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1.  Factors influencing the implementation of antibiotic de-escalation and impact of this strategy in critically ill patients 
Critical Care  2013;17(4):R140.
A rational use of antibiotics is of paramount importance in order to prevent the emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria that can lead to therapeutic impasse, especially in intensive care units (ICUs). A de-escalation strategy is therefore naturally advocated as part of better antibiotics usage. However, the clinical impact of such a strategy has not been widely studied. We aimed to assess the feasibility and the clinical impact of a de-escalation strategy in a medical ICU and to identify factors associated when de-escalation was possible.
We performed a retrospective study of patients hospitalized in a medical ICU over a period of six months. Independent factors associated with de-escalation and its clinical impact were assessed.
Two hundred and twenty-nine patients were included in the study. Antibiotics were de-escalated in 117 patients (51%). The appropriateness of initial antibiotic therapy was the only independent factor associated with the performance of de-escalation (OR = 2.9, 95% CI, 1.5-5.7; P = 0.002). By contrast, inadequacy of initial antibiotic therapy (OR = 0.1, 0.0 to 0.1, P <0.001) and the presence of multidrug resistant bacteria (OR = 0.2, 0.1 to 0.7, P = 0.006) prevented from de-escalation. There were no differences in terms of short (ICU) or long-term (at 1 year) mortality rates or any secondary criteria such as ICU length of stay, duration of antibiotic therapy, mechanical ventilation, incidence of ICU-acquired infection, or multi-drug resistant bacteria emergence.
De-escalation appears feasible in most cases without any obvious negative clinical impact in a medical ICU.
PMCID: PMC4055984  PMID: 23849321
2.  Contribution of the ethics committee of the French Intensive Care Society to describing a scenario for implementing organ donation after Maastricht type III cardiocirculatory death in France 
French law allows organ donation after death due to cardiocirculatory arrest. In the Maastricht classification, type III non-heart-beating donors are those who experience cardiocirculatory arrest after the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments. French authorities in charge of regulating organ donation (Agence de la Biomédecine, ABM) are considering organ collection from Maastricht type III donors. We describe a scenario for Maastricht type III organ donation that fully complies with the ethical norms governing care to dying patients. That organ donation may occur after death should have no impact on the care given to the patient and family. The dead-donor rule must be followed scrupulously: the organ retrieval procedure must neither cause nor hasten death. The decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatments, withdrawal modalities, and care provided to the patient and family must adhere strictly to the requirements set forth in patient-rights legislation (the 2005 Léonetti law in France) and should not be influenced in any way by the possibility of organ donation. A major ethical issue regarding the family is how best to transition from discussing treatment-withdrawal decisions to discussing possible organ retrieval for donation should the patient die rapidly after treatment withdrawal. Close cooperation between the healthcare team and the organ retrieval team is crucial to minimize the distress of family members during this transition. Modalities for implementing Maastricht type III organ donation are discussed here, including the best location for withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (operating room or intensive care unit).
PMCID: PMC3475084  PMID: 22747673
Organ donation; Treatment withdrawal; Cardiocirculatory arrest
3.  The relationship between CD4+CD25+CD127- regulatory T cells and inflammatory response and outcome during shock states 
Critical Care  2010;14(1):R19.
Although regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) have a pivotal role in preventing autoimmune diseases and limiting chronic inflammatory conditions, they may also block beneficial immune responses by preventing sterilizing immunity to certain pathogens.
To determine whether naturally occurring Treg cells have a role in inflammatory response and outcome during shock state we conducted an observational study in two adult ICUs from a university hospital. Within 12 hours of admission, peripheral whole blood was collected for the measurement of cytokines and determination of lymphocyte count. Sampling was repeated at day three, five and seven. Furthermore, an experimental septic shock was induced in adult Balb/c mice through caecal ligation and puncture.
Forty-three patients suffering from shock (26 septic, 17 non septic), and 7 healthy volunteers were included. The percentage of Tregs increased as early as 3 days after the onset of shock, while their absolute number remained lower than in healthy volunteers. A similar pattern of Tregs kinetics was found in infected and non infected patients. Though there was an inverse correlation between severity scores and Tregs percentage, the time course of Tregs was similar between survivors and non survivors. No relation between Tregs and cytokine concentration was found. In septic mice, although there was a rapid increase in Treg cells subset among splenocytes, antibody-induced depletion of Tregs before the onset of sepsis did not alter survival.
