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author:("rish, Asgar H")
1.  Drug-resistant ventilator associated pneumonia in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):104-111.
There is a wide geographic and temporal variability of bacterial resistance among microbial causes of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The contribution of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens to the VAP etiology in Saudi Arabia was never studied. We sought to examine the extent of multiple-drug resistance among common microbial causes of VAP.
We conducted a retrospective susceptibility study in the adult intensive care unit (ICU) of King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Susceptibility results of isolates from patients diagnosed with VAP between October 2004 and June 2009 were examined. The US National Healthcare Safety Network definition of MDR was adopted.
A total of 248 isolates including 9 different pathogens were included. Acinetobacter spp. was highly (60-89%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including carbapenems (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 86% and 69%, respectively). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was moderately (13-31%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including antipseudomonal penicillins (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 13% and 10%, respectively). With an exception of ampicillin (fully resistant), Klebsiella spp. had low (0-13%) resistance to other tested antimicrobials with no detected MDR. Staphylococcus aureus was fully susceptible to vancomycin with 42% resistance to oxacillin. There were significant increasing trends of MDR Acinetobacter spp. however not P. aeruginosa during the study. Resistant pathogens were associated with worse profile of ICU patients but not patients’ outcomes.
Acinetobacter in the current study was an increasingly resistant VAP-associated pathogen more than seen in many parts of the world. The current finding may impact local choice of initial empiric antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC4005156  PMID: 24791174
Acinetobacter; antimicrobial resistance; microbiology; Saudi Arabia; ventilator-associated pneumonia
2.  The association between statin therapy during intensive care unit stay and the incidence of venous thromboembolism: a propensity score-adjusted analysis 
Studies have shown that statins have pleiotropic effects on inflammation and coagulation; which may affect the risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between statin therapy during intensive care unit (ICU) stay and the incidence of VTE in critically ill patients.
This was a post-hoc analysis of a prospective observational cohort study of patients admitted to the intensive care unit between July 2006 and January 2008 at a tertiary care medical center. The primary endpoint was the incidence of VTE during ICU stay up to 30 days. Secondary endpoint was overall 30-day hospital mortality. Propensity score was used to adjust for clinically and statistically relevant variables.
Of the 798 patients included in the original study, 123 patients (15.4%) received statins during their ICU stay. Survival analysis for VTE risk showed that statin therapy was not associated with a reduction of VTE incidence (crude hazard ratio (HR) 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28-1.54, P = 0.33 and adjusted HR 0.63, 95% CI 0.25-1.57, P = 0.33). Furthermore, survival analysis for hospital mortality showed that statin therapy was not associated with a reduction in hospital mortality (crude HR 1.26, 95% CI 0.95-1.68, P = 0.10 and adjusted HR 0.98, 95% CI 0.72-1.36, P = 0.94).
Our study showed no statistically significant association between statin therapy and VTE risk in critically ill patients. This question needs to be further studied in randomized control trials.
PMCID: PMC3829807  PMID: 24206781
Venous thromboembolism; Outcome assessment; Intensive care; Hospital mortality; Propensity scores; Statins
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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.
7.  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
8.  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
9.  sRAGE in diabetic and non-diabetic critically ill patients: effects of intensive insulin therapy 
Critical Care  2011;15(4):R203.
Hyperglycemia represents an independent prognostic factor in critically ill non-diabetic patients but not in those with diabetes. In this context, there is an ongoing debate on the benefit of an intensive insulin therapy, particularly in diabetic patients. We tested the hypothesis that expression of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE), an important signal transduction receptor that elicits long-lasting nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) activation, may underlie this difference. RAGE expression is regulated by multiple ligands, including high mobility group box-1 (HMGB-1), and is reflected by its released soluble form (sRAGE).
A predesigned analysis was conducted of prospectively collected samples from 76 hyperglycemic critically ill patients (33 type-2 diabetes, 43 non-diabetes) aged ≥18 years with blood glucose of > 6.1 mmol/L enrolled in a randomized controlled trial comparing intensive insulin therapy with conventional insulin therapy. sRAGE and its ligand HMGB-1 together with IL-6, and soluble thrombomodulin (as markers of inflammation and endothelial cell injury, respectively) were evaluated in ICU, at Days 1, 3, 5 and 7. Plasma samples from 18 healthy subjects were used as controls.
Both diabetic and non-diabetic hyperglycemic patients showed increased plasma sRAGE, HMGB-1 and soluble thrombomodulin levels at the time of admission to ICU. Plasma IL-6 concentration was only increased in non-diabetic patients. Plasma levels of sRAGE were higher in diabetic compared with non-diabetic patients. Intensive insulin therapy resulted in a significant decrease of sRAGE and thrombomodulin at Day 7, in diabetic but not in non-diabetic patients. Circulating sRAGE levels correlated positively with IL-6 and soluble thrombomodulin levels and inversely with HMGB-1. Multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that sRAGE remains independently correlated with HMGB-1 only in diabetic patients. Neither sRAGE nor any inflammatory markers are associated with mortality.
These findings support the hypothesis that sRAGE release, time-course and response to intensive insulin therapy differ between hyperglycemic diabetic and non-diabetic critically ill patients. Whether this difference underlies the dissimilarity in clinical outcome of hyperglycemia in these two conditions warrants further studies.
PMCID: PMC3387645  PMID: 21871056
10.  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

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