Category Archives: JCCM 2021

Hypothalamic-pituitary axis disorder – “the puppet master” of multiple organ dysfunction in brain-dead patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0029

One of the most revolutionary discoveries of modern medicine was organ transplantation, as it brought hope and healing in cases that seemed incurable. Best outcomes in organ transplantation are related to a rigorous tissue typing and an appropriate immunosuppressant therapy that allowed a longer survival rate for recipients [1]. The management of the potential brain-dead donor is a complex one that involves several well-defined stages: early identification of potential donors, brain death determination, maintaining vital functions, and graft transplantation.
Brain death determination is synonymous with irreversible anatomical and functional injury to the entire brain and brainstem. This process involves a major alteration of the hemodynamic and hormonal homeostasis. Hypothalamic irreversible injury is followed by a profound normothermia dysregulation. The aggressive inflammatory response after brain death occurrence is responsible for capillary leakage and refractory hypotension [2]. Clinical diagnostic tests that assess brain death include brain stem areflexia, apnea, and cerebral unresponsiveness, linked with a known, irreversible cause of coma [3].[More]

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The Importance of Iron Administration in Correcting Anaemia after Major Surgery

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0028

Introduction: Postoperative anaemia can affect more than 90% of patients undergoing major surgeries. Patients develop an absolute iron deficiency in the face of significant blood loss or preoperative anaemia and major surgery. Studies have shown the negative impact of these factors on transfusion requirements, infections, increased hospitalisation and long-term morbidities.
Aim of the study: The research was performed to determine the correlation between intravenous iron administration in the postoperative period and improved haemoglobin correction trend.
Material and methods: A prospective study was conducted to screen and treat iron deficiency in patients undergoing major surgery associated with significant bleeding. For iron deficiency anaemia screening, in the postoperative period, the following bioumoral parameters were assessed: haemoglobin, serum iron, transferrin saturation (TSAT), and ferritin, direct serum total iron-binding capacity (dTIBC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH). In addition, serum glucose, fibrinogen, urea, creatinine and lactate values were also collected.
Results: Twenty-one patients undergoing major surgeries (52,38% were emergency and 47,61% elective interventions) were included in the study. Iron deficiency, as defined by ferritin 100-300 μg/L along with transferrin saturation (TSAT) < 20 %, mean corpuscular volume (MVC) < 92 fL, mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) < 33 g/dL, serum iron < 10 μmol/L and direct serum total iron-binding capacity (dTIBC) > 36 μmol/L, was identified in all cases. To correct the deficit and optimise the haematological status, all patients received intravenous ferric carboxymaltose (500-1000 mg, single dose). Using Quadratic statistical analysis, the trend of haemoglobin correction was found to be a favourable one.
Conclusion: The administration of intravenous ferric carboxymaltose in the postoperative period showed the beneficial effect of this type of intervention on the haemoglobin correction trend in these groups of patients.

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Analgosedation: The use of Fentanyl Compared to Hydromorphone

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0026

Background: The 2018 Society of Critical Care Medicine guidelines on the “Prevention and Management of Pain, Agitation/Sedation, Delirium, Immobility, and Sleep Disruption in Adult Patients in the ICU” advocate for protocol-based analgosedation practices. There are limited data available to guide which analgesic to use. This study compares outcomes in patients who received continuous infusions of fentanyl or hydromorphone as sedative agents in the intensive care setting.
Methods: This retrospective cohort study evaluated patients admitted into the medical intensive care unit, the surgical intensive care unit, and the cardiac intensive care unit from April 1, 2017, to August 1, 2018, who were placed on continuous analgesics. Patients were divided according to receipt of fentanyl or hydromorphone as a continuous infusion as a sedative agent. The primary endpoints were ICU length of stay and time on mechanical ventilation.
Results: A total of 177 patients were included in the study; 103 received fentanyl as a continuous infusion, and 74 received hydromorphone as a continuous infusion. Baseline characteristics were similar between groups. Patients in the hydromorphone group had deeper sedation targets. Median ICU length of stay was eight days in the fentanyl group compared to seven days in the hydromorphone group (p = 0.11) and median time on mechanical ventilation was 146.47 hours in the fentanyl group and 122.33 hours in the hydromorphone group (p = 0.31). There were no statistically significant differences in the primary endpoints of ICU length of stay and time on mechanical ventilation between fentanyl and hydromorphone for analgosedation purposes.
Conclusion: No statistically significant differences were found in the primary endpoints studied. Patients in the hydromorphone group required more tracheostomies, restraints, and were more likely to have a higher proportion of Critical Care Pain Observation Tool (CPOT) scores > 2.

