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1.  Increased cesarean section rate in Central Saudi Arabia: a change in practice or different maternal characteristics 
Cesarean section (CS) rate has shown an alarming increase. We aimed in this work to identify factors contributing to the increasing rate of CS in central Saudi Arabia.
A retrospective cohort study was conducted at King Abdulaziz Medical City. Two groups of women were included (G1 and G2). G1 had delivered by CS during the year 2002 (CS rate 12%), and G2 had delivered by CS during the year 2009 (CS rate 20%). We compared the included women’s characteristics, neonates, CS indications, and complications. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 15 program. Odds ratios and confidence intervals were calculated to report precision of categorical data results. A P-value of ≤0.05 was considered significant.
A total of 198 women were included in G1 and 200 in G2. Both groups had comparable maternal and fetal characteristics; however, absence of antenatal care has resulted in 70% increase in CS deliveries for G2, P=0.008, OR =0.30, CI 0.12–0.76. Previous vaginal surgeries have contributed to tenfold increase in CS deliveries for G2, P=0.006, OR =10.37, CI 1.32–81.78. G2 had eight times increased CS deliveries than G1 due to intrauterine growth restriction, P=0.02, OR =8.21, CI 1.02–66.25, and 80% increased risk of CS was based on maternal demand, P=0.02, OR =0.20, CI 0.02–1.71. Decision taken by less-experienced staff was associated with 2.5-fold increase in CS deliveries for G2, P=0.002, OR =2.62, CI 1.39–4.93. There was a significant increase in CS deliveries under regional analgesia and shorter duration of hospital stay for G2, P=0.0001 and P=0.001, respectively. G2 women had 2.75-fold increase in neonatal intensive care unit admission, P=0.03, OR =2.75, CI 1.06–7.15.
CS delivery rate significantly increased within the studied population. The increased rate of CS may be related to a change in physician’s practice rather than a change in maternal characteristics, and it appears to be reducible.
PMCID: PMC4506023  PMID: 26203285
cesarean section; maternal morbidity; neonatal morbidity; cesarean section rate
2.  Determinants of functional status among survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock: One-year follow-up 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(2):132-136.
Sepsis is a leading cause of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions worldwide and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Limited data exist regarding the outcomes and functional status among survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock.
This study aimed to determine the functional status among survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock a year after hospital discharge.
Adult patients admitted between April 2007 and March 2010 to the medical-surgical ICU of a tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia, were included in this study. The ICU database was investigated for patients with a diagnosis of severe sepsis or septic shock. Survival status was determined based on hospital discharge. Patients who required re-admission, stayed in ICU for less than 24 hours, had incomplete data were all excluded. Survivors were interviewed through phone calls to determine their functional status one-year post-hospital discharge using Karnofsky performance status scale.
A total of 209 patients met the eligibility criteria. We found that 38 (18.1%) patients had severe disability before admission, whereas 109 (52.2%) patients were with severe disability or died one-year post-hospital discharge. Only one-third of the survivors had good functional status one-year post-discharge (no/mild disability). After adjustment of baseline variables, age [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-1.04] and pre-sepsis functional status of severe disability (aOR = 50.9, 95% CI = 6.82-379.3) were found to be independent predictors of functional status of severe disability one-year post-hospital discharge among survivors.
We found that only one-third of the survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock had good functional status one-year post-discharge (no/mild disability). Age and pre-sepsis severe disability were the factors that highly predicted the level of functional status one-year post-hospital discharge.
PMCID: PMC4375742  PMID: 25829965
Disability; functional status; severe sepsis; septic shock
3.  Characteristics, management and outcomes of critically ill patients who are 80 years and older: a retrospective comparative cohort study 
BMC Anesthesiology  2014;14:126.
Older age is associated with chronic illnesses and disability, which contribute to increased admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Our primary objective was to compare the characteristics, ICU management and outcomes of critically ill patients ≥ 80 year-old with those of younger patients.
This was a retrospective cohort study of patients admitted to a tertiary-care ICU from 1999 to 2011. The characteristics, ICU management and outcomes of patients ≥ 80 year-old were compared with those 50–64.9 and 65–79.9 year-old. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the adjusted risk of Do-Not-Resuscitate orders and hospital mortality in patients ≥ 80 year-old compared with the younger groups.
During the study period, patients aged ≥ 80 years (N = 748) represented 7.9% of all ICU admissions and 12.8% of patients aged ≥ 50 years. Chronic cardiac (32.2%) and respiratory (21.8%) diseases were more prevalent in them than the younger groups (p < 0.0001). The most common reasons for their ICU admission were cardiovascular (30.9%) and respiratory (40.4%) conditions. Sepsis was commonly present in them on admission (32.9%). Mechanical ventilation and renal replacement therapy were commonly provided (76.9% and 16.0%, respectively). During ICU stay, Do-Not-Resuscitate orders were more frequently written for patients aged ≥ 80 years (35.0%) compared with 21.9% for 50–64.9 year-old group, p < 0.0001, and 25.4% for the 60–79.9 year-old group, p < 0.0001. On multivariate analysis, patients aged ≥ 80 years were more likely to receive these order compared with the 50–64.9 year-old patients (adjusted OR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.45-2.31) and the 65–80 year-old patients (adjusted OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.32-2.04). The hospital mortality increased gradually with age and was highest (54.6%) in patients ≥ 80 year-old (p < 0.0001). Patients ≥ 80 year-old had higher risk of hospital mortality compared with patients aged 50–64.9 years (adjusted OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.73-2.69) and with those aged 65–79.9 years (adjusted OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.23-1.86).
