Category Archives: Volume 7

Prognostic Value of Bone Formation and Resorption Proteins in Heterotopic Ossification in Critically-Ill Patients. A Single-Centre Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0046

Introduction: A potential complication in critically ill patients is the formation of bone in soft tissues, termed heterotopic ossification. The exact pathogenetic mechanisms are still undetermined. Bone morphogenetic proteins induce bone formation, while signalling through the receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-Β (RANK) and its ligand (RANKL), regulates osteoclast formation, activation, and survival in normal bone modelling and remodelling. Osteoprotegerin protects bone from excessive bone loss by blocking RANKL from binding to RANK.
Aim: The study aimed to investigate these molecules as potential prognostic biomarkers of heterotopic ossification development in critically ill patients.
Materials and Methods: In this prospective observational study, BMP-2, RANKL, and osteoprotegerin were measured by ELISA in twenty-eight critically-ill, initially non-septic patients, on admission to an ICU, seven days post-admission, and thirty days after ICU discharge.
Results: In the critically-ill cohort, nine of the twenty-eight patients developed heterotopic ossification up to the 30-day follow-up time-point. The patients who developed heterotopic ossification exhibited significantly reduced BMP-2 and RANKL levels on ICU admission, compared to patients who did not; Osteoprotegerin readings were similar in both groups.
Conclusions: Critically-ill patients who will subsequently develop heterotopic ossification, have significantly lower BMP-2 and RANKL levels at the time of ICU admission, suggesting that these proteins may be useful as prognostic markers for this debilitating condition.

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Mortality Rate and Predictors among Patients with COVID-19 Related Acute Respiratory Failure Requiring Mechanical Ventilation: A Retrospective Single Centre Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0043

Aim: The objective of the study was to assess mortality rates in COVID-19 patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) who also requiring mechanical ventilation. The predictors of mortality in this cohort were analysed, and the clinical characteristics recorded.
Material and method: A single centre retrospective study was conducted on all COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit of the Epicura Hospital Center, Province of Hainaut, Belgium, between March 1st and April 30th 2020.
Results: Forty-nine patients were included in the study of which thirty-four were male, and fifteen were female. The mean (SD) age was 68.8 (10.6) and 69.5 (12.6) for males and females, respectively. The median time to death after the onset of symptoms was eighteen days. The median time to death, after hospital admission was nine days. By the end of the thirty days follow-up, twenty-seven patients (55%) had died, and twenty–two (45%) had survived. Non-survivors, as compared to those who survived, were similar in gender, prescribed medications, COVID-19 symptoms, with similar laboratory test results. They were significantly older (p = 0.007), with a higher co-morbidity burden (p = 0.026) and underwent significantly less tracheostomy (p < 0.001). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, no parameter significantly predicted mortality.
Conclusions: This study reported a mortality rate of 55% in critically ill COVID-19 patients with ARDS who also required mechanical ventilation. The results corroborate previous findings that older and more comorbid patients represent the population at most risk of a poor outcome in this setting.

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Personalisation of Therapies in COVID-19 Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Using Electrical Impedance Tomography

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0045

Introduction: Each patient suffering from severe coronavirus COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), requiring mechanical ventilation, shows different lung mechanics and disease evolution. Therefore, lung protective strategies should be personalised for the individual patient.
Case presentation: A 64-year-old male patient was intubated ten days after the symptoms of COVID-19 infection presented. He was placed in the prone position for sixteen hours, resulting in a marked improvement in oxygenation. However, after being returned to the supine position, his SpO2 rapidly dropped from 98% to 91%, and electrical impedance tomography showed less ventilation at the dorsal region and a ventral shift of ventilation distribution. An incremental and decremental PEEP trial under electrical impedance tomography monitoring was carried out, confirming that the dependent lung regions were recruited with increased pressures and homogenous ventilation distribution could be provided with 14 cmH2O of PEEP. The optimal settings were reassessed next day after returning from the second session of the prone position. After four prone position-sessions in five days, oxygenation was stabilised and eventually the patient was discharged.
Conclusions: Patients with COVID-19 associated ARDS require individualised ventilation support depending on the stage of their disease. Daily PEEP trial monitored by electrical impedance tomography can provide important information to tailor the respiratory therapies.

