Observational studies on mechanical ventilation (MV) show practice variations across ICUs. We sought to determine, with a case-vignette study, the heterogeneity of processes of care in ICUs focusing on mechanical ventilation procedures, and whether organizational patterns or physician characteristics influence practice variations.
We conducted a cross-sectional multicenter study using the case-vignette methodology. Descriptive analyses were calculated for each organizational pattern and respondent characteristics. An Index of Qualitative Variation (IQV, from 0, no heterogeneity, to a maximum of 1) was calculated.
Forty ICUs from France (N = 33) and Switzerland (N = 7) participated; 396 physicians answered our case-vignettes. There was major heterogeneity of management processes related to MV within and across centers (mean IQV per center 0.51, SD 0.09). We observed the lowest variability (mean IQV per question < 0.4) for questions related to intubation procedure, ventilation of acute respiratory distress syndrome and the use of the semirecumbent position. We observed a high variability (mean IQV per question > 0.6) for questions related to management of endotracheal tube or suctioning, management of sedation and analgesia, and respect of autonomy. Heterogeneity was independent of respondent characteristics and of the presence of written procedures. There was a correlation between the processes associated with the highest variability (mean IQV per question > 0.6) and the annual volume of ICU admission (r = 0.32 (0.01 to 0.58)) and MV (r = 0.38 (0.07 to 0.63)). Within ICUs there was a large heterogeneity regarding knowledge of a local written procedure.
Large clinical practice variations were found among ICUs. High volume centers were more likely to have heterogeneous practices. The presence of a local written procedure or respondent characteristics did not influence practice variation.
Mechanical ventilation; Clinical practice; Volume-outcome; Protocols
Lung ultrasound is a basic application of critical ultrasound, defined as a loop associating urgent diagnoses with immediate therapeutic decisions. It requires the mastery of ten signs: the bat sign (pleural line), lung sliding (yielding seashore sign), the A-line (horizontal artifact), the quad sign, and sinusoid sign indicating pleural effusion, the fractal, and tissue-like sign indicating lung consolidation, the B-line, and lung rockets indicating interstitial syndrome, abolished lung sliding with the stratosphere sign suggesting pneumothorax, and the lung point indicating pneumothorax. Two more signs, the lung pulse and the dynamic air bronchogram, are used to distinguish atelectasis from pneumonia. All of these disorders were assessed using CT as the “gold standard” with sensitivity and specificity ranging from 90% to 100%, allowing ultrasound to be considered as a reasonable bedside “gold standard” in the critically ill. The BLUE-protocol is a fast protocol (<3 minutes), which allows diagnosis of acute respiratory failure. It includes a venous analysis done in appropriate cases. Pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and pneumothorax yield specific profiles. Pulmonary edema, e.g., yields anterior lung rockets associated with lung sliding, making the “B-profile.” The FALLS-protocol adapts the BLUE-protocol to acute circulatory failure. It makes sequential search for obstructive, cardiogenic, hypovolemic, and distributive shock using simple real-time echocardiography (right ventricle dilatation, pericardial effusion), then lung ultrasound for assessing a direct parameter of clinical volemia: the apparition of B-lines, schematically, is considered as the endpoint for fluid therapy. Other aims of lung ultrasound are decreasing medical irradiation: the LUCIFLR program (most CTs in ARDS or trauma can be postponed), a use in traumatology, intensive care unit, neonates (the signs are the same than in adults), many disciplines (pulmonology, cardiology…), austere countries, and a help in any procedure (thoracentesis). A 1992, cost-effective gray-scale unit, without Doppler, and a microconvex probe are efficient. Lung ultrasound is a holistic discipline for many reasons (e.g., one probe, perfect for the lung, is able to scan the whole-body). Its integration can provide a new definition of priorities. The BLUE-protocol and FALLS-protocol allow simplification of expert echocardiography, a clear advantage when correct cardiac windows are missing.
Lung ultrasound; Acute respiratory failure; Acute circulatory failure; Pulmonary oedema; Pulmonary embolism; Pneumonia; Pneumothorax; Interstitial syndrome; Fluid therapy; Haemodynamic assessment; Intensive care unit
Intensive care unit-acquired weakness (ICUAW) is a common complication, associated with significant morbidity. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has shown promise for prevention. NMES acutely affects skeletal muscle microcirculation; such effects could mediate the favorable outcomes. However, optimal current characteristics have not been defined. This study aimed to compare the effects on muscle microcirculation of a single NMES session using medium and high frequency currents.
