Category Archives: Original Research

Clinical Profile and Course of Patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome due to Covid-19 in a Middle-Income Region in Mexico

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0022

Introduction: COVID-19 leads to severe clinical complications that culminate in respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Despite reports of some comorbidities that contribute to the development of COVID-19-mediated ARDS, there is great variation in mortality rates among critical COVID-19 patients in the world. To date, no studies have described the incidence and comorbidities associated with ARDS due to COVID-19 in the northeastern region of Mexico.
Aim of the study: To describe patients diagnosed with ARDS due to COVID-19 in the northeastern region of Mexico, as well as its variations in comparison with other regions of the country.
Material and Methods: We conducted a prospective and observational study in a tertiary care center in Northeastern Mexico. All patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection and requiring management in the intensive care unit were included. We developed a database that was updated daily with the patients´ demographic information, pre-existing diseases, disease severity, and clinical variables.
Results: The incidence of ARDS secondary to COVID-19 in HRAEV was high in comparison with other reports. Diabetes mellitus was the risk factor most associated with COVID-19-mediated ARDS.
Conclusion: Based on our findings and those previously reported in the literature, there are differences that we discuss between northeastern and central Mexico, and analyze other areas evaluated around the world.

Full text: PDF

A Randomised Control Study Comparing Ultrasonography with Standard Clinical Methods in Assessing Endotracheal Tube Tip Positioning

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0019

Introduction: Airway ultrasound has been increasingly used in correct positioning of endotracheal tube. We hypothesize that a safe distance between endotracheal tube tip and carina can be achieved with the aid of ultrasound.
Aim of the study: Our primary objective was to determine whether ultrasound guided visualisation of proximal end of endotracheal tube cuff is better when compared to conventional method in optimal positioning of tube tip. The secondary objective was to find the optimal endotracheal tube position at the level of incisors in adult Indian population.
Materials and Methods: There were 25 patients each in the conventional group and the ultrasound group. Conventional method includes auscultation and end tidal capnography. In the ultrasound group the upper end of the endotracheal tube cuff was positioned with an intent to provide 4 cm distance from the tube tip to the carina. X ray was used in both groups for confirmation of tip position and comparison between the two groups. Further repositioning of the tube was done if indicated and the mean length of the tube at incisors was then measured.
Results: After x ray confirmation, endotracheal tube repositioning was required in 24% of patients in the USG group and 40 % of patients in the conventional group. However, this result was not found to be statistically significant (p = 0.364). The endotracheal tube length at the level of teeth was 19.4 ± 1.35 cm among females and 20.95 ± 1.37 cm among males. 
Conclusions: Ultrasonography is a reliable method to determine ETT position in the trachea. There was no statistically significant difference when compared to the conventional method. The average length of ETT at the level of incisors was 19.5 cm for females and 21 cm for males.

Full text: PDF

Ventilator-Associated Events Cost in ICU Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation: A Multi-State Model

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0016

Introduction: Cost analysis is complicated by the fact that patients acquire infections during their hospital stay, having already spent time at risk without having an infection. Multi-state models (MSM) accounts for this time at risk treating infections as time-dependent exposures from ICU admission.
Aim of the study: To estimate ventilator-associated events (VAEs) direct additional cost in ICU patients.
Material and Methods: This was a prospective, observational study carried out for a two-year period in four medical-surgical ICUs of Athens, Greece. The sample consisted of adult patients who received mechanical ventilation for ≥4 days and were followed until discharge from the ICU or until death. CDC standard definitions were used to diagnose VAEs. To estimate VAEs additional length of stay (LOS), we used a four-state model that accounted for the time of VAEs. The direct hospital cost was calculated, consisting of the fixed and variable cost. The direct additional cost per VAEs episode was calculated by multiplying VAEs extra LOS by cost per day of ICU hospitalization.
Results: In the final analysis were included 378 patients with 9,369 patient-days. The majority of patients were male (58.7%) with a median age of 60 years. Of 378 patients 143 (37.8%) developed 143 episodes of VAEs. VAEs crude additional LOS was 17 days, while VAE mean additional LOS after applying MSM was 6.55±1.78 days. The direct cost per day of ICU hospitalization was € 492.80. The direct additional cost per VAEs episode was € 3,227.84, € 885.56 the fixed and € 2,342.28 the variable cost. Antibiotic cost was € 1,570.95 per VAEs episode. The total direct additional cost for the two-year period was € 461,581.12.
Conclusions: These results confirm the importance of estimating VAEs real cost using micro-costing for analytical cost allocation, and MSM to avoid additional LOS and cost overestimation.

