Category Archives: Volume 7

Should We Go “Regional” in Intensive Care?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0042

Pain is one of the major concerns in Intensive Care Units (ICU). The majority of the patients admitted in ICU experience a certain degree of pain during their stay. Opioid analgesia constitutes the main analgesic option for ICU patients [1].
Opioids are known to have serious side effects, some of them such as ileus, respiratory depression, which leads to prolonged mechanical ventilation, can interfere with the patient’s outcome can lengthen the stay in ICU and leads to iatrogenic withdrawal syndrome (IWS) [1, 2]. In the last few years, a new concept of pain management in ICU patients was introduced: opioid free analgesia (OFA). This concept implies achieving good quality analgesia without using any type of opioids, in any manner [3]. [More]

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Pheochromocytoma, Fulminant Heart Failure, and a Phenylephrine Challenge. The Perioperative Management of Adrenalectomy in a Jehovah’s Witness Patient: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0038

Perioperative management of pheochromocytoma in the setting of catecholamine-induced heart failure requires careful consideration of hemodynamic optimization and possible mechanical circulatory support. A Jehovah’s Witness patient with catecholamine-induced acutely decompensated heart failure required dependable afterload reduction for a cardio-protective strategy. This was emphasized due to the relative contraindication to perioperative anticoagulation required for mechanical circulatory support. A phenylephrine challenge clearly demonstrated adequate alpha blockade after only 24 hours of phenoxybenzamine treatment. This resulted in advancement of the surgery date. This case also highlights management of beta blockade, volume and salt loading, autologous blood transfusion, and profound post-operative vasoplegia in the setting of cardiogenic shock. Careful attention to hemodynamic optimization and cardio-protective strategies ultimately resulted in positive outcome for this challenging clinical scenario.

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Plasmapheresis in the Treatment of Refractory Myoclonic Status. A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0041

A case of myoclonic status treated with plasmapheresis in a patient of 63 years of age who was admitted to a Spanish intensive care unit is reported. The patient showed clinical and radiological evidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection; molecular tests did not verify this.

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Comparison of the National Early Warning Scores and Rapid Emergency Medicine Scores with the APACHE II Scores as a Prediction of Mortality in Patients with Medical Emergency Team Activation: A Single-centre Retrospective Cohort Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0040

Introduction: The medical emergency team enables the limitation of patients’ progression to critical illness in the general ward. The early warning scoring system (EWS) is one of the criteria for medical emergency team activation; however, it is not a valid criterion to predict the prognosis of patients with MET activation.
Aim: In this study, the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) and Rapid Emergency Medicine Score (REMS) was compared with that of the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score in predicting the prognosis of patients who had been treated a medical emergency team.
Material and Methods: In this single-centre retrospective cohort study, patients treated by a medical emergency team between April 2013 and March 2019 and the 28-day prognosis of MET-activated patients were assessed using APACHE II, NEWS, and REMS.
Results: Of the 196 patients enrolled, 152 (77.5%) were men, and 44 (22.5%) were women. Their median age was 68 years (interquartile range: 57-76 years). The most common cause of medical emergency team activation was respiratory failure (43.4%). Univariate analysis showed that APACHE II score, NEWS, and REMS were associated with 28-day prognostic mortality. There was no significant difference in the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of APACHE II (0.76), NEWS (0.67), and REMS (0.70); however, the sensitivity of NEWS (0.70) was superior to that of REMS (0.47).
Conclusion: NEWS is a more sensitive screening tool like APACHE II than REMS for predicting the prognosis of patients with medical emergency team activation. However, because the accuracy of NEWS was not sufficient compared with that of APACHE II score, it is necessary to develop a screening tool with higher sensitivity and accuracy that can be easily calculated at the bedside in the general ward.

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Methanol Poisoning Leading to Brain Death: A Case Report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0039

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has put increased stress on medical systems, infrastructure, and the public in expected and unexpected ways. This case report summarises an unexpected case of methanol poisoning from hand sanitiser ingestion due to changes in industry regulations, increased demand for cleaning products and severe psychosocial stressors brought on by the pandemic. Severe methanol toxicity results in profound metabolic disturbances, damage to the retina and optic nerves, and potentially death.
Case Presentation: The patient was a 26-year-old male with alcohol use disorder who presented with one day of nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain after consuming hand sanitiser. Within a few hours, the patient had suffered multiple seizures, cardiac arrests and required admission to the ICU for emergent management of methanol poisoning. EEG and brain perfusion imaging were performed to confirm brain death, given concerns about the cranial nerve exam after methanol poisoning.
Conclusions: While rare, methanol toxicity remains a potentially fatal poisoning in the United States and worldwide. When healthcare and public resources are strained, healthcare professionals must consider particularly abnormal presentations. In patients suspected of brain death from methanol toxicity, cranial nerve examination may be unreliable. Therefore, additional testing is necessary to confirm brain death.

