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1.  Perceptions of an open visitation policy by intensive care unit workers 
An intensive care unit (ICU) admission is a stressful event for the patient and the patient’s family. Several studies demonstrated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder in family members of patients admitted to ICU. Some studies recognize that the open visitation policy (OVP) is related to a reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression for the patient and an improvement in family satisfaction. However, some issues have been presented as barriers for the adoption of that strategy. This study was designed to evaluate perceptions of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists (RTs) of an OVP and to quantify visiting times in a Brazilian private intensive care unit (ICU).
This observational and descriptive study was performed in the medical-surgical (22 beds) and neurologic ICU (8 beds) of Sírio-Libanês Hospital (HSL), São Paulo, Brazil. All physicians, nurses, and RTs from ICU were invited to participate in the study. A questionnaire was applied to all ICU workers who accepted to participate in the study. The questionnaire consisted of 22 questions about the visiting policy. During five consecutive days, we evaluated the time that the visitors stayed in the patient room, as well as the type of visitor.
A total of 106 ICU workers participated in this study (42 physicians, 39 nurses, and 25 RTs). Only three of the questions exposed a negative perception of the visiting policy: 53.3% of the participants do not think that the OVP consistently increases family satisfaction with patient’s care; 59.4% of ICU workers think that the OVP impairs the organization of the patient’s care; 72.7% of participants believe that their work suffers more interruptions because of the OVP. The median visiting time per day was 11.5 hours.
According to physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists, the greatest impact of OVP is the benefit to the patients rather than to the family or to the staff. Furthermore, they feel that they need communication training to better interact with family members who are present in the ICU 24 hours per day.
PMCID: PMC3854481  PMID: 24135292
Intensive care unit; Family; Visitation policy; Family centered care; Patient centered care
2.  Should we measure intra-abdominal pressures in every intensive care patient? 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S9.
Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is seldom measured by default in intensive care patients. This review summarises the current evidence on the prevalence and risk factors of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) to assist the decision-making for IAP monitoring.
IAH occurs in 20% to 40% of intensive care patients. High body mass index (BMI), abdominal surgery, liver dysfunction/ascites, hypotension/vasoactive therapy, respiratory failure and excessive fluid balance are risk factors of IAH in the general ICU population. IAP monitoring is strongly supported in mechanically ventilated patients with severe burns, severe trauma, severe acute pancreatitis, liver failure or ruptured aortic aneurysms. The risk of developing IAH is minimal in mechanically ventilated patients with positive end-expiratory pressure < 10 cmH2O, PaO2/FiO2 > 300, and BMI < 30 and without pancreatitis, hepatic failure/cirrhosis with ascites, gastrointestinal bleeding or laparotomy and the use of vasopressors/inotropes on admission. In these patients, omitting IAP measurements might be considered.
In conclusions, clear guidelines to select the patients in whom IAP measurements should be performed cannot be given at present. In addition to IAP measurements in at-risk patients, a clinical assessment of the signs of IAH should be a part of every ICU patient's bedside evaluation, leading to prompt IAP monitoring in case of the slightest suspicion of IAH development.
PMCID: PMC3390289  PMID: 22873425
intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; patient monitoring; intensive care; epidemiology.
3.  Sedation in French intensive care units: a survey of clinical practice 
Sedation is used frequently for patients in intensive care units who require mechanical ventilation, but oversedation is one of the main side effects. Different strategies have been proposed to prevent oversedation. The extent to which these strategies have been adopted by intensivists is unknown.
We developed a six-section questionnaire that covered the drugs used, modalities of drug administration, use of sedation scales and procedural pain scales, use of written local procedures, and targeted objectives of consciousness. In November 2011, the questionnaire was sent to 1,078 intensivists identified from the French ICU Society (SRLF) database.
The questionnaire was returned by 195 intensivists (response rate 18.1%), representing 135 of the 282 ICUs (47.8%) listed in the French ICU society (SRLF) database. The analysis showed that midazolam and sufentanil are the most frequently used hypnotics and opioids, respectively, administered in continuous intravenous (IV) infusions. IV boluses of hypnotics without subsequent continuous IV infusion are used occasionally (in <25% of patients) by 65% of intensivists. Anxiolytic benzodiazepines (e.g., clorazepam, alprazolam), hydroxyzine, and typical neuroleptics, via either an enteral or IV route, are used occasionally by two thirds of respondents. The existence of a written, local sedation management procedure in the ICU is reported by 55% of respondents, 54% of whom declare that they use it routinely. Written local sedation procedures mainly rely on titration of continuous IV hypnotics (90% of the sedation procedures); less frequently, sedation procedures describe alternative approaches to prevent oversedation, including daily interruption of continuous IV hypnotic infusion, hypnotic boluses with no subsequent continuous IV infusion, or the use of nonhypnotic drugs. Among the responding intensivists, 98% consider eye opening, either spontaneously or after light physical stimulation, a reasonable target consciousness level in patients with no severe respiratory failure or intracranial hypertension.
Despite a low individual response rate, the respondents to our survey represent almost half of the ICUs in the French SRLF database. The presence of a written local sedation procedure, a cornerstone of preventing oversedation, is reported by only half of respondents; when present, it is used in for a limited number of patients. Sedation procedures mainly rely on titration of continuous IV hypnotics, but other strategies to limit oversedation also are included in sedation procedures. French intensivists no longer consider severely altered consciousness a sedation objective for most patients.
PMCID: PMC3751696  PMID: 23937955
Sedation; Midazolam; Propofol; Opioids; Intensive care unit; Mechanical ventilation; Practice survey; Oversedation
4.  Outbreak of multidrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae carrying qnrB1 and blaCTX-M15 in a French intensive care unit 
The prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae is increasing globally and is a major clinical concern. Between June 2008 and September 2009, 4% of patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) were found to be colonized or infected by strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae multiresistant to ceftazidime, ciprofloxacin, and tobramycin; an investigation was initiated and isolates were characterized by molecular typing and resistance patterns.