Patients ≥ 80 year-old represented a significant proportion of ICU admissions. Although they received life sustaining measures similar to younger groups, they had higher adjusted mortality risk compared with the younger groups.
PMCID: PMC4289550  PMID: 25580090
Aged 80 and over; Critical illness; Health outcome; Mortality
4.  Will any future increase in cigarette price reduce smoking in Saudi Arabia? 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(3):154-157.
In Saudi Arabia, no studies have been conducted on the correlation between any possible cigarette's price increase and its effects on cigarette consumption.
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of cigarette smoking in Saudi Arabia and to predict the effect of price increase on cigarette consumption.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in April and May 2013.
We developed an Arabic questionnaire with information on demographic and socioeconomic factors, smoking history, and personal opinion on the effect of price increase on cigarette consumption. The questionnaire was distributed in public places such as malls and posted on famous Saudi athlete media's twitter accounts.
Among the 2057 included responses, 802 (39%) were current smokers. The smokers’ population constituted of 746 (92%) males, of which 546 (68%) had a monthly income equal or greater to 800 US dollars, and 446 (55%) were aged between 21 and 30 years. Multivariate analyses of the risk factors for smoking showed that male gender and older age were associated with greater risk. Despite the current low prices of 2.67 US dollars, 454 smokers (56%) thought that cigarette prices are expensive. When asked about the price of cigarettes that will lead to smoking cessation, 443 smokers (55%) expected that a price of 8.27 US dollars and more per pack will make them quit.
Increasing the price of popular cigarettes pack from 2.67 US dollars to 8.27 US dollars is expected to lead to smoking cessation in a large number of smokers in the Saudi population.
PMCID: PMC4073572  PMID: 24987474
Cessation; cigarette; price increase; Saudi Arabia; smokers; smoking; tobacco
5.  Tertiary care availability and adolescent pregnancy characteristics in Saudi Arabia 
In this study, we aimed to assess the rate of adolescent delivery in a Saudi tertiary health care center and to investigate the association between maternal age and fetal, neonatal, and maternal complications where a professional tertiary medical care service is provided.
A cross-sectional study was performed between 2005 and 2010 at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. All primigravid Saudi women ≥24 weeks gestation, carrying a singleton pregnancy, aged <35 years, and with no chronic medical problems were eligible. Women were divided into three groups based on their age, ie, group 1 (G1) <16 years, group 2 (G2) ≥16 up to 19 years, and group 3 (G3) ≥19 up to 35 years. Data were collected from maternal and neonatal medical records. We calculated the association between the different age groups and maternal characteristics, as well as events and complications during the antenatal period, labor, and delivery.
The rates of adolescent delivery were 20.0 and 16.3 per 1,000 births in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Compared with G1 and G2 women, G3 women tended to have a higher body mass index, a longer first and second stage of labor, more blood loss at delivery, and a longer hospital stay. Compared with G1 and G2 women, respectively, G3 women had a 42% and a 67% increased risk of cesarean section, and had a 52% increased risk of instrumental delivery. G3 women were more likely to develop gestational diabetes or anemia, G2 women had a three-fold increased risk of premature delivery (odds ratio 2.81), and G3 neonates had a 50% increased overall risk of neonatal complications (odds ratio 0.51).
The adolescent birth rate appears to be low in central Saudi Arabia compared with other parts of the world. Excluding preterm delivery, adolescent delivery cared for in a tertiary health care center is not associated with a significantly increased medical risk to the mother, fetus, or neonate. The psychosocial effect of adolescent pregnancy and delivery needs to be assessed.
PMCID: PMC3979779  PMID: 24729733
adolescent pregnancy; maternal mortality; maternal morbidity; neonatal mortality; neonatal morbidity
6.  Effect of education and clinical assessment on the accuracy of post partum blood loss estimation 
This research aimed to assess the effect of health care provider education on the accuracy of post partum blood loss estimation.
A non-randomized observational study that was conducted at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between January 1, 2011 and June 30, 2011. Hundred and twenty three health care providers who are involved in the estimation of post partum blood loss were eligible to participate. The participants were subjected to three research phases and an educational intervention. They have assessed a total of 30 different simulated blood loss stations, with 10 stations in each of the research phases. These phases took place before and after educational sessions on how to visually estimate blood loss and how to best utilize patient data in clinical scenarios. We have assessed the differences between the estimated blood loss and the actual measure. P-values were calculated to assess the differences between the three research phases estimations.
