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1.  Prognostication in comatose survivors of cardiac arrest: An advisory statement from the European Resuscitation Council and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine 
Intensive Care Medicine  2014;40(12):1816-1831.
Objectives
To review and update the evidence on predictors of poor outcome (death, persistent vegetative state or severe neurological disability) in adult comatose survivors of cardiac arrest, either treated or not treated with controlled temperature, to identify knowledge gaps and to suggest a reliable prognostication strategy.
Methods
GRADE-based systematic review followed by expert consensus achieved using Web-based Delphi methodology, conference calls and face-to-face meetings. Predictors based on clinical examination, electrophysiology, biomarkers and imaging were included.
Results and conclusions
Evidence from a total of 73 studies was reviewed. The quality of evidence was low or very low for almost all studies. In patients who are comatose with absent or extensor motor response at ≥72 h from arrest, either treated or not treated with controlled temperature, bilateral absence of either pupillary and corneal reflexes or N20 wave of short-latency somatosensory evoked potentials were identified as the most robust predictors. Early status myoclonus, elevated values of neuron-specific enolase at 48–72 h from arrest, unreactive malignant EEG patterns after rewarming, and presence of diffuse signs of postanoxic injury on either computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging were identified as useful but less robust predictors. Prolonged observation and repeated assessments should be considered when results of initial assessment are inconclusive. Although no specific combination of predictors is sufficiently supported by available evidence, a multimodal prognostication approach is recommended in all patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00134-014-3470-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00134-014-3470-x
PMCID: PMC4239787  PMID: 25398304
Heart arrest; Coma; Prognosis; Clinical examination; Somatosensory evoked potentials; Neuron specific enolase; CT scan; Magnetic resonance
2.  Are clinical trials dealing with severe infection fitting routine practices? Insights from a large registry 
Critical Care  2013;17(3):R89.
Introduction
Guidelines dealing with severe sepsis and septic shock mostly rely on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to ensure the best standards of care for patients. However, patients included in high-quality studies may differ from the routine population and alter external validity of recommendations. We aimed to determine to what extent non-inclusion criteria of RCTs dealing with severe sepsis and septic shock may affect application of their conclusions in routine care.
Methods
In a first step, the MEDLINE database was searched for RCTs treating severe sepsis and septic shock patients between 1992 and 2008, and non-inclusion criteria for these studies were abstracted. Two reviewers independently evaluated the articles, which were checked by a third reviewer. We extracted data on the study design, main intervention, primary endpoint, criteria for inclusion, and criteria for non-inclusion. In a second step, the distribution of the non-inclusion criteria was observed in a prospective multicenter cohort of severe sepsis and septic shock patients (Cub-Rea network, 1992 to 2008).
Results
We identified 96 articles out of 7,012 citations that met the screening criteria. Congestive heart failure (35%) and cancer (30%) were frequent exclusion criteria in selected studies, as well as other frequent disorders such as gastrointestinal and liver diseases and all causes of immune suppression. Of the 67,717 patients with severe sepsis and septic shock in the Cub-Rea database, 40,325 (60%) experienced at least one of the main exclusion criteria, including 11% of congestive heart failure patients and 11% of cancer patients. In addition, we observed a significant trend for increasing number of patients with these criteria along time.
Conclusion
Current exclusion criteria for RCTs dealing with severe sepsis and septic shock excluded most patients encountered in daily practice and limit external validity of the results of high-quality studies.
doi:10.1186/cc12734
PMCID: PMC3706971  PMID: 23705948
sepsis; septic shock; randomized controlled trial; exclusion criteria; co-morbidity; cohort
3.  Increased survival of cirrhotic patients with septic shock 
Critical Care  2013;17(2):R78.
Introduction
The overall outcome of septic shock has been recently improved. We sought to determine whether this survival gain extends to the high-risk subgroup of patients with cirrhosis.
Methods
Cirrhotic patients with septic shock admitted to a medical intensive care unit (ICU) during two consecutive periods (1997-2004 and 2005-2010) were retrospectively studied.
Results
Forty-seven and 42 cirrhotic patients presented with septic shock in 1997-2004 and 2005-2010, respectively. The recent period differed from the previous one by implementation of adjuvant treatments of septic shock including albumin infusion as fluid volume therapy, low-dose glucocorticoids, and intensive insulin therapy. ICU and hospital survival markedly improved over time (40% in 2005-2010 vs. 17% in 1997-2004, P = 0.02 and 29% in 2005-2010 vs. 6% in 1997-2004, P = 0.009, respectively). Furthermore, this survival gain in the latter period was sustained for 6 months (survival rate 24% in 2005-2010 vs. 6% in 1997-2004, P = 0.06). After adjustment with age, the liver disease stage (Child-Pugh score), and the critical illness severity score (SOFA score), ICU admission between 2005 and 2010 remained an independent favorable prognostic factor (odds ratio (OR) 0.09, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02-0.4, P = 0.004). The stage of the underlying liver disease was also independently associated with hospital mortality (Child-Pugh score: OR 1.42 per point, 95% CI 1.06-1.9, P = 0.018).