ICU patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) or sepsis of three to five days duration and patients with ICUAW were studied. A single 30-minute NMES session was applied to the lower limbs bilaterally using current of increasing intensity. Patients were randomly assigned to either the HF (75 Hz, pulse 400 μs, cycle 5 seconds on - 21 seconds off) or the MF (45 Hz, pulse 400 μs, cycle 5 seconds on - 12 seconds off) protocol. Peripheral microcirculation was monitored at the thenar eminence using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to obtain tissue O2 saturation (StO2); a vascular occlusion test was applied before and after the session. Local microcirculation of the vastus lateralis was also monitored using NIRS.
Thirty-one patients were randomized. In the HF protocol (17 patients), peripheral microcirculatory parameters were: thenar O2 consumption rate (%/minute) from 8.6 ± 2.2 to 9.9 ± 5.1 (P = 0.08), endothelial reactivity (%/second) from 2.7 ± 1.4 to 3.2 ± 1.9 (P = 0.04), vascular reserve (seconds) from 160 ± 55 to 145 ± 49 (P = 0.03). In the MF protocol: thenar O2 consumption rate (%/minute) from 8.8 ± 3.8 to 9.9 ± 3.6 (P = 0.07), endothelial reactivity (%/second) from 2.5 ± 1.4 to 3.1 ± 1.7 (P = 0.03), vascular reserve (seconds) from 163 ± 37 to 144 ± 33 (P = 0.001). Both protocols showed a similar effect. In the vastus lateralis, average muscle O2 consumption rate was 61 ± 9%/minute during the HF protocol versus 69 ± 23%/minute during the MF protocol (P = 0.5). The minimum amplitude in StO2 was 5 ± 4 units with the HF protocol versus 7 ± 4 units with the MF protocol (P = 0.3). Post-exercise, StO2 increased by 6 ± 7 units with the HF protocol versus 5 ± 4 units with the MF protocol (P = 0.6). These changes correlated well with contraction strength.
A single NMES session affected local and systemic skeletal muscle microcirculation. Medium and high frequency currents were equally effective.
Microcirculation; Neuromuscular electrical stimulation; Near-infrared Spectroscopy; ICU-acquired weakness prevention; Tissue oxygen saturation
Reimbursement schemes in intensive care are more complex than in other areas of healthcare, due to special procedures and high care needs. Knowledge regarding the principles of functioning in other countries can lead to increased understanding and awareness of potential for improvement. This can be achieved through mutual exchange of solutions found in other countries. In this review, experts from eight European countries explain their respective intensive care unit reimbursement schemes. Important conclusions include the apparent differences in the countries’ reimbursement schemes-despite all of them originating from a DRG system-, the high degree of complexity found, and the difficulties faced in several countries when collecting the data for this collaborative work. This review has been designed to assist the intensivist clinician and researcher in understanding neighbouring countries’ approaches and in putting research into the context of a European perspective. In addition, steering committees and decision makers might find this a valuable source to compare different reimbursement schemes.
Intensive care unit; Intensive care economics; Reimbursement; DRG system
Transplantation brings sustainably improved quality of life to patients with end-stage organ failure. Persisting shortfall in available organs prompted French authorities and practitioners to focus on organ retrieval in patients withdrawn from life-sustaining treatment and awaiting cardiac arrest (Maastricht classification category III). The purpose of this study was to assess the theoretical eligibility of non-heart-beating donors dying in the intensive care unit (ICU) after a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment (WoWt).
We collected the clinical and biological characteristics of all consecutive patients admitted to our ICU and qualified for a WoWt procedure under the terms of the French Leonetti law governing end-of-life care during a 12-month period. The theoretical organ donor eligibility (for kidney, liver, or lung retrieval) of deceased patients was determined a posteriori 1) according to routine medical criteria for graft selection and 2) according to the WoWt measures implemented and their impact on organ viability.
A total of 596 patients (mean age: 67 ± 16 yr; gender ratio M/F: 1.6; mean SAPS (Simplified Acute Physiology Score) II: 54 ± 24) was admitted to the ICU, of which 84 patients (mean age: 71 ± 14 yr, 14% of admissions, gender ratio M/F: 3.2) underwent WoWt measures. Eight patients left the unit alive. Forty-four patients presented a contraindication ruling out organ retrieval either preexisting admission (n = 20) or emerged during hospitalization (n = 24). Thirty-two patients would have been eligible as kidney (n = 23), liver (n = 22), or lung donors (n = 2). Cardiopulmonary support was withdrawn in only five of these patients, and three died within 120 minutes after withdrawal (the maximum delay compatible with organ viability for donor grafts).
In this pilot study, a significant number of patients deceased under WoWt conditions theoretically would have been eligible for organ retrieval. However, the WoWt measures implemented in our unit seems incompatible with donor organ viability. A French multicenter survey of end-of-life practices in ICU may help to identify potential appropriate organ donors and to interpret nation-specific considerations of the related professional, legal, and ethical frameworks.
