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author:("chari, Anis")
1.  Scorpion Envenomation Among Children: Clinical Manifestations and Outcome (Analysis of 685 Cases) 
Our objective was to characterize both epidemiologically and clinically manifestations after severe scorpion envenomation and to define simple factors indicative of poor prognosis in children. We performed a retrospective study over 13 years (1990–2002) in the medical intensive care unit (ICU) of a university hospital (Sfax-Tunisia). The diagnosis of scorpion envenomation was based on a history of scorpion sting. The medical records of 685 children aged less than 16 years who were admitted for a scorpion sting were analyzed. There were 558 patients (81.5%) in the grade III group (with cardiogenic shock and/or pulmonary edema or severe neurological manifestation [coma and/or convulsion]) and 127 patients (18.5%) in the grade II group (with systemic manifestations). In this study, 434 patients (63.4%) had a pulmonary edema, and 80 patients had a cardiogenic shock; neurological manifestations were observed in 580 patients (84.7%), 555 patients (81%) developed systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and 552 patients (80.6%) developed multi-organ failure. By the end of the stay in the ICU, evolution was marked by the death in 61 patients (8.9%). A multivariate analysis found the following factors to be correlated with a poor outcome: coma with Glasgow coma score ≤ 8/15 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.3), pulmonary edema (OR = 2.3), and cardiogenic shock (OR = 1.7). In addition, a significant association was found between the development of SIRS and heart failure. Moreover, a temperature > 39°C was associated with the presence of pulmonary edema, with a sensitivity at 20.6%, a specificity at 94.4%, and a positive predictive value at 91.7%. Finally, blood sugar levels above 15 mmol/L were significantly associated with a heart failure. In children admitted for severe scorpion envenomation, coma with Glasgow coma score ≤ 8/15, pulmonary edema, and cardiogenic shock were associated with a poor outcome. The presence of SIRS, a temperature > 39°C, and blood sugar levels above 15 mmol/L were associated with heart failure.
PMCID: PMC2963974  PMID: 21036842
2.  Post-traumatic pulmonary embolism in the intensive care unit 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2011;6(4):199-206.
To determine the predictive factors, clinical manifestations, and the outcome of patients with post-traumatic pulmonary embolism (PE) admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU).
During a four-year prospective study, a medical committee of six ICU physicians prospectively examined all available data for each trauma patient in order to classify patients according to the level of clinical suspicion of pulmonary thromboembolism. During the study period, all trauma patients admitted to our ICU were classified into two groups. The first group included all patients with confirmed PE; the second group included patients without clinical manifestations of PE. The diagnosis of PE was confirmed either by a high-probability ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) scan or by a spiral computed tomography (CT) scan showing one or more filling defects in the pulmonary artery or its branches.
During the study period, 1067 trauma patients were admitted in our ICU. The diagnosis of PE was confirmed in 34 patients (3.2%). The mean delay of development of PE was 11.3 ± 9.3 days. Eight patients (24%) developed this complication within five days of ICU admission. On the day of PE diagnosis, the clinical examination showed that 13 patients (38.2%) were hypotensive, 23 (67.7%) had systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), three (8.8%) had clinical manifestations of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), and 32 (94%) had respiratory distress requiring mechanical ventilation. In our study, intravenous unfractionated heparin was used in 32 cases (94%) and low molecular weight heparin was used in two cases (4%). The mean ICU stay was 31.6 ± 35.7 days and the mean hospital stay was 32.7 ± 35.3 days. The mortality rate in the ICU was 38.2% and the in-hospital mortality rate was 41%. The multivariate analysis showed that factors associated with poor prognosis in the ICU were the presence of circulatory failure (Shock) (Odds ratio (OR) = 9.96) and thrombocytopenia (OR = 32.5).Moreover, comparison between patients with and without PE showed that the predictive factors of PE were: Age > 40 years, a SAPS II score > 25, hypoxemia with PaO2/FiO2 < 200 mmHg, the presence of spine fracture, and the presence of meningeal hemorrhage.