The participants significantly under-estimated post partum blood loss. The accuracy was improved after training (p-value < 0.0001) and after analysing each patient’s clinical information (p-value = 0.042). The overall results were not affected by the participants’ clinical backgrounds or their years of experience. Under-estimation was more prominent in cases where more than average-excessive blood losses were simulated while over-estimations or accurate estimations were more prominent in less than average blood loss incidents.
Simple education programmes can improve traditional findings related to under-estimation of blood loss. More sophisticated clinical education programmes may provide additional improvements.
PMCID: PMC3994970  PMID: 24646156
Post partum blood loss; Visual estimation; Maternal mortality; Maternal morbidity; Education
7.  Risk factors, management and outcomes of patients admitted with near fatal asthma to a tertiary care hospital in Riyadh 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(1):33-38.
Near-fatal asthma (NFA) has not been well studied in Saudi Arabia. We evaluated NFA risk factors in asthmatics admitted to a tertiary-care hospital and described NFA management and outcomes.
This was a retrospective study of NFA patients admitted to an ICU in Riyadh (2006-2010). NFA was defined as a severe asthma attack requiring intubation. To evaluate NFA risk factors, randomly selected patients admitted to the ward for asthma exacerbation were used as controls. Collected data included demographics, information on prior asthma control and various NFA treatments and outcomes.
Thirty NFA cases were admitted to the ICU in the five-year period. Compared to controls (N = 120), NFA patients were younger (37.5 ± 19.9 vs. 50.3 ± 23.1 years, P = 0.004) and predominantly males (70.0% vs. 41.7%, P = 0.005) and used less inhaled steroids/long-acting ß2-agonists combination (13.6% vs. 38.7% P = 0.024. Most (73.3%) NFA cases presented in the cool months (October-March). On multivariate analysis, age (odds ratio [OR] 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92-0.99, P = 0.015) and the number of ED visits in the preceding year (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.00-1.55) were associated with NFA. Rescue NFA management included ketamine (50%) and theophylline (19%) infusions. NFA outcomes included: neuromyopathy (23%), mechanical ventilation duration = 6.4 ± 4.7 days, tracheostomy (13%) and mortality (0%). Neuromuscular blockade duration was associated with neuromyopathy (OR, 3.16 per one day increment; 95% CI, 1.27-7.83).
In our study, NFA risk factors were younger age and higher number of ED visits. NFA had significant morbidity. Reducing neuromuscular blockade duration during ventilator management may decrease neuromyopathy risk.
PMCID: PMC3912685  PMID: 24551016
Asthma; critical illness; mechanical ventilation; neuromyopathy
8.  Venous Thromboembolism in Critically Ill Cirrhotic Patients: Practices of Prophylaxis and Incidence 
Thrombosis  2013;2013:807526.
Objectives. We compared venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis practices and incidence in critically ill cirrhotic versus noncirrhotic patients and evaluated cirrhosis as a VTE risk factor. Methods. A cohort of 798 critically ill patients followed for the development of clinically detected VTE were categorized according to the diagnosis of cirrhosis. VTE prophylaxis practices and incidence were compared. Results. Seventy-five (9.4%) patients had cirrhosis with significantly higher INR (2.2 ± 0.9 versus 1.3 ± 0.6, P < 0.0001), lower platelet counts (115,000 ± 90,000 versus 258,000 ± 155,000/μL, P < 0.0001), and higher creatinine compared to noncirrhotic patients. Among cirrhotics, 31 patients received only mechanical prophylaxis, 24 received pharmacologic prophylaxis, and 20 did not have any prophylaxis. Cirrhotic patients were less likely to receive pharmacologic prophylaxis (odds ratio, 0.08; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.04–0.14). VTE occurred in only two (2.7%) cirrhotic patients compared to 7.6% in noncirrhotic patients (P = 0.11). The incidence rate was 2.2 events per 1000 patient-ICU days for cirrhotic patients and 3.6 events per 1000 patient-ICU days for noncirrhotics (incidence rate ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.15–2.52). On multivariate Cox regression analysis, cirrhosis was not associated with VTE risk (hazard ratio, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.10–1.67). Conclusions. In critically ill cirrhotic patients, VTE incidence did not statistically differ from that in noncirrhotic patients.
PMCID: PMC3872442  PMID: 24386564
9.  Maternal and neonatal risk factors for early-onset group B streptococcal disease: a case control study 
To identify the prominent maternal and neonatal risk factors associated with early-onset group B streptococcus (EOGBS) disease in neonates and to determine their importance by comparing them with a control group.
Neonatal unit at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Cases were infants <7 days of age with invasive group B streptococcus (GBS) disease diagnosed between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009. Controls were healthy infants born in the same hospital during the same period having the same birth weight and gestational age category.
Main outcome measures
Maternal risk factors for developing EOGBS disease, feto–maternal and neonatal clinical data, their morbidities, mortalities, and length of hospital stay.
