Category Archives: JCCM 2016

Should Critical Care Professionals Take Hoaxes/Rumours Seriously?

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0030

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 [1], there is evidence that disease-related rumours may alter health-related behaviors and interfere with medical decision-making [2]. 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 [3]; people from around Kenema, Sierra Leone attacked the hospital after hearing rumours of conspiracy [4]; 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 [1]) and miracle products or cures that can be commercially exploited [5]. 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]

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A Fatal Case of Community Acquired Cupriavidus Pauculus Pneumonia

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0027

Introduction: Cupriavidus pauculus is a rarely isolated non-fermentative, aerobic bacillus, which occasionally causes severe human infections, especially in immunocompromised patients. Strains have been isolated from various clinical and environmental sources.
Case presentation: A 67-year-old man was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with acute respiratory failure. The patient was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia, pulmonary sepsis and underwent invasive mechanical ventilation. Examination revealed diminished bilateral vesicular breath sounds, fever, intense yellow tracheal secretions, a respiratory rate of 24/minute, a heart rate of 123/minute, and blood pressure of 75/55 mmHg. Vasoactive treatment was initiated. Investigations revealed elevated lactate and C-reactive protein levels. A chest X-ray showed bilateral infiltration. Parenteral ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone were administered. Tracheal aspirate culture and blood culture showed bacterial growth of Cupriavidus pauculus. Colistin was added to the treatment. There was a poor clinical response despite repeated blood culture showing negative results. The diagnosis of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) caused by C. pauculus was made. The patient died eleven days after admission.
Conclusions: Clinical improvement cannot always be expected in spite of targeted antibiotic therapy. This pathogen should be considered responsible for infections that usually develop in immunocompromised patients.

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Pneumoretroperitoneum after Attempted Epidural Anesthesia

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0029

Air may extend to the retroperitoneal space from retroperitoneal perforation of a hollow viscus, infection of the anterior pararenal space with gas-forming organisms and from pneumothorax or pneumomediastinum [1]. Rare pathologies, such as open reduction and internal fixation of femoral fractures and anaerobic abscess of the hip joint have also been described in relation to this complication [1,2]. A rare case of pneumoretroperitoneum caused by insufflation of air during an attempt to achieve epidural anesthesia is described.

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Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome in Child. A Case Report and a Review from Literature

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0028

Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) is the medical term used to define a skin condition induced by the exfoliative toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus. The disorder is also known as Ritter disease, bullous impetigo, neonatal pemphigus, or staphylococcal scarlet fever. The disease especially affects infants and small children, but has also been described in adults. Prompt therapy with proper antibiotics and supportive treatment has led to a decrease in the mortality rate.
The current case report describes the clinical progress of a patient with generalized erythema and fever, followed by the appearance of bullous lesions with tendency to rupture under the smallest pressure, and with extended areas of denudation.
The patient aged four years and six months was admitted to our clinic to establish the aetiology and treatment of a generalized bullous exanthema, followed by a skin denudation associated with fever and impaired general status.
Based on clinical and paraclinical examinations a diagnosis of Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome was established which responded favourably to antibiotic treatment, hydro-electrolytic re-equilibration, and adequate local hygiene.
Staphylococcal infection can represent a problem of significant pathological importance sometimes requiring a multidisciplinary approach involving paediatricians, dermatologists, infectious diseases specialists, and plastic surgeons.

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Congenital Heart Disease Requiring Maintenance of Ductus Arteriosus in Critically Ill Newborns Admitted at a Tertiary Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0031

Introduction: Congenital heart diseases (CHD) have been reported to be responsible for 30 to 50% of infant mortality caused by congenital disabilities. In critical cases, survival of newborns with CHD depends on the patency of the ductus arteriosus (PDA), for maintaining the systemic or pulmonary circulation. The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy and side effects of PGE (prostaglandin E) administration in newborns with critical congenital heart disease requiring maintenance of the ductus arteriosus.
Material and method: All clinical and paraclinical data of 66 infants admitted to one referral tertiary level academic center and treated with Alprostadil were analyzed. Patients were divided into three groups: Group 1: PDA dependent pulmonary circulation (n=11) Group 2: PDA dependent systemic circulation (n=31) Group 3: PDA depending mixed circulation (n=24)
Results: The mean age of starting PGE1 treatment was 2.06 days, 1.91 (+/-1.44) days for PDA depending pulmonary flow, 2.39 (+/-1.62) days for PDA depending systemic flow and 1.71 (+/1.12) for PDA depending mixing circulation. PEG1 initiation was commenced 48 hours after admission for 72%, between 48-72 hours for 6%, and after 72 to 120 hours for 21% of newborns detected with PDA dependent circulation. Before PEG1 initiation the mean initial SpO2 was 77.89 (+/- 9.2)% and mean initial oxygen pressure (PaO2) was 26.96(+/-6.45) mmHg. At the point when stable wide open PDA was achieved their mean SpO2increased to 89.73 (+/-8.4)%, and PaO2 rose to 49 (+/-7.2) mmHg. During PGE1 treatment, eleven infants (16.7%) had apnea attacks, five children (7.5%) had convulsions, 33 (50%) had fever, 47 (71.2%) had leukocytosis, 52 (78.8%) had edema, 25.8% had gastrointestinal intolerance, 45.5% had hypokalemia, and 63.6% had irritability.
Conclusions: For those infants with severe cyanosis or shock caused by PDA dependent heart lesions, the initiation and maintenance of PGE1 infusion is imperative. The side effects of this beneficial therapy were transient and treatable.