Despite the high frequency of DVT in post-traumatic critically ill patients, symptomatic PE remains, although not frequently observed, because systematic screening is not performed. Factors associated with poor prognosis in the ICU are the presence of circulatory failure (shock) and thrombocytopenia. Predictive factors of PE are: Age > 40 years, a SAPS II score > 25, hypoxemia with PaO2/FiO2 < 200, the presence of a spine fracture, and the presence of meningeal hemorrhage. Prevention is highly warranted.
PMCID: PMC3183636  PMID: 21977064
Anticoagulation; ICU; predictive factors; pulmonary embolism; trauma patients
3.  Outcome analysis and outcome predictors of traumatic head injury in childhood: Analysis of 454 observations 
To determine factors associated with poor outcome in children suffering traumatic head injury (HI).
Materials and Methods:
A retrospective study over an 8-year period including 454 children with traumatic HI admitted in the Intensive Care Unit of a university hospital (Sfax-Tunisia). Basic demographic, clinical, biological and radiological data were recorded on admission and during the ICU stay. Prognosis was defined according Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) performed after hospital discharge by ICU and pediatric physicians.
There were 313 male (68.9%) and 141 female patients. Mean age (±SD) was 7.2±3.8 years, the main cause of trauma was traffic accidents (69.4%). Mean Glasgow coma scale (GCS) score was 8±3, mean injury severity score (ISS) was 26.4±8.6, mean pediatric trauma score (PTS) was 4±2 and mean pediatric risk of mortality (PRISM) was 11.1±8. The GOS performed within a mean delay of 7 months after hospital discharge was as follow: 82 deaths (18.3%), 5 vegetative states (1.1%), 15 severe disabilities (3.3%), 71 moderate disabilities (15.6%) and 281 good recoveries (61.9%). Multivariate analysis showed that factors associated with poor outcome (death, vegetative state or severe disability) were: PRISM ≥24 (P=0.03; OR: 5.75); GCS ≤8 (P=0.04; OR:2.42); Cerebral edema (P=0.03; OR:2.23); lesion type VI according to Traumatic Coma Data Bank Classification (P=0.002; OR:55.95); Hypoxemia (P=0.02; OR:2.97) and sodium level >145 mmol/l (P=0.04; OR: 4.41).
A significant proportion of children admitted with HI were found to have moderate disability at follow-up. We think that improving prehospital care, establishing trauma centers and making efforts to prevent motor vehicle crashes should improve the prognosis of HI in children.
PMCID: PMC3132359  PMID: 21769206
Acute head injury; children; Glasgow coma scale score; intensive care unit; multivariate analysis; prognosis; trauma
4.  Isolated traumatic head injury in children: Analysis of 276 observations 
To determine predictive factors of mortality among children after isolated traumatic brain injury.
Materials and Methods:
In this retrospective study, we included all consecutive children with isolated traumatic brain injury admitted to the 22-bed intensive care unit (ICU) of Habib Bourguiba University Hospital (Sfax, Tunisia). Basic demographic, clinical, biochemical, and radiological data were recorded on admission and during ICU stay.
There were 276 patients with 196 boys (71%) and 80 girls, with a mean age of 6.7 ± 3.8 years. The main cause of trauma was road traffic accident (58.3%). Mean Glasgow Coma Scale score was 8 ± 2, Mean Injury Severity Score (ISS) was 23.3 ± 5.9, Mean Pediatric Trauma Score (PTS) was 4.8 ± 2.3, and Mean Pediatric Risk of Mortality (PRISM) was 10.8 ± 8. A total of 259 children required mechanical ventilation. Forty-eight children (17.4%) died. Multivariate analysis showed that factors associated with a poor prognosis were PRISM > 24 (OR: 10.98), neurovegetative disorder (OR: 7.1), meningeal hemorrhage (OR: 2.74), and lesion type VI according to Marshall tomographic grading (OR: 13.26).
In Tunisia, head injury is a frequent cause of hospital admission and is most often due to road traffic injuries. Short-term prognosis is influenced by demographic, clinical, radiological, and biochemical factors. The need to put preventive measures in place is underscored.
PMCID: PMC3097575  PMID: 21633564
Acute head injury; children; intensive care unit; motor-vehicle crash; prognosis; trauma

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