Category Archives: JCCM 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 2

The Eleventh Hour: Neurosyphilis, Still Fashionable but a Controversial Diagnosis

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0015

Syphilis is a consequence of a symbiotic relationship between Treponema pallidum and humankind.
The spirochete is nowadays well characterized in shape and in length, and its entire genome is sequenced. Despite all these, confirmation of infection is based on serologic tests. The diagnosis of nervous system disease heavily depends on examination of the cerebrospinal fluid [1-4].
Neurologic involvement is generally dichotomized into early/secondary (acute meningitis, cranial nerves involvement) or late/tertiary (all the rest of the manifestations) [1].
In the current issue of Journal of Critical Care Medicine, Bologa et al. present the utility of having meningovascular syphilis in mind as a possible diagnosis, in an apparent average case of an 84-year-old patient diagnosed with stroke [5]. [More]

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Perioperative Management of Lactic Acidosis in End-Stage Liver Disease Patient

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0014

Lactic acidosis (LA) in end-stage liver disease (ESLD) patients has been recognized as one of the most complicated clinical problems and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Multiple-organ failure, associated with advanced stages of cirrhosis, exacerbates dysfunction of numerous parts of lactate metabolism cycle, which manifests as increased lactate production and impaired clearance, leading to severe LA-induced acidemia. These problems become especially prominent in ESLD patients, that undergo partial hepatectomy and, particularly, liver transplantation. Perioperative management of LA and associated severe acidemia is an inseparable part of anesthesia, post-operative and critical care for this category of patients, presenting a wide variety of challenges. In this review, lactic acidosis applied pathophysiology, clinical implications for ESLD patients, diagnosis, role of intraoperative factors, such as anesthesia- and surgery-related, vasoactive agents impact, and also current treatment options and modalities have been discussed.

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The Use of Endotoxin Adsorption in Extracorporeal Blood Purification Techniques. A Case Report

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0010

Sepsis and septic shock are major healthcare problems, resulting in high morbidity and mortality. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC), which standardised the approach to sepsis, was recently updated. Strategies to decrease the systemic inflammatory response have been proposed to modulate organ dysfunctions. Endotoxin, derived from the membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, is considered a major factor in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Endotoxin adsorption, if effective, has the potential to reduce the biological cascade of Gram-negative sepsis.  We present a case of a 64-year-old man with severe Gram-negative sepsis, following purulent peritonitis secondary to rectosigmoid adenocarcinoma. To reduce the amplitude of the general effects of endotoxins we used a novel device, the Alteco® LPS Adsorber (Alteco Medical AB, Lund, Sweden), for lipopolysaccharide (LPS) adsorption
The efficacy markers were: the overall haemodynamic profile, translated into decreased vasopressor requirements, the normalisation of the cardiac index, the systemic vascular resistance index combined with the lactate level and the reduction in procalcitonin (PCT) levels. A decrease in the sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score at twenty-four hours was demonstrated. The clinical course following treatment was favourable for the days immediately following the treatment.This was attributed to the removal of endotoxin from the systemic circulation. The patient died one week after the endotoxin removal session, developing an ischemic bowel perforation with subsequent multiple organ failures.

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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in Nivolumab Associated Pneumonitis

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0013

Background: Newly approved immunotherapeutic agents, like CTLA-4 inhibitors and antibodies against PD-1, are a promising therapeutic option in cancer therapy.
Case presentation: A 74-year-old man, with a history of advanced stage melanoma and treatment with ipilimumab, pembrolizumab and nivolumab, was admitted to the hospital due to respiratory failure with hypoxemia and dyspnoea. He rapidly developed severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which required treatment in the intensive care unit which included mechanical ventilation and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). Computed tomographic imaging (CT) showed signs of a pneumonitis, with an ARDS pattern related to the use of PD-1 antibodies. Treating the patient with high-dose immunosuppressive steroids led to an overall improvement. He was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital and subsequently to his home.
Discussion and conclusion: This is a unique case report of a patient suffering a grade 4 adverse event under nivolumab who survived having been treated with ECMO. It highlights the possibility of associated adverse reactions as well as the use of ECMO in palliative care patients. ECMO can be of great success even in patients with malignancies, but careful decision making should be done on a case by case basis.

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Non-Obvious, Post-Traumatic, Life-Threatening Bleeding in Two Elderly Patients

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0012

The main complication of anticoagulant therapy is major bleeding. Clinicians are usually aware of these side effects and are careful when managing the therapeutic range of vitamin K antagonist drugs. But major bleeding, while life-threatening, can be overlooked if there are no visible signs of bleeding. Two cases are described in which inaccurate diagnoses lead to inadequate treatment.

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Anticoagulant Therapy in Sepsis. The Importance of Timing

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0011

Sepsis associated coagulopathy is due to the inflammation-induced activation of coagulation pathways concomitant with dysfunction of anticoagulant and fibrinolytic systems, leading to different degrees of haemostasis dysregulation. This response is initially beneficial, contributing to antimicrobial defence, but when control is lost coagulation activation leads to widespread microvascular thrombosis and subsequent organ failure. Large clinical trials of sepsis-related anticoagulant therapies failed to show survival benefits, but posthoc analysis of databases and several smaller studies showed beneficial effects of anticoagulants in subgroups of patients with early sepsis-induced disseminated intravascular coagulation. A reasonable explanation could be the difference in timing of anticoagulant therapy and patient heterogeneity associated with large trials. Proper selection of patients and adequate timing are required for treatment to be successful. The time when coagulation activation changes from advantageous to detrimental represents the right moment for the administration of coagulation-targeted therapy. In this way, the defence function of the haemostatic system is preserved, and the harmful effects of overwhelming coagulation activation are avoided.

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Neurosyphilis Masquerading as Stroke in an 84-year-old

DOI: 10.1515/jccm-2017-0009

The case of an 84 years old woman with uncharacteristic neurologic and cognitive symptoms, suspected of ischemic stroke is presented. Following an extensive assessment in the departments of neurology and internal medicine, the unusual aetiology of stroke was identified as meningovascular neurosyphilis. The patient fully recovered after antibiotic therapy. To our knowledge, this the eldest patient with tertiary neurosyphilis reported in the literature.

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