Hospital Onset Clostridium difficile Infections Increased With Electronic Sepsis Alerts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Robert Hiensch MD Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Hiensch

Dr. Robert Hiensch MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: New sepsis guidelines that recommend screening and early treatment for sepsis cases appear to have significant positive impacts on patient outcomes. Less research has been published on what potential side effects may result from these guidelines.

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of sepsis treatment and early antibiotic administration is strongly recommended.  We examined whether the introduction of an electronic based sepsis initiative changed antibiotic prescribing patterns at our hospital. Antibiotics, even when appropriate, contribute to hospital onset Clostridium difficile infections (HO CDIs).  While the authors do not dispute the importance of antibiotic administration in sepsis, it is valuable to know whether the sepsis initiative coincided with both increased antibiotic administration and HO CDIs.

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Does Pre-Hospital Advanced Life Support Improve Survival in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexis Cournoyer MD
Université de Montréal
Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal
Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal,
Montréal, Québec, Canada. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Out-of-hospital advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) is frequently provided to patients suffering from cardiac arrest.  This was shown to improve rates of return of spontaneous circulation, but there was no good evidence that it improved any patient-oriented outcomes.  Given the progress of post-resuscitation care, it was important to reassess if ACLS improved survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.  Also, with the advent of extracorporeal resuscitation, a promising technique that needs to be performed relatively early in the course of the resuscitation and which seems to improve patients’ outcome, we wanted to evaluate if prolonged prehospital resuscitation with ACLS was effective in extracorporeal resuscitation candidates.

In this study, we observed, as was noted in previous study, that prehospital advanced cardiac life support  did not provide a benefit to patients regarding survival to discharge, but increased the rate of prehospital return of spontaneous circulation.  It also prolonged the delay before hospital arrival of around 15 minutes.  In the patients eligible for extracorporeal resuscitation, we observed the same findings.

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Hypothermia for 48 or 24 Hours After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hans Kirkegaard, MD, PhD, DMSci, DEAA, DLS Research Center for Emergency Medicine and Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University Aarhus, Denmark 

Dr. Kirkegaard

Hans Kirkegaard, MD, PhD, DMSci, DEAA, DLS
Research Center for Emergency Medicine and
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine
Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University
Aarhus, Denmark 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 2002, two landmark studies demonstrated that mild therapeutic hypothermia (now known as targeted temperature management, TTM) for 12 or 24 hours improves neurological outcome in adult comatose patients suffering from out of hospital cardiac arrest. Accordingly, international guidelines now recommend TTM for at least 24 hours in this patient group.

However, there are no studies, only case reports that explore the effect of prolonged cooling. We therefore wanted to set up a trial that could fill out this knowledge gap, we hypothesized that doubling the hypothermia dose to 48 hour would improve neurological outcome without increasing the risk of adverse events considerably.

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Incidence of Sepsis Stable, But Mortality Remains High

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Chanu Rhee MD, Assistant Professor Therapeutics Research and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Critical Care and Infectious Disease Physician Transplant/Oncology Infectious Disease service and Medical Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Rhee

Dr. Chanu Rhee MD, Assistant Professor
Therapeutics Research and Infectious Disease Epidemiology Group
Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Critical Care and Infectious Disease Physician
Transplant/Oncology Infectious Disease service and
Medical Intensive Care Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital 


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Multiple studies suggest that the incidence of sepsis, the syndrome of life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by infection, is increasing over time, while mortality rates are decreasing.  However, reliably measuring sepsis incidence and trends is challenging because clinical diagnoses of sepsis are subjective and insurance claims data, the traditional method of surveillance, can be affected by changing diagnosis and coding practices over time.

In this study, my colleagues and I estimated the current U.S. burden of sepsis and trends using clinical data from the electronic health record systems of a large number of diverse hospitals. The findings, published in JAMA, challenge the use of claims data for sepsis surveillance and suggest that clinical surveillance using electronic health record data provides more objective estimates of sepsis incidence and outcomes.

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Blood Biomarkers Signal Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome After Critical Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joanna Shepherd Centre for Trauma Sciences Blizard Institute Queen Mary, University of London

Dr. Shepherd

Dr. Joanna Shepherd
Centre for Trauma Sciences
Blizard Institute
Queen Mary, University of London

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recent advances in resuscitation and treatment of life-threatening critical injuries means that patients with previously unsurvivable injuries are now surviving to reach hospital.  However, many of these patients develop Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS), which is a failure of several organs including the lung, heart, kidney, and liver.

We studied immune cell genes in the blood of critically injured patients within the first few minutes to hours after injury, a period called the ‘hyperacute window’. We found a small and specific response to critical injury during this window that then evolved into a widespread immune reaction by 24 hours.  The development of MODS was linked to changes in the hyperacute window, with central roles for innate immune cells (including natural killer cells and neutrophils) and biological pathways associated with cell death and survival.  By 24 hours after injury, there was widespread immune activation present in all critically injured patients, but the MODS signal had either reversed or disappeared.

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Synthetic Human Angiotensin II for the Treatment of Vasodilatory Shock

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ashish Khanna, MD, FCCP Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Staff Intensivist Center for Critical Care and Department of Outcomes Research Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland

Dr. Khanna

Ashish Khanna, MD, FCCP
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Staff Intensivist
Center for Critical Care and Department of Outcomes Research
Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland

MedicalResearch.com: How did you become interested in this topic?

Response: Anesthesia forms the basis of my training but I also completed a fellowship in critical care and, at the present time, I do more work in critical care than anesthesia. About 75% of my time is spent in the Cleveland Clinic critical care units, including the Medical and surgical ICUs (Intensive Care Units).

