Category Archives: Volume 8

Occupational Stress and Quality of Life among Health Professionals during the COVID-19 Pandemic

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0012

Introduction: Healthcare professionals, due to the nature of their work, have always experienced occupational stress, depression and low quality of life, which have been aggravated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aim: A large-scale cross-sectional descriptive correlational study aimed to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Greek healthcare professionals’ psychological status and quality of life.
Material and Methods: The study was conducted at “Attikon” General University Hospital and the 2nd Health Region in Athens, Greece. An assessment of anxiety and depression was carried out using the Zung’s Self-Rating Anxiety and Depression Scale (SAS/SDS). To assess the participants’ Quality of Life (QoL) the Short Form Survey-36 (SF-36) was used.
Results: 147 healthcare professionals were enrolled in the study. 70.7% experienced normal stress levels, 23.8% mild, 4.8% moderate and 0.7% severe. Mild depression was experienced by 34.7%, moderate by 10.2% and severe by 1.4%, with a 53.7% showing no depressive symptoms. Women experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression (p=0.001 & 0.001 respectively), and were 5.4 times more at risk to develop anxiety [Odds Ratio (OR) 5.357, 95% Confidence Interval (CI), 1.95-14.72: p=0.001] and 3.4 depression (OR, 3.365, 95% CI, 1.59- 7.12: p=0.002). Nurses and other professionals experienced higher stress and depression levels (p=0.004 & 0.040 respectively) than doctors. Participants reporting more exhaustion exhibited higher anxiety and depression levels (p=0.001). Compared to the pre-COVID-19 era, women (p=0.001), other health professionals (p=0.001) and those experiencing more physical burnout during COVID-19 (p=0.005) reported worse physical health. Anxiety and depression were negatively correlated with most sub scales of SF-36 except social functioning and bodily pain (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Healthcare professionals’ QoL has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and they experience higher levels of anxiety and depression. There is a need to develop strategies to address the negative psychological impact of this pandemic on healthcare professionals.

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Effective Outcome of HBOT as an Adjuvant Therapy in Patients Diagnosed with COVID-19 in a Tertiary Care Hospital – A Preliminary Study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2022-0008

Introduction: Hyperbaricoxygen therapy (HBOT) is breathing100% oxygen in pressurised chamber. This therapy ensures quick oxygen delivery to the bloodstream. In patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia, progressive hypoxemia occurs. Oxygen therapy hasa significant role in its management.
Aim of the study: The objective was to study the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) as adjuvant therapy for reducing the requirement of additional oxygen supplementationin patients with moderate to severe ARDS diagnosed with COVID-19.
Methods: A single-centre prospective pilot cohort study was conducted ata tertiary care hospital from December 2020 to February 2021 over two months. Fifty patients with COVID-19 needingoxygen, satisfying the selection criteria, were included. Hyperbaricoxygen therapy wasgiven to all patients. The patient received30-45 minutes of hyperbaric oxygen with 15 minutes of pressurizing and depressurizing at 2.0 atmosphere absolute (ATA) with or without airbrakesas per the critical care team. Oxygen requirement, PaO2, andcondition at discharge were considered as primary outcome variables.
Results: Among the 50 participants studied, the mean age was 53.64±13.26 years. Out of 50 participants, 49(98.00%) had PaO2≤80 mmHg, and one (2.00%) had >80 PaO2. All the participants 50(100%) had PaO2 as 90 mmHg after three sittings.
Conclusion: This studyshows promising results in using HBOT to overcome respiratory failure in COVID-19. HBOT reduced the need for oxygen by improving the oxygen saturation levels.

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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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