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1.  Procalcitonin levels to guide antibiotic therapy in adults with non-microbiologically proven apparent severe sepsis: a randomised controlled trial 
BMJ Open  2013;3(2):e002186.
Some patients with the phenotype of severe sepsis may have no overt source of infection or identified pathogen. We investigated whether a procalcitonin-based algorithm influenced antibiotic use in patients with non-microbiologically proven apparent severe sepsis.
This multicentre, randomised, controlled, single-blind trial was performed in two parallel groups.
Eight intensive care units in France.
Adults with the phenotype of severe sepsis and no overt source of infection, negative microbial cultures from multiple matrices and no antibiotic exposure shortly before intensive care unit admission.
The initiation and duration of antibiotic therapy was based on procalcitonin levels in the experimental arm and on the intensive care unit physicians’ clinical judgement without reference to procalcitonin values in the control arm.
Main outcome measure
The primary outcome was the proportion of patients on antibiotics on day 5 postrandomisation.
Over a 3-year period, 62/1250 screened patients were eligible for the study, of whom 31 were randomised to each arm; 4 later withdrew their consent. At day 5, 18/27 (67%) survivors were on antibiotics in the experimental arm, versus 21/26 (81%) controls (p=0.24; relative risk=0.83, 95% CI: 0.60 to 1.14). Only 8/58 patients (13%) had baseline procalcitonin <0.25 µg/l; in these patients, physician complied poorly with the algorithm.
In intensive care unit patients with the phenotype of severe sepsis or septic shock and without an overt source of infection or a known pathogen, the current study was unable to confirm that a procalcitonin-based algorithm may influence antibiotic exposure. However, the premature termination of the trial may not allow definitive conclusions.
PMCID: PMC3586059  PMID: 23418298
2.  Incidence and outcome of contrast-associated acute kidney injury in a mixed medical-surgical ICU population: a retrospective study 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:31.
Contrast-enhanced radiographic examinations carry the risk of contrast-associated acute kidney injury (CA-AKI). While CA-AKI is a well-known complication outside the intensive care unit (ICU) setting, data on CA-AKI in ICU patients are scarce. Our aim was to assess the incidence and short-term outcome of CA-AKI in a mixed medical-surgical ICU population.
We conducted a single-center retrospective analysis between September 2006 and December 2008 on adult patients who underwent a contrast-enhanced computed tomography for urgent diagnostic purposes. CA-AKI was defined as either a relative increment in serum creatinine of ≥ 25% or an absolute increment in serum creatinine of ≥ 0.3 mg/dL within 48 hrs after contrast administration. ICU mortality rates of patients with and without CA-AKI were compared in univariate and multivariate analyses. The need for renal replacement therapy (RRT) was also recorded.
CA-AKI occurred in 24/143 (16.8%) patients. Coexisting risk factors for kidney injury, such as sepsis, nephrotoxic drugs and hemodynamic failure were commonly observed in patients who developed CA-AKI. ICU mortality was significantly higher in patients with than in those without CA-AKI (50% vs 21%, p = 0.004). In multivariate logistic regression, CA-AKI remained associated with ICU mortality (odds ratio: 3.48, 95% confidence interval: 1.10-11.46, p = 0.04). RRT was required in 7 (29.2%) patients with CA-AKI.
In our cohort, CA-AKI was a frequent complication. It was associated with a poor short-term outcome and seemed to occur mainly when multiple risk factors for kidney injury were present. Administration of ICM should be considered as a potential high-risk procedure and not as a routine innocuous practice in ICU patients.
PMCID: PMC3637311  PMID: 23379629
Acute kidney injury; Contrast-associated acute kidney injury; Intensive car unit; Mortality; Outcome
3.  Prognostic consequences of borderline dysnatremia: pay attention to minimal serum sodium change 
Critical Care  2013;17(1):R12.
To assess the prevalence of dysnatremia, including borderline changes in serum sodium concentration, and to estimate the impact of these dysnatremia on mortality after adjustment for confounders.
Observational study on a prospective database fed by 13 intensive care units (ICUs). Unselected patients with ICU stay longer than 48 h were enrolled over a 14-year period were included in this study. Mild to severe hyponatremia were defined as serum sodium concentration < 135, < 130, and < 125 mmol/L respectively. Mild to severe hypernatremia were defined as serum sodium concentration > 145, > 150, and > 155 mmol/L respectively. Borderline hyponatremia and hypernatremia were defined as serum sodium concentration between 135 and 137 mmol/L or 143 and 145 respectively.