Full text: PDF

The Utility of Serial Lipid Measurements as a Potential Predictor of Sepsis Outcome: A Prospective Observational Study in a Tertiary Care Hospital

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0015

Background and aim: Sepsis is the major cause of morbidity and mortality for patients admitted to an intensive care unit worldwide. Currently, Procalcitonin (PCT) is a widely used prognostic marker for sepsis. The high cost of estimating Procalcitonin limits its utility in all health facilities. Lipid Profile, being a frequently done routine investigation, is studied in sepsis patients to predict the prognosis of sepsis. This study was aimed to assess the association between lipid profile parameters, procalcitonin and clinical outcomes in patients with sepsis.
Materials and methods: It is a prospective observational study conducted in a tertiary care hospital in the Department of Biochemistry in collaboration with the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). We included 80 sepsis patients from medical and surgical ICUs. Among them, 59 (74%) survived and 21 (26%) expired. Serum lipid profile, procalcitonin and variables required for APACHE II score are measured at two intervals, one during admission and on day 5. All the parameters were compared between the survivors and the non-survivors.
Results: Serum PCT levels were reduced on Day 5 [3.32 (1.27-11.86)] compared to Day 0 [13.42 (5.77-33.18)] in survivors. In survivors, Total Cholesterol, LDL-C and Non-HDL-C were significantly elevated on Day 5 compared to Day 0. In non-survivors, HDL-C significantly decreased on Day 5. Between survivors and non-survivors, HDL-C significantly decreased on Day 5 (23.88 ± 10.19 vs 16.67 ± 8.27 mg/dl). A Negative correlation was observed between HDL-C & PCT.
Conclusion: Serum Lipid profile levels, namely Total cholesterol, HDL-C and LDL-C, have possible associations with the severity of sepsis. HDL-C have a negative association with the clinical scoring system in sepsis patients. Overall, the findings from our study suggest that lipid profile parameters have possible implications in predicting the outcome of patients with sepsis.

Full text: PDF

Weekend Effect and Mortality Outcomes in Aortic Dissection: A Prospective Analysis

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0014

Background: Aortic dissection (AD) is a critical heart condition with potentially severe outcomes. Our study aimed to investigate the existence of a “weekend effect” in AD by examining the correlation between patient outcomes and whether their treatment occurred on weekdays versus weekends.
Methods: Specifically, we prospectively analysed the effect of weekday and weekend treatment on acute AD patient outcomes, both before surgical intervention and during hospitalization, for 124 patients treated from 2019–2021, as well as during 6 months of follow-up.
Results: The mean age of the study population was 62.5 years, and patient age exhibited a high degree of variability. We recorded a mortality rate before surgery of 8.65% for the weekend group and 15% for the weekday group, but this difference was not statistically significant. During hospitalization, mortality was 50% in the weekend group and 25% in the weekday group, but this difference was not statistically significant. Discharge mortality was 9.61% in the weekend group and 5% in the weekday group.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there was no significant difference in mortality rates between patients admitted to the hospital on weekends versus weekdays. Therefore, the period of the week when a patient presents to the hospital with AD appears not to affect their mortality.

