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1.  A decision rule to aid selection of patients with abdominal sepsis requiring a relaparotomy 
BMC Surgery  2013;13:28.
Accurate and timely identification of patients in need of a relaparotomy is challenging since there are no readily available strongholds. The aim of this study is to develop a prediction model to aid the decision-making process in whom to perform a relaparotomy.
Data from a randomized trial comparing surgical strategies for relaparotomy were used. Variables were selected based on previous reports and common clinical sense and screened in a univariable regression analysis to identify those associated with the need for relaparotomy. Variables with the strongest association were considered for the prediction model which was constructed after backward elimination in a multivariable regression analysis. The discriminatory capacity of the model was expressed with the area under the curve (AUC). A cut-off analysis was performed to illustrate the consequences in clinical practice.
One hundred and eighty-two patients were included; 46 were considered cases requiring a relaparotomy. A prediction model was build containing 6 variables. This final model had an AUC of 0.80 indicating good discriminatory capacity. However, acceptable sensitivity would require a low threshold for relaparotomy leading to an unacceptable rate of negative relaparotomies (63%). Therefore, the prediction model was incorporated in a decision rule were the interval until re-assessment and the use of Computed Tomography are related to the outcome of the model.
To construct a prediction model that will provide a definite answer whether or not to perform a relaparotomy seems a utopia. However, our prediction model can be used to stratify patients on their underlying risk and could guide further monitoring of patients with abdominal sepsis in order to identify patients with suspected ongoing peritonitis in a timely fashion.
PMCID: PMC3750491  PMID: 23870702
Secondary peritonitis; Abdominal sepsis; Relaparotomy; On-demand; Prediction model; Decision rule
2.  Failure of available scoring systems to predict ongoing infection in patients with abdominal sepsis after their initial emergency laparotomy 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:38.
To examine commonly used scoring systems, designed to predict overall outcome in critically ill patients, for their ability to select patients with an abdominal sepsis that have ongoing infection needing relaparotomy.
Data from a RCT comparing two surgical strategies was used. The study population consisted of 221 patients at risk for ongoing abdominal infection. The following scoring systems were evaluated with logistic regression analysis for their ability to select patients requiring a relaparotomy: APACHE-II score, SAPS-II, Mannheim Peritonitis Index (MPI), MODS, SOFA score, and the acute part of the APACHE-II score (APS).
The proportion of patients requiring a relaparotomy was 32% (71/221). Only 2 scores had a discriminatory ability in identifying patients with ongoing infection needing relaparotomy above chance: the APS on day 1 (AUC 0.61; 95%CI 0.52-0.69) and the SOFA score on day 2 (AUC 0.60; 95%CI 0.52-0.69). However, to correctly identify 90% of all patients needing a relaparotomy would require such a low cut-off value that around 80% of all patients identified by these scoring systems would have negative findings at relaparotomy.
None of the widely-used scoring systems to predict overall outcome in critically ill patients are of clinical value for the identification of patients with ongoing infection needing relaparotomy. There is a need to develop more specific tools to assist physicians in their daily monitoring and selection of these patients after the initial emergency laparotomy.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3268736  PMID: 22196238
3.  Costs of relaparotomy on-demand versus planned relaparotomy in patients with severe peritonitis: an economic evaluation within a randomized controlled trial 
Critical Care  2010;14(3):R97.
Results of the first randomized trial comparing on-demand versus planned-relaparotomy strategy in patients with severe peritonitis (RELAP trial) indicated no clear differences in primary outcomes. We now report the full economic evaluation for this trial, including detailed methods, nonmedical costs, further differentiated cost calculations, and robustness of different assumptions in sensitivity analyses.
An economic evaluation was conducted from a societal perspective alongside a randomized controlled trial in 229 patients with severe secondary peritonitis and an acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE)-II score ≥11 from two academic and five regional teaching hospitals in the Netherlands. After the index laparotomy, patients were randomly allocated to an on-demand or a planned-relaparotomy strategy. Primary resource-utilization data were used to estimate mean total costs per patient during the index admission and after discharge until 1 year after the index operation. Overall differences in costs between the on-demand relaparotomy strategy and the planned strategy, as well as relative differences across several clinical subgroups, were evaluated.
Costs were substantially lower in the on-demand group (mean, €65,768 versus €83,450 per patient in the planned group; mean absolute difference, €17,682; 95% CI, €5,062 to €29,004). Relative differences in mean total costs per patient (approximately 21%) were robust to various alternative assumptions. Planned relaparotomy consistently generated more costs across the whole range of different courses of disease (quick recovery and few resources used on one end of the spectrum; slow recovery and many resources used on the other end). This difference in costs between the two surgical strategies also did not vary significantly across several clinical subgroups.
The reduction in societal costs renders the on-demand strategy a more-efficient relaparotomy strategy in patients with severe peritonitis. These differences were found across the full range of healthcare resources as well as across patients with different courses of disease.
