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1.  Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) of the thenar eminence in anesthesia and intensive care 
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.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-11
PMCID: PMC3488540  PMID: 22569165
2.  Age of red blood cells and transfusion in critically ill patients 
Red blood cells (RBC) storage facilitates the supply of RBC to meet the clinical demand for transfusion and to avoid wastage. However, RBC storage is associated with adverse changes in erythrocytes and their preservation medium. These changes are responsible for functional alterations and for the accumulation of potentially injurious bioreactive substances. They also may have clinically harmful effects especially in critically ill patients. The clinical consequences of storage lesions, however, remain a matter of persistent controversy. Multiple retrospective, observational, and single-center studies have reported heterogeneous and conflicting findings about the effect of blood storage duration on morbidity and/or mortality in trauma, cardiac surgery, and intensive care unit patients. Describing the details of this controversy, this review not only summarizes the current literature but also highlights the equipoise that currently exists with regard to the use of short versus current standard (extended) storage duration red cells in critically ill patients and supports the need for large, randomized, controlled trials evaluating the clinical impact of transfusing fresh (short duration of storage) versus older (extended duration of storage) red cells in critically ill patients.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-2
PMCID: PMC3575378  PMID: 23316800
Age of red blood cells; Storage lesion; Critically ill patients; Outcome; Transfusion; Anemia; Trauma; Cardiac surgery; Mortality; Cytokines
3.  Bicarbonate in diabetic ketoacidosis - a systematic review 
Objective
This study was designed to examine the efficacy and risk of bicarbonate administration in the emergent treatment of severe acidemia in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Methods
PUBMED database was used to identify potentially relevant articles in the pediatric and adult DKA populations. DKA intervention studies on bicarbonate administration versus no bicarbonate in the emergent therapy, acid-base studies, studies on risk association with cerebral edema, and related case reports, were selected for review. Two reviewers independently conducted data extraction and assessed the citation relevance for inclusion.
Results
From 508 potentially relevant articles, 44 were included in the systematic review, including three adult randomized controlled trials (RCT) on bicarbonate administration versus no bicarbonate in DKA. We observed a marked heterogeneity in pH threshold, concentration, amount, and timing for bicarbonate administration in various studies. Two RCTs demonstrated transient improvement in metabolic acidosis with bicarbonate treatment within the initial 2 hours. There was no evidence of improved glycemic control or clinical efficacy. There was retrospective evidence of increased risk for cerebral edema and prolonged hospitalization in children who received bicarbonate, and weak evidence of transient paradoxical worsening of ketosis, and increased need for potassium supplementation. No studies involved patients with an initial pH < 6.85.
Conclusions
The evidence to date does not justify the administration of bicarbonate for the emergent treatment of DKA, especially in the pediatric population, in view of possible clinical harm and lack of sustained benefits.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-23
PMCID: PMC3224469  PMID: 21906367
4.  Continuous beta-lactam infusion in critically ill patients: the clinical evidence 
There is controversy over whether traditional intermittent bolus dosing or continuous infusion of beta-lactam antibiotics is preferable in critically ill patients. No significant difference between these two dosing strategies in terms of patient outcomes has been shown yet. This is despite compelling in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) data. A lack of significance in clinical outcome studies may be due to several methodological flaws potentially masking the benefits of continuous infusion observed in preclinical studies. In this review, we explore the methodological shortcomings of the published clinical studies and describe the criteria that should be considered for performing a definitive clinical trial. We found that most trials utilized inconsistent antibiotic doses and recruited only small numbers of heterogeneous patient groups. The results of these trials suggest that continuous infusion of beta-lactam antibiotics may have variable efficacy in different patient groups. Patients who may benefit from continuous infusion are critically ill patients with a high level of illness severity. Thus, future trials should test the potential clinical advantages of continuous infusion in this patient population. To further ascertain whether benefits of continuous infusion in critically ill patients do exist, a large-scale, prospective, multinational trial with a robust design is required.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-2-37
PMCID: PMC3475088  PMID: 22898246
Beta-lactam antibiotic; Continuous infusion; Critically ill; Pharmacokinetic; Pharmacodynamic; Treatment outcome
5.  Erythropoietin (EPO) in acute kidney injury 
Erythropoietin (EPO) is a 30.4 kDa glycoprotein produced by the kidney, and is mostly well-known for its physiological function in regulating red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Accumulating evidence, however, suggests that EPO has additional organ protective effects, which may be useful in the prevention or treatment of acute kidney injury. These protective mechanisms are multifactorial in nature and include inhibition of apoptotic cell death, stimulation of cellular regeneration, inhibition of deleterious pathways, and promotion of recovery.
In this article, we review the physiology of EPO, assess previous work that supports the role of EPO as a general tissue protective agent, and explain the mechanisms by which it may achieve this tissue protective effect. We then focus on experimental and clinical data that suggest that EPO has a kidney protective effect.
doi:10.1186/2110-5820-1-3
PMCID: PMC3159901  PMID: 21906325

Results 1-5 (5)