the multivariate analysis, age (odds ratio (OR), 1.03; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01 to 1.03), comorbidities (OR, 2.30; 95% CI, 1.28 to 3.17), associated organ failures (OR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.20), moderate (OR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.10 to 3.35) to severe ARDS (OR, 2.12; 95% CI, 1.01 to 4.41), cumulative fluid balance over the first 72 h of ICU (OR, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.39 to 4.28), higher lactate (OR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.27 to 2.50), invasive MV (OR, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.32 to 5.39) and NIV failure (OR, 3.95; 95% CI, 1.74 to 8.99) were independently associated with hospital mortality. The predictors of NIV failure were the severity of associated organ dysfunctions (OR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.34), ARDS (OR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.10 to 4.82) and positive fluid balance (OR, 2.09; 95% CI, 1.02 to 4.30).
Current mortality of ventilated patients in Brazil is elevated. Implementation of judicious fluid therapy and a watchful use and monitoring of NIV patients are potential targets to improve outcomes in this setting.
Trial registration NCT01268410.
PMCID: PMC3672504  PMID: 23557378
16.  Noninvasive ventilation immediately after extubation improves weaning outcome after acute respiratory failure: a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2013;17(2):R39.
Noninvasive ventilation (NIV), as a weaning-facilitating strategy in predominantly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) mechanically ventilated patients, is associated with reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia, total duration of mechanical ventilation, length of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay, and mortality. However, this benefit after planned extubation in patients with acute respiratory failure of various etiologies remains to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of NIV applied immediately after planned extubation in contrast to oxygen mask (OM) in patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF).
A randomized, prospective, controlled, unblinded clinical study in a single center of a 24-bed adult general ICU in a university hospital was carried out in a 12-month period. Included patients met extubation criteria with at least 72 hours of mechanical ventilation due to acute respiratory failure, after following the ICU weaning protocol. Patients were randomized immediately before elective extubation, being randomly allocated to one of the study groups: NIV or OM. We compared both groups regarding gas exchange 15 minutes, 2 hours, and 24 hours after extubation, reintubation rate after 48 hours, duration of mechanical ventilation, ICU length of stay, and hospital mortality.
Forty patients were randomized to receive NIV (20 patients) or OM (20 patients) after the following extubation criteria were met: pressure support (PSV) of 7 cm H2O, positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 5 cm H2O, oxygen inspiratory fraction (FiO2) ≤ 40%, arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≥ 90%, and ratio of respiratory rate and tidal volume in liters (f/TV) < 105. Comparing the 20 patients (NIV) with the 18 patients (OM) that finished the study 48 hours after extubation, the rate of reintubation in NIV group was 5% and 39% in OM group (P = 0.016). Relative risk for reintubation was 0.13 (CI = 0.017 to 0.946). Absolute risk reduction for reintubation showed a decrease of 33.9%, and analysis of the number needed to treat was three. No difference was found in the length of ICU stay (P = 0.681). Hospital mortality was zero in NIV group and 22.2% in OM group (P = 0.041).
In this study population, NIV prevented 48 hours reintubation if applied immediately after elective extubation in patients with more than 3 days of ARF when compared with the OM group.
Trial Registration number
ISRCTN: 41524441.
PMCID: PMC3672522  PMID: 23497557
17.  Determinants of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Transfer during Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in an Experimental Model of Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e54954.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has gained renewed interest in the treatment of respiratory failure since the advent of the modern polymethylpentene membranes. Limited information exists, however, on the performance of these membranes in terms of gas transfers during multiple organ failure (MOF). We investigated determinants of oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer as well as biochemical alterations after the circulation of blood through the circuit in a pig model under ECMO support before and after induction of MOF. A predefined sequence of blood and sweep flows was tested before and after the induction of MOF with fecal peritonitis and saline lavage lung injury. In the multivariate analysis, oxygen transfer had a positive association with blood flow (slope = 66, P<0.001) and a negative association with pre-membrane PaCO2 (slope = −0.96, P = 0.001) and SatO2 (slope = −1.7, P<0.001). Carbon dioxide transfer had a positive association with blood flow (slope = 17, P<0.001), gas flow (slope = 33, P<0.001), pre-membrane PaCO2 (slope = 1.2, P<0.001) and a negative association with the hemoglobin (slope = −3.478, P = 0.042). We found an increase in pH in the baseline from 7.50[7.46,7.54] to 7.60[7.55,7.65] (P<0.001), and during the MOF from 7.19[6.92,7.32] to 7.41[7.13,7.5] (P<0.001). Likewise, the PCO2 fell in the baseline from 35 [32,39] to 25 [22,27] mmHg (P<0.001), and during the MOF from 59 [47,91] to 34 [28,45] mmHg (P<0.001). In conclusion, both oxygen and carbon dioxide transfers were significantly determined by blood flow. Oxygen transfer was modulated by the pre-membrane SatO2 and CO2, while carbon dioxide transfer was affected by the gas flow, pre-membrane CO2 and hemoglobin.
PMCID: PMC3558498  PMID: 23383011
18.  First-year experience of a Brazilian tertiary medical center in supporting severely ill patients using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation 
Clinics  2012;67(10):1157-1163.
The aim of this manuscript is to describe the first year of our experience using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support.