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Acute Kidney Injury Following Rhabdomyolysis in Critically Ill Patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0025

Introduction: Rhabdomyolysis, which resulted from the rapid breakdown of damaged skeletal muscle, potentially leads to acute kidney injury.
Aim: To determine the incidence and associated risk of kidney injury following rhabdomyolysis in critically ill patients.
Methods: All critically ill patients admitted from January 2016 to December 2017 were screened. A creatinine kinase level of > 5 times the upper limit of normal (> 1000 U/L) was defined as rhabdomyolysis, and kidney injury was determined based on the Kidney Disease Improving Global Outcome (KDIGO) score. In addition, trauma, prolonged surgery, sepsis, antipsychotic drugs, hyperthermia were included as risk factors for kidney injury.
Results: Out of 1620 admissions, 149 (9.2%) were identified as having rhabdomyolysis and 54 (36.2%) developed kidney injury. Acute kidney injury, by and large, was related to rhabdomyolysis followed a prolonged surgery (18.7%), sepsis (50.0%) or trauma (31.5%). The reduction in the creatinine kinase levels following hydration treatment was statistically significant in the non- kidney injury group (Z= -3.948, p<0.05) compared to the kidney injury group (Z= -0.623, p=0.534). Significantly, odds of developing acute kidney injury were 1.040 (p<0.001) for mean BW >50kg, 1.372(p<0.001) for SOFA Score >2, 5.333 (p<0.001) for sepsis and the multivariate regression analysis showed that SOFA scores >2 (p<0.001), BW >50kg (p=0.016) and sepsis (p<0.05) were independent risk factors. The overall mortality due to rhabdomyolysis was 15.4% (23/149), with significantly higher incidences of mortality in the kidney injury group (35.2%) vs the non- kidney injury (3.5%) [ p<0.001].
Conclusions: One-third of rhabdomyolysis patients developed acute kidney injury with a significantly high mortality rate. Sepsis was a prominent cause of acute kidney injury. Both sepsis and a SOFA score >2 were significant independent risk factors.

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The Pathophysiology and Management of Diabetic Ketoacidosis in COVID-19 Patients: A Literature Review

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0024

Diabetic individuals are considered a vulnerable population during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and several studies noted worse outcomes, including death, among those who get infected. Diabetic emergencies, such as ketoacidosis (DKA), are common and potentially life-threatening conditions in uncontrolled patients. While the pathophysiological background of the relationship between COVID-19 and DKA is not fully understood, early reports available so far indicate that patients with pre-existing diabetes who get infected with the SARS-CoV 2 virus are at higher risk of DKA. It was also suggested that DKA is a poor prognostic sign for infected patients, these being at higher risk of developing worse forms of COVID-19 disease and having high mortality. Therefore, healthcare personnel dealing with such patients face a considerable challenge, as the correct and safe emergency management of such cases is far from established. This article aimed to conduct a study that reviews the current published data available about patients with DKA and COVID-19.

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Evaluation of Sleep Architecture Using 24-hour Polysomnography in Patients Recovering from Critical Illness in an Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit: A Longitudinal, Prospective, and Observational Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0023

