Category Archives: JCCM 2022, Vol. 8, Issue 2

Impact of Palliative Care on Interhospital Transfers to the Intensive Care Unit

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0009

Community hospitals will often transfer their most complex, critically ill patients to intensive care units (ICUs) of tertiary care centers for specialized, comprehensive care. This population of patients has high rates of morbidity and mortality. Palliative care involvement in critically ill patients has been demonstrated to reduce over-utilization of resources and hospital length of stays. We hypothesized that transfers from community hospitals had low rates of palliative care involvement and high utilization of ICU resources. In this single-center retrospective cohort study, 848 patients transferred from local community hospitals to the medical ICU (MICU) and cardiac care unit (CCU) at a tertiary care center between 2016-2018 were analyzed for patient disposition, length of stay, hospitalization cost, and time to palliative care consultation. Of the 848 patients, 484 (57.1%) expired, with 117 (13.8%) having expired within 48 hours of transfer. Palliative care consult was placed for 201 (23.7%) patients. Patients with palliative care consult were statistically more likely to be referred to hospice (p<0.001). Over two-thirds of palliative care consults were placed later than 5 days after transfer. Time to palliative care consult was positively correlated with length of hospitalization among MICU patients (r=0.79) and CCU patients (r=0.90). Time to palliative consult was also positively correlated with hospitalization cost among MICU patients (r=0.75) and CCU patients (r=0.86). These results indicate early palliative care consultation in this population may result in timely goals of care discussions and optimization of resources.

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Renal Manifestations and their Association with Mortality and Length of Stay in COVID-19 Patients at a Safety-net Hospital

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0010

Background: Renal involvement in COVID-19 leads to severe disease and higher mortality. We study renal parameters in COVID-19 patients and their association with mortality and length of stay in hospital. Methods: A retrospective study (n=340) of confirmed COVID-19 patients with renal involvement determined by the presence of acute kidney injury. Multivariate analyses of logistic regression for mortality and linear regression for length of stay (LOS) adjusted for relevant demographic, comorbidity, disease severity, and treatment covariates. Results: Mortality was 54.4% and mean LOS was 12.9 days. For mortality, creatinine peak (OR:35.27, 95% CI:2.81, 442.06, p<0.01) and persistent renal involvement at discharge (OR:4.47, 95% CI:1.99,10.06, p<0.001) were each significantly associated with increased odds for mortality. Increased blood urea nitrogen peak (OR:0.98, 95%CI:0.97,0.996, p<0.05) was significantly associated with decreased odds for mortality. For LOS, increased blood urea nitrogen peak (B:0.001, SE:<0.001, p<0.01), renal replacement therapy (B:0.19, SE:0.06, p<0.01), and increased days to acute kidney injury (B:0.19, SE:0.05, p<0.001) were each significantly associated with increased length of stay. Conclusion: Our study emphasizes the importance in identifying renal involvement parameters in COVID-19 patients. These parameters are associated with LOS and mortality, and may assist clinicians to prognosticate COVID-19 patients with renal involvement.

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Dubito ergo sum. Pathologies that can mimic sepsis

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0011

Sepsis is a potentially deadly organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection, with a high mortality rate [1]. Generally, sepsis is acquired in the community, and its development is slow, making diagnosis challenging. Early broad-spectrum antibiotics and effective source management improve prognosis [1, 2].
Sepsis has a huge financial impact on the health-care system; septic patient treatment in the United States alone is projected to cost more than $20 billion per year. The cost in human life is equally high; mortality rates in sepsis and septic shock are believed to be more than 10% and 40%, respectively [3]. Sepsis is one of the most prevalent causes for admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and the leading cause of mortality in ICUs across the globe [3, 4]. [More]

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RAF-1 Mutation Associated with a Risk for Ventricular Arrhythmias in a Child with Noonan Syndrome and Cardiovascular Pathology