Tissue and organ harvesting; Withholding treatment; Life support care; Medical futility; Organ donation
Hypernatremia is common following traumatic brain injury (TBI) and occurs from a variety of mechanisms, including hyperosmotic fluids, limitation of free water, or diabetes insipidus. The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the relationship between hypernatremia and mortality in patients with TBI.
We searched the following databases up to November 2012: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL. Using a combination of MeSH and text terms, we developed search filters for the concepts of hypernatremia and TBI and included studies that met the following criteria: (1) compared hypernatremia to normonatremia, (2) adult patients with TBI, (3) presented adjusted outcomes for mortality or complications.
Bibliographic and conference search yielded 1,152 citations and 11 abstracts, respectively. Sixty-five articles were selected for full-text review with 5 being included in our study. All were retrospective cohort studies totaling 5,594 (range 100–4,296) patients. There was marked between-study heterogeneity. The incidence of hypernatremia ranged between 16% and 40%. Use of hyperosmolar therapy was presented in three studies (range 14-85% of patients). Hypernatremia was associated with increased mortality across all four studies that presented this outcome. Only one study considered diabetes insipidus (DI) in their analysis where hypernatremia was associated with increased mortality in patients who did not receive DDAVP.
Although hypernatremia was associated with increased mortality in the included studies, there was marked between-study heterogeneity. DI was a potential confounder in several studies. Considering these limitations, the clinical significance of hypernatremia in TBI is difficult to establish at this stage.
Traumatic brain injury; Hypernatremia; Hyperosmolar therapy; Hypertonic saline
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.
Intensive care unit; Family; Visitation policy; Family centered care; Patient centered care
The storage duration of red blood cells transfused to critically ill patients is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Whether the association exists between storage duration of red blood cells transfused to patients with sepsis and the risk of developing ALI/ARDS is unknown. We aimed to determine the association of the storage duration of red blood cells transfused to patients with sepsis and risk of developing acute lung injury in the subsequent 96 hours, with comparator trauma and nonsepsis/nontrauma groups.
We conducted a retrospective observational study of 96 transfused, critically ill patients with sepsis, 176 transfused, critically ill patients with traumatic injury, and 125 transfused, critically ill nontrauma, nonsepsis patients. The primary outcome was the development of ALI/ARDS up to 96 hours after transfusion.
In 96 patients with sepsis, 49 (51%) patients developed ALI/ARDS. The median storage duration of transfused blood in the ALI/ARDS group was greater (24.5 days, interquartile range (IQR) 20–31) compared with the patients who did not develop ALI/ARDS (21 days, IQR 15–27, p = 0.018). Longer median storage duration was independently associated with an increased risk of developing ALI/ARDS in the subsequent 4 days (odds ratio 1.8, p = 0.028). The same association was not seen in the trauma or nonsepsis, nontrauma patients.
Transfusion of blood with longer median storage duration to patients with sepsis is associated with a higher risk of developing ALI up to 4 days after transfusion. This same association is not seen in other critically ill patient populations.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Transfusion-related acute lung injury; Red blood cell storage lesion
We report a case of propofol infusion syndrome (PRIS) in a young female treated for status epilepticus. In this case, PRIS rapidly evolved to full cardiovascular collapse despite aggressive supportive care in the intensive care unit, as well as prompt discontinuation of the offending agent. She progressed to refractory cardiac arrest requiring emergent initiation of venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). She regained a perfusing rhythm after prolonged (>8 hours) asystole, was weaned off ECMO and eventually all life support, and was discharged to home. We also present a review of the available literature on the use of ECMO for PRIS.
Propofol infusion syndrome; Cardiogenic shock; Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
Mottling score has been reported to be a strong predictive factor during septic shock. However, the pathophysiology of mottling remains unclear.
In patients admitted in ICU for septic shock, we measured on the same area the mean skin perfusion by laser Doppler, the mottling score, and variations of both indices between T1 (6 hours after vasopressors were started) and T2 (24 hours later).
Fourteen patients were included, SAPS II was 56 [37–71] and SOFA score at T1 was 10 [7–12]. The mean skin surface area analyzed was 4108 ± 740 mm2; 1184 ± 141 measurements were performed over each defined skin surface area. Skin perfusion was significantly different according to mottling score and decreased from 37 [31–42] perfusion units (PUs) for a mottling score of [0–1] to 22 [20–32] PUs for a mottling score of [2–3] and 23 [16–28] for a score of [4–5] (Kruskal-Wallis test, P = 0.05). We analyzed skin perfusion changes during resuscitation in each patient and together with mottling score variations between T1 and T2 using a Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Among the 14 patients included, mottling score increased (worsened) in 5 patients, decreased (improved) in 5 patients, and remained stable in 4 patients. Baseline skin perfusion at T1 was arbitrarily scored 100%. Mean skin perfusion significantly decreased in all the patients whose mottling score worsened from 100% baseline to 63.2 ± 10.7% (P = 0.001), mean skin perfusion significantly increased in all patients whose mottling score improved from 100% baseline to 172.6 ± 46.8% (P = 0.001), and remained stable in patients whose mottling score did not change (100.5 ± 6.8%, P = 0.95).