Conclusions
In the light of advances in management of both cirrhosis and septic shock, survival of such patients substantially increased over recent years. The stage of the underlying liver disease and the related therapeutic options should be included in the decision-making process for ICU admission.
doi:10.1186/cc12687
PMCID: PMC4057386  PMID: 23601847
4.  Plasma thioredoxin levels during post-cardiac arrest syndrome: relationship with severity and outcome 
Critical Care  2013;17(1):R18.
Introduction
Despite experimental evidence, clinical demonstration of acute state of oxidative stress and inflammation during post-cardiac arrest syndrome is lacking. Plasma level of thioredoxin (TRX), a redox-active protein induced under conditions of oxidative stress and inflammation, is increased in various critical care conditions. We determined plasma TRX concentrations after cardiac arrest and assessed relationships with severity and outcome.
Methods
Retrospective study of consecutive patients admitted to a single academic intensive care unit (ICU) for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (between July 2006 and March 2008). Plasma levels of TRX were measured at admission, day (D) 1, 2 and 3.
Results
Of 176 patients included, median TRX values measured in ICU survivors and non-survivors were, respectively: 22 ng/mL (7.8 to 77) vs. 72.4 (21.9 to 117.9) at admission (P < 0.001); 5.9 (3.5 to 25.5) vs. 23.2 (5.8 to 81.4) at D1 (P = 0.003); 10.8 (3.6 to 50.8) vs. 11.7 (4.5 to 66.4) at D2 (P = 0.22); and 16.7 (5.3 to 68.3) vs. 17 (4.3 to 62.9) at D3 (P = 0.96). Patients dying within 24 hours had significantly (P < 0.001) higher TRX levels (118.6 ng/mL (94.8 to 280)) than those who died after 24 hours or survived (50.8 (13.9 to 95.7) and 22 (7.8 to 77)). The area under the ROC curve to predict early death was 0.84 (0.76 to 0.91).
TRX levels on admission were significantly correlated with 'low-flow' duration (P = 0.003), sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score (P < 0.001), and blood lactate concentration (P < 0.001), but not with 'no-flow' duration or simplified acute physiology score (SAPS) II score. TRX levels and admission arterial pO2 correlated negatively (r = -0.17, P = 0.03). Finally, cardiac arrest with cardiac etiology exhibited lower levels of TRX than in cases of extra-cardiac cause (46 ng/mL (11 to 104) vs. 68 (42 to 137), P = 0.01).
Conclusions
Our data show for the first time that TRX levels were elevated early following cardiac arrest, suggestive of oxidative stress and inflammation occurring with this condition. Highest values were found in the most severe patients. TRX could be a useful tool for further exploration and comprehension of post-cardiac arrest syndrome.
doi:10.1186/cc12492
PMCID: PMC4056807  PMID: 23356570
5.  Epidemiology and outcome of severe pneumococcal pneumonia admitted to intensive care unit: a multicenter study 
Critical Care  2012;16(4):R155.
Introduction
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) account for a high proportion of ICU admissions, with Streptococcus pneumoniae being the main pathogen responsible for these infections. However, little is known on the clinical features and outcomes of ICU patients with pneumococcal pneumonia. The aims of this study were to provide epidemiological data and to determine risk factors of mortality in patients admitted to ICU for severe S. pneumoniae CAP.
Methods
We performed a retrospective review of two prospectively-acquired multicentre ICU databases (2001-2008). Patients admitted for management of severe pneumococcal CAP were enrolled if they met the 2001 American Thoracic Society criteria for severe pneumonia, had life-threatening organ failure and had a positive microbiological sample for S. pneumoniae. Patients with bronchitis, aspiration pneumonia or with non-pulmonary pneumococcal infections were excluded.
Results
Two hundred and twenty two patients were included, with a median SAPS II score reaching 47 [36-64]. Acute respiratory failure (n = 154) and septic shock (n = 54) were their most frequent causes of ICU admission. Septic shock occurred in 170 patients (77%) and mechanical ventilation was required in 186 patients (84%); renal replacement therapy was initiated in 70 patients (32%). Bacteraemia was diagnosed in 101 patients. The prevalence of S. pneumoniae strains with decreased susceptibility to penicillin was 39.7%. Although antibiotherapy was adequate in 92.3% of cases, hospital mortality reached 28.8%. In multivariate analysis, independent risk factors for mortality were age (OR 1.05 (95% CI: 1.02-1.08)), male sex (OR 2.83 (95% CI: 1.16-6.91)) and renal replacement therapy (OR 3.78 (95% CI: 1.71-8.36)). Co-morbidities, macrolide administration, concomitant bacteremia or penicillin susceptibility did not influence outcome.
