Category Archives: Volume 9

The Gender Gap in Aortic Dissection:
A Prospective Analysis of Risk and Outcomes

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0024

Aortic dissection (AD) is a severe cardiovascular condition that could have negative consequences. Our study employed a prospective design and examined preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative data to evaluate the effects of gender on various medical conditions. We looked at how gender affected the results of aortic dissection (AD). In contrast to female patients who had more systemic hypertension (p=0.031), male patients had higher rates of hemopericardium (p=0.003), pulmonary hypertension (p=0.039), and hemopericardium (p=0.003). Dobutamine administration during surgery significantly raised the mortality risk (p=0.015). There were noticeably more women patients (p=0.01) in the 71 to 80 age group. Significant differences in age (p=0.004), eGFR at admission (p=0.009), and eGFR at discharge (p=0.006) were seen, however, there was no association between gender and mortality. In conclusion, our findings highlight that gender may no longer be such an important aspect of aortic dissection disease as we previously thought, and this information could have an important contribution for surgeons as well as for anesthesiologists involved in the management of acute aortic dissection.

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Risk Factors for Weaning Failure in COVID-19 Patients

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0021

Background: Data on risk factors associated with mechanical ventilation (MV) weaning failure among SARS-CoV2 ARDS patients is limited. We aimed to determine clinical characteristics associated with weaning outcome in SARS-CoV2 ARDS patients under MV.
Objectives: To determine potential risk factors for weaning outcome in patients with SARS-CoV2 ARDS.
Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted in the ICUs of four Greek hospitals via review of the electronic medical record for the period 2020-2021. All consecutive adult patients were screened and were included if they fulfilled the following criteria: a) age equal or above 18 years, b) need for MV for more than 48 hours and c) diagnosis of ARDS due to SARS-CoV2 pneumonia or primary or secondary ARDS of other aetiologies. Patient demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded for the first 28 days following ICU admission. The primary outcome was weaning success defined as spontaneous ventilation for more than 48 hours.
Results: A hundred and fifty eight patients were included; 96 SARS-CoV2 ARDS patients. SOFA score, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and shock were independently associated with the weaning outcome OR(95% CI), 0.86 (0.73-0.99), 0.27 (0.08-0.89) and 0.30 (0.14-0.61), respectively]. When we analysed data from SARS-CoV2 ARDS patients separately, COPD [0.18 (0.03-0.96)] and shock [0.33(0.12 – 0.86)] were independently associated with the weaning outcome.
Conclusions: The presence of COPD and shock are potential risk factors for adverse weaning outcome in SARS-CoV2 ARDS patients.

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Fluid Therapy from Friend to Foe

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0019

The general management of shock, or any syndrome characterized by inadequate tissue perfusion involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause while also reversing the disorder produced in any of the 4 components of the cardiovascular system (blood and fluid compartment, vascular system, heart and circulatory system) [1] through combined therapeutic methods that are based on rapid volume resuscitation, usually pursuing target goals. Although the “salvage, optimization, stabilization, de-escalation” mnemonic has been utilized as a broad framework for volume resuscitation since 2016 [2], the approach to fluid therapy in critically ill patients remains inconsistent with current clinical practice, contingent upon the practices adopted by individual healthcare institutions. [More]

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Kidney injury in critically ill patients with COVID-19 – From pathophysiological mechanisms to a personalized therapeutic model

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0023

Acute kidney injury is a common complication of COVID-19, frequently fuelled by a complex interplay of factors. These include tubular injury and three primary drivers of cardiocirculatory instability: heart-lung interaction abnormalities, myocardial damage, and disturbances in fluid balance. Further complicating this dynamic, renal vulnerability to a “second-hit” injury, like a SARS-CoV-2 infection, is heightened by advanced age, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes mellitus. Moreover, the influence of chronic treatment protocols, which may constrain the compensatory intrarenal hemodynamic mechanisms, warrants equal consideration. COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury not only escalates mortality rates but also significantly affects long-term kidney function recovery, particularly in severe instances. Thus, the imperative lies in developing and applying therapeutic strategies capable of warding off acute kidney injury and decelerating the transition into chronic kidney disease after an acute event. This narrative review aims to proffer a flexible diagnostic and therapeutic strategy that recognizes the multifaceted nature of COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury in critically ill patients and underlines the crucial role of a tailored, overarching hemodynamic and respiratory framework in managing this complex clinical condition.

