Category Archives: Current

The Human Microbiome in Intensive Care – A Journey Forward?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0032

The human microbiome, defined as a personal, genomic signature of our latent or manifest infectious profile (bacterial, viral, fungal), located predominantly in the digestive tract, opens the door to personalized medicine studies on a scale larger than the human genome in terms of data that can be analyzed and interpreted. Compared to the human genome, which has approximately 23,000 genes, the European Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract and the Human Microbiome Project have reported 3.3 million non-redundant microbial genes [1]. [More]

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Effectiveness of Minitracheostomy After Extubation in Patients with Pneumonia at High Risk of Reintubation: A Case Series

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0029

Introduction: Minitracheostomy involves the percutaneous insertion of a 4-mm-diameter cricothyroidotomy tube for tracheal suctioning to facilitate the clearance of airway secretions. The advantage of using the minitracheostomy is in the clearance of secretions, however data on their usefulness for respiratory failure after extubation is limited.
Aim of the study: We aimed to assess the use of minitracheostomy for patients with challenging extubation caused by significant sputum.
Material and Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of consecutive case series. We analyzed the data of 31 patients with pneumonia. After minitracheostomy, the primary endpoints of reintubation within 72 hours and clinical effects, including mortality, length of intensive care unit (ICU), or hospital stay, were assessed. The successful extubation group included patients who did not require reintubation within 72 hours. Conversely, the reintubation group consisted of patients mandating reestablishment of intubation within 72 hours.
Results: Among those who underwent minitracheostomy after extubation, 22 (71%) underwent successful extubation and 9 underwent reintubation (reintubation rate: 29%). The in-hospital mortality rates after 30 days were 18.2% in the successful extubation group and 22.2% in the reintubation group. The ICU and hospital lengths of stay were 11 days (interquartile range: 8–14.3 days) and 23 days (interquartile range: 15.5–41 days), respectively, in the successful extubation group; they were 14 days (interquartile range: 11–18.5 days) and 30 days (interquartile range: 16–45.5 days), respectively, in the reintubation group.
Conclusions: The prophylactic use of minitracheostomy may be an option as a means of reducing reintubation in patients with pneumonia who are at very high risk of reintubation.Keywords: Airway extubation, weaning, ventilator weaning, respiration, tracheostomy, sputum, pneumonia
Keywords: airway extubation, ventilator weaning, tracheostomy, sputum, pneumonia

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Is Carboxyhaemoglobin an Effective Bedside Prognostic Tool for Sepsis and Septic Shock Patients?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0031

Introduction: Proper management of sepsis poses a challenge even today, with early diagnosis and targeted treatment being the most important steps. Easy, cost-effective bedside tools are needed in order to pinpoint towards the outcome of sepsis or septic shock.
Aim of study: This study aims to find a correlation between Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA), Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) and Simplified Acute Physiology Score II (SAPS II) severity scores, the Neutrophil-Lymphocytes Ratio (NLR) and carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) levels in septic or septic shock patients with the scope of establishing a bed side cost-effective prognostic tool.
Materials and methods: A pilot, prospective, observational, and ongoing study was conducted on 61 patients admitted with sepsis or septic shock according to the SEPSIS 3 Consensus definition. We followed clinical and paraclinical parameters on day 1 (D1) and day 5 (D5) after meeting the inclusion criteria.
Results: On D1 we found a statistically significant positive correlation between each severity score (p <0.0001), r = 0.7287 for SOFA vs. APACHE II with CI: 0.5841-0.8285, r = 0.6862 for SOFA vs. SAPS II with CI: 0.5251-0.7998 and r = 0.8534 for APACHE II vs. SAPS II with CI: 0.7663 to 0.9097. On D5 we observed similar results: a significant positive correlation between each severity score (p <0.0001), with r = 0.7877 for SOFA vs. APACHE II with CI: 0.6283 to 0.8836, r = 0.8210 for SOFA vs. SAPS II with CI: 0.6822 to 0.9027 and r = 0.8880 for APACHE II vs. SAPS II., CI: 0.7952 to 0.9401. Nil correlation was found between the severity scores, NLR and COHb on D1 and D5.
Conclusion: Cost-effective bedside tools to pinpoint towards the outcome of sepsis are yet to be found, however the positive correlation between the severity scores point out to a combination of such tools for prognosis prediction of septic or septic shock patients.