These data argue against a determinant role of Tregs in inflammatory response and outcome during shock states.
PMCID: PMC2875534  PMID: 20156359
4.  Normal adrenocortical function on initial testing in the intensive care unit: not a long-term warranty 
Critical Care  2008;12(4):163.
There has been a lot of debate about the concept of relative adrenocortical insufficiency (often defined as a reduced response to corticotropin) as a pathophysiological explanation of steroid effects in septic shock. Less is known about the prevalence of absolute adrenocortical insufficiency based on more usual definitions (low baseline and corticotropin stimulated cortisol). A study by Wu and colleagues provides convincing evidence that critically ill patients could evolve from a normal adrenal status towards very low cortisol levels within a few days. Although the exact consequences of these findings deserve more investigation, adrenal testing should not be omitted in patients not improving their hemodynamic status.
PMCID: PMC2575550  PMID: 18620550
5.  Metformin-associated lactic acidosis in an intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2008;12(6):R149.
Metformin-associated lactic acidosis (MALA) is a classic side effect of metformin and is known to be a severe disease with a high mortality rate. The treatment of MALA with dialysis is controversial and is the subject of many case reports in the literature. We aimed to assess the prevalence of MALA in a 16-bed, university-affiliated, intensive care unit (ICU), and the effect of dialysis on patient outcome.
Over a five-year period, we retrospectively identified all patients who were either admitted to the ICU with metformin as a usual medication, or who attempted suicide by metformin ingestion. Within this population, we selected patients presenting with lactic acidosis, thus defining MALA, and described their clinical and biological features.
MALA accounted for 0.84% of all admissions during the study period (30 MALA admissions over five years) and was associated with a 30% mortality rate. The only factors associated with a fatal outcome were the reason for admission in the ICU and the initial prothrombin time. Although patients who went on to haemodialysis had higher illness severity scores, as compared with those who were not dialysed, the mortality rates were similar between the two groups (31.3% versus 28.6%).
MALA can be encountered in the ICU several times a year and still remains a life-threatening condition. Treatment is restricted mostly to supportive measures, although haemodialysis may possess a protective effect.
PMCID: PMC2646313  PMID: 19036140
6.  Cost-effectiveness of activated protein C in real-life clinical practice 
Critical Care  2007;11(5):R99.
Recombinant human activated protein C (rhAPC) has been reported to be cost-effective in severely ill septic patients in studies using data from a pivotal randomized trial. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of rhAPC in patients with severe sepsis and multiple organ failure in real-life intensive care practice.
We conducted a prospective observational study involving adult patients recruited before and after licensure of rhAPC in France. Inclusion criteria were applied according to the label approved in Europe. The expected recruitment bias was controlled by building a sample of patients matched for propensity score. Complete hospitalization costs were quantified using a regression equation involving intensive care units variables. rhAPC acquisition costs were added, assuming that all costs associated with rhAPC were already included in the equation. Cost comparisons were conducted using the nonparametric bootstrap method. Cost-effectiveness quadrants and acceptability curves were used to assess uncertainty of the cost-effectiveness ratio.
In the initial cohort (n = 1096), post-license patients were younger, had less co-morbid conditions and had failure of more organs than did pre-license patients (for all: P < 0.0001). In the matched sample (n = 840) the mean age was 62.4 ± 14.9 years, Simplified Acute Physiology Score II was 56.7 ± 18.5, and the number of organ failures was 3.20 ± 0.83. When rhAPC was used, 28-day mortality tended to be reduced (34.1% post-license versus 37.4% pre-license, P = 0.34), bleeding events were more frequent (21.7% versus 13.6%, P = 0.002) and hospital costs were higher (€47,870 versus €36,717, P < 0.05). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios gained were as follows: €20,278 per life-year gained and €33,797 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. There was a 74.5% probability that rhAPC would be cost-effective if there were willingness to pay €50,000 per life-year gained. The probability was 64.3% if there were willingness to pay €50,000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained.
This study, conducted in matched patient populations, demonstrated that in real-life clinical practice the probability that rhAPC will be cost-effective if one is willing to pay €50,000 per life-year gained is 74.5%.
PMCID: PMC2556742  PMID: 17822547
7.  Growth arrest-specific protein 6 plasma concentrations during septic shock 
Critical Care  2007;11(1):R8.
