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1.  Determinants of functional status among survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock: One-year follow-up 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(2):132-136.
Sepsis is a leading cause of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions worldwide and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Limited data exist regarding the outcomes and functional status among survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock.
This study aimed to determine the functional status among survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock a year after hospital discharge.
Adult patients admitted between April 2007 and March 2010 to the medical-surgical ICU of a tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia, were included in this study. The ICU database was investigated for patients with a diagnosis of severe sepsis or septic shock. Survival status was determined based on hospital discharge. Patients who required re-admission, stayed in ICU for less than 24 hours, had incomplete data were all excluded. Survivors were interviewed through phone calls to determine their functional status one-year post-hospital discharge using Karnofsky performance status scale.
A total of 209 patients met the eligibility criteria. We found that 38 (18.1%) patients had severe disability before admission, whereas 109 (52.2%) patients were with severe disability or died one-year post-hospital discharge. Only one-third of the survivors had good functional status one-year post-discharge (no/mild disability). After adjustment of baseline variables, age [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01-1.04] and pre-sepsis functional status of severe disability (aOR = 50.9, 95% CI = 6.82-379.3) were found to be independent predictors of functional status of severe disability one-year post-hospital discharge among survivors.
We found that only one-third of the survivors of severe sepsis and septic shock had good functional status one-year post-discharge (no/mild disability). Age and pre-sepsis severe disability were the factors that highly predicted the level of functional status one-year post-hospital discharge.
PMCID: PMC4375742  PMID: 25829965
Disability; functional status; severe sepsis; septic shock
2.  Toward evidence-based approach to deep venous thrombosis 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2015;10(1):1-2.
PMCID: PMC4286838  PMID: 25593600
3.  Association of compliance of ventilator bundle with incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia and ventilator utilization among critical patients over 4 years 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(4):221-226.
Several studies showed that the implementation of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) ventilator bundle alone or with other preventive measures are associated with reducing Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia (VAP) rates. However, the association with ventilator utilization was rarely examined and the findings were conflicting. The objectives were to validate the bundle association with VAP rate in a traditionally high VAP environment and to examine its association with ventilator utilization.
The study was conducted at the adult medical-surgical intensive care unit (ICU) at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Saudi Arabia, between 2010 and 2013. VAP data were collected by a prospective targeted surveillance as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) methodology while bundle data were collected by a cross-sectional design as per IHI methodology.
Ventilator bundle compliance significantly increased from 90% in 2010 to 97% in 2013 (P for trend < 0.001). On the other hand, VAP rate decreased from 3.6 (per 1000 ventilator days) in 2010 to 1.0 in 2013 (P for trend = 0.054) and ventilator utilization ratio decreased from 0.73 in 2010 to 0.59 in 2013 (P for trend < 0.001). There were negative significant correlations between the trends of ventilator bundle compliance and VAP rate (cross-correlation coefficients −0.63 to 0.07) and ventilator utilization (cross-correlation coefficients −0.18 to −0.63).
More than 70% improvement of VAP rates and approximately 20% improvement of ventilator utilization were observed during IHI ventilator bundle implementation among adult critical patients in a tertiary care center in Saudi Arabia. Replicating the current finding in multicenter randomized trials is required before establishing any causal link.
PMCID: PMC4166069  PMID: 25276241
Bundle; health-care-associated infection; Institute for Healthcare Improvement; quality improvement; ventilator-associated pneumonia; ventilator utilization
4.  Drug-resistant ventilator associated pneumonia in a tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(2):104-111.
There is a wide geographic and temporal variability of bacterial resistance among microbial causes of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). The contribution of multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens to the VAP etiology in Saudi Arabia was never studied. We sought to examine the extent of multiple-drug resistance among common microbial causes of VAP.
We conducted a retrospective susceptibility study in the adult intensive care unit (ICU) of King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Susceptibility results of isolates from patients diagnosed with VAP between October 2004 and June 2009 were examined. The US National Healthcare Safety Network definition of MDR was adopted.