Antibiotic susceptibilities were determined by Vitek2®, Etest®, and agar dilution. Gene encoding beta-lactamases and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance PMQR determinants (qnr, aac(6′)-Ib) were characterized by PCR, sequencing, and transfer assays. DiversiLab® fingerprints were used to study the relatedness of isolates.
Fourteen isolates co-expressing blaCTX-M15, qnrB1, and aac(6′)-Ib-cr were identified. Genotypic analysis of these isolates identified 12 clonally related strains recovered from 10 patients. The increased prevalence of blaCTX-M15-qnrB1-aac(6′)-Ib-cr-producing K. pneumoniae coincided with the presence in the ICU of a patient originally from Nigeria. This patient was infected by a strain not clonally related to the others but harbouring qnrB1 and aac(6′)-Ib-cr genes, a finding not hitherto observed in France. We suspected transmission of resistance plasmids followed by rapid dissemination of the multiresistant K. pneumoniae clone by cross-transmission.
This study highlights the importance of microbiological screening for multidrug-resistant strains in ICUs, particularly among patients from regions in which multidrug-resistant bacteria are known to exist.
PMCID: PMC3707830  PMID: 23815782
Outbreak; Klebsiella pneumoniae; Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase; Intensive care unit; Screening; Quinolone resistance
5.  Adverse event reporting in adult intensive care units and the impact of a multifaceted intervention on drug-related adverse events 
Adverse events (AEs) frequently occur in intensive care units (ICUs) and affect negatively patient outcomes. Targeted improvement strategies for patient safety are difficult to evaluate because of the intrinsic limitations of reporting crude AE rates. Single interventions influence positively the quality of care, but a multifaceted approach has been tested only in selected cases. The present study was designed to evaluate the rate, types, and contributing factors of emerging AEs and test the hypothesis that a multifaceted intervention on medication might reduce drug-related AEs.
This is a prospective, multicenter, before-and-after study of adult patients admitted to four ICUs during a 24-month period. Voluntary, anonymous, self-reporting of AEs was performed using a detailed, locally designed questionnaire. The temporal impact of a multifaceted implementation strategy to reduce drug-related AEs was evaluated using the risk-index scores methodology.
A total of 2,047 AEs were reported (32 events per 100 ICU patient admissions and 117.4 events per 1,000 ICU patient days) from 6,404 patients, totaling 17,434 patient days. Nurses submitted the majority of questionnaires (n = 1,781, 87%). AEs were eye-witnessed in 49% (n = 1,003) of cases and occurred preferentially during an elective procedure (n = 1,597, 78%) and on morning shifts (n = 1,003, 49%), with a peak rate occurring around 10 a.m. Drug-related AEs were the most prevalent (n = 984, 48%), mainly as a consequence of incorrect prescriptions. Poor communication among caregivers (n = 776) and noncompliance with internal guidelines (n = 525) were the most prevalent contributing factors for AE occurrence. The majority of AEs (n = 1155, 56.4%) was associated with minimal, temporary harm. Risk-index scores for drug-related AEs decreased from 10.01 ± 2.7 to 8.72 ± 3.52 (absolute risk difference 1.29; 95% confidence interval, 0.88-1.7; p < 0.01) following the introduction of the intervention.
AEs occurred in the ICU with a typical diurnal frequency distribution. Medication-related AEs were the most prevalent. By applying the risk-index scores methodology, we were able to demonstrate that our multifaceted implementation strategy focused on medication-related adverse events allowed to decrease drug related incidents.
PMCID: PMC3526522  PMID: 23174137
Adverse events; Medical errors; Patient safety; Quality improvement; Intensive care; Reliability
6.  Short- and long-term outcomes of HIV-infected patients admitted to the intensive care unit: impact of antiretroviral therapy and immunovirological status 
The purpose of this study was to assess the short- and long-term outcomes of HIV-infected patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU) according to immunovirological status at admission and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) use in ICU.
Retrospective study of 98 HIV-infected patients hospitalized between 1997 and 2008 in two medical ICU in Montpellier, France. The primary outcome was mortality in ICU. The secondary end point was probability of survival in the year following ICU admission.
Eighty-two (83.6%) admissions in ICU were related to HIV infection and 45% of patients had received HAART before admission. Sixty-two patients (63.3%) were discharged from ICU, and 34 (34.7%) were alive at 1 year. Plasma HIV RNA viral load (VL) and CD4+ cell count separately were not associated with outcome. Independent predictors of ICU mortality were the use of vasopressive agents (odds ratio (OR), 3.779; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–12.861; p = 0.0334) and SAPS II score (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.003-1.077; p = 0.0319), whereas introducing or continuing HAART in ICU was protective (OR, 0.278; 95% CI, 0.082-0.939; p = 0.0393). Factors independently associated with 1-year mortality were immunovirological status with high VL (>3 log10/ml) and low CD4 (<200/mm3; hazard ratio (HR), 5.19; 95% CI, 1.328-20.279; p = 0.0179) or low VL (<3 log10/ml) and low CD4 (HR, 4.714; 95% CI, 1.178-18.867; p = 0.0284) vs. high CD4 and low VL, coinfection with C hepatitis virus (HR, 3.268; 95% CI, 1.29-8.278; p = 0.0125), the use of vasopressive agents (HR, 3.68; 95% CI, 1.394-9.716; p = 0.0085), and SAPS II score (HR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.057-1.124; p <0.0001). Introducing HAART in a patient with no HAART at admission was associated with a better long-term outcome (HR, 0.166; 95% CI, 0.043-0.642; p = 0.0093).
In a population of HIV-infected patients admitted to ICU, short- and long-term outcomes are related to acute illness severity and immunovirological status at admission. Complementary studies are necessary to identify HIV-infected patients who benefit from HAART use in ICU according to immunovirological status and the reasons of ICU admission.