A total of 11,125 patients were included in this study. Among these patients, 3,047 (27.4%) had mild to severe hyponatremia at ICU admission, 2,258 (20.3%) had borderline hyponatremia at ICU admission, 1,078 (9.7%) had borderline hypernatremia and 877 (7.9%) had mild to severe hypernatremia. After adjustment for confounder, both moderate and severe hyponatremia (subdistribution hazard ratio (sHR) 1.82, 95% CI 1.002 to 1.395 and 1.27, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.60 respectively) were associated with day-30 mortality. Similarly, mild, moderate and severe hypernatremia (sHR 1.34, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.57; 1.51, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.99; and 2.64, 95% CI 2.00 to 3.81 respectively) were independently associated with day-30 mortality.
One-third of critically ill patients had a mild to moderate dysnatremia at ICU admission. Dysnatremia, including mild changes in serum sodium concentration, is an independent risk factor for hospital mortality and should not be neglected.
PMCID: PMC4056804  PMID: 23336363
4.  Efficacy of renal replacement therapy in critically ill patients: a propensity analysis 
Critical Care  2012;16(6):R236.
Although renal replacement therapy (RRT) is a common procedure in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury (AKI), its efficacy remains uncertain. Patients who receive RRT usually have higher mortality rates than those who do not. However, many differences exist in severity patterns between patients with and those without RRT and available results are further confounded by treatment selection bias since no consensus on indications for RRT has been reached so far. Our aim was to account for these biases to accurately assess RRT efficacy, with special attention to RRT timing.
We performed a propensity analysis using data of the French longitudinal prospective multicenter Outcomerea database. Two propensity scores for RRT were built to match patients who received RRT to controls who did not despite having a close probability of receiving the procedure. AKI was defined according to RIFLE criteria. The association between RRT and hospital mortality was examined through multivariate conditional logistic regression analyses to control for residual confounding. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to examine the impact of RRT timing.
Among the 2846 study patients, 545 (19%) received RRT. Crude mortality rates were higher in patients with than in those without RRT (38% vs 17.5%, P < 0.001). After matching and adjustment, RRT was not associated with a reduced hospital mortality. The two propensity models yielded concordant results.
In our study population, RRT failed to reduce hospital mortality. This result emphasizes the need for randomized studies comparing RRT to conservative management in selected ICU patients, with special focus on RRT timing.
PMCID: PMC3672625  PMID: 23254304
5.  Mortality associated with timing of admission to and discharge from ICU: a retrospective cohort study 
Although the association between mortality and admission to intensive care units (ICU) in the "after hours" (weekends and nights) has been the topic of extensive investigation, the timing of discharge from ICU and outcome has been less well investigated. The objective of this study was to assess effect of timing of admission to and discharge from ICUs and subsequent risk for death.
Adults (≥18 years) admitted to French ICUs participating in Outcomerea between January 2006 and November 2010 were included.
Among the 7,380 patients included, 61% (4,481) were male, the median age was 62 (IQR, 49-75) years, and the median SAPS II score was 40 (IQR, 28-56). Admissions to ICU occurred during weekends (Saturday and Sunday) in 1,708 (23%) cases, during the night (18:00-07:59) in 3,855 (52%), and on nights and/or weekends in 4,659 (63%) cases. Among 5,992 survivors to ICU discharge, 903 (15%) were discharged on weekends, 659 (11%) at night, and 1,434 (24%) on nights and/or weekends. After controlling for a number of co-variates using logistic regression analysis, admission during the after hours was not associated with an increased risk for death. However, patients discharged from ICU on nights were at higher adjusted risk (odds ratio, 1.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-2.11) for death.
In this study, ICU discharge at night but not admission was associated with a significant increased risk for death. Further studies are needed to examine whether minimizing night time discharges from ICU may improve outcome.
PMCID: PMC3269385  PMID: 22115194
6.  Multiple-center evaluation of mortality associated with acute kidney injury in critically ill patients: a competing risks analysis 
Critical Care  2011;15(3):R128.
In this study, we aimed to assess the association between acute kidney injury (AKI) and mortality in critically ill patients using an original competing risks approach.
Unselected patients admitted between 1997 and 2009 to 13 French medical or surgical intensive care units were included in this observational cohort study. AKI was defined according to the RIFLE criteria. The following data were recorded: baseline characteristics, daily serum creatinine level, daily Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score, vital status at hospital discharge and length of hospital stay. Patients were classified according to the maximum RIFLE class reached during their ICU stay. The association of AKI with hospital mortality with "discharge alive" considered as a competing event was assessed according to the Fine and Gray model.
