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Critical Care Research and Practice publishes articles related to anesthesiology, perioperative and critical care medicine, and the integration of intraoperative management in preparation for postoperative critical care management.
Chief Editor, Dr Thomas J. Esposito, works in the Division of Trauma Surgical Critical Care and Burns at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, USA.
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Using Residual Blood from the Arterial Blood Gas Test to Perform Therapeutic Drug Monitoring of Vancomycin: An Example of Good Clinical Practice Moving towards a Sustainable Intensive Care Unit
Background. Regarding sustainability in the intensive care unit (ICU), there is increasing interest in reducing material waste and avoiding unnecessary procedures. Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) of vancomycin, using a dedicated tube, is standard clinical care during treatment with vancomycin. Furthermore, in the ICU, on a daily basis, arterial blood gas (ABG) tests are frequently performed throughout the day. After analysis, a variable volume of blood is discarded. Lithium heparin (LiHep) syringes for ABG tests differ from normally used dipotassium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (K2EDTA) tubes. The primary objective was to compare both containers and validate the use of LiHep syringes. Secondary objectives were to evaluate the potential impact on saving materials, nursing time, and costs when implementing vancomycin TDM via LiHep syringes. Methods. Vancomycin analysis from sampling in lithium heparin (LiHep) syringes for ABG tests was validated and compared with the concentrations from conventional sampling in K2EDTA tubes. For method comparison, a Bland–Altman plot and Deming regression analysis were performed. The method was validated for inter- and intra-day precision and accuracy. Vancomycin was analyzed by means of the validated method using a particle-enhanced turbidimetric inhibition immunoassay (PETINIA) autoanalyzer. Furthermore, an analysis was conducted to evaluate the potential impact of implementing vancomycin sampling via ABG tests on savings in materials, nursing time, and costs. Results. From 18 patients, 24 plasma samples in both K2EDTA tubes and LiHep syringes were obtained and compared. The mean relative difference between the two containers was −2.0% (−3.0 to −0.93%). Both the Deming regression analysis and the Bland–Altman plot met the acceptance criteria. Potentially, over 1000 blood draws and accompanying materials and packaging can be saved when vancomycin samples are obtained by means of scavenged LiHep syringes. The vancomycin analysis for LiHep syringes showed a total interday precision of 1.95% and an accuracy of 99.7%. The total intraday precision was 2.22%, and the accuracy was 99.2%. Accuracy and precision values were within the acceptance criteria of recovery 85 to 115% and ≤15%, respectively. Conclusion. No significant differences were found in vancomycin concentration between the two analyses, and the LiHep analysis was validated for further implementation in clinical care. Residual blood from ABG test samples can be used for TDM of vancomycin, resulting in a potential reduction of materials used and the number of blood draws. These results will contribute to a more sustainable TDM process with benefits for the patient.
Non-Neurological Complications after Mechanical Thrombectomy for Acute Ischemic Stroke: A Retrospective Single-Center Study
Introduction. The global burden of stroke is high and mechanical thrombectomy is the cornerstone of the treatment. Incidences of acute non-neurological-complications are poorly described. Improve knowledge about these complications may allow to better prevent, detect and/or manage them. The aim is to identify risk markers of death or poor evolution. Method. We conducted a retrospective single-center study to analyzed the incidence of non-neurologicalcomplications after mechanical thrombectomy in acute ischemic stroke. Patients who had experienced a stroke and undergone thrombectomy were identified using a registry in which we prospectively collected data from each patient admitted to our hospital with a diagnosis of stroke. Quantitative and qualitative variables were analyses. The association between studied variables and hospital death was assessed using simple logistic regression models. Result. 361 patients were reviewed but 16 were excluded due to a lack of medical information. Between 2012 and 2019, 345 patients were included. The median admission NIHSS score was 15. Seven percent of the patients died in the ICU. The following independent risk markers of death in the ICU were identified by logistic regression: respiratory complication, hypotension, infectious complication, and hyperglycemia. Conclusion. In this large retrospective study of stroke, respiratory complications and pulmonary infections represented the most important non-neurological adverse events encountered in the ICU and associated with a risk of death.