We have shown that mottling score variations and skin perfusion changes during septic shock resuscitation were correlated, providing additional evidence that mottling reflects skin hypoperfusion.
Septic shock; Microcirculation; Mottling; Intensive care medicine
Sepsis is a leading cause of death despite appropriate management. There is increasing evidence that microcirculatory alterations might persist independently from macrohemodynamic improvement and are related to clinical evolution. Future efforts need to be directed towards microperfusion monitoring and treatment. This study explored the utility of thenar muscle oxygen saturation (StO2) and its changes during a transient vascular occlusion test (VOT) to measure the microcirculatory response to drotrecogin alfa (activated) (DrotAA) in septic patients.
A prospective, observational study was performed in three general intensive care units at three university hospitals. We studied 58 patients with recent onset of severe sepsis or septic shock and at least two organ dysfunctions. Thirty-two patients were treated with DrotAA and 26 were not treated because of formal contraindication. StO2 was monitored using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), and VOT was performed to obtain deoxygenation (DeOx) and reoxygenation (ReOx) slopes. Measurements were obtained before DrotAA was started and were repeated daily for a 96-hour period.
Patients’ characteristics, outcome, severity, and baseline values of StO2, DeOx, and ReOx did not differ between groups. Treated patients significantly improved DeOx and ReOx values over time, whereas control patients did not. In treated patients, ReOx improvements were correlated to norepinephrine dose reductions. Early clinical response (SOFA improvement after 48 hours of treatment) was not associated to changes in VOT-derived slopes. In the treated group, the relative improvement of DeOx within 48 hours was able to predict mortality (AUC 0.91, p < 0.01).
In patients with severe sepsis or septic shock, DrotAA infusion was associated with improvement in regional tissue oxygenation. The degree of DeOx amelioration after 2 days in treated patients predicted mortality with high sensitivity and specificity. Thus, StO2 derived variables might be useful to evaluate the microcirculatory response to treatment of septic shock.
Severe sepsis; Septic shock; Tissue oxygen saturation; Near-infrared spectroscopy; Drotrecogin alfa activated; Outcome
As a result of reporting bias, or frauds, false or misunderstood findings may represent the majority of published research claims. This article provides simple methods that might help to appraise the quality of the reporting of randomized, controlled trials (RCT).
This evaluation roadmap proposed herein relies on four steps: evaluation of the distribution of the reported variables; evaluation of the distribution of the reported p values; data simulation using parametric bootstrap and explicit computation of the p values. Such an approach was illustrated using published data from a retracted RCT comparing a hydroxyethyl starch versus albumin-based priming for cardiopulmonary bypass.
Despite obvious nonnormal distributions, several variables are presented as if they were normally distributed. The set of 16 p values testing for differences in baseline characteristics across randomized groups did not follow a Uniform distribution on [0,1] (p = 0.045). The p values obtained by explicit computations were different from the results reported by the authors for the two following variables: urine output at 5 hours (calculated p value < 10-6, reported p ≥ 0.05); packed red blood cells (PRBC) during surgery (calculated p value = 0.08; reported p < 0.05). Finally, parametric bootstrap found p value > 0.05 in only 5 of the 10,000 simulated datasets concerning urine output 5 hours after surgery. Concerning PRBC transfused during surgery, parametric bootstrap showed that only the corresponding p value had less than a 50% chance to be inferior to 0.05 (3,920/10,000, p value < 0.05).
Such simple evaluation methods might offer some warning signals. However, it should be emphasized that such methods do not allow concluding to the presence of error or fraud but should rather be used to justify asking for an access to the raw data.
Reporting bias; Reporting; CONSORT; Fraud
The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of Transcranial Doppler (TCD) in assessing cerebral perfusion changes in septic patients.
Using TCD, we measured the mean velocity in the middle cerebral artery (VmMCA, cm/sec) and calculated the pulsatility index (PI), resistance index (RI) and cerebral blood flow index (CBFi = 10*MAP/1.47PI) on the first day of patients’ admission or on the first day of sepsis development; measurements were repeated on the second day. Sepsis was defined according to standard criteria.
