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1.  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.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-5
PMCID: PMC3159899  PMID: 21906331
2.  Symptoms of depression in ICU physicians 
Background
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.
Method
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).
Results
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-34
PMCID: PMC3543176  PMID: 22839744
Intensive care unit; Organizational management; Conflict; Burnout; Depression; Physicians
3.  Involvement of ICU families in decisions: fine-tuning the partnership 
Families of patients are not simple visitors to the ICU. They have just been separated from a loved one, often someone they live with, either abruptly or, in nearly half the cases, because a chronic condition has suddenly worsened. They must cope with a serious illness of a loved one, while having to adapt to the unfamiliar and intimidating ICU environment. In many cases, the outcome of the critical illness is uncertain, a situation that causes considerable distress to the relatives. As shown by our research group and others, families exhibit symptoms of anxiety (70%) and depression (35%) in the first few days after admission, as well as symptoms of stress (33%) and difficulty understanding the information delivered by the healthcare staff (50%). Furthermore, relatives of patients who die in the ICU are at risk for psychiatric syndromes such as generalized anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and posttraumatic stress syndrome. In this setting of psychological distress, families are asked to consider sharing in healthcare decisions about their loved one in the ICU. This article aims to foster the debate about the shared decision-making process. We have three objectives: to transcend the overly simplistic position that opposes paternalism and autonomy, to build a view founded only on an evaluation of actual practice and experience in the field, and to keep the focus squarely on the patient. Families want information and communication time from the staff. Nurses and physicians need to understand that families can share in decisions only if the entire ICU staff actively promotes family involvement and, of course, if the family wants to participate in all or part of the decision-making process.
doi:10.1186/s13613-014-0037-5
PMCID: PMC4273688  PMID: 25593753
Information; Communication; End of life; Bereavement; Randomized controlled trials
4.  The strategy of antibiotic use in critically ill neutropenic patients 
Suspicion of sepsis in neutropenic patients requires immediate antimicrobial treatment. The initial regimen in critically ill patients should cover both Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, the risk of selecting multidrug-resistant pathogens should be considered when using broad-spectrum antibiotics for a prolonged period of time. The choice of the first-line empirical drugs should take into account the underlying malignancy, local bacterial ecology, clinical presentation and severity of acute illness. This review provides an up-to-date guide that will assist physicians in choosing the best strategy regarding the use of antibiotics in neutropenic patients, with a special focus on critically ill patients, based on the above-mentioned considerations and on the most recent international guidelines and literature.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-22
PMCID: PMC3224396  PMID: 21906359

Results 1-4 (4)