Full text: PDF

Longitudinal Assessment of ROX and HACOR Scores to Predict Non-Invasive Ventilation Failure in Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Pneumonia

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0013

Introduction: NIV (Non-invasive ventilation) and HFNC  (High Flow nasal cannula) are being used in patients with acute respiratory failure.  HACOR score has been  exclusively calculated for patients on NIV, on other hand ROX index is being used for  patients on HFNC. This is  first study where ROX index has been used in patients on NIV to predict failure.
Aim of the study: This study investigates the comparative diagnostic performance of HACOR score and ROX index to predict NIV failure.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of non-invasively ventilated Covid 19 patients admitted between 1st April 2020 to 15th June 2021 to ICU of a tertiary care teaching hospital located in Central India. We assessed factors responsible for NIV failure, and whether these scores HACOR/ ROX index have discriminative capacity to predict risk of invasive mechanical ventilation.
Results: Of the 441 patients included in the current study, 179 (40.5%) recovered, while remaining 262 (59.4%) had NIV failure. On multivariable analysis, ROX index > 4.47 was  found  protective for NIV-failure (OR 0.15 (95%CI 0.03-0.23; p<0.001). Age > 60 years and  SOFA score were other significant independent predictors of NIV-failure. The AUC for prediction of failure rises from 0.84 to 0.94 from day 1 to day 3 for ROX index and from 0.79 to 0.92 for HACOR score in the same period, hence ROX score was non-inferior to HACOR score in current study. DeLong’s test for two correlated ROC curves had  insignificant difference expect day-1 (D1: 0.03 to 0.08; p=3.191e-05 ,D2: -0.002 to 0.02; p = 0.2671, D3: -0.003 to 0.04; p= 0.1065).
Conclusion: ROX score of 4.47 at day-3 consists of good discriminatory capacity to predict NIV failure. Considering its non-inferiority to HACOR score, the ROX score can be used in patients with acute respiratory failure who are on NIV.

Full text: PDF

User’s Search for Information: A Multi-Language Cross-Sectional Assessment of Websites about Healthcare-Associated Infections

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0011

Introduction: Healthcare-associated infections have a significant impact on public health, and many patients and their next-of-kin are seeking information on the internet. The study aimed to assess the quality of online written content about healthcare-associated infections available in English, Romanian, and Hungarian languages.
Materials and methods: The study sample included 75 websites, 25 for each language subgroup. The assessment involved examining the general characteristics, adherence to established credibility criteria, and the completeness and accuracy of informational content. The evaluation was conducted using a topic-specific, evidence-based benchmark. Two evaluators independently graded completeness and accuracy; scores were recorded on a scale from 0 to 10. A comparative analysis of websites was performed, considering pertinent characteristics, and potential factors influencing information quality were subjected to testing. The statistical significance was set at 0.05.
Results: For the overall study sample, the average credibility, completeness, and accuracy scores were 5.1 (SD 1.7), 2.4 (SD 1.5), and 5.9 (SD 1.0), respectively. Pairwise comparison tests revealed that English websites rated significantly higher than Romanian and Hungarian websites on all three quality measures (P<0.05). Website specialization, ownership, and main goal were not associated with credibility or content ratings. However, conventional medicine websites consistently scored higher than alternative medicine and other websites across all three information quality measures (P<0.05). Credibility scores were positively but weakly correlated with completeness (rho=0.273; P=0.0176) and accuracy scores (rho=0.365; P=0.0016).
Conclusions: The overall quality ratings of information about healthcare-associated infections on English, Romanian, and Hungarian websites ranged from intermediate to low. The description of information regarding the symptoms and prevention of healthcare-associated infections was notably unsatisfactory. The study identified website characteristics possibly associated with higher-quality online sources about healthcare-associated infections, but additional research is needed to establish robust evidence.

Full text: PDF

Neonatal Resuscitation Practices in Romania: A Survey of the Romanian Association of Neonatology (ANR) and the Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies (UENPS)