The product of growth arrest-specific gene 6 (Gas6) is a vitamin K dependent protein that is secreted by leucocytes and endothelial cells in response to injury and participates in cell survival, proliferation, migration and adhesion. Our purpose was to investigate plasma Gas6 concentration and its relation to organ dysfunction in patients with septic shock.
Forty-five patients with septic shock admitted to a medical adult intensive care unit were enrolled. Plasma Gas6 concentration was determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at days 1, 3, 7 and 14.
The median (interquartile range) Gas6 concentration was 51 (5 to 95) pg/ml at admission. A positive correlation (Spearman rank-order coefficient [rs] = 0.37, P = 0.01) was found between Gas6 level and Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment score. Patients requiring renal support had higher Gas6 concentration that those without need for haemofiltration (76.5 [52 to 164] pg/ml versus 10.5 [1.5 to 80.5] pg/ml; P = 0.04). Moreover, there was a positive correlation between Gas6 and aspartate transaminase (rs = 0.42, P = 0.006) and between Gas6 and prothrombin time (rs = 0.45, P = 0.02). Although there was a progressive decline in Gas6 concentration in survivors (analysis of variance, P = 0.01), nonsurvivors exhibited persistently elevated Gas6. However, the two populations diverged only after day 7 (P = 0.04).
Plasma concentrations of Gas6 correlate with disease severity, especially with renal and hepatic dysfunction, in septic shock.
PMCID: PMC2151874  PMID: 17241453
8.  A Soluble Form of the Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1 Modulates the Inflammatory Response in Murine Sepsis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2004;200(11):1419-1426.
The triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-1 is a recently discovered receptor expressed on the surface of neutrophils and a subset of monocytes. Engagement of TREM-1 has been reported to trigger the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines in the presence of microbial products. Previously, we have identified a soluble form of TREM-1 (sTREM-1) and observed significant levels in serum samples from septic shock patients but not controls. Here, we investigated its putative role in the modulation of inflammation during sepsis. We observed that sTREM-1 was secreted by monocytes activated in vitro by LPS and in the serum of animals involved in an experimental model of septic shock. Both in vitro and in vivo, a synthetic peptide mimicking a short highly conserved domain of sTREM-1 appeared to attenuate cytokine production by human monocytes and protect septic animals from hyper-responsiveness and death. This peptide seemed to be efficient not only in preventing but also in down-modulating the deleterious effects of proinflammatory cytokines. These data suggest that in vivo modulation of TREM-1 by sTREM peptide might be a suitable therapeutic tool for the treatment of sepsis.
PMCID: PMC2211948  PMID: 15557347
triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1; inflammation; sepsis; proinflammatory cytokines; mouse model
9.  Corticosteroids for severe sepsis and septic shock: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;329(7464):480.
Objective To assess the effects of corticosteroids on mortality in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock.
Data sources Randomised and quasi-randomised trials of corticosteroids versus placebo (or supportive treatment alone) retrieved from the Cochrane infectious diseases group's trials register, the Cochrane central register of controlled trials, Medline, Embase, and LILACS.
Review method Two pairs of reviewers agreed on eligibility of trials. One reviewer entered data on to the computer and four reviewers checked them. We obtained some missing data from authors of trials and assessed methodological quality of trials.
Results 16/23 trials (n = 2063) were selected. Corticosteroids did not change 28 day mortality (15 trials, n = 2022; relative risk 0.92, 95% confidence interval 0.75 to 1.14) or hospital mortality (13 trials, n = 1418; 0.89, 0.71 to 1.11). There was significant heterogeneity. Subgroup analysis on long courses (≥ 5 days) with low dose (≤ 300 mg hydrocortisone or equivalent) corticosteroids showed no more heterogeneity. The relative risk for mortality was 0.80 at 28 days (five trials, n = 465; 0.67 to 0.95) and 0.83 at hospital discharge (five trials, n = 465, 0.71 to 0.97). Use of corticosteroids reduced mortality in intensive care units (four trials, n = 425, 0.83, 0.70 to 0.97), increased shock reversal at 7 days (four trials, n = 425; 1.60, 1.27 to 2.03) and 28 days (four trials, n = 425, 1.26, 1.04 to 1.52) without inducing side effects.
Conclusions For all trials, regardless of duration of treatment and dose, use of corticosteroids did not significantly affect mortality. With long courses of low doses of corticosteroids, however, mortality at 28 days and hospital morality was reduced.
PMCID: PMC515196  PMID: 15289273

Results 1-9 (9)