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Study of Biochemical Parameters as Predictors for Need of Invasive Ventilation in Severely Ill COVID-19 Patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0030

Background: Though laboratory tests have been shown to predict mortality in COVID-19, there is still a dearth of information regarding the role of biochemical parameters in predicting the type of ventilatory support that these patients may require.
Methods: The purpose of our retrospective observational study was to investigate the relationship between biochemical parameters and the type of ventilatory support needed for the intensive care of severely ill COVID-19 patients. We comprehensively recorded history, physical examination, vital signs from point-of-care testing (POCT) devices, clinical diagnosis, details of the ventilatory support required in intensive care and the results of the biochemical analysis at the time of admission. Appropriate statistical methods were used and P-values < 0.05 were considered significant. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis was performed and Area Under the Curve (AUC) of 0.6 to 0.7, 0.7 to 0.8, 0.8 to 0.9, and >0.9, respectively, were regarded as acceptable, fair, good, and exceptional for discrimination.
Results: Statistically significant differences (p<0.05) in Urea (p = 0.0351), Sodium (p = 0.0142), Indirect Bilirubin (p = 0.0251), Albumin (p = 0.0272), Aspartate Transaminase (AST) (p = 0.0060) and Procalcitonin (PCT) (p = 0.0420) were observed between the patients who were maintained on non-invasive ventilations as compared to those who required invasive ventilation. In patients who required invasive ventilation, the levels of Urea, Sodium, Indirect bilirubin, AST and PCT were higher while Albumin was lower. On ROC analysis, higher levels of Albumin was found to be acceptable indicator of maintenance on non-invasive ventilation while higher levels of Sodium and PCT were found to be fair predictor of requirement of invasive ventilation.
Conclusion: Our study emphasizes the role of biochemical parameters in predicting the type of ventilatory support that is needed in order to properly manage severely ill COVID-19 patients.

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Limitation of Non-Beneficial Interventions and their Impact on the Intensive Care Unit Costs

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0028

Introduction: Using a plan to limit non-beneficial life support interventions has significantly reduced harm and loss of dignity for patients at the end of life. The association of these limitations with patients’ clinical characteristics and health care costs in the intensive care unit (ICU) needs further scientific evidence. Aim of the study: To explore decisions to limit non-beneficial life support interventions, their correlation with patients’ clinical data, and their effect on the cost of care in the ICU.
Material and Methods: We included all patients admitted to the general ICU of a hospital in Greece in a two-year (2019-2021) prospective study. Data collection included patient demographic and clinical variables, data related to decisions to limit (withholding, withdrawing) non-beneficial interventions (ΝΒΙs), and economic data. Comparisons were made between patients with and without limitation decisions.
Results: NBIs were limited in 164 of 454 patients (36.12%). Patients with limitation decisions were associated with older age (70y vs. 62y; p<0,001), greater disease severity score (APACHE IV, 71 vs. 50; p<0,001), longer length of stay (7d vs. 4.5d; p<0,001), and worse prognosis of death (APACHE IV PDR, 48.9 vs. 17.35; p<0,001). All cost categories and total cost per patient were also higher than the patient without limitation of NBIs (9247,79€ vs. 8029,46€, p<0,004). The mean daily cost has not differed between the groups (831,24€ vs. 832,59€; p<0,716). However, in the group of patients with limitations, all cost categories, including the average daily cost (767.31€ vs. 649.12€) after the limitation of NBIs, were reduced to a statistically significant degree (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Limiting NBIs in the ICU reduces healthcare costs and may lead to better management of ICU resource use.

