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1.  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.
2.  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
3.  The transition from acute to chronic pain: might intensive care unit patients be at risk? 
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.
PMCID: PMC3488025  PMID: 22898192
Pain; Acute; Chronic; Acute-to-chronic; Intensive care unit; Critical care; Nerve sensitization
4.  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
5.  The critically-ill pediatric hemato-oncology patient: epidemiology, management, and strategy of transfer to the pediatric intensive care unit 
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.
PMCID: PMC3423066  PMID: 22691690
Oncology; Hematology; Cancer; Stem cell; Transplantation; Graft; Child; Pediatrics; Critical care; Intensive care
6.  Integrating palliative care with intensive care for critically ill patients with lung cancer 
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.
PMCID: PMC3306209  PMID: 22339793
7.  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.
PMCID: PMC3488540  PMID: 22569165
8.  Cardiac biomarkers in the intensive care unit 
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.
PMCID: PMC3313856  PMID: 22397488
9.  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
10.  Vasculitic emergencies in the intensive care unit: a special focus on cryoglobulinemic vasculitis 
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.
PMCID: PMC3488028  PMID: 22812447
Cryoglobulinemia; Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis; Acute respiratory failure; Acute kidney injury; Vasculitis; Systemic disease
11.  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
12.  Contribution of the ethics committee of the French Intensive Care Society to describing a scenario for implementing organ donation after Maastricht type III cardiocirculatory death in France 
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).
PMCID: PMC3475084  PMID: 22747673
Organ donation; Treatment withdrawal; Cardiocirculatory arrest
13.  Management by the intensivist of gastrointestinal bleeding in adults and children 
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.
PMCID: PMC3526517  PMID: 23140348
Gastrointestinal bleeding; Intensive care; Ulcer; Gastric/esophageal varices; Recommendations
14.  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
15.  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
16.  Crew resource management in the ICU: the need for culture change 
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.
PMCID: PMC3488012  PMID: 22913855
Intensive care; Human factors; Safety climate; Crew resource management
17.  Human metapneumovirus infections on the ICU: a report of three cases 
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.
PMCID: PMC3519638  PMID: 22812412
Human metapneumovirus; hMPV; Respiratory tract infections; Intensive care; Respiratory insufficiency
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.  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
21.  How to deal with dialysis catheters in the ICU setting 
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.
PMCID: PMC3526537  PMID: 23174157
Dialysis catheter; Intensive care unit; Catheter dysfunction; Catheter infection
22.  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.
23.  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
24.  Recognition and management of abdominal compartment syndrome among German anesthetists and surgeons: a national survey 
Annals of Intensive Care  2012;2(Suppl 1):S7.
Abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS) is a life threatening condition that may affect any critically ill patient. Little is known about the recognition and management of ACS in Germany.
A questionnaire was mailed to departments of surgery and anesthesia from German hospitals with more than 450 beds.
Replies (113) were received from 222 eligible hospitals (51%). Most respondents (95%) indicated that ACS plays a role in their clinical practice. Intra-abdominal pressure (IAP) is not measured at all by 26%, while it is routinely done by 30%. IAP is mostly (94%) assessed via the intra-vesical route. Of the respondents, 41% only measure IAP in patients expected to develop ACS; 64% states that a simpler, more standardized application of IAP measurement would lead to increased use in daily clinical practice.
German anesthesiologists and surgeons are familiar with ACS. However, approximately one fourth never measures IAP, and there is considerable uncertainty regarding which patients are at risk as well as how often IAP should be measured in them.
PMCID: PMC3390300  PMID: 22873423
abdominal compartment syndrome; intra-abdominal pressure; intra-abdominal hypertension; intensive care unit; survey; questionnaire; bladder pressure; intra-vesical pressure measurement.
25.  Continuous insulin administration via complex central venous catheter infusion tubing is another risk factor for blood glucose imbalance. A retrospective study 
We assessed the potential impact of infusion tubing on blood glucose imbalance in ICU patients given intensive insulin therapy (IIT). We compared the incidence of blood glucose imbalance in patients equipped, in a nonrandomized fashion, with either conventional tubing or with a multiport infusion device.
We retrospectively analyzed the nursing files of 35 patients given IIT through the distal line of a double-lumen central venous catheter. A total of 1389 hours of IIT were analyzed for occurrence of hypoglycemic events [defined as arterial blood glucose below 90 mg/dL requiring discontinuation of insulin].
Twenty-one hypoglycemic events were noted (density of incidence 15 for 1000 hours of ITT). In 17 of these 21 events (81%), medication had been administered during the previous hour through the line connected to the distal lumen of the catheter. Conventional tubing use was associated with a higher density of incidence of hypoglycemic events than multiport infusion device use (23 vs. 2 for 1,000 hours of IIT; rate ratio = 11.5; 95% confidence interval, 2.71–48.8; p < 0.001).
The administration of on-demand medication through tubing carrying other medications can lead to the delivery of significant amounts of unscheduled products. Hypoglycaemia observed during IIT could be related to this phenomenon. The use of a multiport infusion device with a limited dead volume could limit hypoglycemia in patients on IIT.
PMCID: PMC3409028  PMID: 22697362
Hypoglycemia; Intensive care unit; Infusion tubing; Central venous catheter; Intensive insulin therapy

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