Reimbursement schemes in intensive care are more complex than in other areas of healthcare, due to special procedures and high care needs. Knowledge regarding the principles of functioning in other countries can lead to increased understanding and awareness of potential for improvement. This can be achieved through mutual exchange of solutions found in other countries. In this review, experts from eight European countries explain their respective intensive care unit reimbursement schemes. Important conclusions include the apparent differences in the countries’ reimbursement schemes-despite all of them originating from a DRG system-, the high degree of complexity found, and the difficulties faced in several countries when collecting the data for this collaborative work. This review has been designed to assist the intensivist clinician and researcher in understanding neighbouring countries’ approaches and in putting research into the context of a European perspective. In addition, steering committees and decision makers might find this a valuable source to compare different reimbursement schemes.
Intensive care unit; Intensive care economics; Reimbursement; DRG system
Cancer is a leading cause of death in children. In the past decades, there has been a marked increase in overall survival of children with cancer. However, children whose treatment includes hematopoietic stem cell transplantation still represent a subpopulation with a higher risk of mortality. These improvements in mortality are accompanied by an increase in complications, such as respiratory and cardiovascular insufficiencies as well as neurological problems that may require an admission to the pediatric intensive care unit where most supportive therapies can be provided. It has been shown that ventilatory and cardiovascular support along with renal replacement therapy can benefit pediatric hemato-oncology patients if promptly established. Even if admissions of these patients are not considered futile anymore, they still raise sensitive questions, including ethical issues. To support the discussion and potentially facilitate the decision-making process, we propose an algorithm that takes into account the reason for admission (surgical versus medical) and the hemato-oncological prognosis. The algorithm then leads to different types of admission: full-support admission, “pediatric intensive care unit trial” admission, intensive care with adapted level of support, and palliative intensive care. Throughout the process, maintaining a dialogue between the treating physicians, the paramedical staff, the child, and his parents is of paramount importance to optimize the care of these children with complex disease and evolving medical status.
Oncology; Hematology; Cancer; Stem cell; Transplantation; Graft; Child; Pediatrics; Critical care; Intensive care
Pain remains a significant problem for patients hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs). As research has shown, for some of these patients pain might even persist after discharge and become chronic. Exposure to intense pain and stress during medical and nursing procedures could be a risk factor that contributes to the transition from acute to chronic pain, which is a major disruption of the pain neurological system. New evidence suggests that physiological alterations contributing to chronic pain states take place both in the peripheral and central nervous systems. The purpose of this paper is to: 1) review cutting-edge theories regarding pain and mechanisms that underlie the transition from acute to chronic pain, such as increases in membrane excitability of peripheral and central nerve fibers, synaptic plasticity, and loss of the function of descending inhibitory pain fibers; 2) provide information on the association between the immune system and pain and its crucial contribution to development of chronic pain syndromes, and 3) discuss mechanisms at brain levels in the nervous system and their contribution to affective (i.e., emotional) states associated with chronic pain conditions. Finally, we will offer suggestions for ICU clinical interventions to attempt to prevent the transition from acute to chronic pain.
Pain; Acute; Chronic; Acute-to-chronic; Intensive care unit; Critical care; Nerve sensitization
With newer information indicating more favorable outcomes of intensive care therapy for lung cancer patients, intensivists increasingly are willing to initiate an aggressive trial of this therapy. Concerns remain, however, that the experience of the intensive care unit for patients with lung cancer and their families often may be distressing. Regardless of prognosis, all patients with critical illness should receive high-quality palliative care, including symptom control, communication about appropriate care goals, and support for both patient and family throughout the illness trajectory. In this article, we suggest strategies for integrating palliative care with intensive care for critically ill lung cancer patients. We address assessment and management of symptoms, knowledge and skill needed for effective communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration for patient and family support. We review the role of expert consultants in providing palliative care in the intensive care unit, while highlighting the responsibility of all critical care clinicians to address basic palliative care needs of patients and their families.
Near infrared spectroscopy of the thenar eminence (NIRSth) is a noninvasive bedside method for assessing tissue oxygenation. The NIRS probe emits light with several wavelengths in the 700- to 850-nm interval and measures the reflected light mainly from a predefined depth. Complex physical models then allow the measurement of the relative concentrations of oxy and deoxyhemoglobin, and thus tissue saturation (StO2), as well as an approximation of the tissue hemoglobin, given as tissue hemoglobin index.
Here we review of current knowledge of the application of NIRSth in anesthesia and intensive care.