Trial Registration
PMCID: PMC2911734  PMID: 20507557
4.  Factors associated with posttraumatic stress symptoms in a prospective cohort of patients after abdominal sepsis: a nomogram 
Intensive Care Medicine  2008;34(4):664-674.
To determine to what extent patients who have survived abdominal sepsis suffer from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, and to identify potential risk factors for PTSD symptoms.
Design and setting
PTSD and depression symptoms were measured using the Impact of Events Scale–Revised (IES-R), the Post-Traumatic Symptom Scale 10 (PTSS-10) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II).
Patients and participants
A total of 135 peritonitis patients were eligible for this study, of whom 107 (80%) patients completed the questionnaire. The median APACHE-II score was 14 (range 12–16), and 89% were admitted to the ICU.
Measurements and results
The proportion of patients with “moderate” PTSD symptom scores was 28% (95% CI 20–37), whilst 10% (95% CI 6–17) of patients had “high” PTSD symptom scores. Only 5% (95% CI 2–12) of the patients expressed severe depression symptoms. Factors associated with increased PTSD symptoms in a multivariate ordinal regression model were younger age (0.74 per 10 years older, p = 0.082), length of ICU stay (OR = 1.4 per doubling of duration, p = 0.003) and having some (OR = 4.9, p = 0.06) or many (OR = 55.5, p < 0.001) traumatic memories of the ICU or hospital stay.
As many as 38% of patients after abdominal sepsis report elevated levels of PTSD symptoms on at least one of the questionnaires. Our nomogram may assist in identifying patients at increased risk for developing symptoms of PTSD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00134-007-0941-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2271079  PMID: 18197398
Peritonitis; Sepsis; Posttraumatic stress disorder; PTSD; Depression; Intensive care; IES-R; PTSS-10; BDI-II
5.  Single-drug therapy or selective decontamination of the digestive tract as antifungal prophylaxis in critically ill patients: a systematic review 
Critical Care  2007;11(6):R126.
The objective of this study was to determine and compare the effectiveness of different prophylactic antifungal therapies in critically ill patients on the incidence of yeast colonisation, infection, candidemia, and hospital mortality.
A systematic review was conducted of prospective trials including adult non-neutropenic patients, comparing single-drug antifungal prophylaxis (SAP) or selective decontamination of the digestive tract (SDD) with controls and with each other.
Thirty-three studies were included (11 SAP and 22 SDD; 5,529 patients). Compared with control groups, both SAP and SDD reduced the incidence of yeast colonisation (SAP: odds ratio [OR] 0.38, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.20 to 0.70; SDD: OR 0.12, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.29) and infection (SAP: OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.75; SDD: OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.45). Treatment effects were significantly larger in SDD trials than in SAP trials. The incidence of candidemia was reduced by SAP (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.82) but not by SDD (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.25 to 1.40). In-hospital mortality was reduced predominantly by SDD (OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.93, numbers needed to treat 15; SAP: OR 0.80, 95% CI 0.64 to 1.00). Effectiveness of prophylaxis reduced with an increased proportion of included surgical patients.
Antifungal prophylaxis (SAP or SDD) is effective in reducing yeast colonisation and infections across a range of critically ill patients. Indirect comparisons suggest that SDD is more effective in reducing yeast-related outcomes, except for candidemia.
PMCID: PMC2246222  PMID: 18067657
6.  Health related quality of life six months following surgical treatment for secondary peritonitis – using the EQ-5D questionnaire 
To compare health related quality of life (HR-QoL) in patients surgically treated for secondary peritonitis to that of a healthy population. And to prospectively identify factors associated with poorer (lower) HR-QoL.
A prospective cohort of secondary peritonitis patients was mailed the EQ-5D and EQ-VAS 6-months following initial laparotomy.
Multicenter study in two academic and seven regional teaching hospitals.
130 of the 155 eligible patients (84%) responded to the HR-QoL questionnaires.
HR-QoL was significantly worse on all dimensions in peritonitis patients than in a healthy reference population. Peritonitis characteristics at initial presentation were not associated with HR-QoL at six months. A more complicated course of the disease leading to longer hospitalization times and patients with an enterostomy had a negative impact on the mobility (p = 0.02), self-care (p < 0.001) and daily activities: (p = 0.01). In a multivariate analysis for the EQ-VAS every doubling of hospital stay decreases the EQ-VAS by 3.8 points (p = 0.015). Morbidity during the six-month follow-up was not found to be predictive for the EQ-5D or EQ-VAS.
Six months following initial surgery, patients with secondary peritonitis report more problems in HR-QoL than a healthy reference population. Unfavorable disease characteristics at initial presentation were not predictive for poorer HR-QoL, but a more complicated course of the disease was most predictive of HR-QoL at 6 months.
PMCID: PMC1950493  PMID: 17601343

Results 1-6 (6)