A total of 99 cases and 200 controls were included. The majority of cases presented in the first 72 hours of life (62/99 [63.9%]), of which 87/99 (89.7%) had at least one clinical risk factor for the development of EOGBS disease. Mothers of neonates with EOGBS disease were more likely to have GBS bacteriuria (odds ratio [OR] 10.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24–93.42), infection in the peripartum period (OR 8.92, CI 2.87–27.68), and temperature ≥38°C (OR 7.10, CI 2.50–20.17). GBS disease was associated with premature rupture of membranes and fetal tachycardia (P<0.01 for both). Neonates with EOGBS disease were more likely to have respiratory distress disease and convulsions, require tube feeding, and have longer hospital stays compared with the controls (P<0.01 for all). Stepwise multiple logistic regression has identified three risk factors that were associated with the highest tendency for the development of EOGBS disease. These were lack of antenatal attendance (OR =0.30 and CI 0.98–0.88), rupture of membranes (OR =9.62 and CI 3.1–29.4), and antibiotic use in labor (OR =0.16 and CI 0.38–0.67).
A number of maternal risk factors were significantly associated with EOGBS disease. Taking these factors into consideration may result in preventing the occurrence of EOGBS disease, improve maternal and neonatal medical care, decrease their hospital stay, and reduce unnecessary hospital resource utilization.
PMCID: PMC3814928  PMID: 24194650
group B streptococcus; neonatal morbidity; maternal morbidity; antenatal screening
10.  Even Mild Hyperlactatemia Is Associated with Increased Mortality in Critically Ill Patients 
Critical Care  2013;17(5):R197.
The clinical significance of elevation of lactate levels within the reference range is not well studied. The objective of this study was to determine the best cutoff threshold for serum lactate within the reference range (0.01 to 2.00 mM) that best discriminated between survivors and nonsurvivors of critical illness and to examine the association between relative hyperlactatemia (lactate above the identified threshold) and mortality.
This was a retrospective cohort study of adult patients admitted to the medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care academic center. Youden index was calculated to identify the best lactate cutoff threshold that discriminated between survivors and nonsurvivors. Patients with lactate above the identified threshold were defined as having relative hyperlactatemia. Multivariate logistic regression, adjusting for baseline variables, was performed to determine the relationship between the above two ranges of lactate levels and mortality. In addition, a test of interaction was performed to assess the effect of selected subgroups on the association between relative hyperlactatemia and hospital mortality.
During the study period, 2,157 patients were included in the study with mean lactate of 1.3 ± 0.4 mM, age of 55.1 ± 20.3 years, and acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) II score of 22.1 ± 8.2. Vasopressors were required in 42.4%. Lactate of 1.35 mM was found to be the best cutoff threshold for the whole cohort. Relative hyperlactatemia was associated with increased hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio (aOR), 1.60, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29 to 1.98), and ICU mortality (aOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.26 to 2.17) compared with a lactate level of 0.01 to 1.35 mM. This association was consistent among all examined subgroups.
Relative hyperlactatemia (lactate of 1.36 to 2.00 mM) within the first 24 hours of ICU admission is an independent predictor of hospital and ICU mortality in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC4056896  PMID: 24025259
11.  Demographics and outcomes of critically ill patients transferred from other hospitals to a tertiary care academic referral center in Saudi Arabia 
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.
PMCID: PMC3751539  PMID: 23937989
Emergency department; Hospital mortality; Hospital wards; Intensive care unit; Mortality; Ambulance; Trauma
12.  Clinical characteristics, sepsis interventions and outcomes in the obese patients with septic shock: an international multicenter cohort study 
Critical Care  2013;17(2):R72.
Data are sparse as to whether obesity influences the risk of death in critically ill patients with septic shock. We sought to examine the possible impact of obesity, as assessed by body mass index (BMI), on hospital mortality in septic shock patients.
We performed a nested cohort study within a retrospective database of patients with septic shock conducted in 28 medical centers in Canada, United States and Saudi Arabia between 1996 and 2008. Patients were classified according to the World Health Organization criteria for BMI. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to evaluate the association between obesity and hospital mortality.
Of the 8,670 patients with septic shock, 2,882 (33.2%) had height and weight data recorded at ICU admission and constituted the study group. Obese patients were more likely to have skin and soft tissue infections and less likely to have pneumonia with predominantly Gram-positive microorganisms. Crystalloid and colloid resuscitation fluids in the first six hours were given at significantly lower volumes per kg in the obese and very obese patients compared to underweight and normal weight patients (for crystalloids: 55.0 ± 40.1 ml/kg for underweight, 43.2 ± 33.4 for normal BMI, 37.1 ± 30.8 for obese and 27.7 ± 22.0 for very obese). Antimicrobial doses per kg were also different among BMI groups. Crude analysis showed that obese and very obese patients had lower hospital mortality compared to normal weight patients (odds ratio (OR) 0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66 to 0.97 for obese and OR 0.61, 95% CI 0.44 to 0.85 for very obese patients). After adjusting for baseline characteristics and sepsis interventions, the association became non-significant (OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.02 for obese and OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.04 for very obese).
The obesity paradox (lower mortality in the obese) documented in other populations is also observed in septic shock. This may be related in part to differences in patient characteristics. However, the true paradox may lie in the variations in the sepsis interventions, such as the administration of resuscitation fluids and antimicrobial therapy. Considering the obesity epidemic and its impact on critical care, further studies are warranted to examine whether a weight-based approach to common therapeutic interventions in septic shock influences outcome.