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Persistent Ductus Arteriosus in Critically Ill Preterm Infants

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0026

Introduction: Persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is found with increased incidence in preterm infants, significantly affecting neonatal morbidity and mortality rates.
Aim: To evaluate the association between the presence of PDA and the severity of clinical condition at birth in critically ill preterm infants, with gestational ages (GA) ≤ 32 weeks and severe respiratory distress.
Methods: All preterm infants with GA ≤ 32 weeks admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Clinical County Emergency Hospital, Sibiu between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2015 were included in the study. These were categorized as Group 1 [Preterm infants with PDA; n=154] and Group 2 [Preterm infants without PDA; n=186]. Epidemiological and clinical data were collected in the National Registry for Respiratory Distress Syndrome for all children, and data related to prenatal period, clinical characteristics at birth i.e GA, weight, gender, Apgar scores, and clinical features such as resuscitation at birth, surfactant administration, need and duration of respiratory support, neonatal sepsis, complications associated with prematurity, and death, were analyzed.
Results: Group 1 infants had significantly lower GA and birth weights, were more often out born (p=0.049, HR 1.69), and had significantly lower Apgar scores at 1 and 10 minutes (p=0.022, p=0.000). They presented a significantly higher need for surfactant administration (42.9% vs 24.7%, p<0.0001) and respiratory support (96.8% vs 90.3%, HR 3.19, p=0.019 for need of CPAP and 22.1% vs 10.8%, HR 2.35, p=0.004 for mechanical ventilation). Duration of respiratory support was also significantly higher in the Group 1 (7.6%±7.5 vs. 5.1±3.8 days, p<0.0001 for CPAP and 20.1±22.5 vs. 12.0±15.7 days, p<0.0001 for mechanical ventilation).
Conclusion: In very preterm infants, PDA may be associated with a critical clinical condition leading to serious complications. The presence of PDA after the seventh day of life was associated with an increased need for respiratory support, both CPAP and mechanical ventilation, increased severity of the respiratory distress syndrome, requiring a longer duration of respiratory support, and increased the hospitalization length. In very preterm infants, PDA presence was also associated with a higher rate of severe complications and death, indicating the need for a careful and proper management of these critical cases in neonatal intensive care units.

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Extracorporeal Life Support and New Therapeutic Strategies for Cardiac Arrest Caused by Acute Myocardial Infarction – a Critical Approach for a Critical Condition

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0025

This review summarizes the most recent developments in providing advanced supportive measures for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and the results obtained using these new therapies in patients with cardiac arrest caused by acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Also detailed are new approaches such as extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR), intra-arrest percutaneous coronary intervention, or the regional models for systems of care aiming to reduce the critical times from cardiac arrest to initiation of ECPR and coronary revascularization.

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Sepsis-Associated Coagulopathy

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0024

Systemic inflammatory activation in sepsis often leads to coagulation activation, but the relationship is bilateral, as coagulation also modulates the inflammatory response. This close associate has significant consequences for the pathogenesis of microvascular thrombosis and organ dysfunction in sepsis. While coagulation activation can be beneficial for immune defense, it can also be detrimental once it becomes widespread and uncontrolled. The knowledge of the pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in the interaction between infection and coagulation may lead to the better timing for the administration of targeted antithrombotic therapies in septic patients. This brief review highlights the pathophysiologic pathways leading to the prothrombotic state in sepsis and the mechanisms that play a role in the interaction between infection and coagulation.

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Epidural Anaesthesia: How Easy Is It to Walk on Quicksand?

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0032

The effectiveness of neuraxial blockade remains a very debatable issue. Many orthopaedic surgical procedures can be performed using either a single spinal shot, an epidural catheter neuraxial blockade, or general anesthesia.
Memtsoudis (2013) reviewed nearly 400.000 patients undergoing primary hip or knee arthroplasties compared neuraxial versus general anesthesia, and reported that the 30-day mortality, the length of stay, the hospital cost and the in-hospital complications were all was significantly lower than with other forms of anesthesia [1]. Similarly Helwan (2015) in a study comparing general with regional anesthesia for total hip arthroplasty reported a reduction in deep surgical site infection rates, the length of hospital stay, postoperative cardiovascular rates, and pulmonary complications [2]. However, a recent systematic review of more than 10.000 patients enrolled in randomized control trials and prospective comparative studies, found no statistically significant differences between spinal or epidural blockade and general anaesthesia with respect to mortality, surgical duration, surgical site of infections, nerve palsies, postoperative nausea and vomiting or thromboembolic diseases, when thrombo-prophylaxis was used. The authors concluded that there is limited evidence to support the view that neuraxial anesthesia is superior to general anesthesia with regards to postoperative outcomes [3]. [More]

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Nosocomial Staphylococcal Toxic Shock. Case Report

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2016-0020

Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) is a rare, potentially lethal infection, with a clinical picture of multiple organ dysfunction and shock. The etiology is Staphylococcus aureus exotoxin, while enterotoxins act as superantigens. Most cases are identified in women using a vaginal tampon.  A 51-year-old female, with a past medical history of biliary dyskinesia, presented in the emergency room complaining of sudden onset of abdominal pain, vomiting, headache, myalgia, and chills. The initial diagnosis was biliary colic and was treated parenterally with Amoxi-clavulanate and fluid replacement. Initially, progress was unsatisfactory. Four days after admission she developed a systemic inflammatory syndrome, diffuse rash, jaundice, oliguria, confusion, persistent hypotension and biological evidence of thrombocytopenia, nitrogen retention, and cholestasis. She was admitted to the intensive care unit. A gluteal phlegmon induced after intramuscular injections was identified and surgically treated. Blood bacteriological cultures were negative, though MRSA was isolated in phlegmon pus. A diagnosis of STSS was based on CDC criteria.
The risks of similar infections could be prevented by limiting intramuscular treatments and monitoring invasive procedures.

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