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1.  Glucose control in intensive care: usability, efficacy and safety of Space GlucoseControl in two medical European intensive care units 
Background
The Space GlucoseControl system (SGC) is a nurse-driven, computer-assisted device for glycemic control combining infusion pumps with the enhanced Model Predictive Control algorithm (B. Braun, Melsungen, Germany). We aimed to investigate the performance of the SGC in medical critically ill patients.
Methods
Two open clinical investigations in tertiary centers in Graz, Austria and Zurich, Switzerland were performed. Efficacy was assessed by percentage of time within the target range (4.4-8.3 mmol/L; primary end point), mean blood glucose, and sampling interval. Safety was assessed by the number of hypoglycemic episodes (≤2.2 mmol/L) and the percentage of time spent below this cutoff level. Usability was analyzed with a standardized questionnaire given to involved nursing staff after the trial.
Results
Forty medical critically ill patients (age, 62 ± 15 years; body mass index, 30.0 ± 8.9 kg/m2; APACHE II score, 24.8 ± 5.4; 27 males; 8 with diabetes) were included for a period of 6.5 ± 3.7 days (n = 20 in each center). The primary endpoint (time in target range 4.4 to 8.3 mmol/l) was reached in 88.3% ± 9.3 of the time and mean arterial blood glucose was 6.7 ± 0.4 mmol/l. The sampling interval was 2.2 ± 0.4 hours. The mean daily insulin dose was 87.2 ± 64.6 IU. The adherence to the given insulin dose advice was high (98.2%). While the percentage of time spent in a moderately hypoglycemic range (2.2 to 3.3 mmol/L) was low (0.07 ± 0.26% of the time), one severe hypoglycemic episode (<2.2 mmol/L) occurred (2.5% of patients or 0.03% of glucose readings).
Conclusions
SGC is a safe and efficient method to control blood glucose in critically ill patients as assessed in two European medical intensive care units.
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-14-62
PMCID: PMC4118658  PMID: 25074071
Tight glycemic control; Critical illness; Critically ill patients; Protocol; Computer-assisted glycemic control; Insulin infusion protocol; Glucose control in intensive care
3.  Vitamin D status and its association with season, hospital and sepsis mortality in critical illness 
Critical Care  2014;18(2):R47.
Introduction
Vitamin D plays a key role in immune function. Deficiency may aggravate the incidence and outcome of infectious complications in critically ill patients. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and the correlation between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D) and hospital mortality, sepsis mortality and blood culture positivity.
Methods
In a single-center retrospective observational study at a tertiary care center in Graz, Austria, 655 surgical and nonsurgical critically ill patients with available 25(OH) D levels hospitalized between September 2008 and May 2010 were included. Cox regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, severity of illness, renal function and inflammatory status was performed. Vitamin D levels were categorized by month-specific tertiles (high, intermediate, low) to reflect seasonal variation of serum 25(OH) D levels.
Results
Overall, the majority of patients were vitamin D deficient (<20 ng/ml; 60.2%) or insufficient (≥20 and <30 ng/dl; 26.3%), with normal 25(OH) D levels (>30 ng/ml) present in only 13.6%. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and mean 25(OH) D levels was significantly different in winter compared to summer months (P <0.001). Hospital mortality was 20.6% (135 of 655 patients). Adjusted hospital mortality was significantly higher in patients in the low (hazard ratio (HR) 2.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31 to 3.22) and intermediate (HR 1.92, 95% CI 1.21 to 3.06) compared to the high tertile. Sepsis was identified as cause of death in 20 of 135 deceased patients (14.8%). There was no significant association between 25(OH) D and C-reactive protein (CRP), leukocyte count or procalcitonin levels. In a subgroup analysis (n = 244), blood culture positivity rates did not differ between tertiles (23.1% versus 28.2% versus 17.1%, P = 0.361).
Conclusions
Low 25(OH) D status is significantly associated with mortality in the critically ill. Intervention studies are needed to investigate the effect of vitamin D substitution on mortality and sepsis rates in this population.
doi:10.1186/cc13790
PMCID: PMC4057427  PMID: 24661739
4.  Vitamin D and Immune Function 
Nutrients  2013;5(7):2502-2521.
Vitamin D metabolizing enzymes and vitamin D receptors are present in many cell types including various immune cells such as antigen-presenting-cells, T cells, B cells and monocytes. In vitro data show that, in addition to modulating innate immune cells, vitamin D also promotes a more tolerogenic immunological status. In vivo data from animals and from human vitamin D supplementation studies have shown beneficial effects of vitamin D on immune function, in particular in the context of autoimmunity. In this review, currently available data are summarized to give an overview of the effects of vitamin D on the immune system in general and on the regulation of inflammatory responses, as well as regulatory mechanisms connected to autoimmune diseases particularly in type 1 diabetes mellitus.
doi:10.3390/nu5072502
PMCID: PMC3738984  PMID: 23857223
vitamin D; autoimmunity; immune cells; adaptive immunity; innate immunity; cholecalciferol; calcitriol; 25(OH)D
6.  Correction of vitamin D deficiency in critically ill patients - VITdAL@ICU study protocol of a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial 
Background
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with multiple adverse health outcomes including increased morbidity and mortality in the general population and in critically ill patients. However, no randomized controlled trial has evaluated so far whether treatment with sufficiently large doses of vitamin D can improve clinical outcome of patients in an intensive care setting.