We performed an analytical and descriptive review of the literature using the terms “near-infrared spectroscopy” combined with “anesthesia,” “anesthesiology,” “intensive care,” “critical care,” “sepsis,” “bleeding,” “hemorrhage,” “surgery,” and “trauma” with particular focus on all NIRS studies involving measurement at the thenar eminence.
We found that NIRSth has been applied as clinical research tool to perform both static and dynamic assessment of StO2. Specifically, a vascular occlusion test (VOT) with a pressure cuff can be used to provide a dynamic assessment of the tissue oxygenation response to ischemia. StO2 changes during such induced ischemia-reperfusion yield information on oxygen consumption and microvasculatory reactivity. Some evidence suggests that StO2 during VOT can detect fluid responsiveness during surgery. In hypovolemic shock, StO2 can help to predict outcome, but not in septic shock. In contrast, NIRS parameters during VOT increase the diagnostic and prognostic accuracy in both hypovolemic and septic shock. Minimal data are available on static or dynamic StO2 used to guide therapy.
Although the available data are promising, further studies are necessary before NIRSth can become part of routine clinical practice.
The aging of the population has increased the demand for healthcare resources. The number of patients aged 80 years and older admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) increased during the past decade, as has the intensity of care for such patients. Yet, many physicians remain reluctant to admit the oldest, arguing a "squandering" of societal resources, that ICU care could be deleterious, or that ICU care may not actually be what the patient or family wants in this instance. Other ICU physicians are strong advocates for admission of a selected elderly population. These discrepant opinions may partly be explained by the current lack of validated criteria to select accurately the patients (of any age) who will benefit most from ICU hospitalization. This review describes the epidemiology of the elderly aged 80 years and older admitted in the ICU, their long-term outcomes, and to discuss some of the solutions to cope with the burden of an aging population receiving acute care hospitalization.
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.
Cardiac biomarkers (CB) were first developed for assisting the diagnosis of cardiac events, especially acute myocardial infarction. The discoveries of other CB, the better understanding of cardiac disease process and the advancement in detection technology has pushed the applications of CB beyond the 'diagnosis' boundary. Not only the measurements of CB are more sensitive, the applications have now covered staging of cardiac disease, timing of cardiac events and prognostication. Further, CB have made their way to the intensive care setting where their uses are not just confined to cardiac related areas. With the better understanding of the CB properties, CB can now help detecting various acute processes such as pulmonary embolism, sepsis-related myocardial depression, acute heart failure, renal failure and acute lung injury. This article discusses the properties and the uses of common CB, with special reference to the intensive care setting. The potential utility of "multimarkers" approach and microRNA as the future CB are also briefly discussed.
The death of a loved one is often an ordeal and a tragedy for those who witness it, as death is not merely the end of a life, but also the end of an existence, the loss of a unique individual who is special and irreplaceable. In some situations, end-of-life signs, such as agonal gasps, can be an almost unbearable “sight” because the physical manifestations are hard to watch and can lead to subjective interpretation and irrational fears. Ethical unease arises as the dying patient falls prey to death throes and to the manifestations of ebbing life and the physician can only stand by and watch. From this point on, medicine can put an end to suffering by the use of neuromuscular blockade, but in so doing life ceases at the same time. It is difficult, however, not to respond to the distress of loved ones and caregivers. The ethical problem then becomes the shift from the original ethical concern, i.e. the dying patient, to the patient’s loved ones. Is such a rupture due to a difference in nature or a difference in degree, given that the dying patient remains a person and not a thing as long as the body continues to lead its own life, expressed through movement and sound? Because there cannot be any simple and unequivocal answer to this question, the SRLF Ethics Commission is offering ethical reflections on end-of-life signs and symptoms in the intensive care setting, and on the use of neuromuscular blockade in this context, with presentations on the subject by two philosophers and members of the SRLF Ethics Commission, Ms Lise Haddad and Prof Dominique Folscheid. The SRLF Ethics Commission hopes to provide food for thought for everyone on this topic, which undoubtedly calls for further contributions, the aim being not to provide ready-made solutions or policy, but rather to allow everyone to ponder this question in all conscience.