Forty-one patients without any known neurologic deficit treated in our 24-bed Critical Care Unit were assessed (Sepsis Group = 20, Control Group = 21). Examination was feasible in 91% of septic and 85% of non-septic patients (p = 0.89). No difference was found between the two groups in mean age, mean arterial pressure (MAP) or APACHE II score. The pCO2 values were higher in septic patients (46 ± 12 vs. 39 ± 4 mmHg p < 0.01). No statistically significant higher values of VmMCA were found in septic patients (110 ± 34 cm/sec vs. 99 ± 28 cm/sec p = 0.17). Higher values of PI and RI were found in septic patients (1.15 ± 0.25 vs. 0.98 ± 0.16 p < 0.01, 0.64 ± 0.08 vs. 0.59 ± 0.06 p < 0.01, respectively). No statistically significant lower values of CBFi were found in septic patients (497 ± 116 vs. 548 ± 110 p = 0.06).
Our results suggest cerebral vasoconstriction in septic compared to non-septic patients. TCD is an efficient and feasible exam to evaluate changes in cerebral perfusion during sepsis.
Encephalopathy; Sepsis; Cerebral vasoconstriction; Cerebral microcirculation; Pulsatility index; Resistance index
Phase III clinical trials on severe sepsis and septic shock published during the past decade have failed to reveal the superiority of any therapeutic intervention on mortality compared with evolving standards of care, with the exception of the Early-Goal Directed Therapy reported in 2001. This viewpoint paper presents an analysis of these studies in order to understand what lessons can be learned and proposes perspectives for future study designs. A total of 102 studies were selected among clinical trials published in the field of severe sepsis and septic shock from 2001 to 2013, based on the assessment of a therapeutic intervention and mortality as an outcome. Studies were further selected according to randomized, controlled trial (RCT) quality criteria and analysed according to reported data. Most (n = 61) were excluded because they did not comply with RCT quality criteria or did not report inclusion criteria or patient severity (n = 22). The 19 remaining studies were categorized into three groups depending on whether the intervention assessed led to better, worse, or equivalent outcomes. It appears that the mortality rate in the control arm, ranging from 17% to 61%, impacted the results, with a benefit reported in the studies with the highest rates. Both heterogeneous studied populations and uncontrolled diversity of care among participating centres probably contributed to discrepancies between studies assessing the same intervention. The new challenge to enhance the probability of decreasing mortality rates should include a more appropriate definition of sepsis based on more specific criteria involving biomarker use and accurate patient phenotypes.
The objective of this study was to examine the outcomes of critically ill patients who were transferred from other hospitals to a tertiary care center in Saudi Arabia as a quality improvement project.
This was a retrospective study of adult patients admitted to the medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care hospital. Patients were divided according to the source of referral into three groups: transfers from other hospitals, and direct admissions from emergency department (ED) and from hospital wards. Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was calculated. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the independent predictors of mortality.
Of the 7,654 patients admitted to the ICU, 611 patients (8%) were transferred from other hospitals, 2,703 (35.3%) were direct admissions from ED and 4,340 (56.7%) from hospital wards. Hospital mortality for patients transferred from other hospitals was not significantly different from those who were directly admitted from ED (35% vs. 33.1%, p = 0.37) but was lower than those who were directly admitted from hospital wards (35% vs. 51.2%, p < 0.0001). SMRs did not differ significantly across the three groups.
Critically ill patients who were transferred from other hospitals constituted 8% of all ICU admissions. Mortality of these patients was similar to patients with direct admission from the ED and lower than that of patients with direct admission from hospital wards. However, risk-adjusted mortality was not different from the other two groups.
Emergency department; Hospital mortality; Hospital wards; Intensive care unit; Mortality; Ambulance; Trauma
Acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS) are characterized by pulmonary oedema, measured as extravascular lung water (EVLW). The chest radiograph (CXR) can potentially estimate the quantity of lung oedema while the transpulmonary thermodilution method measures the amount of EVLW. This study was designed to determine whether EVLW as estimated by a CXR score predicts EVLW measured by the thermodilution method and whether changes in EVLW by either approach predict mortality in ALI/ARDS.
Clinical data were collected within 48 hours of ALI/ARDS diagnosis and daily up to 14 days on 59 patients with ALI/ARDS. Two clinicians scored each CXR for the degree of pulmonary oedema, using a validated method. EVLW indexed to body weight was measured using the single indicator transpulmonary thermodilution technique.
The CXR score had a modest, positive correlation with the EVLWI measurements (r = 0.35, p < 0.001). There was a 1.6 ml/kg increase in EVLWI per 10-point increase in the CXR score (p < 0.001, 95% confidence interval 0.92-2.35). The sensitivity of a high CXR score for predicting a high EVLWI was 93%; similarly the negative predictive value was high at 94%; the specificity (51%) and positive predictive value (50%) were lower. The CXR scores did not predict mortality but the EVLW thermodilution did predict mortality.
EVLW measured by CXR was modestly correlated with thermodilution measured EVLW. Unlike CXR findings, transpulmonary thermodilution EVLWI measurements over time predicted mortality in patients with ALI/ARDS.
