Death represents a biological state which appears at the end of life and can be defined by the halting of all life-sustaining biological functions.
Medically speaking, death represents the irreversible loss of consciousness associated with the irreversible loss of breathing .
Throughout its history, humanity has been interested by the mystery surrounding the end of life, and especially of finding out precise means of diagnosis.
But how can we medically diagnose the phenomenon of death?
Currently there are three means of diagnosis : [More]
To the Editor of JCCM,
Thanks to the ever larger penetration of the Internet and especially with the advent of Web 2.0 and social media, hoaxes, rumours and urban legends have become an almost everyday occurrence. While social psychology research contends that rumors can negatively impact on the public by generating distress, intense fear, anxiety, possibly resulting in herd behaviour and violence , there is evidence that disease-related rumours may alter health-related behaviors and interfere with medical decision-making . Medical misinformation is most frequently associated with collective emergency situations (e.g., Ebola infected patients refused to be hospitalized because of rumours that international health care workers intentionally brought the virus with them ; people from around Kenema, Sierra Leone attacked the hospital after hearing rumours of conspiracy ; during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, rumours that ingestion of iodized salt could prevent radiation damage lead to a shortage of the product in supermarkets and triggered panic and public unrest ) and miracle products or cures that can be commercially exploited . However, there are a number of hoaxes/rumours that probably critical care specialists should neither take lightly as innocuous amusements, nor brush aside with a condescending smile.[More]
I read with interest the study of Raluca Fodor et al., on the significance of Plasma Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL), as an early biomarker for acute kidney injury in critically ill patients, published recently in issue no.4/2015 of JCCM journal . In this well-written and interesting study, the authors successfully demonstrated that in critically ill patients, increased levels of NGAL predict, with a good sensitivity and specificity, the development of acute kidney injury within forty-eight hours of admission to an ICU. However, as no information is presented on the aetiology of the acute kidney injury, we believe that the article raises interesting and still un-elucidated hypotheses on the pathophysiological substrate of the systemic release of NGAL in patients with critical conditions. [More]
I read with great interest the article entitled “The role of Angiopoietine-2 in the diagnosis and prognosis of sepsis”, published by Szederjesi et al in the issue no.1/2015 of JCCM journal . As the authors pointed out, the prognosis of patients with sepsis is highly dependent on the early establishment of a proper diagnosis and on the early initiation of the adequate therapy. Therefore, identification of new biomarkers characterising this critically ill condition can be considered extremely important for a better understanding of this condition, leading to a more rapid and accurate diagnostic. The study identified angiopoietine-2 (ANG-2) as such a new biomarker characterising septic shock, demonstrating a good correlation between ANG-2 levels, duration of stay in the intensive care unit and the most widely used ICU mortality prediction scores. At the same time, the study showed a good sensitivity and specificity of this biomarker for diagnosis of sepsis and the authors should be congratulated for their results. [More]
To the editor of JCCM
I am writing in reference to the article published by Theodora Benedek and Dan Dobreanu in the first issue of JCCM, entitled “Current Concepts and New Trends in the Treatment of Cardiogenic Shock Complicating
Acute Myocardial Infarction”.
Cardiogenic shock (CS) represents a critical and life-threatening condition. Survival of patients with CS depends largely, not only on the appropriateness of the therapeutic measures, but also on the correct identification of the underlying disease .
Treatment of this underlying condition represents a key element for the correction of the patho-phyisiological pathways responsible for the development of a CS.
In many cases, CS occurs in association with an acute myocardial infarction, usually large infarcts, located on the anterior ventricular wall . Prompt revascularisation is crucial in these cases, as the re-establishment of coronary flow would immediately improve the haemodynamic status of these critically ill patients. However, in routine clinical practice, the diagnosis of an acute coronary syndrome remains challenging, especially when the physician is faced with a patient who arrives in the emergency room (ER) intubated, after surviving a cardiac arrest of unknown aetiology. [More]
To the editor of JCCM
Therapeutic hypothermia has become a widely accepted option for management of patients with cardiac arrest occurring in the setting of an Acute Myocardial Infarction . Infarct size is one of the major determinants of future evolution of patients with myocardial infarction and every attempt should be made in order to reduce the amount of infarcted, necrotic myocardium. It has been suggested that induction of hypothermia before performing a percutaneous coronary intervention for urgent revascularisation might play a decisive role in reduction of infarct size . In the same time, applying a mild cooling protocol in patients surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest might significantly improve the rates of neurologically intact survivals on long term .
It has been proved that via application of therapeutic hypothermia protocols, a 7% reduction in cerebral metabolism can be achieved per each 1oC of hypothermia, that would further lead to a decrease consumption of glucose and oxygen and prevention of neuronal injury . All these are strongly correlated with the evolution of the neurological status in the post-resuscitation period. [More]