Category Archives: JCCM 2015, Vol. 1, Issue 4

Sudden Cardiac Death and Post Cardiac Arrest Syndrome. An Overview

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0031

A satisfactory neurologic outcome is the key factor for survival in patients with sudden cardiac death (SCD), however this is highly dependent on the haemodynamic status. Short term cardiopulmonary resuscitation and regained consciousness on the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is indicative of a better prognosis. The evaluation and treatment of SCD triggering factors and of underlying acute and chronic diseases will facilitate prevention and lower the risk of cardiac arrest. Long term CPR and a prolonged unconscious status after ROSC, in the Intensive Care Units or Coronary Care Units, indicates the need for specific treatment and supportive therapy including efforts to prevent hyperthermia. The prognosis of these patients is unpredictable within the first seventy two hours, due to unknown responses to therapeutic management and the lack of specific prognostic factors. Patients in these circumstances require the highest level of intensive care and aetiology driven treatment without any delay, independently of their coma state. Current guidelines sugest the use of multiple procedures in arriving at a diagnosis and prognosis of these critical cases.

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Ventricular Septal Rupture – A Critical Condition as a Complication of Acute Myocardial Infarction

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0030

Ventricular septal rupture is a potentially fatal complication of acute myocardial infarction. The key to management of this critical condition is an aggressive approach to haemodynamic stabilization and surgical closure of the rupture. Where there is a small rupture and the patient is in a haemodynamically stable condition, surgery can be delayed with the prospect of achieving better perioperative results. However, in unstable critically ill patients either immediate surgery or extracorporeal membranous oxygenation support and delayed surgery is indicated. In some patients, trans-catheter closure may be considered as an alternative to surgery.

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Dual Role of Angiopoietine II in the Complex Management of Critically Ill Patients with Sepsis

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0029

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 [1]. 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]

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Delayed Recovery from General Anaesthesia: A Post-operative Diagnostic Dilemma and Implications of ICU Management of Serotonin Toxicity. Case report

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0026

We report a case of delayed recovery from general anesthesia following a routine parathyroidectomy. Our objectives are to describe the process of establishing a differential diagnosis and subsequent management of a patient presenting with atypical neurological signs from an unknown etiology and to increase awareness about the potential for serotonin syndrome and neurotoxicity due to known interactions between methylene blue and selective serotonin-noradrenaline re-uptake inhibitors. ICU management of Serotonin Toxicity is briefly described.

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Cardiac Arrhythmias in a Septic ICU Population: A Review

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0027

Progressive cardiovascular deterioration plays a central role in the pathogenesis of multiple organ failure (MOF) caused by sepsis. Evidence of various cardiac arrhythmias in septic patients has been reported in many published studies. In the critically ill septic patients, compared to non-septic patients, new onset atrial fibrillation episodes are associated with high mortality rates and poor outcomes, amongst others being new episodes of stroke, heart failure and long vasopressor usage. The potential mechanisms of the development of new cardiac arrhythmias in sepsis are complex and poorly understood. Cardiac arrhythmias in critically ill septic patients are most likely to be an indicator of the severity of pre-existing critical illness.

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Invasive Candida Infections in the ICU: Diagnosis and Therapy

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0025

Invasive fungal infections have become a serious problem in the critically ill. One of the main reasons is the development of an immunocompromised condition. The most frequently found pathogens are Candida species. In order to provide adequate treatment, understanding this potentially life-threatening infection is mandatory. The aim of this summary is to view Candida infections from a different perspective and to give an overview on epidemiology, the range of pathophysiology from colonization to the invasive infections, and its impact on mortality. New therapeutic options will also be discussed and how these relate to current guidelines. Finally, the key issue of the choice of antifungal agents will be evaluated.

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The Significance of Cardiac Arrhythmias in Septic ICU Patients

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0028

The review article published in this issue by Schwartz A et al [1] draws attention to the importance of cardiac arrhythmias and especially that of new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) and the clinical outcome of septic patients. The incidence of this phenomenon varies in different reports, from 5.8% [2] to 31-40% [3-4].
Causes are numerous and different mechanisms have been described in the literature and by the authors of the review. Endotoxin induces tachycardia, increases the cardiac index, and reduces blood pressure and systemic vascular resistance without change in stroke volume [5]. Fluid administration results in a decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction and an increase in ventricular volumes even more than before the administration of fluid therapy [5].
An increased inflammatory response also plays an important role in pathogenesis of cardiac arrhythmias and dysfunction in septic patients. Increased plasma levels of C-reactive protein, IL-6 and TNF-α may contribute to the onset of AF in septic patients [1,6]. [More]

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Acquired Tracheal Diverticulum as an Unexpected Cause of Endotracheal Tube Cuff Leak

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0024

Introduction: Tracheal diverticulum has been associated with problems during endotracheal intubation but there are no reports concerning air leakage around an endotracheal tube (ETT).
Case report: The case of an elderly woman under mechanical ventilatory support because an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is reported. She presented with an inexplicably air leak around the endotracheal tube not attributed to structural defects. The intra-cuff pressure value was as high as 30 mmHg to prevent an air leakage. Bronchoscopy revealed a tracheal diverticulum at the site ofthe tube cuff that allowed air leakage around it. The problem was overcome by re-intubating the patient with a larger diameter tube and positioning its distal end above the diverticular opening.
Discussion: Endotracheal tube air leak is a frequently neglected problem. COPD and other inflammatory conditions are associated with changes in the elastic properties of the airways resulting in tracheomegaly or acquired tracheal diverticulum. Both entities have been linked to problems during intubation or ventilation of patients. However tracheal diverticulum has not been described previously as a cause of air leakage.
Conclusion: Acquired tracheal diverticulum should be recognized as a cause of air leakage in the intubated patient, especially if associated with a normal or elevated intracuff pressure.

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Plasma Neutrophil Gelatinase Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) – Early Biomarker for Acute Kidney Injury in Critically Ill Patients

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2015-0023

Introduction: NGAL (Neutrophil Gelatinase Associated Lipocalin) is a biomarker recently introduced into clinical practice for the early diagnosis of acute kidney injury (AKI). The aim of this study was to correlate the plasmatic NGAL value determined at admission with clinical progression and severity of AKI in critically ill patients.
Material and method: Thirty two consecutive critically ill adult patients at risk of developing AKI (trauma, sepsis), admitted in Intensive Care Unit of the Clinical County Emergency Hospital Mures, between January to March 2015 were enrolled in the study. For each patient included in the study plasma NGAL levels were determined on admission, and these were correlated with the degree of AKI development (according to AKIN criteria) at 48 hours and 5 days post admission. The discriminatory power of NGAL, creatinine, creatinine clearance and corrected creatinine (depending on water balance) were determined using the ROC (receiver-operating characteristic) and likelihood ratios.
Results: ROC curve analysis showed a better discriminatory capacity in terms of early diagnosis of AKI for NGAL (AUC=0.81 for NGAL, AUC=0.59 for creatinine, AUC=0.62 for corrected creatinine, AUC=0.29 for creatinine clearance). The value of likelihood ratio was also significantly higher for NGAL (3.01±2.73 for NGAL, 1.27±1.14 for creatinine, 1.78±1.81 for corrected creatinine, and 0.48±0.33 for creatinine clearance).
Conclusions: NGAL biomarker has a better discrimination capacity for early prediction of acute kidney injury compared to previously used markers.

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