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1.  Diagnostic and prognostic utility of soluble CD 14 subtype (presepsin) for severe sepsis and septic shock during the first week of intensive care treatment 
Critical Care  2014;18(5):507.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic value of presepsin in patients with severe sepsis and septic shock during the first week of ICU treatment.
In total, 116 patients with suspected severe sepsis or septic shock were included during the first 24 hours of ICU treatment. Blood samples for biomarker measurements of presepsin, procalcitonin (PCT), interleukin 6 (IL-6), C reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cells (WBC) were drawn at days 1, 3 and 8. All patients were followed up for six months. Biomarkers were tested for diagnosis of sepsis, severe sepsis, septic shock and for prognosis of 30-days and 6-months all-cause mortality at days 1, 3 and 8. Diagnostic and prognostic utilities were tested by determining diagnostic cutoff levels, goodness criteria, C-statistics and multivariable Cox regression models.
Presepsin increased significantly from the lowest to most severe sepsis groups at days 1, 3 and 8 (test for linear trend P <0.03). Presepsin levels revealed valuable diagnostic capacity to diagnose severe sepsis and septic shock at days 1, 3 and 8 (range of diagnostic area under the curves (AUC) 0.72 to 0.84, P = 0.0001) compared to IL-6, PCT, CRP and WBC. Goodness criteria for diagnosis of sepsis severity were analyzed (≥sepsis, cutoff = 530 pg/ml; ≥severe sepsis, cutoff = 600 pg/ml; ≥septic shock, cutoff = 700 pg/ml; P <0.03). Presepsin levels revealed significant prognostic value for 30 days and 6 months all-cause mortality (presepsin: range of AUC 0.64 to 0.71, P <0.02). Patients with presepsin levels of the 4th quartile were 5 to 7 times more likely to die after six months than patients with lower levels. The prognostic value for all-cause mortality of presepsin was comparable to that of IL-6 and better than that of PCT, CRP or WBC.
In patients with suspected severe sepsis and septic shock, precipices reveals valuable diagnostic capacity to differentiate sepsis severity compared to PCT, IL-6, CRP, WBC. Additionally, presepsin and IL-6 reveal prognostic value with respect to 30 days and 6 months all-cause mortality throughout the first week of ICU treatment.
Trial registration NCT01535534. Registered 14 February 2012.
PMCID: PMC4174283  PMID: 25190134
2.  Twice- or Once-Daily Dosing of Novel Oral Anticoagulants for Stroke Prevention: A Fixed-Effects Meta-Analysis with Predefined Heterogeneity Quality Criteria 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99276.
A number of novel oral anticoagulants (direct thrombin inhibitors or factor Xa inhibitors) are in clinical use for various indications. The dosing regimens differ between twice-daily and once-daily dosing for the prevention of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. With the availability of the results from four phase 3 studies (>70,000 patients), we explored whether twice-daily or once-daily dosing provides better risk-benefit balance among novel oral anticoagulants.
We conducted a strict, stepwise, fixed-effects meta-analysis with predefined heterogeneity quality criteria to generate the most appropriate common estimates for twice-daily (BID) or once-daily (QD) dosing regimens. An indirect comparison of these dosing regimens with fixed-effects meta-analysis common estimates (where available), or individual compound results, was done respectively.
Comparing indirectly BID vs QD dosing regimens resulted in hazard ratios (HR [95% confidence interval]) for stroke and systemic embolism of 0.75 (0.58–0.96) for dabigatran 150 mg BID, and 0.91 (0.73–1.13) for apixaban BID vs the QD dosing regimen. For ischemic stroke, the HR of BID vs QD was 0.85 (0.69–1.05). For intracranial hemorrhage, BID vs rivaroxaban QD was 0.57 (0.37–0.88) and, vs edoxaban QD, 0.81 (0.54–1.22). Due to heterogeneity, common estimates for major bleeding QD or BID were not justified, therefore indirect comparison of regimens were not possible. All non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants reduced all-cause mortality vs warfarin with a HR of 0.90 (0.86–0.96) without differences between regimen.