Ethics; End of life; Critical care; Gasps
Vasculitis is characterized by the infiltration of vessel walls by inflammatory leukocytes with reactive damage and subsequent loss of vessel integrity. The clinical course of systemic vasculitis may be punctuated by acute life-threatening manifestations that require intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Furthermore, the diagnosis may be established in the ICU after admission for a severe inaugural symptom, mostly acute respiratory failure. Among the systemic vasculitides, cryoglobulinemic vasculitis (CV) has been rarely studied in an ICU setting. Severe CV-related complications may involve the kidneys, lungs, heart, gut, and/or central nervous system. The diagnosis of CV in the ICU may be delayed or completely unrecognized. A high level of suspicion is critical to obtain a timely and accurate diagnosis and to initiate appropriate treatment. We describe severe acute manifestations of CV based on six selected patients admitted to our ICU. That all six patients survived suggests the benefit of prompt ICU admission of patients with severe CV.
Cryoglobulinemia; Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis; Acute respiratory failure; Acute kidney injury; Vasculitis; Systemic disease
French law allows organ donation after death due to cardiocirculatory arrest. In the Maastricht classification, type III non-heart-beating donors are those who experience cardiocirculatory arrest after the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments. French authorities in charge of regulating organ donation (Agence de la Biomédecine, ABM) are considering organ collection from Maastricht type III donors. We describe a scenario for Maastricht type III organ donation that fully complies with the ethical norms governing care to dying patients. That organ donation may occur after death should have no impact on the care given to the patient and family. The dead-donor rule must be followed scrupulously: the organ retrieval procedure must neither cause nor hasten death. The decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatments, withdrawal modalities, and care provided to the patient and family must adhere strictly to the requirements set forth in patient-rights legislation (the 2005 Léonetti law in France) and should not be influenced in any way by the possibility of organ donation. A major ethical issue regarding the family is how best to transition from discussing treatment-withdrawal decisions to discussing possible organ retrieval for donation should the patient die rapidly after treatment withdrawal. Close cooperation between the healthcare team and the organ retrieval team is crucial to minimize the distress of family members during this transition. Modalities for implementing Maastricht type III organ donation are discussed here, including the best location for withdrawing life-sustaining treatments (operating room or intensive care unit).
Organ donation; Treatment withdrawal; Cardiocirculatory arrest
Mainly due to its extremely vulnerable population of critically ill patients, and the high use of (invasive) procedures, the intensive care unit (ICU) is the epicenter of infections. These infections are associated with an important rise in morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. The additional problem of multidrug-resistant pathogens boosts the adverse impact of infections in ICUs. Several factors influence the rapid spread of multidrug-resistant pathogens in the ICU, e.g., new mutations, selection of resistant strains, and suboptimal infection control. Among gram-positive organisms, the most important resistant microorganisms in the ICU are currently methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococci. In gram-negative bacteria, the resistance is mainly due to the rapid increase of extended-spectrum Beta-lactamases (ESBLs) in Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, and Proteus species and high level third-generation cephalosporin Beta-lactamase resistance among Enterobacter spp. and Citrobacter spp., and multidrug resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter species. To conclude, additional efforts are needed in the future to slow down the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Constant evaluation of current practice on basis of trends in MDR and antibiotic consumption patterns is essential to make progress in this problematic matter.
Erythropoietin (EPO) is the major hormone stimulating the production and differentiation of red blood cells. EPO is used widely for treating anemia of critical illness or anemia induced by chemotherapy. EPO at pharmacological doses is used in this setting to raise hemoglobin levels (by preventing the apoptosis of erythroid progenitor cells) and is designed to reduce patient exposure to allogenic blood through transfusions. Stroke, heart failure, and acute kidney injury are a frequently encountered clinical problem. Unfortunately, in the intensive care unit advances in supportive interventions have done little to reduce the high mortality associated with these conditions. Tissue protection with EPO at high, nonpharmacological doses after injury has been found in the brain, heart, and kidney of several animal models. It is now well known that EPO has anti-apoptotic effects in cells other than erythroid progenitor cells, which is considered to be independent of EPOs erythropoietic activities. This review article summarizes what is known in preclinical models of critical illness and discusses why this does not correlate with randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Intensivists are regularly confronted with the question of gastrointestinal bleeding. To date, the latest international recommendations regarding prevention and treatment for gastrointestinal bleeding lack a specific approach to the critically ill patients. We present recommendations for management by the intensivist of gastrointestinal bleeding in adults and children, developed with the GRADE system by an experts group of the French-Language Society of Intensive Care (Société de Réanimation de Langue Française (SRLF), with the participation of the French Language Group of Paediatric Intensive Care and Emergencies (GFRUP), the French Society of Emergency Medicine (SFMU), the French Society of Gastroenterology (SNFGE), and the French Society of Digestive Endoscopy (SFED). The recommendations cover five fields of application: management of gastrointestinal bleeding before endoscopic diagnosis, treatment of upper gastrointestinal bleeding unrelated to portal hypertension, treatment of upper gastrointestinal bleeding related to portal hypertension, management of presumed lower gastrointestinal bleeding, and prevention of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in intensive care.