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0007

Introduction: Noonan syndrome (NS) is a dominant autosomal disease, caused by mutations in genes involved in cell differentiation, growth and senescence, one of them being RAF1 mutation. Congenital heart disease may influence the prognosis of the disease.
Case presentation: We report a case of an 18 month-old female patient who presented to our institute at the age of 2 months when she was diagnosed with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, pulmonary infundibular and pulmonary valve stenosis, a small atrial septal defect and extrasystolic arrhythmia. She was born from healthy parents, a non-consanguineous marriage. Due to suggestive phenotype for NS molecular genetic testing for RASopathies was performed in a center abroad, establishing the presence of RAF-1 mutation. Following rapid progression of cardiac abnormalities, the surgical correction was performed at 14 months of age. In the early postoperative period, the patient developed episodes of sustained ventricular tachycardia with hemodynamic instability, for which associated treatment was instituted with successful conversion to sinus rhythm. At 3-month follow-up, the patient was hemodynamically stable in sinus rhythm.
Conclusions: The presented case report certifies the importance of recognizing the genetic mutation in patients with NS, which allows predicting the severity of cardiac abnormalities and therefore establishing a proper therapeutic management of these patients.

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Bronchoscopic Intrapulmonary Recombinant Factor VIIa for Diffuse Alveolar Hemorrhage- induced Acute Respiratory Failure in MPO-ANCA Vasculitis: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0004

Introduction: Diffuse alveolar haemorrhage (DAH) is a potentially life-threatening disease, characterized by diffuse accumulation of red blood cells within the alveoli. It can be caused by a variety of disorders. In case DAH results in severe respiratory failure, veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO) can be required. Since VV-ECMO coincides with the need for anticoagulation therapy, this results in a major clinical challenge in DAH patients with hemoptysis.
Case presentation: We report a patient case with severe DAH-induced acute respiratory failure and hemoptysis in need for VV-ECMO complicated by life-threatening membrane oxygenator thrombosis. The DAH-induced hemoptysis was successfully treated with local bronchoscopic recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa), allowing systemic anticoagulation to prevent further membrane oxygenator thrombosis. Neither systemic clinical side effects nor differences in the serum coagulation markers occured after applying recombinant factor VIIa (rFVIIa) treatment endobronchially.
Conclusion: This is, to our knowledge, the first case that reports the use of rFVIIa in a patient with DAH due to vasculitis and in need for VV-ECMO complicated by membrane oxygenator thrombosis.

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Early Empirical Anidulafungin Reduces the Prevalence of Invasive Candidiasis in Critically Ill Patients: A Case-control Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0006

Introduction: Invasive candidiasis (IC) in critically ill patients is a serious infection with high rate of mortality. As an empirical therapy, like antibiotics, the use of antifungals is not common in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. The empirical use of echinocandins including anidulafungin is a recent trend.
Aim of the study: The objective of this study was to assess the impact of empirical anidulafungin in the development of invasive candidiasis in critically ill patients in ICU.
Methods: This retrospective case-control study was conducted on 149 patients with sepsis with/without septic shock and bacterial pneumonia. All the patients were divided into two groups. The ‘control group’ termed as ‘NEAT group’ received no empirical anidulafungin therapy and the ‘treated group’ termed as ‘EAT group’ received empirical anidulafungin therapy in early hospitalization hours.
Results: Seventy-two and 77 patients were divided into the control and the treated group, respectively. Patients in EAT group showed less incidences of IC (5.19%) than that of the NEAT group (29.17%) (p = 0.001). Here, the relative risk (RR) was 0.175 (95% CI, 0.064-0.493) and the risk difference (RD) rate was 24% (95% CI, 12.36%-35.58%). The 30-day all-cause mortality rate in NEAT group was higher (19.44%) than that of in EAT group (10.39%) (p = 0.04). Within the first 10-ICU-day, patients in the EAT group left ICU in higher rate (62.34%) than that in the NEAT group (54.17%).
Conclusion: Early empirical anidulafungin within 6 h of ICU admission reduced the risk of invasive candidiasis, 30-day all cause mortality rate and increased ICU leaving rate within 10-day of ICU admission in critically ill patients.