Ten patients with severe refractory hypoxemia, two with associated severe cardiovascular failure, were supported using venous-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (eight patients) or veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (two patients).
The median age of the patients was 31 yr (range 14–71 yr). Their median simplified acute physiological score three (SAPS3) was 94 (range 84–118), and they had a median expected mortality of 95% (range 87–99%). Community-acquired pneumonia was the most common diagnosis (50%), followed by P. jiroveci pneumonia in two patients with AIDS (20%). Six patients were transferred from other ICUs during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support, three of whom were transferred between ICUs within the hospital (30%), two by ambulance (20%) and one by helicopter (10%). Only one patient (10%) was anticoagulated with heparin throughout extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support. Eighty percent of patients required continuous venous-venous hemofiltration. Three patients (30%) developed persistent hypoxemia, which was corrected using higher positive end-expiratory pressure, higher inspired oxygen fractions, recruitment maneuvers, and nitric oxide. The median time on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support was five (range 3–32) days. The median length of the hospital stay was 31 (range 3-97) days. Four patients (40%) survived to 60 days, and they were free from renal replacement therapy and oxygen support.
The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation support in severely ill patients is possible in the presence of a structured team. Efforts must be made to recognize the necessity of extracorporeal respiratory support at an early stage and to prompt activation of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation team.
PMCID: PMC3460018  PMID: 23070342
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation; Respiratory Failure; Mechanical Ventilation; Patient Care Team; Intensive Care Unit
19.  Complete motor recovery after acute paraparesis caused by spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma: case report 
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma is a relatively rare but potentially disabling disease. Prompt timely surgical management may promote recovery even in severe cases.
Case presentation
We report a 34-year-old man with a 2-hour history of sudden severe back pain, followed by weakness and numbness over the bilateral lower limbs, progressing to intense paraparesis and anesthesia. A spinal magnetic resonance imaging scan was performed and revealed an anterior epidural hematoma of the thoracic spine. He underwent an emergency decompression laminectomy of the thoracic spine and hematoma evacuation. Just after surgery, his lower extremity movements improved. After 1 week, there was no residual weakness and ambulation without assistance was resumed, with residual paresthesia on the plantar face of both feet. After 5 months, no residual symptoms persisted.
The diagnosis of spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma must be kept in mind in cases of sudden back pain with symptoms of spinal cord compression. Early recognition, accurate diagnosis and prompt surgical treatment may result in significant improvement even in severe cases.
PMCID: PMC3160384  PMID: 21794133
20.  Shortening ventilatory support with a protocol based on daily extubation screening and noninvasive ventilation in selected patients 
Clinics  2011;66(5):759-766.
Prolonged invasive mechanical ventilation and reintubation are associated with adverse outcomes and increased mortality. Daily screening to identify patients able to breathe without support is recommended to reduce the length of mechanical ventilation. Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation has been proposed as a technique to shorten the time that patients remain on invasive ventilation.
We conducted a before-and-after study to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention that combined daily screening with the use of noninvasive ventilation immediately after extubation in selected patients. The population consisted of patients who had been intubated for at least 2 days.
The baseline characteristics were similar between the groups. The intervention group had a lower length of invasive ventilation (6 [4;9] vs. 7 [4;11.5] days, p = 0.04) and total (invasive plus noninvasive) ventilator support (7 [4;11] vs. 9 [6;8], p = 0.01). Similar reintubation rates within 72 hours were observed for both groups. In addition, a lower ICU mortality was found in the intervention group (10.8% vs. 24.3%, p = 0.03), with a higher cumulative survival probability at 60 days (p = 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that the intervention was an independent factor associated with survival (RR: 2.77; CI 1.14-6.65; p = 0.03), whereas the opposite was found for reintubation at 72 hours (RR: 0.27; CI 0.11-0.65; p = 0.01).
The intervention reduced the length of invasive ventilation and total ventilatory support without increasing the risk of reintubation and was identified as an independent factor associated with survival.
PMCID: PMC3109372  PMID: 21789377
Mechanical Ventilation; Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation; Weaning; Respiratory failure; Intensive care unit
22.  Pulmonary capillary pressure in pulmonary hypertension 
Critical Care  2005;9(2):R132-R138.
Pulmonary capillary pressure (PCP), together with the time constants of the various vascular compartments, define the dynamics of the pulmonary vascular system. Our objective in the present study was to estimate PCPs and time constants of the vascular system in patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH), and compare them with these measures in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
We conducted the study in two groups of patients with pulmonary hypertension: 12 patients with IPAH and 11 with ARDS. Four methods were used to estimate the PCP based on monoexponential and biexponential fitting of pulmonary artery pressure decay curves.
PCPs in the IPAH group were considerably greater than those in the ARDS group. The PCPs measured using the four methods also differed significantly, suggesting that each method measures the pressure at a different site in the pulmonary circulation. The time constant for the slow component of the biexponential fit in the IPAH group was significantly longer than that in the ARDS group.
The PCP in IPAH patients is greater than normal but methodological limitations related to the occlusion technique may limit interpretation of these data in isolation. Different disease processes may result in different times for arterial emptying, with resulting implications for the methods available for estimating PCP.
PMCID: PMC1175923  PMID: 15774045

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