The Identical External Reference Point Standardized to the Zero-Reference Level for Measuring Both Central and Jugular Venous Pressures: An Observational Study
Background. Studies report discrepancies between CVP and JVP measurements. The mid-thoracic plane (MTP) at the anterior fourth intercostal space level indicates the zero-reference level (ZRL) for venous pressure measurement, and the midaxillary line (MAL) at fourth intercostal space is a point near the ZRL in the supine position. JVP is usually measured from the sternal angle (SA) with further addition of 5 cm (JVP-SA + 5) and CVP in the supine position from MAL (CVP-MAL). However, no report has compared CVP measured from MTP (CVP-MTP) with CVP-MAL and with JVP from MTP (JVP-MTP) and JVP-SA + 5. Methods. We measured JVP-MTP and JVP-SA + 5 in appropriate reclining positions and subsequently CVP-MTP and CVP-MAL in the supine position blindly in 150 patients. We compared the pressures by Pearson correlation and Bland–Altman plots. Results. CVP-MTP and CVP-MAL demonstrated similar means (), strong positive linear relationship (r = 0.908), and good agreement (near-zero mean difference) with each other. JVP-MTP was about 1 cm higher than JVP-SA + 5 (). JVP-MTP displayed higher correlation coefficients and better agreements with both CVPs than JVP-SA+5. Correlation coefficients and mean differences of both CVPs with JVP-MTP were almost equal, about 0.83 and 1 cm, and with JVP-SA + 5 also almost equal, about 0.72 and 2 cm, respectively. Conclusions. JVP tallies better with CVP examined in the supine position when both are measured from MTP as the identical external reference point (ERP), and MAL can be used as MTP to measure CVP in the supine position. Our findings indicate the way to explore the matching of CVP and JVP to the full extent possible by standardizing their measurements from other identical ERPs to that from the zero-reference level MTP. Their further study in similar higher reclining positions from identical ERPs, such as MTP, MAL, and SA with the addition of higher numbers instead of 5 cm, is warranted standardizing other measurements to that from MTP.
Predictors of ICU Mortality among Mechanically Ventilated Patients: An Inception Cohort Study from a Tertiary Care Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Background. Mechanical ventilation is a life-saving intervention for patients with critical illnesses, yet it is associated with higher mortality in resource-constrained settings. This study intended to determine factors associated with the mortality of mechanically ventilated adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Methods. A one-year retrospective inception cohort study was conducted using manual chart review in ICU patients (age >13) admitted to Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) from September 2019 to September 2020; mechanically ventilated patients were followed to hospital discharge. Demographic, clinical, and outcome data were collected; logistic regression was used to determine mortality predictors in the ICU. Result. A total of 160 patients were included; 85/160 (53.1%) were females and the mean (SD) age was 38.9 (16.2) years. The commonest indication for ICU admission was a respiratory problem (n = 97/160, 60.7%). ICU and hospital mortality were 60.7% (n = 97/160) and 63.1% (n = 101/160), respectively. Coma (Glasgow Coma Score <8 or 7 with an endotracheal tube (7T)) (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 6.3, 95% confidence interval 1.19–33.00), cardiovascular diagnosis (AOR 5.05 [1.80–14.15]), and a very low serum albumin level (<2 g/dl) (AOR 4.9 [1.73–13.93]) were independent predictors of mortality (). The most commonly observed complication was ICU acquired infection (n = 48, 30%). Conclusions. ICU mortality in ventilated patients is high. Coma, a very low serum albumin level (<2 g/dl), and cardiovascular diagnosis were independent predictors of mortality. A multifaceted approach focused on developing and implementing context appropriate guidelines and improving skilled healthcare worker availability may prove effective in reducing mortality.