A total of 248 isolates including 9 different pathogens were included. Acinetobacter spp. was highly (60-89%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including carbapenems (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 86% and 69%, respectively). Pseudomonas aeruginosa was moderately (13-31%) resistant to all tested antimicrobials, including antipseudomonal penicillins (three- and four-class MDR prevalence were 13% and 10%, respectively). With an exception of ampicillin (fully resistant), Klebsiella spp. had low (0-13%) resistance to other tested antimicrobials with no detected MDR. Staphylococcus aureus was fully susceptible to vancomycin with 42% resistance to oxacillin. There were significant increasing trends of MDR Acinetobacter spp. however not P. aeruginosa during the study. Resistant pathogens were associated with worse profile of ICU patients but not patients’ outcomes.
Acinetobacter in the current study was an increasingly resistant VAP-associated pathogen more than seen in many parts of the world. The current finding may impact local choice of initial empiric antibiotics.
PMCID: PMC4005156  PMID: 24791174
Acinetobacter; antimicrobial resistance; microbiology; Saudi Arabia; ventilator-associated pneumonia
5.  Risk factors, management and outcomes of patients admitted with near fatal asthma to a tertiary care hospital in Riyadh 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2014;9(1):33-38.
Near-fatal asthma (NFA) has not been well studied in Saudi Arabia. We evaluated NFA risk factors in asthmatics admitted to a tertiary-care hospital and described NFA management and outcomes.
This was a retrospective study of NFA patients admitted to an ICU in Riyadh (2006-2010). NFA was defined as a severe asthma attack requiring intubation. To evaluate NFA risk factors, randomly selected patients admitted to the ward for asthma exacerbation were used as controls. Collected data included demographics, information on prior asthma control and various NFA treatments and outcomes.
Thirty NFA cases were admitted to the ICU in the five-year period. Compared to controls (N = 120), NFA patients were younger (37.5 ± 19.9 vs. 50.3 ± 23.1 years, P = 0.004) and predominantly males (70.0% vs. 41.7%, P = 0.005) and used less inhaled steroids/long-acting ß2-agonists combination (13.6% vs. 38.7% P = 0.024. Most (73.3%) NFA cases presented in the cool months (October-March). On multivariate analysis, age (odds ratio [OR] 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92-0.99, P = 0.015) and the number of ED visits in the preceding year (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.00-1.55) were associated with NFA. Rescue NFA management included ketamine (50%) and theophylline (19%) infusions. NFA outcomes included: neuromyopathy (23%), mechanical ventilation duration = 6.4 ± 4.7 days, tracheostomy (13%) and mortality (0%). Neuromuscular blockade duration was associated with neuromyopathy (OR, 3.16 per one day increment; 95% CI, 1.27-7.83).
In our study, NFA risk factors were younger age and higher number of ED visits. NFA had significant morbidity. Reducing neuromuscular blockade duration during ventilator management may decrease neuromyopathy risk.
PMCID: PMC3912685  PMID: 24551016
Asthma; critical illness; mechanical ventilation; neuromyopathy
6.  Building capacity for quality and safety in critical care: A roundtable discussion from the second international patient safety conference in April 9-11, 2013, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2013;8(4):183-185.
This paper summarizes the roundtable discussion from the Second International Patient Safety Conference held in April 9-11, 2013, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The objectives of the roundtable discussion were to: (1) review the conceptual framework for building capacity in quality and safety in critical care. (2) examine examples of leading international experiences in building capacity. (3) review the experience in Saudi Arabia in this area. (4) discuss the role of building capacity in simulation for patient safety in critical care and (5) review the experience in building capacity in an ongoing improvement project for severe sepsis and septic shock.
PMCID: PMC3821276  PMID: 24250730
Building capacity; critical care; safety culture; sepsis; simulation
7.  Knowledge of thromboprophylaxis guidelines pre- and post-didactic lectures during a venous thromboembolism awareness day at a tertiary-care hospital 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2013;8(3):165-169.
Didactic lectures are frequently used to improve compliance with practice guidelines. This study assessed the knowledge of health-care providers (HCPs) at a tertiary-care hospital of its evidence-based thromboprophylaxis guidelines and the impact of didactic lectures on their knowledge.
