Category Archives: JCCM 2020, Vol. 6, Issue 1

To Be or Not to Be… Sepsis? A Daily Challenge in ICU

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0012

Nowadays, one of the most challenging medical issues is related to high morbidity and mortality in sepsis and septic shock. Despite the medical progress regarding early diagnosis and management, this complex pathology remains a life-threatening condition. During the last decades, many definitions and including criteria were developed both in sepsis and septic shock, principally as many early biomarkers became available. However, many issues still exist regarding this subject.
The clinical definitions of sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) have been refined, but both conditions manifest with similar clinical features [1]. The Third International Consensus Definitions Task Force (Sepsis-3) defined sepsis as “a life-threatening organ dysfunction resulting from a dysregulated host response to infection”. Septic shock is “a subset of sepsis in which circulatory, cellular and metabolic alterations are associated with a higher mortality rate than sepsis alone” [2] morphology, cell biology, biochemistry, immunology, and circulation. These definitions are related to the pathophysiology of sepsis, which are the cornerstones of a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and disorders that occur [3]. [More]

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Impact of Intravenous Fluids and Enteral Nutrition on the Severity of Gastrointestinal Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0009

Introduction: Gastrointestinal dysfunction (GDF) is one of the primary causes of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Intensive care interventions, such as intravenous fluids and enteral feeding, can exacerbate GDF. There exists a paucity of high-quality literature on the interaction between these two modalities (intravenous fluids and enteral feeding) as a combined therapy on its impact on GDF.
Aim: To review the impact of intravenous fluids and enteral nutrition individually on determinants of gut function and implications in clinical practice.
Methods: Randomized controlled trials on intravenous fluids and enteral feeding on GDF were identified by a comprehensive database search of MEDLINE and EMBASE. Extraction of data was conducted for study characteristics, provision of fluids or feeding in both groups and quality of studies was assessed using the Cochrane criteria. A random-effects model was applied to estimate the impact of these interventions across the spectrum of GDF severity.
Results: Restricted/goal-directed intravenous fluid therapy is likely to reduce ‘mild’ GDF such as vomiting (p = 0.03) compared to a standard/ liberal intravenous fluid regime. Enterally-fed patients experience increased episodes of vomiting (p = <0.01) but are less likely to develop an anastomotic leak (p = 0.03) and peritonitis (p = 0.03) compared to parenterally fed patients. Vomiting (p = <0.01) and anastomotic leak (p = 0.04) were significantly lower in the early enteral feeding group.
Conclusions: There is less emphasis on the combined approach of intravenous fluid resuscitation and enteral feeding in critically ill patients. Conservative fluid resuscitation and aggressive enteral feeding are presumably key factors contributing to severe life-threatening GDF. Future trials should evaluate the impact of cross-interaction between conservative and aggressive modes of these two interventions on the severity of GDF.

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The 2019 Novel Coronavirus: A Crown Jewel of Pandemics?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0013

Starting from the December 2019 identification of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), an overwhelming sense of panic has enveloped public discourse. This is likely to be amplified by WHO recently declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. It is the third significant occurrence of a zoonotic coronavirus crossing the species barrier to infect humans, and it likely will not be the last. Hope is not lost; and a measured approach, one that is cognizant of the seriousness of this public health crisis without giving into hysteria, is imperative. [More]

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Prognostic Value of Serum Lactate Levels in Critically Ill Patients in an Intensive Care Unit