Based on the available phase 3 study evidence, the twice-daily dosing regimen of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants appears to offer a more balanced risk-benefit profile with respect to stroke prevention and intracranial hemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC4049736  PMID: 24911432
3.  Comprehensive risk reduction in patients with atrial fibrillation: emerging diagnostic and therapeutic options—a report from the 3rd Atrial Fibrillation Competence NETwork/European Heart Rhythm Association consensus conference 
Europace  2011;14(1):8-27.
While management of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients is improved by guideline-conform application of anticoagulant therapy, rate control, rhythm control, and therapy of accompanying heart disease, the morbidity and mortality associated with AF remain unacceptably high. This paper describes the proceedings of the 3rd Atrial Fibrillation NETwork (AFNET)/European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) consensus conference that convened over 60 scientists and representatives from industry to jointly discuss emerging therapeutic and diagnostic improvements to achieve better management of AF patients. The paper covers four chapters: (i) risk factors and risk markers for AF; (ii) pathophysiological classification of AF; (iii) relevance of monitored AF duration for AF-related outcomes; and (iv) perspectives and needs for implementing better antithrombotic therapy. Relevant published literature for each section is covered, and suggestions for the improvement of management in each area are put forward. Combined, the propositions formulate a perspective to implement comprehensive management in AF.
PMCID: PMC3236658  PMID: 21791573
atrial fibrillation; management; outcomes; antithrombotic therapy; rate control; rhythm control; risk factors; early therapy
4.  Representativeness of the dabigatran, apixaban and rivaroxaban clinical trial populations to real-world atrial fibrillation patients in the United Kingdom: a cross-sectional analysis using the General Practice Research Database 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001768.
Three oral anticoagulants have reported study results for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) (dabigatran etexilate, rivaroxaban and apixaban); all demonstrated superiority or non-inferiority compared with warfarin (RE-LY, ARISTOTLE and ROCKET-AF). This study aimed to assess the representativeness for the real-world AF population, particularly the population eligible for anticoagulants.
A cross-sectional database analysis.
Dataset derived from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD).
Primary and secondary outcomes measure
The proportion of real-world patients with AF who met the inclusion/exclusion criteria for RE-LY, ARISTOTLE and ROCKET-AF were compared. The results were then stratified by risk of stroke using CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc.
83 898 patients with AF were identified in the GPRD. For the population at intermediate or high risk of stroke and eligible for anticoagulant treatment (CHA2DS2-VASc ≥1; n=78 783 (94%)), the proportion eligible for inclusion into RE-LY (dabigatran etexilate) was 68% (95% CI 67.7% to 68.3%; n=53 640), compared with 65% (95% CI 64.7% to 65.3%; n=51 163) eligible for ARISTOTLE (apixaban) and 51% (95% CI 50.7% to 51.4%; n=39 892) eligible for ROCKET-AF (rivaroxaban). Using the CHADS2 method of risk stratification, for the population at intermediate or high risk of stroke and eligible for anticoagulation treatment (CHADS2 ≥1; n=71 493 (85%)), the proportion eligible for inclusion into RE-LY was 74% (95% CI 73.7% to 74.3%; n=52 783), compared with 72% (95% CI 71.7% to 72.3%; n=51 415) for ARISTOTLE and 56% (95% CI 55.6% to 56.4%; n=39 892) for ROCKET-AF.
Patients enrolled within RE-LY and ARISTOTLE were more reflective of the ‘real-world’ AF population in the UK, in contrast with patients enrolled within ROCKET-AF who were a more narrowly defined group of patients at higher risk of stroke. Differences between trials should be taken into account when considering the applicability of findings from randomised clinical trials. However, assessing representativeness is not a substitute for assessing generalisibility, that is, how well clinical trial results would translate into effectiveness and safety in everyday routine care.
PMCID: PMC3533028  PMID: 23242482
5.  Alterations of leptin in the course of inflammation and severe sepsis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:217.