Ketamine Infusion for Sedation and Analgesia during Mechanical Ventilation in the ICU: A Multicenter Evaluation
Rationale. Ketamine can provide dissociative sedation and analgesia for mechanically ventilated ICU patients, yet it has been utilized less than other drugs for this purpose. Methods. We reviewed the electronic medical record of critically ill adults who received a continuous infusion of ketamine for ≥24 hours during invasive mechanical ventilation in three hospitals over a two-year period. We captured data including ketamine indication, dose, unintended effects, and adjustments to coadministered sedatives or opioids. We analyzed these data to determine the incidence of reported unintended effects of ketamine infusion (primary outcome) and changes in exposure to coadministered sedatives or opioids during ketamine use (secondary outcome). Results. 95 mechanically ventilated adults received a ketamine infusion for a median duration of 75 hours (interquartile range [IQR] 44–115) at a mean ± standard deviation (SD) infusion rate of 1.3 ± 0.5 mg/kg/hour for the first 24 hours. At least one unintended effect attributed to ketamine was documented in 24% of cases, most frequently tachycardia (6%) and sialorrhea (6%). Other sedative or opioid infusions were administered with ketamine in 76% and 92% of cases, respectively. Comparing the total amount of sedative or opioid administered in the 24 hours prior to ketamine infusion with the total amount administered during the first 24 hours on ketamine, there were no significant differences in propofol, midazolam, or dexmedetomidine exposure, but the average fentanyl exposure was higher after ketamine (2740 ± 1812 mcg) than before (1975 ± 1860 mcg) (absolute difference 766 mcg, 95% confidence interval [CI] 442 to 1089 mcg). Conclusions. In this multicenter cohort of critically ill, mechanically ventilated adults, ketamine infusion was primarily used as an adjunct to conventional sedative and opioid infusions, with noticeable but unintended effects potentially related to ketamine in nearly one-quarter of cases.
Examination of Impact of After-Hours Admissions on Hospital Resource Use, Patient Outcomes, and Costs
Background. Nighttime and weekends in hospital and intensive care unit (ICU) contexts are thought to present a greater risk for adverse events than daytime admissions. Although some studies exist comparing admission time with patient outcomes, the results are contradictory. No studies currently exist comparing costs with the time of admission. We investigated the differences in-hospital mortality, ICU length of stay, ICU mortality, and cost between daytime and nighttime admissions. Methods. All adult patients (≥18 years of age) admitted to a large academic medical-surgical ICU between 2011 and 2015 were included. Admission cohorts were defined as daytime (8:00–16:59) or nighttime (17:00–07:59). Student’s t-tests and chi-squared tests were used to test for associations between days spent in the ICU, days on mechanical ventilation, comorbidities, diagnoses, and cohort membership. Regression analysis was used to test for associations between patient and hospitalization characteristics and in-hospital mortality and total ICU costs. Results. The majority of admissions occurred during nighttime hours (69.5%) with no difference in the overall Elixhauser comorbidity score between groups (). Overall ICU length of stay was 7.96 days for daytime admissions compared to 7.07 days () for patients admitted during nighttime hours. Overall mortality was significantly higher in daytime admissions (22.5% vs 20.6, ); however, ICU mortality was not different. The average MODS was 2.9 with those admitted during the daytime having a significantly higher MODS (3.0, ). Total ICU cost was significantly higher for daytime admissions (). Adjusted ICU mortality was similar in both groups despite an increased rate of adverse events for nighttime admissions. Daytime admissions were associated with increased cost. There was no difference in all hospital total cost or all hospital direct cost between groups. These findings are likely due to the higher severity of illness in daytime admissions. Conclusion. Daytime admissions were associated with a higher severity of illness, mortality rate, and ICU cost. To further account for the effect of staffing differences during off-hours, it may be beneficial to compare weekday and weeknight admission times with associated mortality rates.