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To report the results of a nationwide critical-care course for non-intensivists to increase staff capacity of intensive care units (ICU) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Argentina.
Three academic organizations, with special funding from 55 private companies, developed a short virtual course comprised of web-based videos, virtual tutorials, and a forum chat. Each state assigned scholarships to non-ICU staff from public hospitals. Students received active follow-up for the completion of the course and took a survey upon course completion.
After four months, there were 10,123 students registered from 661 hospitals in 328 cities. Of these, 67.8% passed the course, 29.1% were still ongoing and 3.1% were inactive. Most students were female (74.2%) with a median of 37 years old (IQR 31-44). The group was composed of 56.5% nurses, 36.2% physicians, and 7.4% physiotherapists, of whom 48.3% did not have any experience in critical care. Mean overall satisfaction was 4.4/5 (SD 0.9), and 90.7% considered they were able to apply the contents to their practice.
This course was effective for rapid training of non-ICU personnel. The assignment strategy, the educational techniques, and the close follow-up led to low dropout and high success rates and satisfaction.
The effects of early thiamine use on clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) are unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the associations between early thiamine administration and clinical outcomes in critically ill patients with AKI. The data of critically ill patients with AKI within 48 h after ICU admission were extracted from the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care III (MIMIC III) database. PSM was used to match patients early receiving thiamine treatment to those not early receiving thiamine treatment. The association between early thiamine use and in-hospital mortality due to AKI was determined using a logistic regression model. A total of 15 066 AKI patients were eligible for study inclusion. After propensity score matching (PSM), 734 pairs of patients who did and did not receive thiamine treatment in the early stage were established. Early thiamine use was associated with lower in-hospital mortality (OR 0·65; 95 % CI 0·49, 0·87; P < 0·001) and 90-d mortality (OR 0·58; 95 % CI 0·45, 0·74; P < 0·001), and it was also associated with the recovery of renal function (OR 1·26; 95 % CI 1·17, 1·36; P < 0·001). In the subgroup analysis, early thiamine administration was associated with lower in-hospital mortality in patients with stages 1 to 2 AKI. Early thiamine use was associated with improved short-term survival in critically ill patients with AKI. It was possible beneficial role in patients with stages 1 to 2 AKI according to the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes criteria.
Differentiation between post-operative inflammation and bacterial infection remains an important issue in infants following congenital heart surgery. We primarily assessed kinetics and predictive value of C-reactive protein for bacterial infection in the early (days 0–4) and late (days 5–28) period after cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. Secondary objectives were frequency, type, and timing of post-operative infection related to the risk adjustment for congenital heart surgery score.
This 3-year single-centre retrospective cohort study in a paediatric cardiac ICU analysed 191 infants accounting for 235 episodes of CPBP surgery. Primary outcome was kinetics of CRP in the first 28 days after CPBP surgery in infected and non-infected patients.
We observed 22 infectious episodes in the early and 34 in the late post-operative period. CRP kinetics in the early post-operative period did not accurately differentiate between infected and non-infected patients. In the late post-operative period, infected infants displayed significantly higher CRP values with a median of 7.91 (1.64–22.02) and 6.92 mg/dl (1.92–19.65) on days 2 and 3 compared to 4.02 (1.99–15.9) and 3.72 mg/dl (1.08–9.72) in the non-infection group. Combining CRP on days 2 and 3 after suspicion of infection revealed a cut-off of 9.47 mg/L with an acceptable predictive accuracy of 76%.
In neonates and infants, CRP kinetics is not useful to predict infection in the first 72 hours after CPBP surgery due to the inflammatory response. However, in the late post-operative period, CRP is a valuable adjunctive diagnostic test in conjunction with clinical presentation and microbiological diagnostics.
The objectives of this study were to develop and refine EMPOWER (Enhancing and Mobilizing the POtential for Wellness and Resilience), a brief manualized cognitive-behavioral, acceptance-based intervention for surrogate decision-makers of critically ill patients and to evaluate its preliminary feasibility, acceptability, and promise in improving surrogates’ mental health and patient outcomes.
Part 1 involved obtaining qualitative stakeholder feedback from 5 bereaved surrogates and 10 critical care and mental health clinicians. Stakeholders were provided with the manual and prompted for feedback on its content, format, and language. Feedback was organized and incorporated into the manual, which was then re-circulated until consensus. In Part 2, surrogates of critically ill patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) reporting moderate anxiety or close attachment were enrolled in an open trial of EMPOWER. Surrogates completed six, 15–20 min modules, totaling 1.5–2 h. Surrogates were administered measures of peritraumatic distress, experiential avoidance, prolonged grief, distress tolerance, anxiety, and depression at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 1-month and 3-month follow-up assessments.