Extravascular lung water; Chest radiograph; Acute lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Sedation is used frequently for patients in intensive care units who require mechanical ventilation, but oversedation is one of the main side effects. Different strategies have been proposed to prevent oversedation. The extent to which these strategies have been adopted by intensivists is unknown.
We developed a six-section questionnaire that covered the drugs used, modalities of drug administration, use of sedation scales and procedural pain scales, use of written local procedures, and targeted objectives of consciousness. In November 2011, the questionnaire was sent to 1,078 intensivists identified from the French ICU Society (SRLF) database.
The questionnaire was returned by 195 intensivists (response rate 18.1%), representing 135 of the 282 ICUs (47.8%) listed in the French ICU society (SRLF) database. The analysis showed that midazolam and sufentanil are the most frequently used hypnotics and opioids, respectively, administered in continuous intravenous (IV) infusions. IV boluses of hypnotics without subsequent continuous IV infusion are used occasionally (in <25% of patients) by 65% of intensivists. Anxiolytic benzodiazepines (e.g., clorazepam, alprazolam), hydroxyzine, and typical neuroleptics, via either an enteral or IV route, are used occasionally by two thirds of respondents. The existence of a written, local sedation management procedure in the ICU is reported by 55% of respondents, 54% of whom declare that they use it routinely. Written local sedation procedures mainly rely on titration of continuous IV hypnotics (90% of the sedation procedures); less frequently, sedation procedures describe alternative approaches to prevent oversedation, including daily interruption of continuous IV hypnotic infusion, hypnotic boluses with no subsequent continuous IV infusion, or the use of nonhypnotic drugs. Among the responding intensivists, 98% consider eye opening, either spontaneously or after light physical stimulation, a reasonable target consciousness level in patients with no severe respiratory failure or intracranial hypertension.
Despite a low individual response rate, the respondents to our survey represent almost half of the ICUs in the French SRLF database. The presence of a written local sedation procedure, a cornerstone of preventing oversedation, is reported by only half of respondents; when present, it is used in for a limited number of patients. Sedation procedures mainly rely on titration of continuous IV hypnotics, but other strategies to limit oversedation also are included in sedation procedures. French intensivists no longer consider severely altered consciousness a sedation objective for most patients.
Sedation; Midazolam; Propofol; Opioids; Intensive care unit; Mechanical ventilation; Practice survey; Oversedation
Monitoring and management of intracranial pressure (ICP) and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) is a standard of care after traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, the pathophysiology of so-called secondary brain injury, i.e., the cascade of potentially deleterious events that occur in the early phase following initial cerebral insult—after TBI, is complex, involving a subtle interplay between cerebral blood flow (CBF), oxygen delivery and utilization, and supply of main cerebral energy substrates (glucose) to the injured brain. Regulation of this interplay depends on the type of injury and may vary individually and over time. In this setting, patient management can be a challenging task, where standard ICP/CPP monitoring may become insufficient to prevent secondary brain injury. Growing clinical evidence demonstrates that so-called multimodal brain monitoring, including brain tissue oxygen (PbtO2), cerebral microdialysis and transcranial Doppler among others, might help to optimize CBF and the delivery of oxygen/energy substrate at the bedside, thereby improving the management of secondary brain injury. Looking beyond ICP and CPP, and applying a multimodal therapeutic approach for the optimization of CBF, oxygen delivery, and brain energy supply may eventually improve overall care of patients with head injury. This review summarizes some of the important pathophysiological determinants of secondary cerebral damage after TBI and discusses novel approaches to optimize CBF and provide adequate oxygen and energy supply to the injured brain using multimodal brain monitoring.
Traumatic brain injury; Cerebral blood flow; Brain oxygen; Cerebral metabolism; Multimodal monitoring; Cerebral microdialysis; Transcranial Doppler; Neuromonitoring
In the context of worldwide increasing antimicrobial resistance, good antimicrobial prescribing in more needed than ever; unfortunately, information available to clinicians often are insufficient to rely on. Biomarkers might provide help for decision-making and improve antibiotic management. The purpose of this expert panel review was to examine currently available literature on the potential role of biomarkers to improve antimicrobial prescribing, by answering three questions: 1) Which are the biomarkers available for this purpose?; 2) What is their potential role in the initiation of antibiotic therapy?; and 3) What is their role in the decision to stop antibiotic therapy? To answer these questions, studies reviewed were limited to recent clinical studies (<15 years), involving a substantial number of patients (>50) and restricted to controlled trials and meta-analyses for answering questions 2 and 3. With regard to the first question concerning routinely available biomarkers, which might be useful for antibiotic management of acute infections, these are currently limited to C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT). Other promising biomarkers that may prove useful in the near future but need to undergo more extensive clinical testing include sTREM-1, suPAR, ProADM, and Presepsin. New approaches to biomarkers of infections include point-of-care testing and genomics.
