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1.  Mortality associated with timing of admission to and discharge from ICU: a retrospective cohort study 
Although the association between mortality and admission to intensive care units (ICU) in the "after hours" (weekends and nights) has been the topic of extensive investigation, the timing of discharge from ICU and outcome has been less well investigated. The objective of this study was to assess effect of timing of admission to and discharge from ICUs and subsequent risk for death.
Adults (≥18 years) admitted to French ICUs participating in Outcomerea between January 2006 and November 2010 were included.
Among the 7,380 patients included, 61% (4,481) were male, the median age was 62 (IQR, 49-75) years, and the median SAPS II score was 40 (IQR, 28-56). Admissions to ICU occurred during weekends (Saturday and Sunday) in 1,708 (23%) cases, during the night (18:00-07:59) in 3,855 (52%), and on nights and/or weekends in 4,659 (63%) cases. Among 5,992 survivors to ICU discharge, 903 (15%) were discharged on weekends, 659 (11%) at night, and 1,434 (24%) on nights and/or weekends. After controlling for a number of co-variates using logistic regression analysis, admission during the after hours was not associated with an increased risk for death. However, patients discharged from ICU on nights were at higher adjusted risk (odds ratio, 1.54; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-2.11) for death.
In this study, ICU discharge at night but not admission was associated with a significant increased risk for death. Further studies are needed to examine whether minimizing night time discharges from ICU may improve outcome.
PMCID: PMC3269385  PMID: 22115194
2.  Diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin in critically ill immunocompromised patients 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:224.
Recognizing infection is crucial in immunocompromised patients with organ dysfunction. Our objective was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of procalcitonin (PCT) in critically ill immunocompromised patients.
This prospective, observational study included patients with suspected sepsis. Patients were classified into one of three diagnostic groups: no infection, bacterial sepsis, and nonbacterial sepsis.
We included 119 patients with a median age of 54 years (interquartile range [IQR], 42-68 years). The general severity (SAPSII) and organ dysfunction (LOD) scores on day 1 were 45 (35-62.7) and 4 (2-6), respectively, and overall hospital mortality was 32.8%. Causes of immunodepression were hematological disorders (64 patients, 53.8%), HIV infection (31 patients, 26%), and solid cancers (26 patients, 21.8%). Bacterial sepsis was diagnosed in 58 patients and nonbacterial infections in nine patients (7.6%); 52 patients (43.7%) had no infection. PCT concentrations on the first ICU day were higher in the group with bacterial sepsis (4.42 [1.60-22.14] vs. 0.26 [0.09-1.26] ng/ml in patients without bacterial infection, P < 0.0001). PCT concentrations on day 1 that were > 0.5 ng/ml had 100% sensitivity but only 63% specificity for diagnosing bacterial sepsis. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.851 (0.78-0.92). In multivariate analyses, PCT concentrations > 0.5 ng/ml on day 1 independently predicted bacterial sepsis (odds ratio, 8.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.53-29.3; P = 0.0006). PCT concentrations were not significantly correlated with hospital mortality.
Despite limited specificity in critically ill immunocompromised patients, PCT concentrations may help to rule out bacterial infection.
PMCID: PMC3170614  PMID: 21864380
bacterial infection; neutropenia; HIV infection; immune deficiency; bone marrow transplantation; Sensitivity and Specificity.
3.  Diagnostic performance of fractional excretion of urea in the evaluation of critically ill patients with acute kidney injury: a multicenter cohort study 
Critical Care  2011;15(4):R178.
Several factors, including diuretic use and sepsis, interfere with the fractional excretion of sodium, which is used to distinguish transient from persistent acute kidney injury (AKI). These factors do not affect the fractional excretion of urea (FeUrea). However, there are conflicting data on the diagnostic accuracy of FeUrea.
We conducted an observational, prospective, multicenter study at three ICUs in university hospitals. Unselected patients, except those with obstructive AKI, were admitted to the participating ICUs during a six-month period. Transient AKI was defined as AKI caused by renal hypoperfusion and reversal within three days. The results are reported as medians (interquartile ranges).
A total of 203 patients were included. According to our definitions, 67 had no AKI, 54 had transient AKI and 82 had persistent AKI. FeUrea was 39% (28 to 40) in the no-AKI group, 41% (29 to 54) in the transient AKI group and 32% (22 to 51) in the persistent AKI group (P = 0.12). FeUrea was of little help in distinguishing transient AKI from persistent AKI, with the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve being 0.59 (95% confidence interval, 0.49 to 0.70; P = 0.06). Sensitivity was 63% and specificity was 54% with a cutoff of 35%. In the subgroup of patients receiving diuretics, the results were similar.
FeUrea may be of little help in distinguishing transient AKI from persistent AKI in critically ill patients, including those receiving diuretic therapy. Additional studies are needed to evaluate alternative markers or strategies to differentiate transient from persistent AKI.
PMCID: PMC3387621  PMID: 21794161
acute kidney failure; ICU; fractional excretion of sodium; acute tubular necrosis; diuretics; sensitivity and specificity
4.  Intensive care of the cancer patient: recent achievements and remaining challenges 
A few decades have passed since intensive care unit (ICU) beds have been available for critically ill patients with cancer. Although the initial reports showed dismal prognosis, recent data suggest that an increased number of patients with solid and hematological malignancies benefit from intensive care support, with dramatically decreased mortality rates. Advances in the management of the underlying malignancies and support of organ dysfunctions have led to survival gains in patients with life-threatening complications from the malignancy itself, as well as infectious and toxic adverse effects related to the oncological treatments. In this review, we will appraise the prognostic factors and discuss the overall perspective related to the management of critically ill patients with cancer. The prognostic significance of certain factors has changed over time. For example, neutropenia or autologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT) have less adverse prognostic implications than two decades ago. Similarly, because hematologists and oncologists select patients for ICU admission based on the characteristics of the malignancy, the underlying malignancy rarely influences short-term survival after ICU admission. Since the recent data do not clearly support the benefit of ICU support to unselected critically ill allogeneic BMT recipients, more outcome research is needed in this subgroup. Because of the overall increased survival that has been reported in critically ill patients with cancer, we outline an easy-to-use and evidence-based ICU admission triage criteria that may help avoid depriving life support to patients with cancer who can benefit. Lastly, we propose a research agenda to address unanswered questions.
PMCID: PMC3159899  PMID: 21906331

Results 1-4 (4)