PMCID: PMC3465211  PMID: 22762133
Intensive care units; Human immunodeficiency virus; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Antiretroviral therapy; Prognostic factors; Critical care; Mortality
7.  Mild hypoglycemia is strongly associated with increased intensive care unit length of stay 
Hypoglycemia is associated with increased mortality in critically ill patients. The impact of hypoglycemia on resource utilization has not been investigated. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the association of hypoglycemia, defined as a blood glucose concentration (BG) < 70 mg/dL, and intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS) in three different cohorts of critically ill patients.
This is a retrospective investigation of prospectively collected data, including patients from two large observational cohorts: 3,263 patients admitted to Stamford Hospital (ST) and 2,063 patients admitted to three institutions in The Netherlands (NL) as well as 914 patients from the GLUCONTROL trial (GL), a multicenter prospective randomized controlled trial of intensive insulin therapy.
Patients with hypoglycemia were more likely to be diabetic, had higher APACHE II scores, and higher mortality than did patients without hypoglycemia. Patients with hypoglycemia had longer ICU LOS (median [interquartile range]) in ST (3.0 [1.4-7.1] vs. 1.2 [0.8-2.3] days, P < 0.0001), NL (5.2 [2.6-10.3] vs. 2.0 [1.3-3.2] days, P < 0.0001), and GL (9 [5-17] vs. 5 [3-9] days, P < 0.0001). For the entire cohort of 6,240 patients ICU LOS was 1.8 (1.0-3.3) days for those without hypoglycemia and 3.0 (1.5-6.7) days for those with a single episode of hypoglycemia (P < 0.0001). This was a consistent finding even when patients were stratified by severity of illness or survivor status. There was a strong positive correlation between the number of episodes of hypoglycemia and ICU LOS among all three cohorts.
This multicenter international investigation demonstrated that hypoglycemia was consistently associated with significantly higher ICU LOS in heterogeneous cohorts of critically ill patients, independently of severity of illness and survivor status. More effective methods to prevent hypoglycemia in these patients may positively impact their cost of care.
PMCID: PMC3273438  PMID: 22115519
hypoglycemia; intensive care unit; length of stay; resource utilization; APACHE II; mortality; intensive insulin therapy
8.  An observational study on rhabdomyolysis in the intensive care unit. Exploring its risk factors and main complication: acute kidney injury 
Because neither the incidence and risk factors for rhabdomyolysis in the ICU nor the dynamics of its main complication, i.e., rhabdomyolysis-induced acute kidney injury (AKI) are well known, we retrospectively studied a large population of adult ICU patients (n = 1,769).
CK and sMb (serum myoglobin) and uMb (urinary myoglobin) were studied as markers of rhabdomyolysis and AKI (RIFLE criteria). Hemodialysis and mortality were used as outcome variables.
Prolonged surgery, trauma, and vascular occlusions are associated with increasing CK values. CK correlates with sMb (p < 0.001) and peaks significantly later than sMb or uMb.
The logistic regression showed a positive correlation between CK and the development of AKI, with an OR of 2.21. Univariate logistic regression suggests that elevations of sMb and uMb are associated with the development of AKI, with odds ratios of 7.87 and 1.61 respectively. The ROC curve showed that for all three markers a significant correlation with AKI, for sMb with the greatest area under the curve. The best cutoff values for prediction of AKI were CK > 773 U/l; sMb > 368 μg/l and uMb > 38 μg/l respectively.
Because it also has extrarenal elimination kinetics, our data suggest that measuring myoglobin in patients at risk for rhabdomyolysis in the ICU may be useful.
PMCID: PMC3614462  PMID: 23497406
Rhabdomyolysis; Intensive care unit–ICU; Creatine kinase; Creatine phosphokinase; Myoglobin; Serum myoglobin; Urinary myoglobin; Acute kidney injury
9.  Eligibility of patients withheld or withdrawn from life-sustaining treatment to organ donation after circulatory arrest death: epidemiological feasibility study in a French Intensive Care Unit 
Transplantation brings sustainably improved quality of life to patients with end-stage organ failure. Persisting shortfall in available organs prompted French authorities and practitioners to focus on organ retrieval in patients withdrawn from life-sustaining treatment and awaiting cardiac arrest (Maastricht classification category III). The purpose of this study was to assess the theoretical eligibility of non-heart-beating donors dying in the intensive care unit (ICU) after a decision to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment (WoWt).
We collected the clinical and biological characteristics of all consecutive patients admitted to our ICU and qualified for a WoWt procedure under the terms of the French Leonetti law governing end-of-life care during a 12-month period. The theoretical organ donor eligibility (for kidney, liver, or lung retrieval) of deceased patients was determined a posteriori 1) according to routine medical criteria for graft selection and 2) according to the WoWt measures implemented and their impact on organ viability.
A total of 596 patients (mean age: 67 ± 16 yr; gender ratio M/F: 1.6; mean SAPS (Simplified Acute Physiology Score) II: 54 ± 24) was admitted to the ICU, of which 84 patients (mean age: 71 ± 14 yr, 14% of admissions, gender ratio M/F: 3.2) underwent WoWt measures. Eight patients left the unit alive. Forty-four patients presented a contraindication ruling out organ retrieval either preexisting admission (n = 20) or emerged during hospitalization (n = 24). Thirty-two patients would have been eligible as kidney (n = 23), liver (n = 22), or lung donors (n = 2). Cardiopulmonary support was withdrawn in only five of these patients, and three died within 120 minutes after withdrawal (the maximum delay compatible with organ viability for donor grafts).
In this pilot study, a significant number of patients deceased under WoWt conditions theoretically would have been eligible for organ retrieval. However, the WoWt measures implemented in our unit seems incompatible with donor organ viability. A French multicenter survey of end-of-life practices in ICU may help to identify potential appropriate organ donors and to interpret nation-specific considerations of the related professional, legal, and ethical frameworks.