The hospital launched a multifaceted approach to improve thromboprophylaxis practices, which included posters, a pocket-size guidelines summary and didactic lectures during the annual thromboprophylaxis awareness days. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to HCPs before and after lectures on thromboprophylaxis guidelines (June 2010). The questionnaire, formulated and validated by two physicians, two nurses and a clinical pharmacist, covered various subjects such as risk stratification, anticoagulant dosing and the choice of anticoagulants in specific clinical situations.
Seventy-two and 63 HCPs submitted the pre- and post-test, respectively (62% physicians, 28% nurses, from different clinical disciplines). The mean scores were 7.8 ± 2.1 (median = 8.0, range = 2-12, maximum possible score = 15) for the pre-test and 8.4 ± 1.8 for the post-test, P = 0.053. There was no significant difference in the pre-test scores of nurses and physicians (7.9 ± 1.7 and 8.2 ± 2.4, respectively, P = 0.67). For the 35 HCPs who completed the pre- and post-tests, their scores were 7.7 ± 1.7 and 8.8 ± 1.6, respectively, P = 0.003. Knowledge of appropriate anticoagulant administration in specific clinical situations was frequently inadequate, with approximately two-thirds of participants failing to adjust low-molecular-weight heparin doses in patients with renal failure.
Education via didactic lectures resulted in a modest improvement of HCPs′ knowledge of thromboprophylaxis guidelines. This supports the need for a multifaceted approach to improve the awareness and implementation of thromboprophylaxis guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3731859  PMID: 23922612
Clinical practice guidelines; continuing medical education; health knowledge; practice guidelines; questionnaires; venous thromboembolism
8.  What is the optimal blood glucose target in critically ill patients? A nested cohort study 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2011;6(4):207-211.
There is an uncertainty about what constitutes an optimal level of blood glucose (BG) in critically ill patients. The objective of this study is to identify the optimal BG target for glycemic control in critically ill patients that is associated with survival benefit with the least hypoglycemia risk.
This is a nested cohort study within a randomized control trial conducted in a tertiary care center in King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The study was carried out in a single center to assess the effect of intensive insulin therapy [IIT; target BG 4.4-6.1 mmol/L (80-110 mg/dL)] versus conventional insulin therapy [CIT; target BG 10-11.1 mmol/L (180-200 mg/dL)] in a medical/surgical ICU. All patients were divided into six groups based on the mean daily BG levels. A logistic regression model was used to determine the association of BG and ICU mortality. We compared different outcomes below and above different BG thresholds of 0.1 mmol/L (2 mg/dL) increments using multivariate analyses.
Data are presented as mean ± SD or median with interquartile ranges, unless otherwise indicated. Differences between the six groups were assessed using the χ2 test. A P-value equal or less than 0.05 was considered to indicate statistical significance. The results were expressed as adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Statistical analyses were carried out using the Statistical Analysis Software (SAS, release 8, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA).
Among six groups, the ICU mortality was least in patients with BG <8.7 mmol/L (<157 mg/dL) compared with patients with BG ≥8.7 mmol/L (≥157 mg/dL) [11.5% vs. 21.5%, P = 0.002]. When analyzed using 0.1 mmol increments in average BG, we found that mortality remained unchanged by increasing thresholds of BG up to 8.0 mmol/L (144 mg/dL) and started to rise with thresholds of BG of 8.1 mmol/L (146 mg/dL) and above. The risk of hypoglycemia was the highest with a BG threshold of 6.1 mmol/L (110 mg/dL) and gradually decreased with increasing BG levels to plateau with a BG level of 7.2 mmol/L (130 mg/dL) and higher.
Our study suggests that a BG level of 8.1 mmol/L (146 mg/dL) and below represents an optimal level in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC3183637  PMID: 21977065
Critically ill; hypoglycemia; insulin; intensive care; mortality; sepsis
9.  Scientific misconduct and medical publishing 
PMCID: PMC2732094  PMID: 19727364

Results 1-9 (9)