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1.  Clinical characteristics of redback spider bites 
Redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) (RBSs) are venomous spiders that have recently spread to Asia from Australia. Since the first case report in 1997 (Osaka), RBS bites have been a clinical and administrative issue in Japan; however, the clinical characteristics and effective treatment of RBS bites, particularly outside Australia remains unclear. This study aimed to elucidate the clinical characteristics of RBS bites and to clarify the effectiveness of the administration of antivenom for treatment.
We performed a retrospective questionnaire survey from January 2009 to December 2013 to determine the following: patient characteristics, effect of antivenom treatment, and outcomes. To clarify the characteristics of patients who develop systemic symptoms, we compared patients with localized symptoms and those with systemic symptoms. We also examined the efficacy and adverse effects in cases administered antivenom.
Over the 5-year study period, 28 patients were identified from 10 hospitals. Of these, 39.3% were male and the median age was 32 years. Bites most commonly occurred on the hand, followed by the forearm. Over 80% of patients developed local pain and erythema, and 35.7% (10 patients) developed systemic symptoms. Baseline characteristics, vital signs, laboratory data, treatment-related factors, and outcome were not significantly different between the localized and systemic symptoms groups. Six patients with systemic symptoms received antivenom, of whom four experienced symptom relief following antivenom administration. Premedication with an antihistamine or epinephrine to prevent the adverse effects of antivenom was administered in four patients, which resulted in no anaphylaxis. One out of two patients who did not receive premedication developed a mild allergic reaction after antivenom administration that subsided without treatment.
Approximately one third of cases developed systemic symptoms, and antivenom was administered effectively and safely in severe cases. Further research is required to identify clinically applicable indications for antivenom use.
PMCID: PMC4336278
Redback spider; Antivenom; Systemic symptom
2.  Spontaneous Uterine Perforation of Pyometra Presenting as Acute Abdomen 
Pyometra is the accumulation of pus in the uterine cavity, and spontaneous perforation of pyometra resulting in generalized diffuse peritonitis is extremely uncommon. We report a rare case of diffuse peritonitis caused by spontaneous perforation of pyometra. A 66-year-old postmenopausal woman with diffuse abdominal pain and vomiting was admitted to our institution. She had a history of mixed connective-tissue disease and had been taking steroids for 20 years. Under a diagnosis of generalized peritonitis secondary to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract or uterus, supravaginal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy were performed. Unfortunately, wound dehiscence and infection occurred during the postoperative course, which were exacerbated by her immunocompromised state. Despite intensive care and a course of antibiotics, the patient died of multiple organ failure resulting from sepsis on the 36th postoperative day. Although correct diagnosis, early intervention, and proper treatment can reduce morbidity and mortality of spontaneous perforation of pyometra, if severe infection occurs, this disease can be life threatening for immunocompromised hosts.
PMCID: PMC4095732  PMID: 25057420
3.  Impact on survival of whole-body computed tomography before emergency bleeding control in patients with severe blunt trauma 
Critical Care  2013;17(4):R178.
Whole-body computed tomography (CT) has gained importance in the early diagnostic phase of trauma care. However, the diagnostic value of CT for seriously injured patients is not thoroughly clarified. This study assessed whether preoperative CT beneficially affected survival of patients with blunt trauma who required emergency bleeding control.
This retrospective study was conducted from January 2004 to December 2010 in two tertiary trauma centers in Japan. The primary inclusion criterion was patients with blunt trauma who required emergency bleeding control (surgery or transcatheter arterial embolization). CT before emergency bleeding control was performed at the attending physician's discretion based on individual patient condition (for example, hemodynamic stability or certain abnormalities in the primary survey). We assessed covariates associated with 28-day mortality with multivariate logistic regression analysis and evaluated standardized mortality ratio (SMR, ratio of observed to predicted mortality by Trauma and Injury Severity Score (TRISS) method) in two subgroups of patients who did or did not undergo CT.