PMCID: PMC3672731  PMID: 23594407
13.  Permissive underfeeding versus target enteral feeding in adult critically ill patients (PermiT Trial): a study protocol of a multicenter randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:191.
Nutritional support is an essential part of the management of critically ill patients. However, optimal caloric intake has not been systematically evaluated. We aim to compare two strategies of enteral feeding: permissive underfeeding versus target feeding.
This is an international multi-center randomized controlled trial in critically ill medical- surgical adult patients. Using a centralized allocation, 862 patients will be randomized to permissive underfeeding or target feeding. Patients in the permissive group receive 50% (acceptable range is 40% to 60%) of the calculated caloric requirement, while those in the targeted group receive 100% (acceptable range 70% to 100%) of the calculated caloric requirement. The primary outcome is 90-day all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes include ICU and hospital mortality, 28-day, and 180-day mortality as well as health care-associated infections, organ failure, and length of stay in the ICU and hospital. The trial has 80% power to detect an 8% absolute reduction in 90-day mortality assuming a baseline risk of death of 25% at an alpha level of 0.05.
Patient recruitment started in November 2009 and is currently active in five centers. The Data Monitoring Committee advised continuation of the trial after the first interim analysis. The study is expected to finish by November 2013.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN68144998
PMCID: PMC3517534  PMID: 23057605
Enteral nutrition; Intensive Care Units; Caloric restriction; Infections; Insulin; Mortality
14.  Intra-abdominal pressure and abdominal perfusion pressure in cirrhotic patients with septic shock 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S4.
The importance of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) and abdominal perfusion pressure (APP) in cirrhotic patients with septic shock is not well studied. We evaluated the relationship between IAP and APP and outcomes of cirrhotic septic patients, and assessed the ability of these measures compared to other common resuscitative endpoints to differentiate survivors from nonsurvivors.
This study was a post hoc analysis of a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial in which mean arterial pressure (MAP), central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) and IAP were measured every 6 h in 61 cirrhotic septic patients admitted to the intensive care unit. APP was calculated as MAP - IAP. Intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) was defined as mean IAP ≥ 12 mmHg, and abdominal hypoperfusion as mean APP < 60 mmHg. Measured outcomes included ICU and hospital mortality, need for renal replacement therapy (RRT) and ventilator- and vasopressor-free days.
IAH prevalence on the first ICU day was 82%, and incidence in the first 7 days was 97%. Compared to patients with normal IAP, IAH patients had significantly higher ICU mortality (74.0% vs. 27.3%, p = 0.005), required more RRT (78.0% vs. 45.5%, p = 0.06) and had lower ventilator- and vasopressor-free days. On a multivariate logistic regression analysis, IAH was an independent predictor of both ICU mortality (odds ratio (OR), 12.20; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.92 to 77.31, p = 0.008) and need for RRT (OR, 6.78; 95% CI, 1.29 to 35.70, p = 0.02). Using receiver operating characteristic curves, IAP (area under the curve (AUC) = 0.74, p = 0.004), APP (AUC = 0.71, p = 0.01), Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score (AUC = 0.71, p = 0.02), but not MAP, differentiated survivors from nonsurvivors.
IAH is highly prevalent in cirrhotic patients with septic shock and is associated with increased ICU morbidity and mortality.
PMCID: PMC3390301  PMID: 22873420
liver cirrhosis; sepsis; compartment syndrome; septic shock; ascites; mortality.
15.  Integration of evidence based medicine into the clinical years of a medical curriculum 
Teaching Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) helps medical students to develop their decision making skills based on current best evidence, especially when it is taught in a clinical context. Few medical schools integrate Evidence Based Medicine into undergraduate curriculum, and those who do so, do it at the academic years only as a standalone (classroom) teaching but not at the clinical years. The College of Medicine at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences was established in January 2004. The college adopted a four-year Problem Based Learning web-based curriculum. The objective of this paper is to present our experience in the integration of the EBM in the clinical phase of the medical curriculum. We teach EBM in 3 steps: first step is teaching EBM concepts and principles, second is teaching the appraisal and search skills, and the last step is teaching it in clinical rotations. Teaching EBM at clinical years consists of 4 student-centered tutorials. In conclusion, EBM may be taught in a systematic, patient centered approach at clinical rounds. This paper could serve as a model of Evidence Based Medicine integration into the clinical phase of a medical curriculum.
PMCID: PMC3410178  PMID: 22870419
Clinical years; evidence based medicine; medical curriculum; medical education
16.  Utilization and responsiveness of the asthma control test (ACT) at the initiation of therapy for patients with asthma: a randomized controlled trial 
The aim of this study was to assess the responsiveness of the asthma control test (ACT) to detect changes at the initiation of therapy and its utilization in the initiation of asthma treatment.