Part 1 resulted in changes to the EMPOWER manual, including reducing jargon, improving navigability, making EMPOWER applicable for a range of illness scenarios, rearranging the modules, and adding further instructions and psychoeducation. Part 2 findings suggested that EMPOWER is feasible, with 100% of participants completing all modules. The acceptability of EMPOWER appeared strong, with high ratings of effectiveness and helpfulness (M = 8/10). Results showed immediate post-intervention improvements in anxiety (d = −0.41), peritraumatic distress (d = −0.24), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.23). At the 3-month follow-up assessments, surrogates exhibited improvements in prolonged grief symptoms (d = −0.94), depression (d = −0.23), anxiety (d = −0.29), and experiential avoidance (d = −0.30).
Significance of results
Preliminary data suggest that EMPOWER is feasible, acceptable, and associated with notable improvements in psychological symptoms among surrogates. Future research should examine EMPOWER with a larger sample in a randomized controlled trial.
Synchronized cardioversion is an internationally accepted standard therapy for unstable tachyarrhythmias, but it is conventionally an in-hospital physician-led intervention. Increasingly, it is being brought forward into the prehospital setting as part of a specialist paramedic scope of practice; however, very little literature exists regarding the epidemiology or efficacy in this setting.
All patients receiving cardioversion within a United Kingdom (UK) ambulance service were identified using an electronic database. The period of inclusion was March 1, 2017 through October 31, 2020. These data were then interrogated to provide demographic, physiological, and efficacy data, and then a sub-group was created to identify those who presented with a primary arrhythmia (as opposed to post-cardiac arrest).
From a total of 93 patients, prehospital synchronized cardioversion successfully terminated the tachyarrhythmia in 96% of patients presenting with a primary arrhythmia (85% in the allcomers group) with a predominance towards males (82% of patients) and an average age of 67 years. Hypotension and reduced level of consciousness were the most commonly documented unstable features (84.4% and 44.4%).
Cardioversion within a paramedic-led service results in efficacy rates of 96% in patients presenting with a primary tachyarrhythmia. This is a similar efficacy rate to traditional doctor-led therapies. Demographic data show that males make up over 80% of the patient population, in keeping with previously published work across the spectrum of cardiac interventions.
Severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Pre-hospital care and transportation time may impact their outcomes.
Using the British Columbia Trauma Registry, we included 2,860 adult (≥18 years) patients with severe TBI (abbreviated injury scale head score ≥4), who were admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in a centre with neurosurgical services from January 1, 2000 to March 31, 2013. We evaluated the impact of transportation time (time of injury to time of arrival at a neurosurgical trauma centre) on in-hospital mortality and discharge disposition, adjusting for age, sex, year of injury, injury severity score (ISS), revised trauma score at the scene, location of injury, socio-economic status and direct versus indirect transfer.
Patients had a median age of 43 years (interquartile range [IQR] 26–59) and 676 (23.6%) were female. They had a median ISS of 33 (IQR 26–43). Median transportation time was 80 minutes (IQR 40–315). ICU and hospital length of stay were 6 days (IQR 2–12) and 20 days (IQR 7–42), respectively. Six hundred and ninety-six (24.3%) patients died in hospital. After adjustment, there was no significant impact of transportation time on in-hospital mortality (odds ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval 0.95–1.01). There was also no significant effect on discharge disposition.
No association was found between pre-hospital transportation time and in-hospital mortality in critically ill patients with severe TBI.
Many studies from around the world, especially NAP4 in the UK, have demonstrated that airway management in critically ill patients, whether in the intensive care unit, emergency department or general wards, is fraught with danger. Serious morbidity or mortality may be 50-fold more common than in anaesthetic practice. This chapter describes the essential features of airway management specific to critical care intubation. The importance of an intubation bundle approach is emphasised, such as the UK’s Difficult Airway Society guidelines for tracheal intubation in the critically ill adult. Components include: (i) deliberate and thoughtful application of human factors science to optimise team performance and sharing the airway plan; (ii) assessment of potential difficulty based on the MACOCHA scoring system; (iii) pre-oxygenation using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or non-invasive ventilation, high flow nasal oxygen, or a combination of these; (iv) a modified rapid sequence induction with continuous peroxygenation; (v) optimising laryngoscopy and intubation with early videolaryngoscopy by a trained operator; (vi) airway rescue with an amalgamated Plan B/C, borrowing from the Vortex approach; (vii) use of second generation supraglottic airways (SGAs); (viii) priming for front of neck airway (FONA) and (ix) a scalpel-bougie-tube cricothyroidotomy when managing cannot intubate, cannot oxygenate (CICO).