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0005

Introduction: The patient in critical condition, regardless of the cause of admission, continues to be a challenge for health systems due to the high mortality that it reports. There is a need to identify some marker of early obtaining, easy to interpret and with high relevance in the prognosis of these patients.
Objective: To determine the prognostic value of serum lactate in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Method: One hundred and forty-five patients admitted to an ICU were enrolled in the study. The Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE) prognosis score, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment, hemodynamic support need, mechanical ventilation, cause of admission, stay in ICU, analytical and physiological variables were determined. The probability of survival of patients who had elevated and normal serum lactate levels was calculated. The risk of dying was determined using the Cox regression model.
Results: Twenty-eight patients died (19%) in the ICU. The serum lactate value was higher in the group of patients with trauma, infections, APACHE II and high creatinine levels; as well as with decreased mean arterial blood pressure, need for hemodynamic support and mechanical ventilation. The survival capacity was higher in patients who had normal serum lactate. Serum lactate was the sole independent predictor of mortality (AHR 1.28 [1.07-1.53], p = 0.008).
Conclusions: Patient assessment through the determination of serum lactate levels provides useful information in the initial evaluation of the critical patient.

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Guillain–Barré and Acute Transverse Myelitis Overlap Syndrome Following Obstetric Surgery

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0008

Introduction: There are rare reports of the occurrence of acute transverse myelitis and Guillain–Barré syndrome after various surgical procedures and general/epidural anaesthesia. The concomitant occurrence of these pathologies is very rare and is called Guillain–Barré and acute transverse myelitis overlap syndrome. In this article, we present the case of a second trimester pregnant patient who developed Guillain–Barré and acute transverse myelitis overlap syndrome.
Case presentation: We report the case of a 16-year-old female patient who underwent a therapeutic termination of pregnancy two weeks prior to the onset of the disease with gradual development of a motor deficit with walking and sensitivity disorders, fecal incontinence. The diagnosis was based on clinical exam, electroneurography and spinal magnetic resonance imaging. Endocrinopathies, infectious diseases, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, neoplastic diseases and vitamin deficiencies were ruled out. Our patient attended five sessions of therapeutic plasma exchange, followed by steroid treatment, intravenous immunoglobulin with minimum recovery of the motor deficit in the upper limbs, but without significant evolution of the motor deficit in the lower limbs. The patient was discharged on maintenance corticotherapy and immunosuppressive treatment with azathioprine.
Conclusions: We report a very rare association between Guillain–Barré syndrome and acute transverse myelitis triggered by a surgical intervention with general anaesthesia. The overlap of Guillain–Barré syndrome and acute transverse myelitis makes the prognosis for recovery worse, and further studies are needed to establish the first-line therapy in these cases.

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Cerebellar Haemorrhage Leading to Sudden Cardiac Arrest

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0007

Introduction: Intracranial haemorrhage (ICH) is a known, but a rare cause of out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). It results in the development of non-shockable rhythms such as asystole or pulseless electrical activity (PEA).
Case Report: A 77- years old male had an OHCA without any prodrome. An emergency medical services (EMS) team responded to an emergency call and intubated the patient at the site before transporting him to the Acute Care Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. On admission, a non-contrast computed tomography scan of the head revealed a large cerebellar haemorrhage. Non-traumatic ICH is a rare cause of OHCA. Although subarachnoid haemorrhage causing cardiac arrest has been described in the literature, cerebellar haemorrhage leading to cardiac arrest is rare. The mechanism by which ICH patients develop cardiac arrest is likely explained by a massive catecholamine surge leading to cardiac stunning.
Conclusion: A non-shockable rhythm in the setting of a sudden cardiac arrest should raise alarms for a primary non-cardiac ethology, especially a primary cerebrovascular event. The absence of brainstem reflexes increases the likelihood of an intracranial process.

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Prevalence and Prognostic Impact of Hypernatremia in Sepsis and Septic Shock Patients in The Intensive Care Unit: A Single Centre Experience