This study was designed as a randomized clinical trial conducted in a primary care setting. The subjects were asthma patients who had not received controller therapy for at least two months. The patients were randomized into two groups: The Saudi Initiative for Asthma (SINA) group and the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) group. Treatment in the SINA group was initiated at step1 when the ACT scores ≥ 20, step 2 when the score between16-19, and step 3 when the score < 16 began at step 3. The GINA group patients were started on step 2 when they had persistent asthma symptoms or step 3 when they had severely uncontrolled disease.
Forty-five patients were analyzed in each group. The improvement in ACT score after treatment initiation was significantly higher when the SINA approach was used (2.9 in the SINA group compared to 1.7 in the GINA group (p = 0.04)). The improvement in FEV1 was 5.8% in the SINA group compared to 3.4% in the GINA group (p = 0.46). The number of patients who achieved asthma control at the follow-up visit and required no treatment adjustment was 33 (73.3%) in the SINA group and 27 (60%) in the GINA group (p = 0.0125).
The ACT was responsive to change at the initiation of asthma treatment and was useful for the initiation of asthma treatment.
Trial Registration number
PMCID: PMC3359228  PMID: 22449144
Asthma; Asthma control test; Guidelines; Global initiative for asthma; Saudi initiative for asthma; Control
17.  Etomidate and mortality in cirrhotic patients with septic shock 
Clinical effects and outcomes of a single dose etomidate prior to intubation in the intensive care setting is controversial. The aim of this study is to evaluate the association of a single dose effect of etomidate prior to intubation on the mortality of septic cirrhotic patients and the impact of the subsequent use of low dose hydrocortisone.
This is a nested-cohort study within a randomized double blind placebo controlled study evaluating the use of low dose hydrocortisone in cirrhotic septic patients. Cirrhotic septic patients ≥ 18 years were included in the study. Patients who received etomidate prior to intubation were compared to those who did not receive etomidate for all cause 28-day mortality as a primary outcome.
Sixty two intubated patients out of the 75 patients randomized in the initial trial were eligible for this study. Twenty three of the 62 intubated patients received etomidate dose prior to intubation. Etomidate use was not associated with all cause 28-day mortality or hospital mortality but was associated with significantly higher ICU mortality (91% vs. 64% for etomidate and controls groups, respectively; p = 0.02). Etomidate patients who received subsequent doses of hydrocortisone required lower doses of vasopressors and had more vasopressor-free days but no improvement in mortality.
In this group of septic cirrhotic patients with very high mortality, etomidate increased ICU mortality. Subsequent use of hydrocortisone appears to have no benefit beyond decreasing vasopressor requirements. The lowest mortality was observed in patients who did not receive etomidate but received hydrocortisone.
PMCID: PMC3295685  PMID: 22208901
18.  Impact of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system on the outcome of critically ill adult patients: a before-after study 
Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems are recommended to improve patient safety and outcomes. However, their effectiveness has been questioned. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of CPOE implementation on the outcome of critically ill patients.
This was an observational before-after study carried out in a 21-bed medical and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care center. It included all patients admitted to the ICU in the 24 months pre- and 12 months post-CPOE (Misys®) implementation. Data were extracted from a prospectively collected ICU database and included: demographics, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, admission diagnosis and comorbid conditions. Outcomes compared in different pre- and post-CPOE periods included: ICU and hospital mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation, and ICU and hospital length of stay. These outcomes were also compared in selected high risk subgroups of patients (age 12-17 years, traumatic brain injury, admission diagnosis of sepsis and admission APACHE II > 23). Multivariate analysis was used to adjust for imbalances in baseline characteristics and selected clinically relevant variables.
There were 1638 and 898 patients admitted to the ICU in the specified pre- and post-CPOE periods, respectively (age = 52 ± 22 vs. 52 ± 21 years, p = 0.74; APACHE II = 24 ± 9 vs. 24 ± 10, p = 0.83). During these periods, there were no differences in ICU (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.7-1.3) and in hospital mortality (aOR 1.00, 95% CI 0.8-1.3). CPOE implementation was associated with similar duration of mechanical ventilation and of stay in the ICU and hospital. There was no increased mortality or stay in the high risk subgroups after CPOE implementation.
The implementation of CPOE in an adult medical surgical ICU resulted in no improvement in patient outcomes in the immediate phase and up to 12 months after implementation.
PMCID: PMC3248372  PMID: 22098683
Intensive care unit; critical illness; CPOE; safety management; mortality; morbidity
19.  What is the optimal blood glucose target in critically ill patients? A nested cohort study 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2011;6(4):207-211.
There is an uncertainty about what constitutes an optimal level of blood glucose (BG) in critically ill patients. The objective of this study is to identify the optimal BG target for glycemic control in critically ill patients that is associated with survival benefit with the least hypoglycemia risk.
This is a nested cohort study within a randomized control trial conducted in a tertiary care center in King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The study was carried out in a single center to assess the effect of intensive insulin therapy [IIT; target BG 4.4-6.1 mmol/L (80-110 mg/dL)] versus conventional insulin therapy [CIT; target BG 10-11.1 mmol/L (180-200 mg/dL)] in a medical/surgical ICU. All patients were divided into six groups based on the mean daily BG levels. A logistic regression model was used to determine the association of BG and ICU mortality. We compared different outcomes below and above different BG thresholds of 0.1 mmol/L (2 mg/dL) increments using multivariate analyses.