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The Use of Inhaled Epoprostenol for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Secondary due to COVID-19: A Case Series

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0036

Introduction: Inhaled epoprostenol (iEpo) is a pulmonary vasodilator used to treat refractory respiratory failure, including that caused by Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia.
Aim of Study: To describe the experience at three teaching hospitals using iEpo for severe respiratory failure due to COVID-19 and evaluate its efficacy in improving oxygenation.
Methods: Fifteen patients were included who received iEpo, had confirmed COVID-19 and had an arterial blood gas measurement in the 12 hours before and 24 hours after iEpo initiation.
Results: Eleven patients received prone ventilation before iEpo (73.3%), and six (40%) were paralyzed. The partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen (P/F ratio) improved from 95.7 mmHg to 118.9 mmHg (p=0.279) following iEpo initiation. In the nine patients with severe ARDS, the mean P/F ratio improved from 66.1 mmHg to 95.7 mmHg (p=0.317). Ultimately, four patients (26.7%) were extubated after an average of 9.9 days post-initiation.
Conclusions: The findings demonstrated a trend towards improvement in oxygenation in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Although limited by the small sample size, the results of this case series portend further investigation into the role of iEpo for severe respiratory failure associated with COVID-19.

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A Case of Self-salvation in a Determined Chloroquine Suicide Attempt

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0036

This report concerns a young man who attempted suicide by ingesting a cocktail with a lethal dose of chloroquine phosphate and large amounts of diazepam. On presentation, the patient was drowsy, unresponsive and in cardiogenic shock with severely impaired left ventricular function. Active charcoal and vasopressors were administered, and despite his intoxication with diazepam, a high-dose diazepam treatment was initiated in the hospital. It is concluded that diazepam in the cocktail played a vital role in the survival of this patient. With a rise in numbers, every emergency and intensive care physician should be familiar with chloroquine poisoning.

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The Predictive Potential of Elevated Serum Inflammatory Markers in Determining the Need for Intubation in CoVID-19 Patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0035

Introduction: The predictive potential of demographics, clinical characteristics, and inflammatory markers at admission to determine future intubation needs of hospitalised CoVID-19 patients is unknown. The study aimed to determine the predictive potential of elevated serum inflammatory markers in determining the need for intubation in CoVID-19 Patients.
Methods: In a retrospective cohort study of hospitalised SARS-CoV2 positive patients, single and multivariable regression analyses were used to determine covariate effects on intubation odds, and a minimax concave penalty regularised logistic regression was used to build a predictive model. A second prospective independent cohort tested the model.
Results: Systemic inflammatory markers obtained at admission were higher in patients that required subsequent intubation, and adjusted odds of intubation increased for every standard deviation above the mean for c-reactive protein (CRP) OR:2.8 (95% CI 1.8-4.5, p<0.001) and lactate dehydrogenase OR:2.1 (95% CI 1.3-3.3, p=0.002). A predictive model incorporating C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and diabetes status at the time of admission predicted intubation status with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.78 with corresponding sensitivity of 86%, specificity of 63%. This predictive model achieved an AUC of 0.83, 91% sensitivity, and 41% specificity on the validation cohort.
Conclusion: In patients hospitalised with CoVID-19, elevated serum inflammatory markers measured within the first twenty-four hours of admission are associated with an increased need for intubation. Additionally, a model of C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, and the presence of diabetes may play a predictive role in determining the future need for intubation.

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Survey of U.S. Critical Care Practitioners on Net Ultrafiltration Prescription and Practice Among Critically Ill Patients Receiving Kidney Replacement Therapy

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2021-0034

Introduction: The current prescription and practice of net ultrafiltration among critically ill patients receiving kidney replacement therapy in the U.S. are unclear.
Aim of the study: To assess the attitudes of U.S. critical care practitioners on net ultrafiltration (UFNET) prescription and practice among critically ill patients with acute kidney injury treated with kidney replacement therapy.
Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted of a multinational survey of intensivists, nephrologists, advanced practice providers, and ICU and dialysis nurses practising in the U.S.
Results: Of 1,569 respondents, 465 (29.6%) practitioners were from the U.S. Mainly were nurses and advanced practice providers (58%) and intensivists (38.2%). The median duration of practice was 8.7 (IQR, 4.2-19.4) years. Practitioners reported using continuous kidney replacement therapy (as the first modality in 60% (IQR 20%-90%) for UFNET. It was found that there was a significant variation in assessment of prescribed-to-delivered dose of UFNET, use of continuous kidney replacement therapy for UFNET, methods used to achieve UFNET, and assessment of net fluid balance during continuous kidney replacement therapy. There was also variation in interventions performed for managing hemodynamic instability, perceived barriers to UFNET, belief that early and protocol-based fluid removal is beneficial, and willingness to enroll patients in a clinical trial.
Conclusions: There was considerable practice variation in UFNET among critical care practitioners in the U.S., reflecting the need to generate evidence-based practice guidelines for UFNET.

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