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0010

Introduction: This study is part of a European survey on delivery room practices endorsed by the Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies (UENPS) and the Romanian Association of Neonatology (ANR). The aim of our study was to evaluate the current neonatal resuscitation practices in Romanian maternity hospitals and to compare the results between level III and level II centers.
Material and Methods: The questionnaire was distributed through ANR by email link to heads of neonatal departments of 53 Romanian maternity hospitals with more than one thousand of births per year between October 2019 and September 2020, having 2018 as the reference year for data collection.
Results: The overall response rate to the questionnaire was 62.26% (33/53), 83.33% (15/18) for level-III centers and 51.43% (18/35) for level-II centers. Of the responding centers, 18 (54,54%) were academic hospitals, 15 (83,33%) were level III and 3 (16,67%) level II hospitals. In 2018, responding centers reported 81.139 births representing 42.66% of all Romanian births (190.170). There were significant differences between level-III and level-II maternity hospitals regarding the number of births in 2018 (3028.73±1258.38 vs 1983.78±769.99; P=0.006), lowest GA of routinely assisted infants in delivery room (25.07±3.03 weeks vs 30.44±3.28, P<0.001), inborn infants with BW<1500 admitted to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in 2018 (66.86±39.14 g vs 22.87±31.50 g; P=0.002), and antenatal counseling of parents before the delivery of a very preterm infant or an infant with expected problems (60% vs 22.2%; P=0.027). There were no significant differences of thermal and umbilical cord management, positive pressure delivery, heart rate assessment between responding centers.
Conclusion: The adherence to new guidelines was high among responding centers regarding thermal and umbilical cord management, initial FiO2, but aspects like antenatal counseling, EKG monitoring, laryngeal mask, and heated/humidified gases availability and administration, and simulation-based training require further implementation.

Full text: PDF

Retrospective Study of the Use of Heparins in Pregnant Women and in vitro Testing on the HCT 116 Colorectal Carcinoma Cell Line

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0009

Introduction: Pregnant women manifest an increased risk of developing coagulation disorders. Unfractionated heparin (HEP) and low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWHep) are considered as selective medication in the case of pregnancy which needs anticoagulant treatment. In addition to anticoagulant properties, HEP and its derivatives manifest other properties including anti-cancer potential. According to Globocan’s latest data, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most encountered form of malignancy in the case of women, manifesting some special particularities, as confusion of symptoms from cancer with symptoms encountered normally in pregnant women (such as constipation or rectal bleeding), delayed diagnosis because of limitations imposed both for the fetus and for the mother, and the need for special treatment.
Aim: The aim of the present work is to follow the incidence and safety of consumption of HEP and LMWHep in the case of pregnant women and to analyze their potential on the HCT 116 colorectal carcinoma cells.
Results: Analyzing the consumption of heparins in case of pregnant women hospitalized from 01.01.2022 to 31.12.2022 at the Pius Brînzeu” Emergency Clinical Hospital from Timisoara, Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic I, it was observed that 44,6% of the patients were administered the following medication and no administration risks were observed. When tested on HCT 116 cells, heparins manifested a significant anti-migratory effect (with wound healing rates of 2,6%, when tested with HEP 100 UI concentration and 14.52% wound healing rates in case of fraxiparine 100 UI). In addition, different signs of apoptosis were observed, suggesting the pro-apoptotic potential of the tested substances.
Conclusions: Heparins remain the preferred medication to be administered to pregnant women with the potential for coagulation disorders, showing a high safety profile. Testing on the cancerous line of colorectal carcinoma highlights important properties that stimulate future studies, to establish the anti-tumor potential and the exact mechanism of action.

Full text: PDF

Weaning Outcome is Associated with ELWI and Impaired Diastolic Function

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2024-0008

Objectives: To evaluate hemodynamic profiles of critical care patients undergoing spontaneous t-piece trial (SBT) and present weaning failure.
Methods: Prospective observational study conducted in ready-to-wean non-cardiac ICU patients. Clinical, echocardiographic and thermodilution-derived variables were recorded before and after a 2-hour SBT. Weaning from mechanical ventilation was defined as preservation of spontaneous breathing for 48 hours following successful SBT.
Results: Fourteen patients succeeded weaning, five manifested T-trial-failure and six late-failure. Weaning outcome was significantly associated with ELWI(Extravascular lung-water index), global-end-diastolic index and impaired diastolic function, as indicated by pre-T Doppler early wave velocities (E/Em); Fifty-six percent of participants presented ELWI≥7mL/kg when fulfilling predetermined criteria for weaning. ELWI, impaired pulmonary permeability and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction were independent determinants of ELWI.
Conclusions: ELWI before SBT and impaired diastolic function (as indicated by pre-T E/Em) might be weaning outcome determinants and their assessment may allow better risk stratification in weaning decision making.

Full text: PDF