PMCID: PMC3826506  PMID: 24199966
Tissue and organ harvesting; Withholding treatment; Life support care; Medical futility; Organ donation
10.  Evaluation of the depth of sedation in an intensive care unit based on the photo motor reflex variations measured by video pupillometry 
Evaluating depth of sedation in the intensive care unit (ICU) is crucial for the management of mechanically ventilated patients but can be challenging in some situations. Because the depth of hypnosis is correlated with the decrease in photomotor reflex (PMR), we suggest using pupillometric video as an automated, noninvasive, simple, and reproducible technique to evaluate the depth of sedation in ICU patients. We compare the effectiveness of this procedure to the bispectral index (BIS).
Thirty-one patients requiring sedation and ventilation were included in this monocentric, observational study. The posology of hypnotics and morphinics were based on the Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS). PMR was measured by the Neurolight® (IDMED) system and BIS value by BIS Vista® (Anandic Medical Systems). RASS, PMR, and BIS were measured three times daily in all patients. Data acquired by pupillometric video included variation in pupillary diameter (ΔPD), latency time (LT), and maximal speed of pupillary constriction (Vmax). These parameters were analyzed after having classified BIS values in three groups (<40 heavy sedation; 40 ≤ BIS ≤ 60 acceptable sedation; >60 light sedation). Exclusion criteria were neurological or ophthalmologic pathologies that could interfere with PMR.
There was a significant difference in Vmax and ΔPD between the BIS < 40 group and 40 ≤ BIS ≤ 60 groups (p < 0.0001 for each) and between the BIS < 40 and BIS > 60 groups (p < 0.0001 for each). There were no significant differences in Vmax and ΔPD between the 40 ≤ BIS ≤ 60 and BIS > 60 groups. There was no correlation between any of the BIS groups and LT.
Vmax and ΔPD seem to be relevant criteria compared with the BIS and the RASS. Pupillometric video monitoring of depth of sedation could be beneficial in ICU patients, especially for those under myorelaxant drugs, where no clinical evaluation of sedation is possible.
PMCID: PMC3605207  PMID: 23433043
Sedation; Photomotor reflex; Video pupillometry; Bispectral index
11.  Lactate clearance for death prediction in severe sepsis or septic shock patients during the first 24 hours in Intensive Care Unit: an observational study 
This study was design to investigate the prognostic value for death at day-28 of lactate course and lactate clearance during the first 24 hours in Intensive Care Unit (ICU), after initial resuscitation.
Prospective, observational study in one surgical ICU in a university hospital. Ninety-four patients hospitalized in the ICU for severe sepsis or septic shock were included. In this septic cohort, we measured blood lactate concentration at ICU admission (H0) and at H6, H12, and H24. Lactate clearance was calculated as followed: [(lactateinitial - lactatedelayed)/ lactateinitial] x 100%].
The mean time between severe sepsis diagnosis and H0 (ICU admission) was 8.0 ± 4.5 hours. Forty-two (45%) patients died at day 28. Lactate clearance was higher in survivors than in nonsurvivors patients for H0-H6 period (13 ± 38% and −13 ± 7% respectively, p = 0.021) and for the H0-H24 period (42 ± 33% and −17 ± 76% respectively, p < 0.001). The best predictor of death at day 28 was lactate clearance for the H0-H24 period (AUC = 0.791; 95% CI 0.6-0.85). Logistic regression found that H0-H24 lactate clearance was independently correlated to a survival status with a p = 0.047 [odds ratio = 0.35 (95% CI 0.01-0.76)].
During the first 24 hr in the ICU, lactate clearance was the best parameter associated with 28-day mortality rate in septic patients. Protocol of lactate clearance-directed therapy should be considered in septic patients, even after the golden hours.
PMCID: PMC3614435  PMID: 23398782
Sepsis; Lactate; Lactate clearance; Prognostic factor; Goal-directed therapy
12.  Delirium in postoperative nonventilated intensive care patients: risk factors and outcomes 
Delirium features can vary greatly depending on the postoperative population studied; however, most studies focus only on high-risk patients. Describing the impact of delirium and risk factors in mixed populations can help in the development of preventive actions.
The occurrence of delirium was evaluated prospectively in 465 consecutive nonventilated postoperative patients admitted to a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) using the confusion assessment method (CAM). Patients with and without delirium were compared. A multiple logistic regression was performed to identify the main risk factors for delirium in the first 24 h of admission to the SICU and the main predictors of outcomes.
Delirium was diagnosed in 43 (9.2%) individuals and was more frequent on the second and third days of admission. The presence of delirium resulted in longer lengths of SICU and hospital stays [6 days (3–13) vs. 2 days (1–3), p < 0.001 and 26 days (12–39) vs. 6 days (3–13), p <0.001, respectively], as well as higher hospital and SICU mortality rates [16.3% vs. 4.0%, p = 0.004 and 6.5% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.042, respectively]. The risk factors for delirium were age (odds ratio (OR), 1.04 [1.02-1.07]), Acute Physiologic Score (APS; OR, 1.11 [1.04-1.2]), emergency surgery (OR, 8.05 [3.58-18.06]), the use of benzodiazepines (OR, 2.28 [1.04-5.00]), and trauma (OR, 6.16 [4.1-6.5]).
Delirium negatively impacts postoperative nonventilated patients. Risk factors can be used to detect high-risk patients in a mixed population of SICU patients.
PMCID: PMC3544687  PMID: 23272945
Delirium; Postoperative; Surgery; Confusion assessment method
13.  Mechanical ventilation and clinical practice heterogeneity in intensive care units: a multicenter case-vignette study 
Observational studies on mechanical ventilation (MV) show practice variations across ICUs. We sought to determine, with a case-vignette study, the heterogeneity of processes of care in ICUs focusing on mechanical ventilation procedures, and whether organizational patterns or physician characteristics influence practice variations.
We conducted a cross-sectional multicenter study using the case-vignette methodology. Descriptive analyses were calculated for each organizational pattern and respondent characteristics. An Index of Qualitative Variation (IQV, from 0, no heterogeneity, to a maximum of 1) was calculated.