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Rory’s Regulations: Faster Is Better When It Comes To Sepsis Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christopher W. Seymour, M.D., M.Sc. Assistant professor of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, and member of Clinical Research Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Seymour

Christopher W. Seymour, M.D., M.Sc.
Assistant professor of Critical Care Medicine and Emergency Medicine, and member of Clinical Research Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Following the tragic and widely publicized death of Rory Staunton, 12, from undiagnosed sepsis in 2012, New York became the first state to require that hospitals follow a protocol to quickly identify and treat the condition. The mandate led to widespread controversy in the medical community as to whether such steps would have saved Rory or anyone else’s life.

Rory’s Regulations require hospitals to follow protocols for early identification and treatment of sepsis, and submit data on compliance and outcomes. The hospitals can tailor how they implement the protocols, but must include a blood culture to test for infection, measurement of blood lactate (a sign of tissue stress) and administration of antibiotics within three hours of diagnosis—collectively known as the “three-hour bundle.”

We analyzed data from nearly 50,000 patients from 149 New York hospitals to scientifically determine if  Rory’s Regulations worked. We found that they did – 83 percent of the hospitals completed the bundle within the required three hours, overall averaging 1.3 hours for completion. For every hour that it took clinicians to complete the bundle, the odds of the patient dying increased by 4 percent.

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EHRs Can Facilitate Rapid Detection and Treatment of Sepsis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Faheem Guirgis MD  Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Research UF Health Jacksonville

Dr. Guirgis

Faheem Guirgis MD
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
Department of Emergency Medicine
Division of Research
UF Health Jacksonville

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sepsis is quite prevalent among hospitals and the incidence is increasing. It is a life-threatening disease that can lead to poor outcomes if patients are not recognized and treated promptly. We recognized that our institution needed a strategic approach to the problem of sepsis, therefore the Sepsis Committee was created with the goal of creating a comprehensive sepsis program.

We developed a system for sepsis recognition and rapid care delivery that would work in any area of the hospital. We found that we reduced overall mortality from sepsis, the number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit length and overall hospital length of stay, and the charges to the patient by approximately $7000 per patient.

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Spark Study: Does Low Dose Lasix Provide Kidney Protection in AKI?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sean Bagshaw MD MSc
Director for Research for the Division of Critical Care Medicine
School of Public Health
University of Alberta, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The rationale for SPARK stemmed from two general observations.

First, experimental and pre-clinical data have suggested the timely utilization of loop diuretics in early AKI could provide “kidney protection” largely mediated through reduction in medullary oxygen demand. Yet, this is in apparent paradox with clinical data (largely derived from older observational studies at some risk of bias) suggesting use of loop diuretics in AKI may be associated with increased risk for death and/or non-recovery of kidney function.

Second, in AKI, loop diuretics are used exceedingly often. Surveys of healthcare practitioners and observational data suggest more than two-thirds to three-quarters of patients are exposed to diuretics at some point during their course. This represents a significant misalignment between evidence and clinical practice. This would suggest there is need to generate new evidence and knowledge that would ideally help inform best practice in the management of AKI.

SPARK was designed as a pilot trial largely aimed at evaluating the feasibility of the approach to use of loop diuretics in early AKI. While SPARK did not find significant differences in risk of worsening AKI, utilization of RRT or mortality, we recognize the trial was underpowered to meaningfully inform about these and other patient-centered outcomes. We did see differences in secondary endpoints (i.e., fluid balance); however, use of loop diuretics in this setting was also associated with greater incidence of electrolyte abnormalities.

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Simulation Exercises Reduce Anxiety of Taking Baby Home From NICU

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah A. Raines PhD, EdS, RN, ANEF School of Nursing University at Buffalo

Dr. Raines

Deborah A. Raines PhD, EdS, RN, ANEF
School of Nursing
University at Buffalo

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This research grew from my experience as a neonatal nurse. I have worked with many families preparing to take their baby home and have seen the anxiety they experience wondering if they will be able to take care of their baby’s medical needs at home.

Parents are usually most anxious about emergency situations that may occur. Majority of these parents are able to state what they should do, but have never experienced the actual situation with their baby. This study was designed to see if a simulation experience would fill this gap in parents’ preparation for the discharge of their baby from the NICU. This study had parents participated in a customized simulation to have them experience the care needed by their baby at home following discharge from the NICU.

The findings revealed that parents reported a nearly 30 percent increase in confidence in their abilities to care for their baby after participating in the simulation.

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Resistance to Carbapenem Antibiotics Doubled in Intensive Care Units

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eilish McCann, PhD</strong> Director, Outcomes Research (Center for Observational and Real-World Evidence) Merck

Dr. Eilish McCann

Eilish McCann, PhD
Director, Outcomes Research (Center for Observational and Real-World Evidence)
Merck

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: One of the most pressing challenges facing medicine today is the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. One area of high concern is the increasing prevalence of resistance to powerful antibiotics like carbapenems, as patients with infections due to carbapenem-resistant bacteria have very few alternate effective treatment options.

In this study we used real-world data from a Becton, Dickinson and Company electronic research data set to analyze over 140,000 bacterial isolates from patients at 342 hospitals across the United States, so that we could investigate where the burden of carbapenem resistance is most acute. Importantly analysis of real-world data in this way allows us to gain insights from a large number of hospitals, giving a broad and nationally representative picture of the resistance burden.

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Review of Systemic Immunomodulating Therapies for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Maja Mockenhaupt

Dept. of Dermatology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Deutschland / Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis (SJS/TEN) are severe cutaneous adverse reactions that are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Primarily due to their rareness, therapeutic effects are often studied in observational settings. An evidence-based standardized treatment protocol for SJS/TEN is still missing.
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Pediatric Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis in the US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH
Assistant Professor in Dermatology
Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine
Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Stevens-Johnson syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (SJS/TEN) are relatively rare and potentially life-threatening disorders. There have been some recent advances in our understanding of the epidemiology and risk factors of SJS/TEN in adults.