Methods/design
The VITdAL@ICU trial is an investigator-initiated, non-commercial, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial. This study compares high-dose oral cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) versus placebo treatment in a mixed population of 480 critically ill patients with low 25-hydroxyvitamin-D levels at study enrollment (≤ 20ng/ml). Following an initial loading dose of 540,000 IU of vitamin D3, patients receive 90,000 IU of vitamin D3 on a monthly basis for 5 months. The study is designed to compare clinical outcome in the two study arms with the primary endpoint being length of hospital stay. Secondary endpoints include among others length of ICU stay, the percentage of patients with 25(OH)D levels > 30 ng/ml at day 7, ICU and hospital mortality and duration of mechanical ventilation. We describe here the VITdAL@ICU study protocol for the primary report.
Discussion
This trial is designed to evaluate whether high-dose vitamin D3 is able to improve morbidity and mortality in a mixed population of adult critically ill patients and correct vitamin D deficiency safely.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials: NCT01130181
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-12-27
PMCID: PMC3534412  PMID: 23134762
Critical Illness; Vitamin D deficiency; Cholecalciferol; Vitamin D; Critical care; Intensive care; Vitamin D3
7.  Effect of eplerenone on parathyroid hormone levels in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 
Background
Increasing evidence suggests the bidirectional interplay between parathyroid hormone and aldosterone as an important mechanism behind the increased risk of cardiovascular damage and bone disease observed in primary hyperparathyroidism. Our primary object is to assess the efficacy of the mineralocorticoid receptor-blocker eplerenone to reduce parathyroid hormone secretion in patients with parathyroid hormone excess.
Methods/design
Overall, 110 adult male and female patients with primary hyperparathyroidism will be randomly assigned to eplerenone (25 mg once daily for 4 weeks and 4 weeks with 50 mg once daily after dose titration] or placebo, over eight weeks. Each participant will undergo detailed clinical assessment, including anthropometric evaluation, 24-h ambulatory arterial blood pressure monitoring, echocardiography, kidney function and detailed laboratory determination of biomarkers of bone metabolism and cardiovascular disease.
The study comprises the following exploratory endpoints: mean change from baseline to week eight in (1) parathyroid hormone(1–84) as the primary endpoint and (2) 24-h systolic and diastolic ambulatory blood pressure levels, NT-pro-BNP, biomarkers of bone metabolism, 24-h urinary protein/albumin excretion and echocardiographic parameters reflecting systolic and diastolic function as well as cardiac dimensions, as secondary endpoints.
Discussion
In view of the reciprocal interaction between aldosterone and parathyroid hormone and the potentially ensuing target organ damage, the EPATH trial is designed to determine whether eplerenone, compared to placebo, will effectively impact on parathyroid hormone secretion and improve cardiovascular, renal and bone health in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism.
Trial registration
ISRCTN33941607
doi:10.1186/1472-6823-12-19
PMCID: PMC3515510  PMID: 22974443
Aldosterone; Mineralocorticoid receptor blocker; Hyperparathyroidism
8.  Short-term effects of high-dose oral vitamin D3 in critically ill vitamin D deficient patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study 
Critical Care  2011;15(2):R104.
Introduction
Vitamin D deficiency is encountered frequently in critically ill patients and might be harmful. Current nutrition guidelines recommend very low vitamin D doses. The objective of this trial was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single oral high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation in an intensive care setting over a one-week observation period.
Methods
This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study in a medical ICU at a tertiary care university center in Graz, Austria. Twenty-five patients (mean age 62 ± 16yrs) with vitamin D deficiency [25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) ≤20 ng/ml] and an expected stay in the ICU >48 hours were included and randomly received either 540,000 IU (corresponding to 13.5 mg) of cholecalciferol (VITD) dissolved in 45 ml herbal oil or matched placebo (PBO) orally or via feeding tube.
Results
The mean serum 25(OH)D increase in the intervention group was 25 ng/ml (range 1-47 ng/ml). The highest 25(OH)D level reached was 64 ng/ml, while two patients showed a small (7 ng/ml) or no response (1 ng/ml). Hypercalcemia or hypercalciuria did not occur in any patient. From day 0 to day 7, total serum calcium levels increased by 0.10 (PBO) and 0.15 mmol/L (VITD; P < 0.05 for both), while ionized calcium levels increased by 0.11 (PBO) and 0.05 mmol/L (VITD; P < 0.05 for both). Parathyroid hormone levels decreased by 19 and 28 pg/ml (PBO and VITD, ns) over the seven days, while 1,25(OH)D showed a transient significant increase in the VITD group only.
Conclusions
This pilot study shows that a single oral ultra-high dose of cholecalciferol corrects vitamin D deficiency within 2 days in most patients without causing adverse effects like hypercalcemia or hypercalciuria. Further research is needed to confirm our results and establish whether vitamin D supplementation can affect the clinical outcome of vitamin D deficient critically ill patients.
EudraCT Number
2009-012080-34
German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS)
DRKS00000750
doi:10.1186/cc10120
PMCID: PMC3219377  PMID: 21443793

Results 1-8 (8)