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Fluids and early vasopressors in the management of septic shock: Do we have the right answers yet?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0022

Septic shock is a common condition associated with hypotension and organ dysfunction. It is associated with high mortality rates of up to 60% despite the best recommended resuscitation strategies in international guidelines. Patients with septic shock generally have a Mean Arterial Pressure below 65 mmHg and hypotension is the most important determinant of mortality among this group of patients. The extent and duration of hypotension are important. The two initial options that we have are 1) administration of intravenous (IV) fluids and 2) vasopressors, The current recommendation of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines to administer 30 ml/kg fluid cannot be applied to all patients. Complications of fluid over-resuscitation further delay organ recovery, prolong ICU and hospital length of stay, and increase mortality. The only reason for administering intravenous fluids in a patient with circulatory shock is to increase the mean systemic filling pressure in a patient who is volume-responsive, such that cardiac output also increases. The use of vasopressors seems to be a more appropriate strategy, the very early administration of vasopressors, preferably during the first hour after diagnosis of septic shock, may have a multimodal action and potential advantages, leading to lower morbidity and mortality in the management of septic patients. Vasopressor therapy should be initiated as soon as possible in patients with septic shock.

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Ease of intubation with McGrath videolaryngoscope and incidence of adverse events during tracheal intubation in COVID-19 patients: A prospective observational study

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0020

Background: Tracheal intubation in critically ill patients remains high-risk despite advances in equipment, technique, and clinical guidelines. Many patients with COVID-19 were in respiratory distress and required intubation that is considered an aerosol-generating procedure (AGP). The transition to videolaryngoscopy as a routine first line option throughout anesthetic and ICU practice has been reported. We evaluated the ease of intubation, success rate, use of accessory maneuvers and adverse outcomes during and 24 hours after intubation with the McGrath videolaryngoscope.
Methods: This was a prospective, observational single center study conducted at non-operating room locations that included all adults (>18 years old) with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection and were intubated by McGrath videolaryngoscope. The anesthesiologist performed tracheal intubation were requested to fill online data collection form. A co-investigator was responsible to coordinate daily with assigned consultants for COVID intubation and follow up of patients at 24 hours after intubation.
Results: A total of 105 patients were included in our study. Patients were predominantly male (n=78; 74.3%), their COVID status was either confirmed (n=97, 92.4%) or suspected (n=8, 7.6%). Most were intubated in the COVID ward (n=59, 56.2%) or COVID ICU (n=23, 21.9%). The overall success rate of intubation with McGrath in the first attempt was 82.9%. The glottic view was either full (n=85, 80.95%), partial (n=16, 15.24%) or none (n=4, 3.81%). During intubation, hypoxemia occurred in 18.1% and hypotension in 16.2% patients. Within 24 hours of intubation, pneumothorax occurred in 1.9%, cardiac arrest and return of spontaneous circulation in 6.7% and mortality in 13.3% of patients.
Conclusion: These results illustrate the ease and utility of the McGrath videolaryngoscope for tracheal intubation in COVID-19 patients. Its disposable blade is of significant value in protectin during tracheal intubation.