However, little is known about the epidemiology of pediatric SJS/TEN.

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Risk Factors for Unplanned Transfer to the ICU after ED Admission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marleen Boerma MD
Department of Emergency Medicine
Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital
Tilburg, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Unplanned Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission has been used as a surrogate marker of adverse events, and is used by the Australian Council of Healthcare Accreditation as a reportable quality indicator. If we can identify independent variables predicting deterioration which require ICU transfer within 24 hours after emergency department (ED) admission, direct ICU admission should be considered. This may improve patient safety and reduce adverse events by appropriate disposition of patients presenting to the ED.

This study shows that there were significantly more hypercapnia patients in the ICU admission group (n=17) compared to the non-ICU group (n=5)(p=0.028). There were significantly greater rates of tachypnea in septic patients (p=0.022) and low oxygen saturation for patients with pneumonia (p=0.045). The level of documentation of respiratory rate was poor.

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More Talking, Less Machine Noise Important To Infant Brain in NICUs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bobbi Pineda, PhD Assistant professor of occupational therapy and of pediatrics Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis

Dr. Bobbi Pineda

Bobbi Pineda, PhD
Assistant professor of occupational therapy and of pediatrics
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We published findings in 2014 from a study in which we investigated differences in outcome among preterm infants hospitalized in an open ward NICU compared to those hospitalized in a NICU private room.  In this study, we found that infants who were in the open ward had differences in brain structure by the time they were discharged from the hospital, and by age 2 years they had significantly better language outcomes than those in private rooms.  The study NICU is located in an urban area and cares for families who have a high risk of social challenges, resulting in rates of parent engagement that were not optimal.  However, such findings made us question if the sensory exposure, specifically auditory stimulation, may be significantly reduced in the private room and could explain our findings.

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How Does Emergency Room Crowding Affect Care of Septic Patients?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Anish Agarwal

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department of Emergency Medicine
Philadelphia, PA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The morbidity and mortality of severe sepsis has been well studied and documented. An aggressive approach to protocolized care for patients suffering from severe sepsis and septic shock has been shown to improve mortality and should be started as early in the time course of a patient’s presentation. Emergency departments (ED) are designed to deliver time-sensitive therapies, however, they also may suffer from crowding due to multiple factors.

This study aimed to assess the impact of ED crowding upon critical interventions in the treatment of severe sepsis including time to intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and overall delivery of a protocolized bundle of care. The study found that as ED crowding increased, time to critical therapies significantly increased and the overall implementation of procotolized care decreased. More specifically as ED occupancy and total patient hours within the ED increased, time to intravenous fluids decreased and time to antibiotics increased as occupancy, hours, and boarding increased.

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What Is Right Ratio of Patients to Critical Care Specialists in ICUs?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine (Critical Care) Assistant Professor, The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY

Dr. Hayley Gershengorn

Dr. Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine (Critical Care)
Assistant Professor, The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology
Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The patient-to-intensivist ratio across intensive care units is not standardized and whether the patient-to-intensivist ratio impacts patient outcome is not well established. I

n this study, we conducted a retrospective cohort analysis including 49,686 adults across 94 United Kingdom intensive care units. In this setting, a patient-to-intensivist ratio of 7.5 was associated with the lowest risk adjusted hospital mortality, with higher mortality at both higher and lower patient-to-intensivist ratios.

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Sepsis Linked To High Rate of Hospital Readmissions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sachin Yende, M.D., M.S., Associate professor University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s departments of Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational and Vice president of Critical Care at the VA Pittsburgh.

Dr. Yende

Sachin Yende, M.D., M.S., Associate professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s departments of
Critical Care Medicine and Clinical and Translational and
Vice president of Critical Care at the VA Pittsburgh.

Florian B. Mayr, M.D., M.P.H. Faculty member in University of Pittsburgh Department of Critical Care Medicine and the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

Dr. Mayr

Florian B. Mayr, M.D., M.P.H.
Faculty member in University of Pittsburgh
Department of Critical Care Medicine and the
Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Veteran Health Administration currently track readmission rates for pneumonia, acute heart attacks, heart failure and chronic obstructive lung disease for quality purposes and pay for performance. In our study, we were able to demonstrate that unplanned readmissions after sepsis (defined as life threatening organ failure due to the body’s response to an overwhelming infection) are more common than readmission for these other conditions stated above and associated with significant excess costs.

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Standardized EEG Reporting Helps Predict Risk of Seizures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andres Rodriguez Ruiz, MD</strong> Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurology Emory School of Medicine

Dr. Andres Rodriguez Ruiz

Andres Rodriguez Ruiz, MD
Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurology
Emory School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Critical Care EEG monitoring research consortium (CCEMRC) was established with the goal of promoting collaboration and research among healthcare institutions highly involved in continuous EEG monitoring of critically ill patients. This group together with the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS) established the standardized critical care EEG terminology that allowed uniform reporting of EEG findings in critically ill patients. As part of this effort, a database was developed for collection and clinical reporting of such EEG findings and was adopted for daily clinical use by Yale University, Emory University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Prior retrospective reports have acknowledged an association between periodic discharges and seizures. However, many of these reports were small series and did not include specific characteristics of these patterns. Our goal was to ascertain whether features of periodic and rhythmic patterns such as location (generalized vs. lateralized), frequency and prevalence influenced seizure risk in a large cohort of critically ill adults.