Of the 8,639 study patients, 32.9% had AKI, of whom 19.1% received renal replacement therapy. Patients with AKI had higher crude mortality rates and longer lengths of hospital stay than patients without AKI. In the Fine and Gray model, independent risk factors for hospital mortality were the RIFLE classes Risk (sub-hazard ratio (SHR) 1.58 and 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.32 to 1.88; P < 0.0001), Injury (SHR 3.99 and 95% CI 3.43 to 4.65; P < 0.0001) and Failure (SHR 4.12 and 95% CI 3.55 to 4.79; P < 0.0001); nonrenal SOFA score (SHR 1.19 per point and 95% CI 1.18 to 1.21; P < 0.0001); McCabe class 3 (SHR 2.71 and 95% CI 2.34 to 3.15; P < 0.0001); and respiratory failure (SHR 3.08 and 95% CI 1.36 to 7.01; P < 0.01).
By using a competing risks approach, we confirm in this study that AKI affecting critically ill patients is associated with increased in-hospital mortality.
PMCID: PMC3218994  PMID: 21586153
7.  Model for predicting short-term mortality of severe sepsis 
Critical Care  2009;13(3):R72.
To establish a prognostic model for predicting 14-day mortality in ICU patients with severe sepsis overall and according to place of infection acquisition and to sepsis episode number.
In this prospective multicentre observational study on a multicentre database (OUTCOMEREA) including data from 12 ICUs, 2268 patients with 2737 episodes of severe sepsis were randomly divided into a training cohort (n = 1458) and a validation cohort (n = 810). Up to four consecutive severe sepsis episodes per patient occurring within the first 28 ICU days were included. We developed a prognostic model for predicting death within 14 days after each episode, based on patient data available at sepsis onset.
Independent predictors of death were logistic organ dysfunction (odds ratio (OR), 1.22 per point, P < 10-4), septic shock (OR, 1.40; P = 0.01), rank of severe sepsis episode (1 reference, 2: OR, 1.26; P = 0.10 ≥ 3: OR, 2.64; P < 10-3), multiple sources of infection (OR; 1.45, P = 0.03), simplified acute physiology score II (OR, 1.02 per point; P < 10-4), McCabe score ([greater than or equal to]2) (OR, 1.96; P < 10-4), and number of chronic co-morbidities (1: OR, 1.75; P < 10-3, ≥ 2: OR, 2.24, P < 10-3). Validity of the model was good in whole cohorts (AUC-ROC, 0.76; 95%CI, 0.74 to 0.79; and HL Chi-square: 15.3 (P = 0.06) for all episodes pooled).
In ICU patients, a prognostic model based on a few easily obtained variables is effective in predicting death within 14 days after the first to fourth episode of severe sepsis complicating community-, hospital-, or ICU-acquired infection.
PMCID: PMC2717433  PMID: 19454002
8.  Norepinephrine weaning in septic shock patients by closed loop control based on fuzzy logic 
Critical Care  2008;12(6):R155.
The rate of weaning of vasopressors drugs is usually an empirical choice made by the treating in critically ill patients. We applied fuzzy logic principles to modify intravenous norepinephrine (noradrenaline) infusion rates during norepinephrine infusion in septic patients in order to reduce the duration of shock.
Septic patients were randomly assigned to norepinephrine infused either at the clinician's discretion (control group) or under closed-loop control based on fuzzy logic (fuzzy group). The infusion rate changed automatically after analysis of mean arterial pressure in the fuzzy group. The primary end-point was time to cessation of norepinephrine. The secondary end-points were 28-day survival, total amount of norepinephine infused and duration of mechanical ventilation.
Nineteen patients were randomly assigned to fuzzy group and 20 to control group. Weaning of norepinephrine was achieved in 18 of the 20 control patients and in all 19 fuzzy group patients. Median (interquartile range) duration of shock was significantly shorter in the fuzzy group than in the control group (28.5 [20.5 to 42] hours versus 57.5 [43.7 to 117.5] hours; P < 0.0001). There was no significant difference in duration of mechanical ventilation or survival at 28 days between the two groups. The median (interquartile range) total amount of norepinephrine infused during shock was significantly lower in the fuzzy group than in the control group (0.6 [0.2 to 1.0] μg/kg versus 1.4 [0.6 to 2.7] μg/kg; P < 0.01).
Our study has shown a reduction in norepinephrine weaning duration in septic patients enrolled in the fuzzy group. We attribute this reduction to fuzzy control of norepinephrine infusion.
Trial registration
Trial registration: NCT00763906.
PMCID: PMC2646320  PMID: 19068113

Results 1-8 (8)