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COVID-19: A Possible Cause of Spontaneous Pneumoperitoneum

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0018

Introduction: Pneumoperitoneum is the presence of air within the peritoneal cavity and is mostly caused by organ rupture. Spontaneous pneumoperitoneum accounts 5% to 15% of the cases and occurs in the absence of organ damage. The pulmonary origin of pneumoperitoneum is unusual, and probably associated with mechanical ventilation and alveolar leak. In patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) there are some reports of air leak, like pneumothorax, pneumomediastinum, pneumoperitoneum, and subcutaneous emphysema.
Case presentation: We present the case of a 70-year-old man with COVID-19 pneumonia admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Since admission he was on Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV), without improvement, needing Invasive Mechanical Ventilation (IMV) due to severe respiratory failure. Five days after IMV despite protective lung ventilation, massive spontaneous subcutaneous emphysema, pneumomediastinum and pneumoperitoneum were diagnosed. Besides initial conservative management 12 hours later, the patient developed abdominal compartment syndrome requiring percutaneous needle decompression.
Conclusions: Pneumoperitoneum can be considered a rare complication of COVID-19 pneumonia and its management, resulting not only from the viral pulmonary but also from secondary causes. Conservative management should be usually enough. However, in the presence of abdominal compartment syndrome prompt recognition and treatment are crucial and eventually lifesaving.

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Post-Operative Delirium Masking Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0016

Introduction: Acute angle closure glaucoma (AACG) is an ophthalmological emergency, and can lead to the devastating consequence of permanent vision loss if not detected and treated promptly. We present a case of an atypical presentation of unilateral AACG on post operative day (POD) 1, after a prolonged operation under general anaesthesia (GA).
Case presentation: A 65-year-old female underwent a 16 hour long operation for breast cancer and developed an altered mental status with a left fixed dilated pupil on POD 1. She was intubated to secure her airway in view of a depressed consciousness level and admitted to the intensive care unit. Initial blood investigations and brain imaging were unremarkable. On subsequent review by the ophthalmologist, a raised intraocular pressure was noted and she was diagnosed with acute angle closure glaucoma. She was promptly started on intravenous acetazolamide and pressure-lowering ophthalmic drops. Her intraocular pressure normalized in the next 24 hours with improvement in her mental status to baseline.
Conclusion: AACG needs to be consistently thought of as one of the top differentials in any post-operative patient with eye discomfort or abnormal ocular signs on examination. A referral to the ophthalmologist should be made promptly once AACG is suspected.

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Awake Prone Decubitus Positioning in COVID-19 Patients: A Systematic Review and MetaAnalysis

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0014

To date, recommendations for the implementation of awake prone positioning in patients with hypoxia secondary to SARSCoV2 infection have been extrapolated from prior studies on respiratory distress. Thus, we carried out a systematic review and metaanalysis to evaluate the benefits of pronation on the oxygenation, need for endotracheal intubation (ETI), and mortality of this group of patients. We carried out a systematic search in the PubMed and Embase databases between June 2020 and November 2021. A randomeffects metaanalysis was performed to evaluate the impact of pronation on the ETI and mortality rates. A total of 213 articles were identified, 15 of which were finally included in this review. A significant decrease in the mortality rate was observed in the group of pronated patients (relative risk [RR] = 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.480.99; p = 0.044), but no significant effect was observed on the need for ETI (RR = 0.79; 95% CI: 0.631.00; p = 0.051). However, a subgroup analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) did reveal a significant decrease in the need for this intervention (RR = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.710.97). Prone positioning was found to significantly reduce mortality, also diminishing the need for ETI, although this effect was statistically significant only in the subgroup analysis of RCTs. Patients’ response to awake prone positioning could be greater when this procedure is implemented early and in combination with noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIMV) or highflow nasal cannula (HFNC) therapy.

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Artificial Intelligence: The Next Blockbuster Drug in Critical Care?

DOI: 10.2478/jccm-2023-0017

The realm of critical care medicine is always waiting for the game-changing innovation – that elusive breakthrough poised to dramatically transform practice and yield remarkable results. Various contenders have come and gone: surfactant therapy, synthetic colloids, drotrecogin alfa [1-3]. While some have been consigned to the annals of history, a select few, such as low-tidal-volume ventilation, have endured [4]. Others re-emerge time and again, hoping that they’ll have an evidence-based role somewhere. The level of excitement is not always correlated with the staying power of the innovation, and sometimes the hype can overshadow the reality. [More]

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