Forty ICUs from France (N = 33) and Switzerland (N = 7) participated; 396 physicians answered our case-vignettes. There was major heterogeneity of management processes related to MV within and across centers (mean IQV per center 0.51, SD 0.09). We observed the lowest variability (mean IQV per question < 0.4) for questions related to intubation procedure, ventilation of acute respiratory distress syndrome and the use of the semirecumbent position. We observed a high variability (mean IQV per question > 0.6) for questions related to management of endotracheal tube or suctioning, management of sedation and analgesia, and respect of autonomy. Heterogeneity was independent of respondent characteristics and of the presence of written procedures. There was a correlation between the processes associated with the highest variability (mean IQV per question > 0.6) and the annual volume of ICU admission (r = 0.32 (0.01 to 0.58)) and MV (r = 0.38 (0.07 to 0.63)). Within ICUs there was a large heterogeneity regarding knowledge of a local written procedure.
Large clinical practice variations were found among ICUs. High volume centers were more likely to have heterogeneous practices. The presence of a local written procedure or respondent characteristics did not influence practice variation.
PMCID: PMC3922080  PMID: 24484902
Mechanical ventilation; Clinical practice; Volume-outcome; Protocols
14.  Relative cost and outcomes in the intensive care unit of acute lung injury (ALI) due to pandemic influenza compared with other etiologies: a single-center study 
Critical illness due to 2009 H1N1 influenza has been characterized by respiratory complications, including acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and associated with high mortality. We studied the severity, outcomes, and hospital charges of patients with ALI/ARDS secondary to pandemic influenza A infection compared with ALI and ARDS from other etiologies.
A retrospective review was conducted that included patients admitted to the Cleveland Clinic MICU with ALI/ARDS and confirmed influenza A infection, and all patients admitted with ALI/ARDS from any other etiology from September 2009 to March 2010. An itemized list of individual hospital charges was obtained for each patient from the hospital billing office and organized by billing code into a database. Continuous data that were normally distributed are presented as the mean ± SD and were analyzed by the Student’s t test. The chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to evaluate differences in proportions between patient subgroups. Data that were not normally distributed were compared with the Wilcoxon rank-sum test.
Forty-five patients were studied: 23 in the H1N1 group and 22 in the noninfluenza group. Mean ± SD age was similar (44 ± 13 and 51 ± 17 years, respectively, p = 0.15). H1N1 patients had lower APACHE III scores (66 ± 20 vs. 89 ± 32, p = 0.015) and had higher Pplat and PEEP on days 1, 3, and 14. Hospital and ICU length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation were comparable. SOFA scores over the first 2 weeks in the ICU indicate more severe organ failure in the noninfluenza group (p = 0.017). Hospital mortality was significantly higher in the noninfluenza group (77 vs. 39%, p = 0.016). The noninfluenza group tended to have higher overall charges, including significantly higher cost of blood products in the ICU.
ALI/ARDS secondary to pandemic influenza infection is associated with more severe respiratory compromise but has lower overall acuity and better survival rates than ALI/ARDS due to other causes. Higher absolute charges in the noninfluenza group are likely due to underlying comorbid medical conditions.
PMCID: PMC3503790  PMID: 22929215
ARDS; ALI; Influenza A; Novel influenza; Mechanical ventilation; Hospital cost
15.  How caregivers view patient comfort and what they do to improve it: a French survey 
Intensive care unit (ICU) patients are exposed to many sources of discomfort. Most of these are related to the patient’s condition, but ICU design or how care is organized also can contribute. The present survey was designed to describe the opinions of ICU caregivers on sources of patient discomfort and to determine how they were dealt with in practice. The architectural and organizational characteristics of ICUs also were analyzed in relation to patient comfort.
An online, closed-ended questionnaire was developed. ICU caregivers registered at the French society of intensive care were invited to complete this questionnaire.
A total of 915 staff members (55% nurses) from 264 adult and 28 pediatric ICUs completed the questionnaire. Analysis of the answers reveals that: 68% of ICUs had only single-occupancy rooms, and 66% had natural light in each room; ICU patients had access to television in 59% of ICUs; a clock was present in each room in 68% of ICUs. Visiting times were <4 h in 49% of adult ICUs, whereas 64% of respondents considered a 24-h policy to be very useful or essential to patients’ well-being. A nurse-driven analgesia protocol was available in 42% of units. For caregivers, the main sources of patient discomfort were anxiety, feelings of restraint, noise, and sleep disturbances. Paramedics generally considered discomfort related to thirst, lack of privacy, and the lack of space and time references, whereas almost 50% of doctors ignored these sources of discomfort. Half of caregivers indicated they assessed sleep quality. A minority of caregivers declared regular use of noise-reduction strategies. Twenty percent of respondents admitted to having non-work-related conversations during patient care, and only 40% indicated that care often was or always was provided without closing doors. Family participation in care was planned in very few adult ICUs.
Results of this survey showed that ICUs are poorly equipped to ensure patient privacy and rest. Access by loved ones and their participation in care also is limited. The data also highlighted that some sources of discomfort are less often taken into account by caregivers, despite being considered to contribute significantly.
PMCID: PMC3700816  PMID: 23815804
Intensive care unit; Comfort; Survey; Organization; Opinions
16.  Symptoms of depression in ICU physicians 
Work and family are the two domains from which most adults develop satisfaction in life. They also are responsible for stressful experiences. There is a perception in the community that work is increasingly the source of much of our stress and distress. Depressive symptoms may be related to repeated stressful experiences. Intensive care unit (ICU) physicians are exposed to major stressors. However, the existence of depressive symptoms in these doctors has been poorly studied. This study was designed to evaluate the prevalence and associated risk factors of depressive symptoms in junior and senior ICU physicians.
A one-day national survey was conducted in adult intensive care units (ICU) in French public hospitals. Symptoms of depression were assessed using the Centers of Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).