Data are presented as mean ± SD or median with interquartile ranges, unless otherwise indicated. Differences between the six groups were assessed using the χ2 test. A P-value equal or less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. The results were expressed as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Statistical analyses were carried out using the Statistical Analysis Software (SAS, release 8, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).
Among six groups, the ICU mortality was least in patients with BG <8.7 mmol/L (<157 mg/dL) compared with patients with BG ≥8.7 mmol/L (≥157 mg/dL) [11.5% vs. 21.5%, P = 0.002]. When analyzed using 0.1 mmol increments in average BG, we found that mortality remained unchanged by increasing thresholds of BG up to 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dL) and started to rise with thresholds of BG of 8.1 mmol/L (146 mg/dL) and above. The risk of hypoglycemia was the highest with a BG threshold of 6.1 mmol/L (110 mg/dL) and gradually decreased with increasing BG levels to plateau with a BG level of 7.2 mmol/L (130 mg/dL) and higher.
Our study suggests that a BG level of 8.1 mmol/L (146 mg/dL) and below represents an optimal level in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3183637  PMID: 21977065
Critically ill; hypoglycemia; insulin; intensive care; mortality; sepsis
20.  Inpatients’ care experience and satisfaction study 
Objective and Background:
Measures to promote patient satisfaction are important components of the assessment of outcome and strategies for the delivery of health care. In this article, we assess satisfaction among inpatients and the impact of demographics on satisfaction levels.
Materials and Methods:
This cross-sectional survey adapted from previously used survey tools and validated in our patient group included questions on demographics, communication skills, hospital environment, and the patients’ overall evaluation of the hospital. Inpatients from acute wards of five different specialties who stayed for at least 2 days were enrolled.
There were 988 respondents with a mean age of 39.1 years (25.9%) and the mean length of stay (LOS) of 10.0 days (24.1%). Illiteracy rate was 42.4%, and 43.1% were male. The overall satisfaction scores—out of five—were 4.3 (0.6%) for communication with nurses, 4.4 (0.4%) for communication with doctors, and 4.1 (0.3%) for hospital environment; 98.9% of the patients would recommend the hospital to their family and friends. The lowest score was for the “room environment” (3.99, 0.8%) and the highest for overall services of the hospital (4.7, 0.5%). Satisfaction levels drop significantly with LOS of more than 4 days (P < 0.006). The satisfaction was higher in females than males across all the three domains of care assessed (P < 0.005). The highest satisfaction seen in the obstetrics service could be explained by the nature of the condition normally seen in this department and the normally good outcome. There was higher satisfaction in the medical than surgical services but this reached a significant level for the overall center score domain only (4.1, 0.3% versus 4.0, 0.3%; P < 0.0001).
The factors with positive impact on satisfaction were the female gender and shorter LOS. There was higher satisfaction in the medical than surgical services for all three domains reaching significant levels for center score only.
PMCID: PMC3237198  PMID: 22175037
Patient satisfaction; Saudi Arabia
21.  Association between statin therapy and outcomes in critically ill patients: a nested cohort study 
The effect of statin therapy on mortality in critically ill patients is controversial, with some studies suggesting a benefit and others suggesting no benefit or even potential harm. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between statin therapy during intensive care unit (ICU) admission and all-cause mortality in critically ill patients.
This was a nested cohort study within two randomised controlled trials conducted in a tertiary care ICU. All 763 patients who participated in the two trials were included in this study. Of these, 107 patients (14%) received statins during their ICU stay. The primary endpoint was all-cause ICU and hospital mortality. Secondary endpoints included the development of sepsis and severe sepsis during the ICU stay, the ICU length of stay, the hospital length of stay, and the duration of mechanical ventilation. Multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for clinically and statistically relevant variables.
Statin therapy was associated with a reduction in hospital mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.36-0.99). Statin therapy was associated with lower hospital mortality in the following groups: patients >58 years of age (aOR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.97), those with an acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE II) score >22 (aOR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.31-0.96), diabetic patients (aOR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.30-0.90), patients on vasopressor therapy (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.29-0.97), those admitted with severe sepsis (aOR = 0.22, 95% CI 0.07-0.66), patients with creatinine ≤100 μmol/L (aOR = 0.14, 95% CI 0.04-0.51), and patients with GCS ≤9 (aOR = 0.34, 95% CI 0.17-0.71). When stratified by statin dose, the mortality reduction was mainly observed with statin equipotent doses ≥40 mg of simvastatin (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI 0.28-1.00). Mortality reduction was observed with simvastatin (aOR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.17-0.81) but not with atorvastatin (aOR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.84-1.46). Statin therapy was not associated with a difference in any of the secondary outcomes.
Statin therapy during ICU stay was associated with a reduction in all-cause hospital mortality. This association was especially noted in high-risk subgroups. This potential benefit needs to be validated in a randomised, controlled trial.