The inclusion criterion was fulfilled by 152 patients with a median Injury Severity Score of 35.3. During the early resuscitation phase, 132 (87%) patients underwent CT and 20 (13%) did not. Severity of injury was significantly higher in the non-CT versus CT group patients. Observed mortality rate was significantly lower in the CT versus non-CT group (18% vs. 80%, P <0.001). Multivariate adjustment for the probability of survival (Ps) by TRISS method confirmed CT as an independent predictor for 28-day mortality (adjusted OR, 7.22; 95% CI, 1.76 to 29.60; P = 0.006). In the subgroup with less severe trauma (TRISS Ps ≥50%), SMR in the CT group was 0.63 (95% CI, 0.23 to 1.03; P = 0.066), indicating no significant difference between observed and predicted mortality in the CT group. In contrast, in the subgroup with more severe trauma (TRISS Ps <50%), SMR was 0.65 (95% CI, 0.41 to 0.90; P = 0.004) only in the CT group, whereas the difference between observed and predicted mortality was not significant in the non-CT group, suggesting a possible beneficial effect of CT on survival only in trauma patients at high risk of death.
CT performed before emergency bleeding control might be associated with improved survival, especially in severe trauma patients with TRISS Ps of <50%.
PMCID: PMC4057394  PMID: 24025196
4.  Recombinant human soluble thrombomodulin in sepsis-induced disseminated intravascular coagulation: a multicenter propensity score analysis 
Intensive Care Medicine  2013;39(4):644-652.
Evidence of efficacy and safety of, and especially mortality related to, recombinant human thrombomodulin (rhTM) treatment for sepsis-induced disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is limited. We hypothesized that patients with sepsis-induced DIC receiving treatment with rhTM would have improved mortality compared with those with similar acuity who did not.
This retrospective cohort study conducted in three tertiary referral hospitals in Japan between January 2006 and June 2011 included all patients with sepsis-induced DIC who required ventilator management. Primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality, with duration of intensive care unit treatment, changes in DIC scores and rate of bleeding complications as secondary endpoints. Regression technique was used to develop a propensity model adjusted for baseline imbalances between groups.
Eligible were 162 patients with sepsis-induced DIC; 68 patients received rhTM and 94 did not. Patients receiving rhTM had higher severity of illness according to baseline characteristics. After adjusting for these imbalances by stratified propensity score analysis, treatment with rhTM was significantly associated with reduced in-hospital mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.45; 95 % confidential interval, 0.26–0.77; p = 0.013). An association between rhTM treatment and higher numbers of intensive care unit-free days, ventilator-free days, and vasopressor-free days were observed. DIC scores were significantly decreased in the rhTM group compared with the control group in the early period after rhTM treatment, whereas the incidence of bleeding-related adverse events did not differ between the two groups.
Therapy with rhTM may be associated with reduced in-hospital mortality in adult mechanically ventilated patients with sepsis-induced DIC.
PMCID: PMC3607733  PMID: 23361628
Sepsis; DIC; Anticoagulant therapy; Thrombomodulin; Outcome assessment; Retrospective studies
5.  First clinical experience with IVR-CT system in the emergency room: Positive impact on trauma workflow 
Recently, computed tomography (CT) has gained importance in the early diagnostic phase of trauma care in the emergency room. We implemented a new trauma workflow concept with CT in our emergency room that allows emergency therapeutic intervention without relocating the patient. Times from patient arrival to CT initiation, CT end, and definitive intervention were significantly shorter with our new protocol than were those with the conventional CT protocol. Our new workflow concept, which provides faster time to definitive intervention, appears to be effective.
PMCID: PMC3480953  PMID: 22870906
6.  Clinical characteristics and risk factors for septic shock in patients receiving emergency drainage for acute pyelonephritis with upper urinary tract calculi 
BMC Urology  2012;12:4.
Acute pyelonephritis (APN) is a common complication of ureteral obstruction caused by urolithiasis, and it can be lethal if it progresses to septic shock. We investigated the clinical characteristics of patients undergoing emergency drainage and assessed risk factors for septic shock.
A retrospective study was performed of 98 patients (101 events) requiring emergency drainage at our urology department for obstructive APN associated with upper urinary tract calculi from January 2003 to January 2011. Clinical characteristics were summarized, and risk factors for septic shock were assessed by logistic regression analysis.
Objective evidence of sepsis was found in 64 (63.4%) events, and 21 events (20.8%) were categorized as septic shock. Ninety-six patients recovered, but 2 patients died of septic shock. Multivariate analysis revealed that age and the presence of paralysis were independent risk factors for septic shock.
APN associated with upper urinary tract calculi is a severe disease that should be treated with caution, particularly when risk factors are present.
PMCID: PMC3353222  PMID: 22413829
7.  Assessment of risk factors related to healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection at patient admission to an intensive care unit in Japan 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:303.
Healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) infection in intensive care unit (ICU) patients prolongs ICU stay and causes high mortality. Predicting HA-MRSA infection on admission can strengthen precautions against MRSA transmission. This study aimed to clarify the risk factors for HA-MRSA infection in an ICU from data obtained within 24 hours of patient ICU admission.
We prospectively studied HA-MRSA infection in 474 consecutive patients admitted for more than 2 days to our medical, surgical, and trauma ICU in a tertiary referral hospital in Japan. Data obtained from patients within 24 hours of ICU admission on 11 prognostic variables possibly related to outcome were evaluated to predict infection risk in the early phase of ICU stay. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent risk factors for HA-MRSA infection.
Thirty patients (6.3%) had MRSA infection, and 444 patients (93.7%) were infection-free. Intubation, existence of open wound, treatment with antibiotics, and steroid administration, all occurring within 24 hours of ICU admission, were detected as independent prognostic indicators. Patients with intubation or open wound comprised 96.7% of MRSA-infected patients but only 57.4% of all patients admitted.
Four prognostic variables were found to be risk factors for HA-MRSA infection in ICU: intubation, open wound, treatment with antibiotics, and steroid administration, all occurring within 24 hours of ICU admission. Preemptive infection control in patients with these risk factors might effectively decrease HA-MRSA infection.
PMCID: PMC3219579  PMID: 22044716
8.  Treatment effects of recombinant human soluble thrombomodulin in patients with severe sepsis: a historical control study 
Critical Care  2011;15(3):R123.
Cross-talk between the coagulation system and inflammatory reactions during sepsis causes organ damage followed by multiple organ dysfunction syndrome or even death. Therefore, anticoagulant therapies have been expected to be beneficial in the treatment of severe sepsis. Recombinant human soluble thrombomodulin (rhTM) binds to thrombin to inactivate coagulation, and the thrombin-rhTM complex activates protein C to produce activated protein C. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of rhTM for treating patients with sepsis-induced disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).
This study comprised 65 patients with sepsis-induced DIC who required ventilatory management. All patients fulfilled the criteria of severe sepsis and the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis criteria for overt DIC. The initial 45 patients were treated without rhTM (control group), and the following 20 consecutive patients were treated with rhTM (0.06 mg/kg/day) for six days (rhTM group). The primary outcome measure was 28-day mortality. Stepwise multivariate Cox regression analysis was used to assess which independent variables were associated with mortality. Comparisons of Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score on sequential days between the two groups were analyzed by repeated measures analysis of variance.
Cox regression analysis showed 28-day mortality to be significantly lower in the rhTM group than in the control group (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.303; 95% confidence interval, 0.106 to 0.871; P = 0.027). SOFA score in the rhTM group decreased significantly in comparison with that in the control group (P = 0.028). In the post hoc test, SOFA score decreased rapidly in the rhTM group compared with that in the control group on day 1 (P < 0.05).
We found that rhTM administration may improve organ dysfunction in patients with sepsis-induced DIC. Further clinical investigations are necessary to evaluate the effect of rhTM on the pathophysiology of sepsis-induced DIC.
PMCID: PMC3218981  PMID: 21569368
9.  A novel technique of differential lung ventilation in the critical care setting 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:134.
Differential lung ventilation (DLV) is used to salvage ventilatory support in severe unilateral lung disease in the critical care setting. However, DLV with a double-lumen tube is associated with serious complications such as tube displacement during ventilatory management. Thus, long-term ventilatory management with this method may be associated with high risk of respiratory incidents in the critical care setting.
We devised a novel DLV technique using two single-lumen tubes and applied it to five patients, two with severe unilateral pneumonia and three with thoracic trauma, in a critical care setting. In this novel technique, we perform the usual tracheotomy and insert two single-lumen tubes under bronchoscopic guidance into the main bronchus of each lung. We tie the two single-lumen tubes together and suture them directly to the skin. The described technique was successfully performed in all five patients. Pulmonary oxygenation improved rapidly after DLV induction in all cases, and the three patients with thoracic trauma were managed by DLV without undergoing surgery. Tube displacement was not observed during DLV management. No airway complications occured in either the acute or late phase regardless of the length of DLV management (range 2-23 days).
This novel DLV technique appears to be efficacious and safe in the critical care setting.
PMCID: PMC3101656  PMID: 21545715

Results 1-9 (9)