A total of 189 ICUs participated, and 901 surveys were returned (75.8% response rate). Symptoms of depression were found in 23.8% of the respondents using the CES-D scale. Fifty-eight percent of these intensivists presenting symptoms of depression wished to leave their job compared with only 33% of those who did not exhibit signs of depression as assessed by the CES-D scale (p < 0.0001). Multiple logistic regression showed that organizational factors were associated with the presence of depressive symptoms. Workload (long interval since the last nonworking weekend, absence of relief of service until the next working day after a night shift) and impaired relationships with other intensivists were independently associated with the presence of depressive symptoms. A high level of burnout also was related to the presence of depressive symptoms. In contrast, no demographic factors regarding ICU physicians and no factor related to the severity of illness of patients were retained by the model. The quality of relationships with other physicians (from other departments) was associated with the absence of depressive symptoms (protective effect).
Approximately one of four intensivists presented symptoms of depression. The next step could be to test whether organization modification is associated with less depressive symptoms and less desire to leave the job.
PMCID: PMC3543176  PMID: 22839744
Intensive care unit; Organizational management; Conflict; Burnout; Depression; Physicians
17.  Intra-abdominal pressure measurement using the FoleyManometer does not increase the risk for urinary tract infection in critically ill patients 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S10.
The aim of this study was to determine whether intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) monitoring using the FoleyManometer (Holtech Medical, Charlottenlund, Denmark) increases the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI).
A retrospective database review was conducted.
The study was conducted in the 12-bed medical intensive care unit of ZNA Stuivenberg Hospital (Antwerp, Belgium), a tertiary hospital.
There were 5,890 patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit of which 1,097 patients underwent intrabladder pressure (IBP) monitoring as estimate for IAP.
Crude and adjusted UTI rates were compared among patients undergoing IAP measurements with three different intrabladder methods: a modified homemade technique, a FoleyManometer with 35 ml reservoir, and a FoleyManometer low volume (FoleyManometerLV) with less than 10 ml priming volume.
Measurements and results
Four consecutive time periods of 24 months were defined and compared with regard to IAP measurement: period 1 (2000-2001), during which IAP monitoring was not used routinely (which serves as a control group), was compared with period 2 (2002-2003), using a modified homemade technique; period 3 (2004-2005), introducing the FoleyManometer; and finally period 4 (2006-2007), in which the FoleyManometerLV was introduced. The incidence of IBP measurements increased from 1.4% in period 1 to 45.4% in period 4 (p < 0.001). At the same time, the Simplified Acute Physiology Score (version 2) (SAPS-II) increased significantly from 24.4 ± 21.5 to 34.9 ± 18.7 (p < 0.001) together with the percentage of ventilated patients from 18.6% to 40.7% (p < 0.001). In total, 1,097 patients had IAP measurements via the bladder. The UTI rates were adjusted for disease severity by multiplying each crude rate with the ratio of control versus study patient SAPS-II probability of mortality. Crude and adjusted UTI rates per 1,000 catheter days (CD) were on average 16.1 and 12.8/1,000 CD, respectively, and were not significantly different between the four time periods.
Intrabladder pressure monitoring as estimate for IAP either via a closed transducer technique or the closed FoleyManometer technique seems safe and does not alter the risk of UTI in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3390297  PMID: 22873411
intra-abdominal pressure; abdominal compartment syndrome; abdominal hypertension; FoleyManometerLV; intensive care; intravesical pressure; intrabladder pressure; urinary tract infection
18.  Adjunctive remifentanil infusion in deeply sedated and paralyzed ICU patients during fiberoptic bronchoscopy procedure: a prospective, randomized, controlled study 
Even with an adequate pain assessment, critically ill patients under sedation experience pain during procedures in the intensive care unit (ICU). We evaluated the effects of adjunctive administration of Remifentanil, a short-acting drug, in deeply sedated patient on variation of Bispectral Index (BIS) during a fiberoptic bronchoscopy.
A prospective, randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted in 18-bed ICU. Patients needing a tracheal fibroscopy under deep sedation (midazolam (0.1 mg/kg per hour) fentanyl (4 μg/kg per hour)) and neuromuscular blocking (atracurium 0.5 mg/kg) were included in the study. A continuous monitoring of BIS, arterial pressure, and heart rate were realized before, during, and after the fiberoptic exam. An adjunctive continuous placebo or Remifentanil infusion was started just before the fiberoptic exam with a target effect-site concentration of 4 ng/ml using a Base Primea pump.
Mean arterial pressure and heart rates were comparable between the placebo and Remifentanil groups at all times of the procedure. We did not observe differences in the variation of BIS values between the two groups during procedure. We described no change in BIS values relative to the placebo group in this population.
In deeply sedated and paralyzed patients, receiving analgesic support based on a scale score an additional administration of short-acting analgesic drug, such as Remifentanil, seems not to be necessary for acute pain control.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3487977  PMID: 22800647
Pain; Intensive care; Bispectral index; Remifentanil
19.  Incidence and prognosis of intra-abdominal hypertension in critically ill medical patients: a prospective epidemiological study 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S3.
The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) in patients with two or more categorized risk factors (CRF) for IAH, and their morbidity and mortality during their intensive care unit (ICU) stay.
Prospective cohort study carried out at a medical ICU. A total of 151 medical patients were enrolled during a period of 3 months. After ICU whole staff training, we conducted daily screening of the four CRF for IAH based on the World Society of Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (WSACS) guidelines (namely, diminished abdominal wall compliance, increased intraluminal content, increased abdominal content, and capillary leak syndrome or fluid resuscitation). In those patients with risk factors of at least two different categories (≥2 CRF), intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) was measured every 8 h during ICU stay. Data included demographics, main diagnosis on admission, severity scores, cumulative fluid balance, daily mean IAP, resolution of IAH, days of ICU and hospital stay, and mortality.