The adipokine leptin regulates energy expenditure, vascular function, bone and cartilage growth as well as the immune system and systemic inflammatory response. Several activating effects towards T cells, monocytes, endothelium cells and cytokine production have been reported suggesting a protective role of leptin in the setting of an acute systemic inflammation. However, the pathophysiological role of leptin during severe sepsis is currently not elucidated in detail. This study aims to investigate leptin expression in cultured human adipocytes within an inflammatory model and in patients suffering from severe sepsis and evaluates treatment effects of drotrecogin alpha (activated) (DAA), the recombinant form of human activated protein C.
In an in-vitro inflammatory model of adipocyte cell-culture the effect of DAA on leptin mRNA expression was evaluated. Synthesis of mRNA was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Additionally, supernatants of these adipocytes as well as serum levels of adiponectin were measured in blood of 104 severe septic patients by ELISA-method. 26 patients were treated with DAA (DAA+), 78 patients were not treated with DAA (DAA-).
Stimulation of human adipocytes with TNF alpha over 6 and 24 hours resulted in a significant decrease by 46% and 59% of leptin mRNA transcripts compared to un-stimulated controls (p < 0.05). Leptin levels of supernatants of adipocyte culture decreased by 25% and 23% (p < 0.05) after incubation with TNF alpha after 6 and 24 hours. Incubation with DAA at 50 ng/ml DAA and 5 μg/ml doubled mRNA expression significantly at 24 hours (p < 0.05) but not at 6 hours. From day 1 to day 3 of sepsis, leptin levels increased in DAA+ compared to DAA- patients (p<0.10).
Leptin appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of a systemic inflammatory response during sepsis. Administration of DAA significantly increased leptin expression. The specific mechanism or even benefit of DAA towards leptin needs further ongoing research.
PMCID: PMC3462137  PMID: 22973876
Adipocytes; Drotrecogin alpha (activated); Leptin; mRNA; Sepsis; Supernatants
6.  Matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors: promising novel biomarkers in severe sepsis? 
Critical Care  2009;13(6):1006.
The multicenter study conducted by Lorente and coworkers published in the previous issue of Critical Care demonstrates that matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 and MMP-10 and their inhibitor tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) are promising novel biomarkers to predict severity and outcome of sepsis. In recent years MMPs have emerged as biomarkers in a variety of diseases, such as sepsis, coronary artery disease, cancer, heart failure, chronic lung disease and rheumatoid arthritis. MMPs constitute a family of proteinases that are expressed during developmental, physiological, and pathophysiological processes, for example as a response to infection. Excessive inflammation following infection may cause tissue damage, and MMPs are implicated in causing this immunopathology. The activity of MMPs is regulated by secretion of specific inhibitors (TIMPs). Studies using MMP inhibitors and MMP knockout mice indicate that MMPs play an essential role in infection and in the host response to infection. The measurement of MMP-9 and MMP-10 and their inhibitor TIMP-1 in the intensive care setting could be an attractive noninvasive tool for determination of outcome of septic patients.
PMCID: PMC2811909  PMID: 20017890
7.  New horizons: NT-proBNP for risk stratification of patients with shock in the intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2006;10(2):134.
B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and amino-terminal pro-BNP (NT-proBNP) are promising cardiac biomarkers that have recently been shown to be of diagnostic value in decompensated heart failure, acute coronary syndromes and other conditions resulting in myocardial stretch and volume overload. In view of the high prevalence of cardiac disorders in the intensive care unit, the experience of elevated natriuretic peptide levels in the critically ill might be of enormous diagnostic and therapeutic value. BNP and NT-proBNP levels rise to different degrees in critical illness and may also serve as markers of severity and prognosis in diseases beyond acute or chronic heart failure. The diagnostic and prognostic use of natriuretic peptides in the intensive care setting for patients with various forms of shock could be an attractive alternative as noninvasive markers of cardiac dysfunction that could obviate the need for pulmonary artery catheterization in some patients.
PMCID: PMC1550883  PMID: 16594987

Results 1-7 (7)