Gastrointestinal bleeding; Intensive care; Ulcer; Gastric/esophageal varices; Recommendations
Intensive care frequently results in unintentional harm to patients and statistics don’t seem to improve. The ICU environment is especially unforgiving for mistakes due to the multidisciplinary, time-critical nature of care and vulnerability of the patients. Human factors account for the majority of adverse events and a sound safety climate is therefore essential. This article reviews the existing literature on aviation-derived training called Crew Resource Management (CRM) and discusses its application in critical care medicine. CRM focuses on teamwork, threat and error management and blame free discussion of human mistakes. Though evidence is still scarce, the authors consider CRM to be a promising tool for culture change in the ICU setting, if supported by leadership and well-designed follow-up.
Intensive care; Human factors; Safety climate; Crew resource management
Acute kidney insufficiency (AKI) occurs frequently in intensive care units (ICU). In the management of vascular access for renal replacement therapy (RRT), several factors need to be taken into consideration to achieve an optimal RRT dose and to limit complications. In the medium and long term, some individuals may become chronic dialysis patients and so preserving the vascular network is of major importance. Few studies have focused on the use of dialysis catheters (DC) in ICUs, and clinical practice is driven by the knowledge and management of long-term dialysis catheter in chronic dialysis patients and of central venous catheter in ICU patients. This review describes the appropriate use and management of DCs required to obtain an accurate RRT dose and to reduce mechanical and infectious complications in the ICU setting. To deliver the best RRT dose, the length and diameter of the catheter need to be sufficient. In patients on intermittent hemodialysis, the right internal jugular insertion is associated with a higher delivered dialysis dose if the prescribed extracorporeal blood flow is higher than 200 ml/min. To prevent DC colonization, the physician has to be vigilant for the jugular position when BMI < 24 and the femoral position when BMI > 28. Subclavian sites should be excluded. Ultrasound guidance should be used especially in jugular sites. Antibiotic-impregnated dialysis catheters and antibiotic locks are not recommended in routine practice. The efficacy of ethanol and citrate locks has yet to be demonstrated. Hygiene procedures must be respected during DC insertion and manipulation.
Dialysis catheter; Intensive care unit; Catheter dysfunction; Catheter infection
Although human metapneumovirus (hMPV) is primarily known as a causative agent of respiratory tract infections in children, the virus also can cause respiratory infections in adults. hMPV infections tend to be mild and are self-limiting, but the infections can be severe in the elderly and immunocompromised patients. Because hMPV infection is quite common, it should be considered in every patient with respiratory failure in the intensive care unit (ICU). We describe three adult patients, including a young pregnant woman, with hMPV infection who required admission to our ICU. Two of them developed respiratory failure with indication for mechanical ventilation.
Human metapneumovirus; hMPV; Respiratory tract infections; Intensive care; Respiratory insufficiency
Lung ultrasound is a basic application of critical ultrasound, defined as a loop associating urgent diagnoses with immediate therapeutic decisions. It requires the mastery of ten signs: the bat sign (pleural line), lung sliding (yielding seashore sign), the A-line (horizontal artifact), the quad sign, and sinusoid sign indicating pleural effusion, the fractal, and tissue-like sign indicating lung consolidation, the B-line, and lung rockets indicating interstitial syndrome, abolished lung sliding with the stratosphere sign suggesting pneumothorax, and the lung point indicating pneumothorax. Two more signs, the lung pulse and the dynamic air bronchogram, are used to distinguish atelectasis from pneumonia. All of these disorders were assessed using CT as the “gold standard” with sensitivity and specificity ranging from 90% to 100%, allowing ultrasound to be considered as a reasonable bedside “gold standard” in the critically ill. The BLUE-protocol is a fast protocol (<3 minutes), which allows diagnosis of acute respiratory failure. It includes a venous analysis done in appropriate cases. Pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and pneumothorax yield specific profiles. Pulmonary edema, e.g., yields anterior lung rockets associated with lung sliding, making the “B-profile.” The FALLS-protocol adapts the BLUE-protocol to acute circulatory failure. It makes sequential search for obstructive, cardiogenic, hypovolemic, and distributive shock using simple real-time echocardiography (right ventricle dilatation, pericardial effusion), then lung ultrasound for assessing a direct parameter of clinical volemia: the apparition of B-lines, schematically, is considered as the endpoint for fluid therapy. Other aims of lung ultrasound are decreasing medical irradiation: the LUCIFLR program (most CTs in ARDS or trauma can be postponed), a use in traumatology, intensive care unit, neonates (the signs are the same than in adults), many disciplines (pulmonology, cardiology…), austere countries, and a help in any procedure (thoracentesis). A 1992, cost-effective gray-scale unit, without Doppler, and a microconvex probe are efficient. Lung ultrasound is a holistic discipline for many reasons (e.g., one probe, perfect for the lung, is able to scan the whole-body). Its integration can provide a new definition of priorities. The BLUE-protocol and FALLS-protocol allow simplification of expert echocardiography, a clear advantage when correct cardiac windows are missing.