Infection; Sepsis; Emergency medicine; Biomarkers; Procalcitonin; C-reactive protein; sTREM-1; suPAR; proADM; Presepsin
Biomarker-guided initiation of antibiotic therapy has been studied in four conditions: acute pancreatitis, lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI), meningitis, and sepsis in the ICU. In pancreatitis with suspected infected necrosis, initiating antibiotics best relies on fine-needle aspiration and demonstration of infected material. We suggest that PCT be measured to help predict infection; however, available data are insufficient to decide on initiating antibiotics based on PCT levels. In adult patients suspected of community-acquired LRTI, we suggest withholding antibiotic therapy when the serum PCT level is low (<0.25 ng/mL); in patients having nosocomial LRTI, data are insufficient to recommend initiating therapy based on a single PCT level or even repeated measurements. For children with suspected bacterial meningitis, we recommend using a decision rule as an aid to therapeutic decisions, such as the Bacterial Meningitis Score or the Meningitest®; a single PCT level ≥0.5 ng/mL also may be used, but false-negatives may occur. In adults with suspected bacterial meningitis, we suggest integrating serum PCT measurements in a clinical decision rule to help distinguish between viral and bacterial meningitis, using a 0.5 ng/mL threshold. For ICU patients suspected of community-acquired infection, we do not recommend using a threshold serum PCT value to help the decision to initiate antibiotic therapy; data are insufficient to recommend using PCT serum kinetics for the decision to initiate antibiotic therapy in patients suspected of ICU-acquired infection. In children, CRP can probably be used to help discontinue therapy, although the evidence is limited. In adults, antibiotic discontinuation can be based on an algorithm using repeated PCT measurements. In non-immunocompromised out- or in- patients treated for RTI, antibiotics can be discontinued if the PCT level at day 3 is < 0.25 ng/mL or has decreased by >80-90%, whether or not microbiological documentation has been obtained. For ICU patients who have nonbacteremic sepsis from a known site of infection, antibiotics can be stopped if the PCT level at day 3 is < 0.5 ng/mL or has decreased by >80% relative to the highest level recorded, irrespective of the severity of the infectious episode; in bacteremic patients, a minimal duration of therapy of 5 days is recommended.
Infection; Sepsis; Emergency medicine; Biomarkers; Procalcitonin; C-reactive protein; Pancreatitis; Meningitis; Pneumonia
Pharmacological interventions are commonly considered in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) patients. Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) and neuromuscular blockers (NMBs) are used in patients with severe hypoxemia. No outcome benefit has been observed with the systematic use of iNO. However, a sometimes important improvement in oxygenation can occur shortly after starting administration. Therefore, its ease of use and its good tolerance justify iNO optionally combined with almitirne as a rescue therapy on a trial basis. Recent data from the literature support the use of a 48-h infusion of NMBs in patients with a PaO2 to FiO2 ratio <120 mmHg. No strong evidence exists on the increase of ICU-acquired paresis after a short course of NMBs. Fluid management with the goal to obtain zero fluid balance in ARDS patients without shock or renal failure significantly increases the number of days without mechanical ventilation. On the other hand, patients with hemodynamic failure must receive early and adapted fluid resuscitation. Liberal and conservative fluid strategies therefore are complementary and should ideally follow each other in time in the same patient whose hemodynamic state progressively stabilizes. At present, albumin treatment does not appear to be justified for limitation of pulmonary edema and respiratory morbidity. Aerosolized β2-agonists do not improve outcome in patients with ARDS and one study strongly suggests that intravenous salbutamol may worsen outcome in those patients. The early use of high doses of corticosteroids for the prevention of ARDS in septic shock patients or in patients with confirmed ARDS significantly reduced the duration of mechanical ventilation but had no effect or even increased mortality. In patients with persistent ARDS after 7 to 28 days, a randomized trial showed no reduction in mortality with moderate doses of corticosteroids but an increased PaO2 to FiO2 ratio and thoracopulmonary compliance were found, as well as shorter durations of mechanical ventilation and of ICU stay. Conflicting data exist on the interest of low doses of corticosteroids (200 mg/day of hydrocortisone) in ARDS patients. In the context of a persistent ARDS with histological proof of fibroproliferation, a corticosteroid treatment with a progressive decrease of doses can be proposed.
Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Nitric oxide; Neuromuscular blockers; Fluids; Albumin; Corticosteroids; Hypoxemia; Fibrosis; Rescue therapy; Outcome
Intensive care unit (ICU) patients are exposed to many sources of discomfort. Most of these are related to the patient’s condition, but ICU design or how care is organized also can contribute. The present survey was designed to describe the opinions of ICU caregivers on sources of patient discomfort and to determine how they were dealt with in practice. The architectural and organizational characteristics of ICUs also were analyzed in relation to patient comfort.
