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1.  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.
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.
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.
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.
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
German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS)
PMCID: PMC3219377  PMID: 21443793
2.  The ignored diversity: complex bacterial communities in intensive care units revealed by 16S pyrosequencing 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1413.
Indoor microbial communities play an important role in everyday human health, especially in the intensive care units (ICUs) of hospitals. We used amplicon pyrosequencing to study the ICU microbiome and were able to detect diverse sequences, in comparison to the currently used standard cultivation technique that only detected 2.5% of the total bacterial diversity. The phylogenetic spectrum combined species associated with the outside environment, taxa closely related to potential human pathogens, and beneficials as well as included 7 phyla and 76 genera. In addition, Propionibacterium spp., Pseudomonas spp., and Burkholderia spp. were identified as important sources of infections. Despite significantly different bacterial area profiles for floors, medical devices, and workplaces, similarities by network analyses and strains with identical molecular fingerprints were detected. This information will allow for new assessment of public health risks in ICUs, help create new sanitation protocols, and further our understanding of the development of hospital-acquired infections.
PMCID: PMC3593336  PMID: 23475210
3.  Evaluation of Implementation of a Fully Automated Algorithm (Enhanced Model Predictive Control) in an Interacting Infusion Pump System for Establishment of Tight Glycemic Control in Medical Intensive Care Unit Patients 
The objective of this study was to investigate the performance of a newly developed decision support system for the establishment of tight glycemic control in medical intensive care unit (ICU) patients for a period of 72 hours.
This was a single-center, open, non-controlled feasibility trial including 10 mechanically ventilated ICU patients. The CS-1 decision support system (interacting infusion pumps with integrated enhanced model predictive control algorithm and user interface) was used to adjust the infusion rate of administered insulin to normalize blood glucose. Efficacy and safety were assessed by calculating the percentage of values within the target range (80–110 mg/dl), hyperglycemic index, mean glucose, and hypoglycemic episodes (<40 mg/dl).
The percentage of values in time in target was 47.0% (±13.0). The average blood glucose concentration and hyperglycemic index were 109 mg/dl (±13) and 10 mg/dl (±9), respectively. No hypoglycemic episode (<40 mg/dl) was detected. Eleven times (1.5% of all given advice) the nurses did not follow and, thus, overruled the advice of the CS-1 system. Several technical malfunctions of the device (repetitive error messages and missing data in the data log) due to communication problems between the new hardware components are shortcomings of the present version of the device. As a consequence of these technical failures of system integration, treatment had to be stopped ahead of schedule in three patients.
Despite technical malfunctions, the performance of this prototype CS-1 decision support system was, from a clinical point of view, already effective in maintaining tight glycemic control. Accordingly, and with technical improvement required, the CS-1 system has the capacity to serve as a reliable tool for routine establishment of glycemic control in ICU patients.
PMCID: PMC2769812  PMID: 19885285
algorithms; critical care nursing; hyperglycemia management; insulin infusion systems
4.  Successful outcome after intravenous gasoline injection 
Journal of Medical Toxicology  2007;3(4):173-177.
Gasoline, ingested intentionally or accidentally, is toxic. The majority of reported cases of gasoline intoxication involve oral ingestion or inhalation. Data are scarce on complications and outcomes following hydrocarbon poisoning by intravenous injection.
Case Report
Following a suicide attempt by intravenous self-injection of 10 ml of gasoline, a 26-year-old medical student was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with hemoptysis, symptoms of acute respiratory failure, chest pain, and severe abdominal cramps. Gas exchange was severely impaired and a chest x-ray indicated chemical pneumonitis. Initial treatment consisted of mechanical ventilation, supportive hyperventilation, administration of nitrogen oxide (NO), and prednisone. Unfortunately, the patient developed multi-organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) complicated by life-threatening severe vasoplegia within 24 hours after gasoline injection. High doses of vasopressors along with massive amounts of parenteral fluids were necessary. Despite fluid replacement, renal function worsened and required hemofiltration on 5 sequential days. After 12 days of intensive care management, the patient recovered completely and was discharged to a psychiatric care facility.
Intravenous gasoline injection causes major injury to the lungs, the organ bearing the first capillary bed encountered. Treatment of gasoline poisoning is symptomatic because no specific antidote is available. Early and aggressive supportive care may be conducive to a favorable outcome with minimal residual pulmonary sequelae.
PMCID: PMC3550017  PMID: 18072172
intravenous gasoline injection; attempted suicide; hemorrhagic and chemical pneumonitis
5.  Travel-associated Rabies in Austrian Man 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(5):719-721.
Rabies developed in an Austrian man after he was bitten by a dog in Agadir, Morocco. Diagnosis was confirmed by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. The patient's girlfriend was bitten by the same dog, but she did not become ill.
PMCID: PMC3320390  PMID: 15890127
Rabies; dog; Morocco; Austria

Results 1-5 (5)