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0001

Introduction: Hypernatremia is a commonly associated electrolyte disturbance in sepsis and septic shock patients in the ICU. The objective of this study was to identify the prognostic value of hypernatremia in sepsis and septic shock.
Material and Methods: A prospective study conducted on sepsis and septic shock patients diagnosed prior to admission in the ICU in King Hamad University Hospital, Bahrain from January 1st 2017 to February 28th 2019. Data including age, sex, comorbidities, source of sepsis, sodium levels on days one, three, and seven. Data was correlated with the outcome (survival/death and the length of ICU stay).
Results: Patients included were 168, 110 survived, and 58 died. Hypernatraemia at day seven was associated with significantly higher mortality (P= 0.03). Hypernatraemia at Day1was associated with a significantly prolonged stay in the ICU (p= 0.039).Multivariate analysis to identify the independent predictors of mortality revealed that immunosuppression and hypernatraemia at Day7 proved to be independent predictors of mortality (P= 0.026 and 0.039 respectively).
Conclusion: Hypernatremia can be an independent predictor of poor outcome in septic and septic shock patients in the ICU.

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Predictors of In-Hospital Mortality after Recovered Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Patients with Proven Significant Coronary Artery Disease: A Retrospective study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0006

Introduction: Recovered Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (rOHCA) population is heterogenous. Few studies focused on outcomes in the rOHCA subgroup with proven significant coronary artery disease (SigCAD). We aimed to characterize this subgroup and study the determinants of in-hospital mortality.
Methods: Retrospective study of consecutive rOHCA patients submitted to coronary angiography. Only patients with SigCAD were included. Results: 60 patients were studied, 85% were male, mean age was 62.6 ± 12.1 years. In-hospital mortality rate was 43.3%. Patients with diabetes and history of stroke were less likely to survive. Significant univariate predictors of in-hospital mortality were further analysed separately, according to whether they were present at hospital admission or developed during hospital evolution. At hospital admission, initial non-shockable rhythm, low-flow time>12min, pH<7.25mmol/L and lactates >4.75mmol/L were the most relevant predictors and therefore included in a score tested by Kaplan-Meyer. Patients who had 0/4 criteria had 100% chance of survival till hospital discharge, 1/4 had 77%, 2/4 had 50%, 3/4 had 25%. Patients with all 4 criteria had 0% survival. During in-hospital evolution, a pH<7.35 at 24h, lactates>2mmol/L at 24h, anoxic brain injury and persistent hemodynamic instability proved significant. Patients who had 0/4 of these in-hospital criteria had 100% chance of survival till hospital discharge, 1/4 had 94%, 2/4 had 47%, 3/4 had 25%. Patients with all 4 criteria had 0% survival. Contrarily, CAD severity and ventricular dysfunction didn’t significantly correlate to the outcome.
Conclusion: Classic prehospital variables retain their value in predicting mortality in the specific group of OHCA with SigCAD. In-hospital evolution variables proved to add value in mortality prediction. Combining these simple variables in risk scores might help refining prognostic prediction in these patients’ subset.

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When a Stroke is not Just a Stroke: Escherichia coli Meningitis with Ventriculitis and Vasculitis: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0002

Introduction: Community-acquired Escherichia coli ventriculitis is considered a rare condition. Central nervous system (CNS) infection due to gram-negative bacilli is usually associated with previous neurosurgical interventions. The recent publication of cases of Escherichia coli meningitis and ventriculitis suggests its prevalence may be underestimated by the literature.
Case presentation: A case of community-acquired Escherichia coli CNS infection on a 58 year old patient presenting with altered consciousness but without neck stiffness, nor significant past medical history is reported. Imaging and lumbar puncture findings suggested a complex case of meningitis with associated ventriculitis and vasculitis. Escherichia coli was later identified in cultures. Subsequent multi-organ support in Intensive Care was required. The patient was treated with a prolonged course of intravenous antimicrobials guided by microbiology, resulting in some neurological recovery. The main challenges encountered in the management of the patient were the lack of clear recommendations on the duration of treatment and the potential development of multi-resistant organisms.
Conclusion: Bacterial central nervous system infections can have an atypical presentation, and an increasing number of cases of community-acquired ventriculitis have been reported. Early consideration should be given to use magnetic resonance imaging to help guide treatment. A long course of antibiotics is often required for these patients; however, the optimal duration for antimicrobial treatment is not well defined.

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