Background and objective: The sleep architecture of critically ill patients being treated in Intensive care units and High dependency units is frequently unsettled and inadequate both qualitatively and quantitatively. The study aimed to investigate and elucidate factors influencing sleep architecture and quality in intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) in a limited resource setting with financial constraints, lacking human resources and technology for routine monitoring of noise, light and sleep promotion strategies in intensive care units (ICU).
Methods: The study was longitudinal, prospective, hospital-based, analytic, and observational. Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS) pre hospitalisation scores were recorded. Patients underwent 24-hour polysomnography (PSG) with the simultaneous monitoring of noise and light in their environments. Patients stabilised in intensive care units (ICU) were transferred to high dependency units (HDU), where the 24-hour polysomnography with the simultaneous monitoring of noise and light in their environments was repeated. Following PSG, the Richards-Campbell Sleep Questionnaire (RCSQ) was employed to rate patients’ sleep in both the intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU).
Results: Of 46 screened patients, 26 patients were treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) and then transferred to the high dependency units (HDU). The mean (SD) of the study population’s mean (SD) age was 35.96 (11.6) years with a predominantly male population (53.2% (n=14)). The mean (SD) of the ISI and ESS scores were 6.88 (2.58) and 4.92 (1.99), respectively. The comparative analysis of PSG data recording from the ICU and high dependency units (HDU) showed a statistically significant reduction in N1, N2 and an increase in N3 stages of sleep (p<0.05). Mean(SD) of RCSQ in the ICU and the HDU were 54.65(7.70) and 60.19(10.85) (p-value = 0.04) respectively. The disease severity (APACHE II) has a weak correlation with the arousal index but failed to reach statistical significance (coeff= 0.347, p= 0.083).
Conclusion: Sleep in ICU is disturbed and persisting during the recovery period in critically ill. However, during recovery, sleep architecture shows signs of restoration.

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Impact of the Severity of Liver Injury in COVID-19 Patients Admitted to an Intensive Care Unit During the SARS-CoV2 Pandemic Outbreak

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0021

Introduction: The World Health Organization (WHO) identified a novel coronavirus, originating in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, as a pneumonia causing pathogen. Epidemiological data in Romania show more than 450.000 confirmed patients, with a constant number of approximately 10% admission in intensive care unit.
Method: A retrospective, observational study was conducted from 1st March to 30th October 2020, comprising 657 patients, confirmed as having COVID-19, and who had been admitted to the intensive care unit of the Mures County Clinical Hospital, Tîrgu Mures, Romania, which had been designated as a support hospital during the pandemic. Patients who presented at admission or developed abnormal liver function tests in the first seven days of admission, were included in the study; patients with pre-existing liver disease, were excluded.
Results: The mean (SD) age of patients included in the study was 59.41 (14.66) years with a male: female ratio of 1.51:1. Survivor status, defined as patients discharged from the intensive care unit, was significantly associated with parameters such as age, leukocyte count, albumin level, glycaemia level (p<0.05 for all parameters.)
Conclusions: Liver injury expressed through liver function tests cannot solely constitute a prognostic factor for COVID-19 patients, but its presence in critically ill patients should be further investigated and included in future guideline protocols.

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Accuracy of Diagnostic Tests

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0022

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, design, development, validation, verification and implementation of diagnostic tests were actively addressed by a large number of diagnostic test manufacturers. This paper deals with the biases and sources of variation which influence the accuracy of diagnostic tests, including calculating and interpreting test characteristics, defining what is meant by test accuracy, understanding the basic study design for evaluating test accuracy, understanding the meaning of Sensitivity, Specificity, Positive Predictive Value and Negative Predictive Value, and evaluating them numerically, and the ROC curve (or Receiver Operating Characteristic ) and the Area under the Curve (AUC).

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Critical Care Management of Decompensated Right Heart Failure in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Patients – An Ongoing Approach

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0020

Despite substantial advancements in diagnosis and specific medical therapy in pulmonary arterial hypertension patients’ management, this condition continues to represent a major cause of mortality worldwide. In pulmonary arterial hypertension, the continuous increase of pulmonary vascular resistance and rapid development of right heart failure determine a poor prognosis. Against targeted therapy, patients inexorable deteriorate over time. Pulmonary arterial hypertension patients with acute right heart failure who need intensive care unit admission present a complexity of the disease pathophysiology. Intensive care management challenges are multifaceted. Awareness of algorithms of right-sided heart failure monitoring in intensive care units, targeted pulmonary hypertension therapies, and recognition of precipitating factors, hemodynamic instability and progressive multisystem organ failure requires a multidisciplinary pulmonary hypertension team. This paper summarizes the management strategies of acute right-sided heart failure in pulmonary arterial hypertension adult cases based on recently available data.

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