Despite the training and skills of airway managers, airway management complications still occur and may cause patient harm or death. The causes are multifactorial and may include patient, environment and clinician factors. Airway complications likely contribute to a significant proportion of deaths due to anaesthesia and are certainly more common outside the operating theatre and especially in the critical care unit. Reported incidences of failure and harm during airway management vary depending on the population studied and definitions used. Numbers may be of less value than understanding themes that help us improve care and reduce harm. The chapter emphasises that conventional research (e.g. device evaluation studies and randomised controlled trials) may be of little use in identifying low frequency events and complications because of their restricted inclusion and exclusion criteria, the use of devices only by experts and in conventional settings and because of their focus on efficacy rather than safety. The chapter highlights the important and growing role of registries and databases. Several are described in detail including the 4th National Audit Project and the Dutch ‘mini-NAP’. The value and limitations of litigation databases are explored. Specific complications of note are described at the end of the chapter.
A 67-year-old male presents to the emergency department (ED) in respiratory distress secondary to pneumonia. His oxygen saturation is 86% on a nonrebreather, respiratory rate is 32 respirations/minute, blood pressure 147/72 mmHg, heart rate 121 beats/minute, and temperature is 38.7° Celsius. The decision is made to intubate the patient. Fentanyl and propofol are used for analgesia and sedation, and rocuronium is used for paralysis. Using video laryngoscopy, the patient is successfully intubated, and now the ED team is awaiting your orders for the postintubation sedation care of this patient.
To report feasibility, early outcomes and challenges of implementing a 14-day threshold for undertaking surgical tracheostomy in the critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patient.
Twenty-eight coronavirus disease 2019 patients underwent tracheostomy. Demographics, risk factors, ventilatory assistance, organ support and logistics were assessed.
The mean time from intubation to tracheostomy formation was 17.0 days (standard deviation = 4.4, range 8–26 days). Mean time to decannulation was 15.8 days (standard deviation = 9.4) and mean time to intensive care unit stepdown to a ward was 19.2 days (standard deviation = 6.8). The time from intubation to tracheostomy was strongly positively correlated with: duration of mechanical ventilation (r(23) = 0.66; p < 0.001), time from intubation to decannulation (r(23) = 0.66; p < 0.001) and time from intubation to intensive care unit discharge (r(23) = 0.71; p < 0.001).
Performing a tracheostomy in coronavirus disease 2019 positive patients at 8–14 days following intubation is compatible with favourable outcomes. Multidisciplinary team input is crucial to patient selection.
A 37-year-old female presents with cough, fever, dyspnea, and myalgias for five days after recent contact with a family member with confirmed 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Her vital signs include T 38.3° C, HR 108, BP 118/70 mm Hg, RR 26 breaths per minute, and oxygen saturation 67% on room air. She is not in respiratory distress currently and is protecting her airway. Her chest X-ray reveals bilateral airspace opacities. You plan to immediately intervene and address her hypoxia.
Abdominal ultrasonography is an extremely valuable diagnostic tool for all perioperative physicians. While the FAST exam was designed for use in patients with blunt abdominal trauma, its principles are applicable in a wide variety of perioperative settings and can be used to narrow the differential diagnosis in unstable patients. Aortic ultrasound is easy to perform and rapidly confirms or rules out the presence of abdominal aortic aneurysm or dissection. Other uses include gallbladder imaging and evaluation for free intra-peritoneal air. Perioperative and intensive care unit patients will benefit from point-of-care ultrasound, including detailed examination of the abdominal cavity.
A significant gap exists between people awaiting solid organ transplantation and solid organ donors. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were missed donors in the emergency department (ED).
We performed a health records and organ donation database review of all patients dying in a large tertiary ED from November 1, 2014 to October 31, 2017 at two campuses with 160,000 visits per year. Demographic and donor suitability data were collected. The primary outcome was missed potential solid organ donors. Missed potential donors were intubated, had a pulse, and had no donation contraindications. The secondary outcome was cases where no notification was made to the organ donation organization at all.
There were 605 deaths in the ED. Patients had a mean age of 71.1 years, 58.3% were male, and 12.4% died of a traumatic cause. There were 10 missed potential donors. Missed potential donors had a mean age of 67.4 years, 70.0% were male, and 20.0% died from trauma. In all 10 cases, patients had withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy for medical futility, and referral for donation occurred after death. Missed ED donors could have increased hospital-wide donation up to 10.6%. No notification was made in 12 (2.0%) cases; however, none of these would have been successful solid organ donors.
The ED is a source of missed organ donors. All potential donors were missed due to referral after withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy. ED physicians should consider the possibility of solid organ donation prior to the withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy.
Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation in refractory cardiac arrest (ECPR) is an emerging resuscitative therapy that has shown promising results for selected patients who may not otherwise survive. We sought to identify the characteristics of cardiac arrest patients presenting to our institution to begin assessing the feasibility of an ECPR program.
This retrospective health records review included patients aged 18–75 years old presenting to our academic teaching hospital campuses with refractory nontraumatic out-of-hospital or in-emergency department (ED) cardiac arrest over a 2-year period. Based on a scoping review of the literature, both “liberal” and “restrictive” ECPR criteria were defined and applied to our cohort.
A total of 179 patients met inclusion criteria. Median age was 60 years, and patients were predominantly male (72.6%). The initial rhythm was ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation in 49.2%. The majority of arrests were witnessed (69.3%), with immediate bystander CPR performed on 53.1% and an additional 12% receiving CPR within 10 minutes of collapse. Median prehospital time was 40 minutes (interquartile range, 31–53.3). Two-thirds of patients (65.9%) were identified as having a reversible cause of arrest and favorable premorbid status was identified in nearly three quarters (74.3%). Our two sets of ECPR inclusion criteria revealed that 33 and 5 patients (liberal and restrictive criteria, respectively), would have been candidates for ECPR.
At our institution, we estimate between 6% and 40% of ED refractory cardiac arrest patients would be candidates for ECPR. These findings suggest that the implementation of an ECPR program should be explored.
A 16-year-old female presents to a community emergency room following a suicide attempt by hanging. Prehospital, on arrival of paramedics, the patient was in a pulseless electrical activity rhythm. Paramedics provided advanced cardiac life support for 20 minutes before they obtained return of spontaneous circulation. In the emergency department, she had another 25-minute cardiac arrest with ultimate return of spontaneous circulation. She is now hemodynamically stable on Levophed 0.2 µg/kg/min. Her neurological exam shows pupils to be 3 mm and fixed bilaterally, absent cough and gag, and no response to central or peripheral pain. She occasionally triggers 2–3 spontaneous breaths per minute above the set rate on the ventilator. Her CT head scan shows severe anoxic changes and cerebral edema.
A 27-year-old female is brought to the emergency department (ED) by ambulance following a motor vehicle collision at highway speed. She was the belted driver. She has no significant past medical history and is on no medications. Following a prolonged extrication, she is intubated due to decreased level of consciousness before transport.
Around a quarter of patients treated in intensive care units (ICUs) will develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the dramatic increase in ICU admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians are likely to see a rise in post-ICU PTSD cases in the coming months. Post-ICU PTSD can present various challenges to clinicians, and no clinical guidelines have been published for delivering trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy with this population. In this article, we describe how to use cognitive therapy for PTSD (CT-PTSD), a first line treatment for PTSD recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Using clinical case examples, we outline the key techniques involved in CT-PTSD, and describe their application to treating patients with PTSD following ICU.
Key learning aims
(1) To recognise PTSD following admissions to intensive care units (ICUs).
(2) To understand how the ICU experience can lead to PTSD development.
(3) To understand how Ehlers and Clark’s (2000) cognitive model of PTSD can be applied to post-ICU PTSD.
(4) To be able to apply cognitive therapy for PTSD to patients with post-ICU PTSD.
The purpose of this study was to report the psychometric properties, in terms of validity and reliability, of the Unconscious Version of the Family Decision-Making Self-Efficacy Scale (FDMSE).
A convenience sample of 215 surrogate decision-makers for critically ill patients undergoing mechanical ventilation was recruited from four intensive care units at a tertiary hospital. Cross-sectional data were collected from participants between days 3 and 7 of a decisionally impaired patient's exposure to acute mechanical ventilation. Participants completed a self-report demographic form and subjective measures of family decision-making self-efficacy, preparation for decision-making, and decisional fatigue. Exploratory factor analyses, correlation coefficients, and internal consistency reliability estimates were computed to evaluate the FDMSE's validity and reliability in surrogate decision-makers of critically ill patients.
The exploratory factor analyses revealed a two-factor, 11-item version of the FDMSE was the most parsimonious in this sample. Furthermore, modified 11-item FDMSE demonstrated discriminant validity with the measures of fatigue and preparation for decision-making and demonstrated acceptable internal consistency reliability estimates.
Significance of results
This is the first known study to provide evidence for a two-factor structure for a modified, 11-item FDMSE. These dimensions represent treatment and palliation-related domains of family decision-making self-efficacy. The modified FDMSE is a valid and reliable instrument that can be used to measure family decision-making self-efficacy among surrogate decision-makers of the critically ill.