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The Susceptibility of MDR-K. Pneumoniae to Polymyxin B Plus its Nebulised Form Versus Polymyxin B Alone in Critically Ill South Asian Patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0044

Introduction: Critically ill patients in intensive care units are at high risk of dying not only from the severity of their illness but also from secondary causes such as hospital-acquired infections. USA national medical record-data show that approximately 10% of patients on mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit developed ventilator-associated pneumonia. Polymyxin B has been used intravenously in the treatment of multi-drug resistant gram-negative infections, either as a monotherapy or with other potentially effective antibiotics, and the recent international guidelines have emphasised the use of nebulised polymyxin B together with intravenous polymyxin B to gain the optimum clinical outcome in ventilator-associated pneumonia cases caused by multi-drug resistant gram-negative infections.
Methods: One hundred and seventy-eight patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia due to multi-drug resistant K. pneumoniae were identified during the study period. Following the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 121 patients were enrolled in the study and randomly allocated to two study groups. Group 1 patients were treated with intravenous Polymyxin B plus nebulised polymyxin B (n=64) and Group 2 patients with intravenous Polymyxin B alone (n=57). The study aimed to compare the use of Polymyxin B plus its nebulised form to polymyxin B alone, in the treatment of MDR-K. pneumoniae associated ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically ill patients.
Results: In Group 1, a complete clearance of K. pneumoniae was found in fifty-nine patients (92.1%; n=64) compared to forty patients (70.1%, n=57) in the Group 2 (P<0.003). The average time till extubation was significantly higher in Group 2 compared to Group 1 (P<0.05). The total length-of-stay in the ICU was significantly higher in Group 2 compared to Group 1. (P<0.05). These results support the view that the Polymyxin B dual-route regime may be considered as an appropriate antibiotic therapy, in critically ill South Asian patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia.

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Effects of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Initiation on Oxygenation and Pulmonary Opacities

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0040

Introduction: There is limited data on the impact of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) on pulmonary physiology and imaging in adult patients. The current study sought to evaluate the serial changes in oxygenation and pulmonary opacities after ECMO initiation.
Methods: Records of patients started on veno-venous, or veno-arterial ECMO were reviewed (n=33; mean (SD): age 50(16) years; Male: Female 20:13). Clinical and laboratory variables before and after ECMO, including daily PaO2 to FiO2 ratio (PFR), were recorded. Daily chest radiographs (CXR) were prospectively appraised in a blinded fashion and scored for the extent and severity of opacities using an objective scoring system.
Results: ECMO was associated with impaired oxygenation as reflected by the drop in median PFR from 101 (interquartile range, IQR: 63-151) at the initiation of ECMO to a post-ECMO trough of 74 (IQR: 56-98) on post-ECMO day 5. However, the difference was not statistically significant. The appraisal of daily CXR revealed progressively worsening opacities, as reflected by a significant increase in the opacity score (Wilk’s Lambda statistic 7.59, p=0.001). During the post-ECMO period, a >10% increase in the opacity score was recorded in 93.9% of patients. There was a negative association between PFR and opacity scores, with an average one-unit decrease in the PFR corresponding to a +0.010 increase in the opacity score (95% confidence interval: 0.002 to 0.019, p-value=0.0162). The median opacity score on each day after ECMO initiation remained significantly higher than the pre-ECMO score. The most significant increase in the opacity score (9, IQR: -8 to 16) was noted on radiographs between pre-ECMO and forty-eight hours post-ECMO. The severity of deteriorating oxygenation or pulmonary opacities was not associated with hospital survival.
Conclusions: The use of ECMO is associated with an increase in bilateral opacities and a deterioration in oxygenation that starts early and peaks around 48 hours after ECMO initiation.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Burnout in Healthcare Professionals During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0042

Introduction: Healthcare professionals who are directly involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and general care of patients with SARS-CoV-2 are at risk of developing adverse psychological reactions. A cross-sectional study of healthcare professionals aimed to determine the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the mental health of healthcare professionals in two of the largest referral hospitals in Athens, Greece.
Methods: The study was conducted in the two largest SARS-CoV-2 referral hospitals in Athens, Greece. An assessment and the interrelationship of post-traumatic stress disorder, using the Impact of Event Scale-Revised [IES-R]) and burnout, using the Maslach Burnout Inventory [MBI]) was carried out.
Results: A total of 162 subjects were enrolled in the study. Fifty-six (35%) had an IES-R score > 33, suggesting post-traumatic stress disorder. Forty-nine (30%) had an MBI score > 27. Seventy-five (46%) had a personal accomplishment score of < 33 and 46 (28%) had a depersonalization score >10. Stepwise backward logistic regression revealed that the only independent variable that was retained regarding the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder was the emotional exhaustion score of the MBI (at a cut-off of 24 in this scale, the 95% CI of the odds ratio for the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder was 1.077-1.173).
Conclusions: In this sample of first-line Greek healthcare professionals against SARS-CoV-2, most of them were proven to be quite resilient to this challenge. One-third of them had post-traumatic stress disorder, which depended on their degree of emotional exhaustion. Healthcare professionals, as represented by this study, performed their duties without feeling helpless and developing adverse psychological reactions.

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COVID -19 complicated by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Myocarditis, and Pulmonary Embolism. A case report

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2020-0041

A 49-year-old female Qatari woman, with no past medical history, presented at a hospital complaining of a history of cough and shortness of breath. The patient tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome (ARDS) and COVID-19. Subsequently, her course of treatment was complicated by severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolism and severe myocarditis requiring treatment with venous-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation as a bridge to complete recovery.

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