Eighty-seven patients (57.6%) had ≥2 CRF for IAH, 59 (67.8%) out of whom developed IAH. Patients with ≥2 CRF had a significantly higher mortality rate (41.4 vs. 14.3%, p < 0.001). Patients with IAH had higher body mass index, severity scores, organ dysfunctions/failures, number of CRF for IAH, days of ICU/hospital stay and hospital mortality rate (45.8 vs. 32.1%, p = 0.22). Non-resolution of IAH was associated with a higher mortality rate (64.7 vs. 35.3%, p = 0.001). None of the cohort patients developed abdominal compartment syndrome. The multivariate analysis showed that IAH development (odds ratio (OR) 4.09; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83-20.12) was a non-independent risk factor for mortality, and its non-resolution (OR 13.15; 95% CI 22.13-81.92) was an independent risk factor for mortality.
Critically ill medical patients admitted to ICU with ≥2 CRF have high morbidity, mortality rate, and incidence of IAH, so IAP should be measured and monitored as recommended by the WSACS. Our study highlights the importance of implementing screening and assessment protocols for an early diagnosis of IAH.
PMCID: PMC3390290  PMID: 22873419
intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; intra-abdominal pressure; multiple organ failure; critically ill patients; intensive care.
20.  Demographics and outcomes of critically ill patients transferred from other hospitals to a tertiary care academic referral center in Saudi Arabia 
The objective of this study was to examine the outcomes of critically ill patients who were transferred from other hospitals to a tertiary care center in Saudi Arabia as a quality improvement project.
This was a retrospective study of adult patients admitted to the medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) of a tertiary care hospital. Patients were divided according to the source of referral into three groups: transfers from other hospitals, and direct admissions from emergency department (ED) and from hospital wards. Standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was calculated. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the independent predictors of mortality.
Of the 7,654 patients admitted to the ICU, 611 patients (8%) were transferred from other hospitals, 2,703 (35.3%) were direct admissions from ED and 4,340 (56.7%) from hospital wards. Hospital mortality for patients transferred from other hospitals was not significantly different from those who were directly admitted from ED (35% vs. 33.1%, p = 0.37) but was lower than those who were directly admitted from hospital wards (35% vs. 51.2%, p < 0.0001). SMRs did not differ significantly across the three groups.
Critically ill patients who were transferred from other hospitals constituted 8% of all ICU admissions. Mortality of these patients was similar to patients with direct admission from the ED and lower than that of patients with direct admission from hospital wards. However, risk-adjusted mortality was not different from the other two groups.
PMCID: PMC3751539  PMID: 23937989
Emergency department; Hospital mortality; Hospital wards; Intensive care unit; Mortality; Ambulance; Trauma
21.  Management of children with sepsis and septic shock: a survey among pediatric intensivists of the Réseau Mère-Enfant de la Francophonie 
Pediatric sepsis represents an important cause of mortality in pediatric intensive care units (PICU). Although adherence to published guidelines for the management of severe sepsis patients is known to lower mortality, actual adherence to these recommendations is low. The aim of this study was to describe the initial management of pediatric patients with severe sepsis, as well as to describe the main barriers to the adherence to current guidelines on management of these patients.
A survey using a case scenario to assess the management of a child with severe sepsis was designed and sent out to all PICU medical directors of the 20 institutions member of the “Réseau Mère- Enfant de la Francophonie”. Participants were asked to describe in detail the usual management of these patients in their institution with regard to investigations, fluid and catecholamine management, intubation, and specific treatments. Participants were also asked to identify the main barriers to the application of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines in their center.
Twelve PICU medical directors answered the survey. Only two elements of the severe sepsis bundles had a low stated compliance rate: “maintain adequate central venous pressure” and “glycemic control” had a stated compliance of 8% and 25% respectively. All other elements of the bundles had a reported compliance of over 90%. Furthermore, the most important barriers to the adherence to Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines were the unavailability of continuous central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) monitoring and the absence of a locally written protocol.
In this survey, pediatric intensivists reported high adherence to the current recommendations in the management of pediatric severe sepsis regarding antibiotic administration, rapid fluid resuscitation, and administration of catecholamines and steroids, if needed. Technical difficulties in obtaining continuous ScvO2 monitoring and absence of a locally written protocol were the main barriers to the uniform application of current guidelines. We believe that the development of locally written protocols and of specialized teams could add to the achievement of the goal that every child in sepsis should be treated according to the latest evidence to heighten his chances of survival.
PMCID: PMC3608075  PMID: 23497713
Sepsis; Septic shock; Child; Pediatric intensive care unit
22.  Cumulative lactate and hospital mortality in ICU patients 
Both hyperlactatemia and persistence of hyperlactatemia have been associated with bad outcome. We compared lactate and lactate-derived variables in outcome prediction.
Retrospective observational study. Case records from 2,251 consecutive intensive care unit (ICU) patients admitted between 2001 and 2007 were analyzed. Baseline characteristics, all lactate measurements, and in-hospital mortality were recorded. The time integral of arterial blood lactate levels above the upper normal threshold of 2.2 mmol/L (lactate-time-integral), maximum lactate (max-lactate), and time-to-first-normalization were calculated. Survivors and nonsurvivors were compared and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis were applied.
A total of 20,755 lactate measurements were analyzed. Data are srpehown as median [interquartile range]. In nonsurvivors (n = 405) lactate-time-integral (192 [0–1881] min·mmol/L) and time-to-first normalization (44.0 [0–427] min) were higher than in hospital survivors (n = 1846; 0 [0–134] min·mmol/L and 0 [0–75] min, respectively; all p < 0.001). Normalization of lactate <6 hours after ICU admission revealed better survival compared with normalization of lactate >6 hours (mortality 16.6% vs. 24.4%; p < 0.001). AUC of ROC curves to predict in-hospital mortality was the largest for max-lactate, whereas it was not different among all other lactate derived variables (all p > 0.05). The area under the ROC curves for admission lactate and lactate-time-integral was not different (p = 0.36).
Hyperlactatemia is associated with in-hospital mortality in a heterogeneous ICU population. In our patients, lactate peak values predicted in-hospital mortality equally well as lactate-time-integral of arterial blood lactate levels above the upper normal threshold.