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Elevated Lactate Linked To Increased Mortality in Children With Sepsis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Halden F. Scott MD, Assistant Professor Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine

Dr. Halden F. Scott

Halden F. Scott MD, Assistant Professor
Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine
University of Colorado School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Sepsis, a dysregulated immune response to infection, is a leading cause of death for children. Survival depends on rapid diagnosis and timely delivery of life-saving resuscitative care, including fluids and antibiotics. However, it can be challenging to make an early diagnosis of sepsis in children.

Millions of children present for emergency care of infection and fever every year, most of whom will not develop sepsis. Tools that assist providers in distinguishing the sickest children with infection at an early stage could enable the early delivery of life-saving treatments.

Lactate is a clinically-available laboratory test that has played a critical role in improving the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in adults. Sepsis may cause lactate levels to rise in the blood during sepsis, through reduced delivery of oxygen to the tissues, as well as through changes in how energy is produced and in how lactate is cleared by the kidney and liver. Data about lactate in pediatric sepsis, particularly early levels and whether it is associated with mortality, have been limited.

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In-Bed Cycling Feasible for ICU Patients on Ventilation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michelle Kho, PT, PhD</strong> Canada Research Chair in Critical Care Rehabilitation and Knowledge Translation Assistant Professor School of Rehabilitation Science McMaster University

Dr. Michelle Kho

Michelle Kho, PT, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Critical Care Rehabilitation and Knowledge Translation
Assistant Professor
School of Rehabilitation Science
McMaster University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Patients who survive the ICU are at risk for muscle weakness and can experience physical functional disability lasting 5 to 8 years after the ICU. From a study conducted in Belgium, patients who were randomized to receive cycling after being in ICU for 2 weeks walked farther at ICU discharge than those who did not. Other research supported physiotherapy starting within days of starting mechanical ventilation to improve functional outcomes. Our CYCLE research program combines these 2 concepts – Can we start cycling very early in a patient’s ICU stay, and will this improve functional outcomes post-ICU?

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Expensive Intensive Care Units Often Overutilized

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Dong W. Chang, MD MS</strong> Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Physiology and Medicine Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute at Harbor-University of California Los Angeles, Medical Center Torrance California

Dr. Dong Chang

Dr. Dong W. Chang, MD MS
Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Physiology and Medicine
Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute at Harbor-University of California
Los Angeles, Medical Center
Torrance California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The study was based on our overall impression that ICU care is often delivered to patients who are unlikely to derive long-term benefit (based on their co-morbidities/severity of illness, etc.). However, what surprised us was the magnitude of this problem. Our study found more than half the patients in ICU at a major metropolitan acute-care hospital could have been cared for in less expensive and invasive settings.

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Interventions to Improve Rate of Successful Extubation in Preterm Infants

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kristin N. Ferguson, BSc

The Royal Women’s Hospital and
Deakin University
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Weaning preterm infants from mechanical ventilation, thereby minimising the risks of having an endotracheal tube in situ which may further damage their fragile lungs, is something all neonatal clinicians are keen to do. We provide clinicians with a straightforward list of safe and effective strategies to help them in this task, as well as pointing out some treatments to either avoid or use with caution.

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Access To Two Different Health Care Systems Can Lead To Dangerous Presciption Combinations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Joshua-M-Thorpe.jpg

Dr. Joshua Thorpe

Joshua M. Thorpe, PhD, MPH
From the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and
Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care
Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics
University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Care coordination for persons with dementia is challenging for health care systems under the best of circumstances. These coordination challenges are exacerbated in Medicare-eligible veterans who receive care through both Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recent Medicare and VA policy changes (e.g., Medicare Part D, Veteran’s Choice Act) expand veterans’ access to providers outside the VA. While access to care may be improved, seeking care across multiple health systems may disrupt care coordination and increase the risk of unsafe prescribing – particularly in veterans with dementia. To see how expanded access to care outside the VA might influence medication safety for veterans with dementia, we studied prescribing safety in Veterans who qualified for prescriptions through the VA as well as through the Medicare Part D drug benefit.

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Patient Room Lighting Improves Sleep in Hospital Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Luc Schlangen PhD
Principal Scientist at Philips Lighting Research Eindhoven
the Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main finding

Response: Everyone knows that sleep is critical to one’s overall health and well-being. Yet one-third of the general adult population report difficulties sleeping. Ongoing social commitments and work routines make it difficult to make sleep a priority, also in hospitals.

People increasingly recognize that the usage of light emitting electronic devices before bedtime is compromising sleep. Consequently, many people started to use these devices in a more sleep-permissive mode during the evening, using algorithms that automatically dim down the intensity and blue content of their tablet and smart phone screens as the evening progresses. Moreover, there is increasing evidence that brighter daytime light conditions help to improve mood and nighttime sleep quality.

These observations inspired us to undertake a joint study with the Maastricht University Medical Center. In the study we explored whether a tunable lighting system with extra daytime brightness and lower light intensities and warmer tones of light in the evening and night, can improve sleep and wellbeing in hospital patients. We found that the system was well appreciated and helped hospital patients to fall asleep more rapidly. Moreover, after 5 days in a room with such a dynamic lighting system patients slept longer by almost 30 minutes as compared to a standardly lit room.