PMCID: PMC3199769  PMID: 21819615
22.  The reliability of an arabic version of the self-administered standardized chronic respiratory disease questionnaire (CRQ-SAS) 
To produce a conceptually equivalent Arabic version to the original Self-Administered Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire with standardized dyspnea domain (CRQ-SAS) and to assess its reliability.
The study was carried out in two stages: stage I which was the translation of the CRQ-SAS questionnaire from the English to the Arabic language, and stage II which represented the test-retest reliability for patients receiving usual care for COPD who were not yet admitted to the pulmonary rehabilitation program.
Forty five patients with stable COPD were enrolled in this study. Strong test-retest reliability was found for the four domains of the CRQ-SAS, with the intra-class correlation coefficient of 0.97 for each of the domains. The association between most parameters and the four domains of CRQ-SAS were not found to be statistically significant, as measured by Pearson correlation. The number of exacerbations was negatively correlated with the dyspnea domain (correlation = -0.36, p-value = 0.02). The disease duration was negatively correlated with the domain fatigue (correlation = -0.35, p-value = 0.02). The correlation between FEV1/FVC ratio and emotion domain was -0.30 (p-value = 0.05). The mastery domain was negatively correlated with FEV1/FVC ratio with a correlation of -0.27 with borderline statistical significance (p-value = 0.07).
The Arabic translation of the CRQ-SAS was found to be reliable to assess the quality of life among patients with COPD.
PMCID: PMC3103486  PMID: 21526998
Quality of Life; Pulmonary rehabilitation; COPD; Saudi Arabia
23.  Low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with cirrhosis and septic shock: a randomized controlled trial 
Recent studies have reported a high prevalence of relative adrenal insufficiency in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, the effect of corticosteroid replacement on mortality in this high-risk group remains unclear. We examined the effect of low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with cirrhosis who presented with septic shock.
We enrolled patients with cirrhosis and septic shock aged 18 years or older in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Relative adrenal insufficiency was defined as a serum cortisol increase of less than 250 nmol/L or 9 μg/dL from baseline after stimulation with 250 μg of intravenous corticotropin. Patients were assigned to receive 50 mg of intravenous hydrocortisone or placebo every six hours until hemodynamic stability was achieved, followed by steroid tapering over eight days. The primary outcome was 28-day all-cause mortality.
The trial was stopped for futility at interim analysis after 75 patients were enrolled. Relative adrenal insufficiency was diagnosed in 76% of patients. Compared with the placebo group (n = 36), patients in the hydrocortisone group (n = 39) had a significant reduction in vasopressor doses and higher rates of shock reversal (relative risk [RR] 1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98–2.55, p = 0.05). Hydrocortisone use was not associated with a reduction in 28-day mortality (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.92–1.49, p = 0.19) but was associated with an increase in shock relapse (RR 2.58, 95% CI 1.04–6.45, p = 0.03) and gastrointestinal bleeding (RR 3.00, 95% CI 1.08–8.36, p = 0.02).
Relative adrenal insufficiency was very common in patients with cirrhosis presenting with septic shock. Despite initial favourable effects on hemodynamic parameters, hydrocortisone therapy did not reduce mortality and was associated with an increase in adverse effects. (Current Controlled Trials registry no. ISRCTN99675218.)
PMCID: PMC3001503  PMID: 21059778
24.  Antimicrobial therapeutic determinants of outcomes from septic shock among patients with cirrhosis 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2012;56(6):2305-2315.
It is unclear whether practice-related aspects of antimicrobial therapy contribute to the high mortality from septic shock among patients with cirrhosis. We examined the relationship between aspects of initial empiric antimicrobial therapy and mortality in patients with cirrhosis and septic shock. This was a nested cohort study within a large retrospective database of septic shock from 28 medical centers in Canada, the United States, and Saudi Arabia by the Cooperative Antimicrobial Therapy of Septic Shock Database Research Group between 1996 and 2008. We examined the impact of initial empiric antimicrobial therapeutic variables on the hospital mortality of patients with cirrhosis and septic shock. Among 635 patients with cirrhosis and septic shock, the hospital mortality was 75.6%. Inappropriate initial empiric antimicrobial therapy was administered in 155 (24.4%) patients. The median time to appropriate antimicrobial administration was 7.3 hours (interquartile range, 3.2-18.3 hours). The use of inappropriate initial antimicrobials was associated with increased mortality (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 9.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.3-20.7], as was the delay in appropriate antimicrobials (aOR for each 1 hour increase, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.1-1.2). Among patients with eligible bacterial septic shock, a single rather than two or more appropriate antimicrobials was used in 226 (72.9%) patients and was also associated with higher mortality (aOR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0-3.3). These findings were consistent across various clinically relevant subgroups. Conclusion: In patients with cirrhosis and septic shock, inappropriate and delayed appropriate initial empiric antimicrobial therapy is associated with increased mortality. Monotherapy of bacterial septic shock is also associated with increased mortality. The process of selection and implementation of empiric antimicrobial therapy in this high-risk group should be restructured. (Hepatology 2012;56:2305–2315)
PMCID: PMC3556696  PMID: 22753144

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