Conclusions
In ICU, mortality of pneumococcal CAP remains high despite adequate antimicrobial treatment. Baseline demographic data and renal replacement therapy have a major impact on adverse outcome.
doi:10.1186/cc11471
PMCID: PMC3580745  PMID: 22894879
6.  Postcardiac arrest syndrome: from immediate resuscitation to long-term outcome 
The prognosis for postcardiac arrest patients remains very bleak, not only because of anoxic-ischemic neurological damage, but also because of the "postcardiac arrest syndrome," a phenomenon often severe enough to cause death before any neurological evaluation. This syndrome includes all clinical and biological manifestations related to the phenomenon of global ischemia-reperfusion triggered by cardiac arrest and return of spontaneous circulation. The main component of the postcardiac arrest syndrome is an early but severe cardiocirculatory dysfunction that may lead to multiple organ failure and death.
Cardiovascular support relies on conventional medical and mechanical treatment of circulatory failure. Hemodynamic stabilization is a major objective to limit secondary brain insult. When the cause of cardiac arrest is related to myocardial infarction, percutaneous coronary revascularization is associated with improved prognosis; early angiographic exploration should then be discussed when there is no obvious extracardiac cause. Therapeutic hypothermia is now the cornerstone of postanoxic cerebral protection. Its widespread use is clearly recommended, with a favorable risk-benefit ratio in selected population. Neuroprotection also is based on the prevention of secondary cerebral damages, pending the results of ongoing therapeutic evaluations regarding the potential efficiency of new therapeutic drugs.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-45
PMCID: PMC3223497  PMID: 22053891
7.  Comparison between Flotrac-Vigileo and Bioreactance, a totally noninvasive method for cardiac output monitoring 
Critical Care  2009;13(3):R73.
Introduction
This study was designed to compare the clinical acceptability of two cardiac output (CO) monitoring systems: a pulse wave contour-based system (FloTrac-Vigileo) and a bioreactance-based system (NICOM), using continuous thermodilution (PAC-CCO) as a reference method.
Methods
Consecutive patients, requiring PAC-CCO monitoring following cardiac surgery, were also monitored by the two other devices. CO values obtained simultaneously by the three systems were recorded continuously on a minute-by-minute basis.
Results
Continuous recording was performed on 29 patients, providing 12,099 simultaneous measurements for each device (417 ± 107 per patient). In stable conditions, correlations of NICOM and Vigileo with PAC-CCO were 0.77 and 0.69, respectively. The bias was -0.01 ± 0.84 for NICOM and -0.01 ± 0.81 for Vigileo (NS). NICOM relative error was less than 30% in 94% of the patients and less than 20% in 79% vs. 91% and 79% for the Vigileo, respectively (NS). The variability of measurements around the trend line (precision) was not different between the three methods: 8 ± 3%, 8 ± 4% and 8 ± 3% for PAC-CCO, NICOM and Vigileo, respectively. CO changes were 7.2 minutes faster with Vigileo and 6.9 minutes faster with NICOM (P < 0.05 both systems vs. PAC-CCO, NS). Amplitude of changes was not significantly different than thermodilution. Finally, the sensitivity and specificity for predicting significant CO changes were 0.91 and 0.95 respectively for the NICOM and 0.86 and 0.92 respectively for the Vigileo.
Conclusions
This study showed that the NICOM and Vigileo devices have similar monitoring capabilities in post-operative cardiac surgery patients.
doi:10.1186/cc7884
PMCID: PMC2717435  PMID: 19454009
9.  Risk factors for post-ICU red blood cell transfusion: a prospective study 
Critical Care  2006;10(5):R129.
Introduction
Factors predictive of the need for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion in the intensive care unit (ICU) have been identified, but risk factors for transfusion after ICU discharge are unknown. This study aims identifies risk factors for RBC transfusion after discharge from the ICU.
Methods
A prospective, monocentric observational study was conducted over a 6-month period in a 24-bed medical ICU in a French university hospital. Between June and December 2003, 550 critically ill patients were consecutively enrolled in the study.