Lung ultrasound; Acute respiratory failure; Acute circulatory failure; Pulmonary oedema; Pulmonary embolism; Pneumonia; Pneumothorax; Interstitial syndrome; Fluid therapy; Haemodynamic assessment; Intensive care unit
Anemia and red blood cell (RBC) transfusion occur frequently in hospitalized patients with cardiac disease. In this narrative review, we report the epidemiology of anemia and RBC transfusion in hospitalized adults and children (excluding premature neonates) with cardiac disease, and on the outcome of anemic and transfused cardiac patients. Both anemia and RBC transfusion are common in cardiac patients, and both are associated with mortality. RBC transfusion is the only way to rapidly treat severe anemia, but is not completely safe. In addition to hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, the determinant(s) that should drive a practitioner to prescribe a RBC transfusion to cardiac patients are currently unclear. In stable acyanotic cardiac patients, Hb level above 70 g/L in children and above 70 to 80 g/L in adults appears safe. In cyanotic children, Hb level above 90 g/L appears safe. The appropriate threshold Hb level for unstable cardiac patients and for children younger than 28 days is unknown. The optimal transfusion strategy in cardiac patients is not well characterized. The threshold at which the risk of anemia outweighs the risk of transfusion is not known. More studies are needed to determine when RBC transfusion is indicated in hospitalized patients with cardiac disease.
Blood; Cardiac; Critical care; Erythrocyte; Hemoglobin; Intensive care; Practice; Risk factors; Surgery; Transfusion
Thrombocytopenia is a very frequent disorder in the intensive care unit. Many etiologies should be searched, and therapeutic approaches differ according to these different causes. However, no guideline exists regarding optimum practices for these situations in critically ill patients. We present recommendations for the management of thrombocytopenia in intensive care unit, excluding pregnancy, developed by an expert group of the French-Language Society of Intensive Care (Société de Réanimation de Langue Française (SRLF), the French Language Group of Paediatric Intensive Care and Emergencies (GFRUP) and of the Haemostasis and Thrombosis Study Group (GEHT) of the French Society of Haematology (SFH). The recommendations cover six fields of application: definition, epidemiology, and prognosis; diagnostic approach; therapeutic aspects; thrombocytopenia and sepsis; iatrogenic thrombocytopenia, with a special focus on heparin-induced thrombocytopenia; and thrombotic microangiopathy.
Thrombocytopenia; Critical care; Adults; Expert recommendations
The use or misuse of statins in critically ill patients recently attracted the attention of intensive care clinicians. Indeed, statins are probably the most common chronic treatment before critical illness and some recent experimental and clinical data demonstrated their beneficial effects during sepsis, acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or after aneurismal subarachnoidal hemorrhage (aSAH). Due to the heterogeneity of current studies and the lack of well-designed prospective studies, definitive conclusions for systematic and large-scale utilization in intensive care units cannot be drawn from the published evidence. Furthermore, the extent of statins side effects in critically ill patients is still unknown. For the intensive care clinician, it is a matter of individually identifying the patient who can benefit from this therapy according to the current literature. The purpose of this review is to describe the mechanisms of actions of statins and to synthesize the clinical data that underline the relevant effects of statins in the particular setting of critical care, in an attempt to guide the clinician through his daily practice.