PMCID: PMC3599274  PMID: 23446002
Lactate; Critically ill; Intensive care units; In-hospital mortality
23.  Chronic alcohol exposure, infection, extended circulating white blood cells differentiated by flow cytometry and neutrophil CD64 expression: a prospective, descriptive study of critically ill medical patients 
A history of prolonged and excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk for infections. The goal of this study was to investigate circulating white blood cells (WBC) differentiated by flow cytometry and neutrophil CD64 expression in excessive alcohol drinkers versus abstinent or moderate drinkers, and in those with or without infection, in medical patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
All patients admitted between September 2009 and March 2010 with an ICU-stay of 3 days or more were eligible for inclusion. Upon admission, hematological exams were conducted by flow cytometry.
Overall, 281 adult were included, with 37% identified as at-risk drinkers. The only significant difference found in circulating WBC between at-risk and not-at-risk drinkers was a lower number of B lymphocytes in at-risk drinkers (P = 0.002). Four groups of patients were defined: not-at-risk drinkers with no infection (n = 66); not-at-risk drinkers with infection (n = 112); at-risk drinkers with no infection (n = 53); and at-risk drinkers with infection (n = 50). Whilst the presence of infection significantly reduced levels of noncytotoxic and cytotoxic T lymphocytes and significantly increased levels of CD16– monocytes in not-at-risk drinkers, with variation related to infection severity, infection had no effect on any of the variables assessed in at-risk drinkers. Post-hoc comparisons showed that B-lymphocyte, noncytotoxic, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte and CD16– counts in at-risk drinkers were similar to those in not-at-risk drinkers with infection and significantly lower than those in not-at-risk drinkers without infection. Neutrophil CD64 index varied significantly between groups, with variations related to infection, not previous alcohol consumption.
These results show that chronic alcohol exposure has an impact on the immune response to infection in critically ill medical patients. The absence of significant variations in circulating WBC seen in at-risk drinkers according to the severity of infection is suggestive of altered immune response.
PMCID: PMC3539872  PMID: 23272900
Alcohol; At-risk drinking; Intensive care unit; Infection; Flow cytometry; CD64 cells
24.  Recognition and management of abdominal compartment syndrome among German pediatric intensivists: results of a national survey 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S8.
Several decades ago, the beneficial effects of goal-directed therapy, which include decompressive laparotomy (DL) and open abdomen procedures in cases of intra-abdominal hypertension (IAH) in children, were proven in the context of closures of abdominal wall defects and large-for-size organ transplantations. Different neonatologic and pediatric disease patterns are also known to be capable of increasing intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). Nevertheless, a considerable knowledge transfer regarding such risk factors has hardly taken place. When left undetected and untreated, IAH threatens to evolve into abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS), which is accompanied by a mortality rate of up to 60% in children. Therefore, the present study looks at the recognition and knowledge of IAH/ACS among German pediatric intensivists.
In June 2010, a questionnaire was mailed to the heads of pediatric intensive care units of 205 German pediatric hospitals.
The response rate was 62%. At least one case of IAH was reported by 36% of respondents; at least one case of ACS, by 25%. Compared with adolescents, younger critically ill children appeared to develop IAH/ACS more often. Routine measurements of IAP were said to be performed by 20% of respondents. Bladder pressure was used most frequently (96%) to assess IAP. Some respondents (17%) only measured IAP in cases of organ dysfunction and failure. In 2009, the year preceding this study, 21% of respondents claimed to have performed a DL. Surgical decompression was indicated if signs of organ dysfunction were present. This was also done in cases of at least grade III IAH (IAP > 15 mmHg) without organ impairment.
Although awareness among pediatricians appears to have been increasing over the last decade, definitions and guidelines regarding the diagnosis and management of IAH/ACS are not applied uniformly. This variability could express an ever present lack of awareness and solid prospective data.
PMCID: PMC3390295  PMID: 22873424
intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; abdominal compartment syndrome; children; intensive care unit; questionnaire; decompressive laparotomy.
25.  Dexmedetomidine as adjunct treatment for severe alcohol withdrawal in the ICU 
Patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal in the intensive care unit (ICU) often require escalating doses of benzodiazepines and not uncommonly require intubation and mechanical ventilation for airway protection. This may lead to complications and prolonged ICU stays. Experimental studies and single case reports suggest the α2-agonist dexmedetomidine is effective in managing the autonomic symptoms seen with alcohol withdrawal. We report a retrospective analysis of 20 ICU patients treated with dexmedetomidine for benzodiazepine-refractory alcohol withdrawal.
Records from a 23-bed mixed medical-surgical ICU were abstracted from November 2008 to November 2010 for patients who received dexmedetomidine for alcohol withdrawal. The main analysis compared alcohol withdrawal severity scores and medication doses for 24 h before dexmedetomidine therapy with values during the first 24 h of dexmedetomidine therapy.
There was a 61.5% reduction in benzodiazepine dosing after initiation of dexmedetomidine (n = 17; p < 0.001) and a 21.1% reduction in alcohol withdrawal severity score (n = 11; p = .015). Patients experienced less tachycardia and systolic hypertension following dexmedetomidine initiation. One patient out of 20 required intubation. A serious adverse effect occurred in one patient, in whom dexmedetomidine was discontinued for two 9-second asystolic pauses noted on telemetry.
This observational study suggests that dexmedetomidine therapy for severe alcohol withdrawal is associated with substantially reduced benzodiazepine dosing, a decrease in alcohol withdrawal scoring and blunted hyperadrenergic cardiovascular response to ethanol abstinence. In this series, there was a low rate of mechanical ventilation associated with the above strategy. One of 20 patients suffered two 9-second asystolic pauses, which did not recur after dexmedetomidine discontinuation. Prospective trials are warranted to compare adjunct treatment with dexmedetomidine versus standard benzodiazepine therapy.
PMCID: PMC3464179  PMID: 22620986
Alcohol withdrawal delirium; Alcohol withdrawal syndrome; Dexmedetomidine; Intensive care; Critical care; Benzodiazepines

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