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Emergency Department Use High Among CKD Patients, Primarily for Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Paul E Ronksley, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Community Health Sciences Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary Calgary Canada

Dr. Paul E Ronksley

Paul E Ronksley, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Community Health Sciences
Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary
Calgary Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Prior studies have observed high resource use among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is related to the medical complexity of this patient population. However, there has been limited exploration of how patients with CKD use the emergency department (ED) and whether utilization is associated with disease severity. While the ED is essential for providing urgent or emergent care, identifying ways of improving ED efficiency and decreasing wait times has been recognized as a priority in multiple countries. Improving coordination and management of care for patients with multiple chronic conditions (the norm for CKD) in an outpatient setting may meet health care needs and ultimately improve patient experience and outcomes while reducing the burden currently placed on the ED. However, this requires an understanding of ED use among patients with CKD and the proportion of use that is amenable to outpatient care. Using a large population-based cohort we explored how rates of ED use vary by kidney disease severity and the proportion of these events that are potentially preventable by high quality ambulatory care.

We identified all adults (≥18 years) with eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73m2 (including dialysis-dependent patients) in Alberta, Canada between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. Patients with CKD were linked to administrative data to capture clinical characteristics and frequency of ED encounters, and followed until death or end of study (March 31, 2013). Within each CKD category we calculated adjusted rates of overall  emergency departmentt use, as well as rates of potentially preventable ED encounters (defined by 4 CKD-specific ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs); heart failure, hyperkalemia, volume overload, malignant hypertension).

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Hypoglycemia Linked To Increased Mortality in Hospitalized Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amit Akirov, MD
Institute of Endocrinology
Rabin Medical Center- Beilinson Hospital
Petach Tikva, Israel

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: As hypoglycemia is common among hospitalized patients with and without diabetes mellitus, we aimed to investigate the association between spontaneous and insulin-related hypoglycemia including severe hypoglycemia and all-cause mortality among a large cohort of hospitalized patients.

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Acute Kidney Injury Linked To Increased Mortality in Critically Ill Children and Young Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stuart L. Goldstein, MD, FAAP, FNKF</strong> Clark D. West Endowed Chair Professor of Pediatrics | University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Director, Center for Acute Care Nephrology | Associate Director, Division of Nephrology Medical Director, Pheresis Service | Co-Medical Director, Heart Institute Research Core Division of Nephrology and Hypertension | The Heart Institute Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, OH 45229

Dr. Stuart L. Goldstein

Stuart L. Goldstein, MD, FAAP, FNKF
Clark D. West Endowed Chair
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Director, Center for Acute Care Nephrology | Associate Director, Division of Nephrology
Medical Director, Pheresis Service | Co-Medical Director, Heart Institute Research Core
Division of Nephrology and Hypertension | The Heart Institute
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH 45229

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This was a prospective international multi-center assessment of the epidemiology of acute kidney injury in children in young adults. Over 5,000 children were enrolled from 32 pediatric ICUs in 9 countries on 4 continents.

The main findings are:

1) Severe AKI, defined by either Stage 2 or 3 KDIGO serum creatinine and urine output criteria carried an incremental risk of death after adjusting for 16 co-variates.
2) Patients with AKI by low urine output would have been misclassified as not having AKI by serum creatinine criteria and patients with AKI by urine output criteria have worse outcomes than patients with AKI by creatinine crtieria.
3) Severe AKI was also associated with increased and prolonged mechanical ventilation use, increased receipt of dialysis or ECMO

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Heart Disease Patients Admitted To Critical Care Units in Teaching Hospitals May Fare Better

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sean van Diepen, MD, FRCPC Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Cardiology Coronary Intensive Care Unit Co-Director University of Alberta Hospital

Dr. Sean van Diepen

Dr. Sean van Diepen, MD, FRCPC
Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and Cardiology
Coronary Intensive Care Unit Co-Director
University of Alberta Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Studies have documented a wide variation in CCU admission rates for patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) or heart failure (HF). The reasons underpinning these differences are incompletely understood and little is known about the associations between hospital type, resource utilization, and clinical outcomes among patients admitted to the CCU with an ACS or HF.
In a national cohort of 220,759 patients, we observed that CCU admission rates varied by hospital type: 41% in teaching hospitals, 29.9% in large teaching hospitals, 42.6% in medium community hospitals and13.7% in small community hospitals. The percentage of patients that did not receive critical care therapies within the first 2 days of admission were: 35.5%, 58.0%, 83.3% and 95.6%, respectively. Compared large community hospitals, community hospitals all had higher adjusted in hospital mortality rates.

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Mechanical Ventilation Doubles For Persons With Advanced Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joan M. Teno, MD, MS Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence University of Washington Medicine Seattle, Washington

Dr. Joan Teno

Joan M. Teno, MD, MS
Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics,
Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence
University of Washington Medicine
Seattle, Washington

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: An important challenge for our health care system is effectively caring for persons that high-need, high-cost — persons afflicted with advanced dementia and severe functional impairment are among these persons, with substantial need and if hospitalized in the ICU and mechanically ventilated are high cost patients, who are unlikely to benefit from this level of care and our best evidence suggest the vast majority of persons would not want this care. In a previous study, we interviewed families of advance dementia with 96% starting the goals of care are to focus comfort. Mechanical ventilation in some cases may be life saving, but in cases such as those with advanced dementia and severe functional impairment, they may result in suffering without an improvement in survival.

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Association Between Tracheal Intubation During Pediatric In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest and Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lars W. Andersen MD MPH Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, Massachusetts Department of Anesthesiology and Research Center for Emergency Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

Dr. Lars W. Andersen

Dr. Lars W. Andersen MD MPH
Department of Emergency Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts
Department of Anesthesiology and
Research Center for Emergency Medicine,
Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Pediatric in-hospital cardiac arrest continues to carry a very high mortality. Given the relative rarity of these events at most centers and the acuity and complexity of cardiac arrest, few randomized trials exist. Moreover, few observational studies have addressed the effectiveness of intra-cardiac arrest interventions, including the use of medications and advanced airway management. This is further highlighted in the current American and international guidelines, which provide limited guidance to providers in regards to advanced airway management during pediatric in-hospital cardiac arrest.