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Severe Coronary Artery Vasospasm after Mitral Valve Replacement in a Diabetic Patient with Previous Stent Implantation: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0005

Postoperative coronary vasospasm is a well-known cause of angina that may lead to myocardial infarction if not treated promptly. We report a case of a 70-year-old female with severe mitral regurgitation submitted to mitral valve replacement, and a history of diabetes mellitus type II, stroke, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura on steroid therapy, and previous percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for severe obstruction of the circumflex coronary artery, 4 months prior to surgery. Immediately after intensive care unit admission, the patient developed pulseless electrical activity which required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation for hemodynamic support. The coronary angiography showed diffuse occlusive coronary artery vasospasm, ameliorated after intra-coronary administration of nitroglycerin. The following postoperative evolution was marked by cardiogenic shock and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Subsequent echocardiographic findings showed an increase in left ventricular function with an EF of 40%, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support was weaned after seven days. However, after a few hours, the patient progressively deteriorated, with cardiac arrest and no response to resuscitation maneuvers. Hemodynamic instability following the surgical procedure in a patient with previous PCI associated with an autoimmune disease and diabetes mellitus should raise the suspicion of a coronary artery vasospasm.

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Using Machine Learning Techniques to Predict Hospital Admission at the Emergency Department

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0003

Introduction: One of the most important tasks in the Emergency Department (ED) is to promptly identify the patients who will benefit from hospital admission. Machine Learning (ML) techniques show promise as diagnostic aids in healthcare.
Aim of the study: Our objective was to find an algorithm using ML techniques to assist clinical decision-making in the emergency setting.
Material and methods: We assessed the following features seeking to investigate their performance in predicting hospital admission: serum levels of Urea, Creatinine, Lactate Dehydrogenase, Creatine Kinase, C-Reactive Protein, Complete Blood Count with differential, Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time, DDimer, International Normalized Ratio, age, gender, triage disposition to ED unit and ambulance utilization. A total of 3,204 ED visits were analyzed.
Results: The proposed algorithms generated models which demonstrated acceptable performance in predicting hospital admission of ED patients. The range of F-measure and ROC Area values of all eight evaluated algorithms were [0.679-0.708] and [0.734-0.774], respectively. The main advantages of this tool include easy access, availability, yes/no result, and low cost. The clinical implications of our approach might facilitate a shift from traditional clinical decision-making to a more sophisticated model.
Conclusions: Developing robust prognostic models with the utilization of common biomarkers is a project that might shape the future of emergency medicine. Our findings warrant confirmation with implementation in pragmatic ED trials.

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Reverse Takotsubo cardiomyopathy after orthotopic liver transplantation. A case report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0002

Introdution: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is a rare reversible type of heart failure, often precipitated by emotional stress; other risk factors include intracranial bleeding, ischemic stroke, sepsis, major surgery, pheochromocytoma. The clinical, electrical and blood sample analysis features resemble those of a myocardial infarction- however, they occur in the absence of angiographic coronary filling defects.
Case presentation: A 61-year-old male patient, 71 kg, 175 cm, underwent liver transplantation for Child-Pugh B cirrhosis secondary to mixed viral hepatitis (B and D). His medical records revealed mild mitral, aortic, and tricuspid insufficiencies and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. An initially uneventful perioperative stage was succeeded by cardiogenic shock (cardiac index – 1.2 l/min/sqm), which the patient developed 24 hours after the intervention. Elevated cardiac markers and ECG abnormalities showing ST-T changes in the V2-V5 leads were additionally noted. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) revealed an acute onset reduction in the left ventricular systolic function secondary to basal hypokinesia. No coronary obstruction was detected by percutaneous angiography. The above findings lead to the diagnosis of reverseTakotsubo cardiomyopathy. Further, the patient developed acute kidney injury and liver graft failure, succumbing within 48 hours after the surgical procedure.
Conclusions: We report a rare case of reverse Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in a male patient after orthotopic liver transplant.

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