An online, closed-ended questionnaire was developed. ICU caregivers registered at the French society of intensive care were invited to complete this questionnaire.
A total of 915 staff members (55% nurses) from 264 adult and 28 pediatric ICUs completed the questionnaire. Analysis of the answers reveals that: 68% of ICUs had only single-occupancy rooms, and 66% had natural light in each room; ICU patients had access to television in 59% of ICUs; a clock was present in each room in 68% of ICUs. Visiting times were <4 h in 49% of adult ICUs, whereas 64% of respondents considered a 24-h policy to be very useful or essential to patients’ well-being. A nurse-driven analgesia protocol was available in 42% of units. For caregivers, the main sources of patient discomfort were anxiety, feelings of restraint, noise, and sleep disturbances. Paramedics generally considered discomfort related to thirst, lack of privacy, and the lack of space and time references, whereas almost 50% of doctors ignored these sources of discomfort. Half of caregivers indicated they assessed sleep quality. A minority of caregivers declared regular use of noise-reduction strategies. Twenty percent of respondents admitted to having non-work-related conversations during patient care, and only 40% indicated that care often was or always was provided without closing doors. Family participation in care was planned in very few adult ICUs.
Results of this survey showed that ICUs are poorly equipped to ensure patient privacy and rest. Access by loved ones and their participation in care also is limited. The data also highlighted that some sources of discomfort are less often taken into account by caregivers, despite being considered to contribute significantly.
Intensive care unit; Comfort; Survey; Organization; Opinions
The prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae is increasing globally and is a major clinical concern. Between June 2008 and September 2009, 4% of patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) were found to be colonized or infected by strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae multiresistant to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, and tobramycin; an investigation was initiated and isolates were characterized by molecular typing and resistance patterns.
Antibiotic susceptibilities were determined by Vitek2®, Etest®, and agar dilution. Gene encoding beta-lactamases and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance PMQR determinants (qnr, aac(6′)-Ib) were characterized by PCR, sequencing, and transfer assays. DiversiLab® fingerprints were used to study the relatedness of isolates.
Fourteen isolates co-expressing blaCTX-M15, qnrB1, and aac(6′)-Ib-cr were identified. Genotypic analysis of these isolates identified 12 clonally related strains recovered from 10 patients. The increased prevalence of blaCTX-M15-qnrB1-aac(6′)-Ib-cr-producing K. pneumoniae coincided with the presence in the ICU of a patient originally from Nigeria. This patient was infected by a strain not clonally related to the others but harbouring qnrB1 and aac(6′)-Ib-cr genes, a finding not hitherto observed in France. We suspected transmission of resistance plasmids followed by rapid dissemination of the multiresistant K. pneumoniae clone by cross-transmission.
This study highlights the importance of microbiological screening for multidrug-resistant strains in ICUs, particularly among patients from regions in which multidrug-resistant bacteria are known to exist.
Outbreak; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase; Intensive care unit; Screening; Quinolone resistance
Severe acute arterial hypertension can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. After excluding a reversible etiology, choice of therapeutic intervention should be based on evaluation of a number of factors, such as age, comorbidities, and other ongoing therapies. A rational pathophysiological approach should then be applied that integrates the effects of the drug on blood volume, vascular tone, and other determinants of cardiac output. Vasodilators, calcium channel blockers, and beta-blocking agents can all decrease arterial pressure but by totally different modes of action, which may be appropriate or contraindicated in individual patients. There is no preferred agent for all situations, although some drugs may have a more attractive profile than others, with rapid onset action, short half-life, and fewer adverse reactions. In this review, we focus on the main mechanisms underlying severe hypertension in the critically ill and how using a pathophysiological approach can help the intensivist decide on treatment options.
Beta-blockers; Calcium channel blockers; Cardiac output; Diuretics; Mean arterial pressure; Vasodilators
Whereas red blood cell transfusions have been used since the 19th century, plasma has only been available since 1941. It was originally mainly used as volume replacement, mostly during World War II and the Korean War. Over the years, its indication has shifted to correct coagulation factors deficiencies or to prevent bleeding. Currently, it remains a frequent treatment in the intensive care unit, both for critically ill adults and children. However, observational studies have shown that plasma transfusion fail to correct mildly abnormal coagulation tests. Furthermore, recent epidemiological studies have shown that plasma transfusions are associated with an increased morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Therefore, plasma, as any other treatment, has to be used when the benefits outweigh the risks. Based on observational data, most experts suggest limiting its use either to massively bleeding patients or bleeding patients who have documented abnormal coagulation tests, and refraining for transfusing plasma to nonbleeding patients whatever their coagulation tests. In this paper, we will review current evidence on plasma transfusions and discuss its indications.
Plasma transfusion; Plasma products; Clinical effects of plasma