The primary objective of our study was to establish whether there is an association between tracheal intubation during in-hospital pediatric cardiac arrest and outcomes. As respiratory failure and hypoxia are common prior to cardiac arrest in children, there is a good rational for early advanced airway management in this population.

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Extubating Patients From Ventilators At Night Linked To Higher Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD Associate Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Attending Physician, Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY 10467

Dr. Hayley Gershengorn

Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD
Associate Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Attending Physician, Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, NY 10467

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Little was previously known about the timing of extubations for mechanically ventilated intensive care unit patients or whether extubating patients overnight is safe. In this retrospective cohort study of mechanically ventilated intensive care unit adult patients in the United States, 20.1% were extubated overnight. Overnight extubation was associated with significantly higher hospital mortality.

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Serious Infections Associated With Increased Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Helene Lund-Sørensen BM
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Section of Cellular and Metabolic Research
University of Copenhagen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Accumulating research has shown that inflammation and infections are associated with psychiatric diagnoses and interactions between infectious agents, known to affect the brain, and suicidal behavior have been reported.

We find an increased risk of death by suicide among individuals hospitalized with infections. The risk of suicide increased in a dose-response relationship with the number of hospitalizations with infections and with the number of days hospitalized with infections. We also examined the risk of suicide association with the time since the last hospitalization with infection and found that infection was linked to an elevated risk with the strongest effect after 1 and 2 years compared with those without infections.

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ICU Care May Lead To More Tests and Costs Without Necessarily Better Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dong W. Chang, MD, MS

Dong W. Chang, MD, is a lead researcher at LA BioMed, one of the nation’s leading independent nonprofit research institutes. His research interests include improving the delivery of care to patients with a focus on identifying new healthcare models for reducing hospital re-admission. He also is the director of Medical-Respiratory ICU at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: With the use of intensive care units (ICUs) on the rise in many hospitals, researchers at LA BioMed and UCLA examined ICU usage. They found patients who were admitted to these units underwent more costly and invasive procedures but didn’t have better mortality rates than hospitalized patients with the same medical conditions who weren’t admitted to the ICU.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, examined records from 156,842 hospitalizations at 94 acute care hospitals for four medical conditions where ICU care is frequently provided but may not be medically necessary:diabetic ketoacidosis, pulmonary embolism, upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage and congestive heart failure. The study found the hospitals that utilize ICUs more frequently were more likely to perform invasive procedures and incur higher costs. But the study found these hospitals had no improvement in mortality among patients in the ICU when compared with other hospitalized patients with these four conditions.

Smaller hospitals and teaching hospitals used ICUs at higher rates for patients with the four conditions studied that did larger hospitals. The difference in the average costs ranged from $647 more for upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage care in the ICU to $3,412 more to care for a patient with congestive heart failure in the ICU when compared with hospital care for the same conditions outside the ICU.

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More ICU Use in Hospitals With Worse Quality of Care for Heart Failure or MI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas Valley, MD, MSc Fellow, Pulmonary and Critical Care University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

Dr. Thomas Valley

Thomas Valley, MD, MSc
Fellow, Pulmonary and Critical Care
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hospitalizations for cardiovascular condition such as acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and heart failure (HF) are incredibly common and costly. Yet, about 20% of hospitalized patients with these conditions receive substandard care. We assessed whether there was an association between the quality of care a hospital provided for AMI or heart failure and how frequently a hospital used the ICU. We found that hospitals with the highest rates of ICU use for AMI or HF delivered worse quality of care and had higher 30-day mortality for these conditions.

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Early Rehabilitation Did Not Shorten Hospital Stay For ICU Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Peter E. Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine University of Kentucky Lexington, KY

Dr. Peter Morris

Peter E. Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP
Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ICU survivors demonstrate weakness. It has been postulated that interventions to promote early rehabilitation strategies might be linked to improved functional outcomes for ICU survivors.

This study was based upon findings from a quality improvement endeavor that linked early rehabilitation with indications of shortened hospital stays for ICU survivors.

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Noise Pollution Endemic in Intensive Care Units

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Eveline Claes
Jessa Ziekenhuis Hospital
Hasselt, Belgium

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The background of this study was the presence of noise in our ICU, and patients complaining about it. We wanted to look into the problem. The main findings were that there is indeed too much noise in our ICU compared to the WHO recommendations, but the measured sound levels were comparable with other ICU’s.

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New ThoraXS Device Rapidly Decompresses Pneumothorax

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Ariel Drori MD Hadassah Medical Center

Dr. Ariel Drori

Dr. Ariel Drori MD
Hadassah Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the ThoraXS device?

Dr. Drori: The initial recognition of the need for a device like ThoraXS first came to me on an operational deployment during my reserve service where I serve as a military doctor. While serving on the Gazan border, I was called to a battle scene to treat a soldier who was suffering from pneumothorax after being shot in the chest.  A quick evacuation by helicopter meant that I didn’t have the time to perform the entire procedure and I was forced to hand over a partially-treated patient whose condition was unstable.

The reality of constant combat injuries mixed with a rising number of daily civilian terror attack casualties led us to understand that we need to provide a cheap, easy to use, robust and reliable solution that on the one hand can withstand the most extreme combat conditions and on the other, be used by any paramedic and in any pre-hospital and hospital setting.

This line of thought eventually led to the adoption of ThoraXS’s simple yet sophisticated mechanical mechanism that ticks all the boxes.