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Total Psoas Area and Psoas Density Assessment in COVID-19 Patients Using CT Imaging – Could Muscle Mass Alteration During Intensive Care Hospitalization be Determined?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0026

Background: Since its debut, as reported by the first published studies, COVID-19 has been linked to life-threatening conditions that needed vital assistance and admission to the intensive care unit. Skeletal muscle is a core element in an organism’s health due to its ability to keep energy balance and homeostasis. Many patients with prolonged hospitalization are characterized by a greater probability prone to critical illness myopathy or intensive care unit-acquired weakness.
Objective: The main aim of this study was to assess the skeletal muscle in a COVID-19 cohort of critically ill patients by measuring the psoas area and density.
Material and methods: This is a retrospective study that included critically ill adult patients, COVID-19 positive, mechanically ventilated, with an ICU stay of over 24 hours, and who had 2 CT scans eligible for psoas muscle evaluation. In these patients, correlations between different severity scores and psoas CT scans were sought, along with correlations with the outcome of the patients.
Results: Twenty-two patients met the inclusion criteria. No statistically significant differences were noticed regarding the psoas analysis by two blinded radiologists. Significant correlations were found between LOS in the hospital and in ICU with psoas area and Hounsfield Units for the first CT scan performed. With reference to AUC-ROC and outcome, it is underlined that AUC-ROC is close to 0.5 values, for both the psoas area and HU, indicating that the model had no class separation capacity.
Conclusion: The study suggested that over a short period, the psoas muscle area, and the psoas HU decline, for both the left and the right sight, in adult COVID-19 patients in ICU conditions, yet not statistically significant. Although more than two-thirds of the patients had a negative outcome, it was not possible to demonstrate an association between the SARS-COV2 infection and psoas muscle impairment. These findings highlight the need for further larger investigations.

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A Retrospective Cohort Study of Traumatic Brain Injury in Children: A Single-Institution Experience and Determinants of Neurologic Outcome

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0027

Introduction: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become a significant cause of death and morbidity in childhood since the elucidation of infectious causes within the last century. Mortality rates in this population decreased over time due to developments in technology and effective treatment modalities.
Aim of the study: This retrospective cohort study aimed to describe the volume, severity and mechanism of all hospital-admitted pediatric TBI patients at a university hospital over a 5-year period. Material and
Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective cohort study including 90 pediatric patients with TBI admitted to a tertiary care PICU. The patients’ demographic data, injury mechanisms, disease and trauma severity scores, initiation of enteral nutrition and outcome measures such as hospital stay, PICU stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, mortality, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) were also recorded. Late enteral nutrition was defined as initiation of enteral feeding after 48 hours of hospitalization.
Results: Of the 90 patients included in the cohort, 60% had mild TBI, 21.1% had moderate TBI and 18.9% had severe TBI. Their mean age was 69 months (3-210 months). TBI was isolated in 34 (37.8%) patients and observed as a part of multisystemic trauma in 56 (62.2%). The most commonly involved site in multisystemic injury was the thorax (33.3%). The length of hospitalization in the late enteral nutrition group was significantly higher than that in the early nutrition group, while the PICU stay was not significantly different between the two groups. The multiple logistic regression analysis found a significant relationship between GOS-3rd month and PIM3 score, the presence of diffuse axonal injury and the need for CPR in the first 24 h of hospitalization.
Conclusion: Although our study showed that delayed enteral nutrition did not affect neurologic outcome, it may lead to prolonged hospitalization and increased hospital costs. High PIM3 scores and diffuse axonal injury are both associated with worse neurologic outcomes.

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The Prognostic Utility of Cytokines in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0025

Introduction: The severity of COVID-19 depends on several factors, but the overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines remains in center of the interest. The aim of this study was to investigate the predictive utility of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) in patients with COVID-19.
Material and Methods: We prospectively enrolled 181 adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to the 1st Infectious Disease County Hospital Târgu Mureș from December 2020 to September 2021. Serum cytokine levels were measured and correlated with disease severity, need for oxygen therapy, intensive care unit (ICU) transfer, and outcome.Results: We found significantly higher serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in patients with severe COVID-19 and in those with a fatal outcome. The logistic regression analysis showed a significant predictive value for IL-8 regarding disease severity, and for IL6 and IL-10 regarding ICU transfer and fatal outcome.
Conclusions: Serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 were significantly increased in patients with COVID-19, but their predictive value regarding disease severity and the need for oxygen therapy was poor. We found IL-6 and IL-10 to have a good predictive performance regarding ICU transfer and fatal outcome.

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