Results
A total of 428 patients survived after treatment in the ICU; 47 (11% of the survivors, 8.5% of the whole population) required RBC transfusion within 7 days after ICU discharge. Admission for sepsis (odds ratio [OR] 341.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 20.35–5734.51), presence of an underlying malignancy (OR 32.6, 95%CI 3.8–280.1), female sex (OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.2–24.9), Logistic Organ Dysfunction score at ICU discharge (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.1–1.9) and age (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.12) were independently associated with RBC transfusion after ICU stay. Haemoglobin level at discharge predicted the need for delayed RBC transfusion. Use of vasopressors (OR 0.01, 95%CI 0.001–0.17) and haemoglobin level at discharge from the ICU (OR 0.02, 95% CI 0.007–0.09; P < 0.001) were strong independent predictors of transfusion of RBC 1 week after ICU discharge.
Conclusion
Sepsis, underlying conditions, unresolved organ failures and haemoglobin level at discharge were related to an increased risk for RBC transfusion after ICU stay. We suggest that strategies to prevent transfusion should focus on homogeneous subgroups of patients and take into account post-ICU needs for RBC transfusion.
doi:10.1186/cc5041
PMCID: PMC1751083  PMID: 16965637
10.  Universal changes in biomarkers of coagulation and inflammation occur in patients with severe sepsis, regardless of causative micro-organism [ISRCTN74215569] 
Critical Care  2004;8(2):R82-R90.
Introduction
PROWESS (Recombinant Human Activated Protein C Worldwide Evaluation in Severe Sepsis) was a phase III, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, multicenter trial conducted in patients with severe sepsis from 164 medical centers. Here we report data collected at study entry for 1690 patients and over the following 7 days for the 840 patients who received placebo (in addition to usual standard of care).
Methods
Nineteen biomarkers of coagulation activation, anticoagulation, fibrinolysis, endothelial injury, and inflammation were analyzed to determine the relationships between baseline values and their change over time, with 28-day survival, and type of infecting causative micro-organism.
Results
Levels of 13 of the 19 biomarkers at baseline correlated with Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores, and nearly all patients exhibited coagulopathy, endothelial injury, and inflammation at baseline. At study entry, elevated D-dimer, thrombin–antithrombin complexes, IL-6, and prolonged prothrombin time were present in 99.7%, 95.5%, 98.5%, and 93.4% of patients, respectively. Markers of endothelial injury (soluble thrombomodulin) and deficient protein C, protein S, and antithrombin were apparent in 72%, 87.6%, 77.8%, and 81.7%, respectively. Impaired fibrinolysis (elevated plasminogen activator inhibitor-1) was observed in 44% of patients. During the first 7 days, increased prothrombin time (which is readily measurable in most clinical settings) was highly evident among patients who were not alive at 28 days.
Conclusion
Abnormalities in biomarkers of inflammation and coagulation were related to disease severity and mortality outcome in patients with severe sepsis. Coagulopathy and inflammation were universal host responses to infection in patients with severe sepsis, which were similar across causative micro-organism groups.
PMCID: PMC420030  PMID: 15025782
activated protein C; coagulopathy; disseminated intravascular coagulation; drotrecogin alfa (activated); inflammation; phase III clinical trial; severe sepsis
11.  Bench-to-bedside review: Severe lactic acidosis in HIV patients treated with nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors 
Critical Care  2003;7(3):226-232.
Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) are effective antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV-infected patients. NRTIs can induce mitochondrial impairment that leads to a number of adverse events, including symptomatic lactic acidosis. In the present review, we describe the underlying mechanism of NRTI-induced toxicity and the main clinical features of this infrequent, but severe, emerging complication. We also summarise experimental data and clinical observations that support the use of L-carnitine supplementation to reverse NRTI-induced mitochondrial impairment.
PMCID: PMC270672  PMID: 12793872
antiretroviral drug; critically ill patients; HIV; lactic acidosis; mitochondria
12.  Bench-to-bedside review: Fulfilling promises of the Human Genome Project 
Critical Care  2002;6(3):212-215.
Since most common diseases have been shown to be influenced by inherited variations in our genes, completion of the Human Genome Project and mapping of the human genome single-nucleotide polymorphisms will have a tremendous impact on our approach to medicine. New developments in genotyping techniques and bioinformatics, enabling detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, already provide physicians and scientists with tools that change our understanding of human biology. In the near future, studies will relate genetic polymorphisms to features of critical illnesses, increased susceptibility to common diseases, and altered response to therapy. Novel insights into the contribution of genetic factors to critical illnesses and advances in pharmacogenomics will be used to select the most effective therapeutic agent and the optimal dosage required to elicit the expected drug response for a given individual. Implementation of genetic criteria for patient selection and individual assessment of the risks and benefits of treatment emerges as a major challenge to the pharmaceutical industry.
PMCID: PMC137447  PMID: 12133180
genetics; pharmacogenomics; polymorphism

Results 1-12 (12)