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Hypotension and Elevated Lactate Levels are Cornerstones of Septic Shock Criteria

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Manu-Shankar-Hari.jpg

Dr. Manu Shankar-Hari

Dr. Manu Shankar-Hari MB BS MD FRCA EDIC FFICM MSc[Epi]
Consultant, Intensive Care Medicine; Guy’s and
St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Clinical Research Associate, Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre
Honorary Senior Lecturer in Intensive Care Medicine
Division of Asthma Allergy and Lung Biology
King’s College London, UK 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Shankar-Hari: Septic shock is a complex illness.  The previous Consensus Definitions (1991 and 2001) place emphasis on the circulatory abnormalities as the core concept and neither definitions provide data driven clinical criteria. In addition, last ten years of basic science research has established the concept that septic shock is associated with plethora of cellular and metabolic abnormalities (often referred to as cellular stress), alongside circulatory dysfunction.

In this background, the paper published in JAMA provides an updated illness concept (definitions) and data driven clinical criteria for diagnosing septic shock at the bedside.

The updated illness concept: ‘Septic shock is defined as a subset of sepsis in which underlying circulatory, cellular, and metabolic abnormalities are associated with a greater risk of mortality than sepsis alone.’

The clinical criteria: ‘Adult patients with septic shock can be identified using the clinical criteria of hypotension requiring vasopressor therapy to maintain mean arterial blood pressure 65 mm Hg or greater and having a serum lactate level greater than 2 mmol/L after adequate fluid resuscitation.’

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Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Often Underrecognized, Has High Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John G. Laffey MD Chief, Department of Anesthesia; Co-Director, Critical illness and Injury Research Centre; Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science ‑ St. Michael's Hospital Professor, Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Physiology ‑ University of Toronto

Dr. John Laffey

John G. Laffey MD
Chief, Department of Anesthesia; Co-Director, Critical illness and Injury Research Centre; Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science ‑ St. Michael’s Hospital
Professor, Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Physiology ‑ University of Toronto

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Laffey: Acute respiratory distress syndrome is the commonest cause of severe acute respiratory failure in the critically ill. ARDS is a major cause of death and disability in the critically ill worldwide. Second, there is no treatment for ARDS, and our present management approaches are limited to supporting organ function while treating the underlying causes

We performed the LUNG SAFE study to address several clinically important questions regarding ARDS.

First, the current incidence in a large international cohort was not known. Large regional differences had been suggested: for example, the incidence of ARDS in the US was reported to be ten times greater of that in Europe_ENREF_4.

Second, we wanted to understand how we manage patients with  Acute respiratory distress syndrome in the ‘real world’ situation. Specifically, it was not clear to what extent newer approaches to artificial ventilation, such as reducing the size of the breaths (lower tidal volumes) and keeping the lung pressure positive at all times to minimize collapse (PEEP) were used. The impact of studies showing promise for other measures to improve gas exchange such as turning patients prone during mechanical ventilation, or using neuromuscular blockade, on routine clinical practice in the broader international context was not known.

Third, there were some concerns over the extent of clinician recognition of ARDS. This was an important issue because implementation of the effective therapies may be limited by lack of recognition of ARDS by clinicians. A better understanding the factors associated with ARDS recognition and how this recognition influenced patient management could lead to effective interventions to improve care.

Lastly we wanted to determine the outcome from  Acute respiratory distress syndrome in a global cohort of patients.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Laffey: We found that ARDS continues to represent an important public health problem globally, with 10% of ICU patients meeting clinical criteria for ARDS. While there appeared to be some geographic variation, this did not seem as great as previously thought.

An important finding was the under-recognition of  Acute respiratory distress syndrome by clinicians, with 40% of all cases not being recognized.

In addition, over one third of patients did not receive protective lung ventilation strategies. The use of other measures to aid gas exchange during artificial ventilation, such as turning the patient into the prone position, or the use of neuromuscular blockade was also quite low.

Of most concern, ARDS continues to have a very high mortality of approximately 40% of patients dying in hospital.

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Repurposed Chinese Herbal Antimalarial May Protect Against Hemorrhage and Shock

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Chris Thiemermann Centre for Trauma Sciences Queen Mary University of London

Prof. Chris Thiemermann

Professor Chris Thiemermann
Centre for Trauma Sciences
Queen Mary University of London

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Thiemermann: Trauma is a leading cause of death with five million victims a year. About 40 per cent of trauma deaths are due to hemorrhagic shock, which is when severe blood loss makes it difficult for the heart to pump sufficient blood around the body, leading to multiple organ failure.

Multiple organ failure affects one in three severely injured patients, and one in four of those will die.  Those that survive still experience prolonged periods in intensive care, infections and other complications. But despite its catastrophic impact, there are still no specific treatments for organ failure.

We’ve now discovered that the drug Artesunate, which has already been used by thousands of people with malaria, is also effective for treating severe haemorrhage and blood loss in rats. Artesunate is based on an ancient Chinese herbal remedy, produced in large quantities in China, and is recommended by the World Health Organization as the treatment of choice for severe malaria. It has also been shown to have anti-cancer, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects.

My study, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Department of Health, shows that when injured rats were administered Artesunate, the drug had a marked protective impact on organ failure.

The drug appears to work by enhancing the protection of organs by reducing the body’s excessive inflammatory response to injury and blood loss, and by activating well-known cell-survival pathways.

The lower dose of Artesunate shown in the study to be effective in hemorrhagic shock is identical to the dose used in patients with malaria, many of which also have multiple organ dysfunction.

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Reduced Mortality With Specialized Oral Nutrition In Malnourished Older Adults

Dr. Refaat Hegazi, MD, PhD MS MPH Abbott medical director and study author

Dr. Refaat Hegazi

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Refaat Hegazi, MD, PhD MS MPH

Abbott medical director and study author

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Hegazi: The NOURISH study that was recently published in Clinical Nutrition showed that a specialized oral nutrition supplement (with high protein, HMB and Vitamin D) was associated with a 50 percent lower death rate in older, malnourished patients with a heart or lung disease, 90 days after leaving the hospital.