Mevalonate; HMG-CoA reductase; Sepsis; Acute lung injury; Acute respiratory distress syndrome; Subarachnoid hemorrhage
High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) is a relatively new device for respiratory support. In pediatrics, HFNC use continues to increase as the system is easily set up and is well tolerated by patients. The use of nasal cannula adapted to the infant’s nares size to deliver heated and humidified gas at high flow rates has been associated with improvements in washout of nasopharyngeal dead space, lung mucociliary clearance, and oxygen delivery compared with other oxygen delivery systems. HFNC may also create positive pharyngeal pressure to reduce the work of breathing, which positions the device midway between classical oxygen delivery systems, like the high-concentration face mask and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) generators. Currently, most of the studies in the pediatric literature suggest the benefits of HFNC therapy only for moderately severe acute viral bronchiolitis. But, the experience with this device in neonatology and adult intensive care may broaden the pediatric indications to include weaning from invasive ventilation and acute asthma. As for any form of respiratory support, HFNC initiation in patients requires close monitoring, whether it be for pre- or inter-hospital transport or in the emergency department or the pediatric intensive care unit.
PICU; High-flow nasal cannula; Bronchiolitis; Asthma
Fluid and volume therapy is an important cornerstone of treating critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and in the operating room. New findings concerning the vascular barrier, its physiological functions, and its role regarding vascular leakage have lead to a new view of fluid and volume administration. Avoiding hypervolemia, as well as hypovolemia, plays a pivotal role when treating patients both perioperatively and in the intensive care unit. The various studies comparing restrictive vs. liberal fluid and volume management are not directly comparable, do not differ (in most instances) between colloid and crystalloid administration, and mostly do not refer to the vascular barrier's physiologic basis. In addition, very few studies have analyzed the use of advanced hemodynamic monitoring for volume management.
This article summarizes the current literature on the relevant physiology of the endothelial surface layer, discusses fluid shifting, reviews available research on fluid management strategies and the commonly used fluids, and identifies suitable variables for hemodynamic monitoring and their goal-directed use.
Supplemental parenteral nutrition (SPN) is used in a step-up approach when full enteral support is contraindicated or fails to reach caloric targets. Recent nutrition guidelines present divergent advices regarding timing of SPN in critically ill patients ranging from early SPN (<48 h after admission; EPN) to postponing initiation of SPN until day 8 after Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission (LPN). This systematic review summarizes results of prospective studies among adult ICU patients addressing the best timing of (supplemental) parenteral nutrition (S)PN. A structured PubMed search was conducted to identify eligible articles. Articles were screened and selected using predetermined criteria and appraised for relevance and validity. After critical appraisal, four randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and two prospective observational studies remained. One RCT found a higher percentage of alive discharge from the ICU at day 8 in the LPN group compared to EPN group (p = 0.007) but no differences in ICU and in-hospital mortality. None of the other RCTs found differences in ICU or in-hospital mortality rates. Contradicting or divergent results on other secondary outcomes were found for ICU length of stay, hospital length of stay, infection rates, nutrition targets, duration of mechanical ventilation, glucose control, duration of renal replacement therapy, muscle wasting and fat loss. Although the heterogeneity in quality and design of relevant studies precludes firm conclusions, it is reasonable to assume that in adult critically ill patients, there are no clinically relevant benefits of EPN compared with LPN with respect to morbidity or mortality end points, when full enteral support is contraindicated or fails to reach caloric targets. However, considering that infectious morbidity and resolution of organ failure may be negatively affected through mechanisms not yet clearly understood and acquisition costs of parenteral nutrition are higher, the early administration of parenteral nutrition cannot be recommended.
Critically ill patient; ICU; Parenteral nutrition; Supplemental parenteral nutrition; Timing; Mortality; Nutritional support; Mechanical ventilation; Renal replacement therapy; Muscle wasting
The recently published Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Pain, Agitation, and Delirium in Adult Patients in the Intensive Care Unit differ from earlier guidelines in the following ways: literature searches were performed in eight databases by a professional librarian; psychometric validation of assessment scales was considered in their recommendation; discrepancies in recommendation votes by guideline panel members are available in online supplements; and all recommendations were made exclusively on the basis of evidence available until December of 2010. Pain recognition and management remains challenging in the critically ill. Patient outcomes improve with routine pain assessment, use of co-analgesics and administration as well as dose adjustment of opiates to patient needs. Thoracic epidurals help ease patients undergoing abdominal aortic surgery. Little data exists to guide clinicians as to the type or dose of co-analgesics; no opiate choice is associated with better patient outcomes. Lighter or no sedation is beneficial, and interruption is desirable in patients who require deep sedation for specific pathologic states. Delirium screening is probably useful; no treatment modality can be unequivocally recommended, and the benefit of prophylaxis is established only for early mobilization. The details of these recommendations, as well as more recent publications that complement the guidelines, are provided in this commentary.