The study was conducted with the utmost scientific rigor and is one of the largest nutrition clinical studies of its kind. In the study, we evaluated the effects of this specialized nutrition supplement compared to a placebo supplement on the incidence of hospital readmission or death through 90-days after leaving the hospital. The population studied has never been evaluated before in this way.

Results showed no significant differences between the two groups for the primary composite (i.e. combined) endpoint of hospital readmissions or death. However, the study individual components and additional analyses showed:

  • A significantly lower (50 percent) death rate for those who received the specialized nutrition supplement. This lower incidence of death began at 30 days after participants left the hospital, and continued for 90 days.
  • Similar rates of hospital readmissions between the two groups.
  • Improvements in other health outcomes including body weight, nutritional status and Vitamin D levels at 30 and 60 days after leaving the hospital, and continued body weight and nutritional status improvements at 90 days for the group taking the specialized nutrition supplement. 

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10% of ICU Patients At Risk of Developing PTSD

Mayur Patel, MD, MPH, FACS Assistant Professor of Surgery & Neurosurgery Vanderbilt University Medical Center Staff Surgeon and Surgical Intensivist Nashville VA Medical Center

Dr. Mayur Patel

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mayur Patel, MD, MPH, FACS
Assistant Professor of Surgery & Neurosurgery
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Staff Surgeon and Surgical Intensivist
Nashville VA Medical Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Patel: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in patients after the traumatizing events of critical illness. Survivors of critical illness have reported PTSD symptoms months to even years after critical illness, possibly related to nightmare-like experiences, safety restraints creating communication barriers, and protective mechanical ventilation causing feelings of breathlessness and fear of imminent death. But, the epidemiology of PTSD after critical illness is unclear with wide ranging estimates (0-64%) and largely fails to distinguish past PTSD from new PTSD specifically resulting from the critical care experience.

Our study provides estimates on new cases of PTSD stemming specifically from the ICU experience. Pre-existing PTSD has rarely been systematically assessed in prior cohorts, and our work took extra effort to distinguish pre-existing PTSD from new PTSD cases. Civilian populations have dominated the literature of PTSD after critical illness, and this research is the first to also include the expanding and aging Veteran population.  Continue reading

Acute Kidney Injury Raises Cardiovascular Mortality in Vascular Surgery Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Azra Bihorac, MD, MS and
Department of Anesthesiology
Charles Hobson, MD, MHA
Department of Surgery, Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center,
Department of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy
University of Florida Gainesville Florida 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:   Background is that as ICU clinicians we see acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) frequently and have to deal with the consequences, and as AKI researchers we have shown that even mild and moderate AKI – even if there is complete resolution of the AKI by the time of hospital discharge – result in significantly increased morbidity and mortality for the surgical patient. Furthermore we are aware of the existing relationship between CKD and cardiovascular mortality, and we wanted to explore any relationship between AKI and cardiovascular mortality in the vascular surgery patients that we care for on a daily basis. The most important finding was the strong association between AKI and cardiovascular mortality in these patients – equal to the well-known association between CKD and cardiovascular mortality.

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Does Nutritional Support Benefit Hospitalized Patients?

Philipp Schuetz, MD, MPH University Department of Medicine Clinic for Endocrinology/Metabolism/Clinical Nutrition, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland Medical Faculty of the University of Basel Basel, Switzerland

Dr. Schuetz

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Philipp Schuetz, MD, MPH
University Department of Medicine
Clinic for Endocrinology/Metabolism/Clinical Nutrition,
Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, Switzerland
Medical Faculty of the University of Basel
Basel, Switzerland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Schuetz: Malnutrition is common in hospitalised patients and associated with detrimental metabolic consequences. The current clinical approach is to provide at risk patients nutritional support as a strategy to tackle malnutrition and its associated adverse outcomes. Yet, whether this strategy is effective and improves clinical outcomes in the medical inpatient population is unclear. In addition, recent trials from critical care have shown adverse outcomes when nutritional therapy was used too aggressively.

Herein, our metaanalysis is the first to systematically investigate effects of nutritional support in medical inpatients. Our analysis shows that nutritional support is highly effective in increasing energy and protein intake and helps to stabilize weight loss. Also, risk for unplanned readmission after discharge from the hospital was reduced and length of stay was shorter in the patient population with established malnutrition.

Yet, for other important clinical outcomes such as mortality and functional outcomes effects of nutritional support remained uncertain. Also, the quality of evidence was found to be moderate to low.

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New Step Toward Gene Cure For Cystic Fibrosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dragana Vidovic and Marianne Carlon

Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy
KU Leuven, Belgium

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cystic fibrosis (CF) or mucoviscidosis is a genetic disorder caused by mutations in the CFTR gene which codes for a chloride/bicarbonate channel that regulates fluid secretion across the epithelium in different organs, for instance, the airways and the gastrointestinal tract. In the cells of CF patients, these anion channels are dysfunctional or even absent leading to the formation of sticky mucus. Persistent airway infection is the major clinical manifestation. The symptoms can be treated, but there is no cure for the disorder. Gene therapy holds promise to cure the disease. Previous studies suggested that the treatment is safe, but largely ineffective for Cystic fibrosis patients. However, as gene therapy has recently proven successful for inherited disorders such as haemophilia and congenital blindness, we wanted to re-examine its potential for CF.

Here we developed an improved gene therapy treatment based on inserting the CFTR gene into the genome of a recombinant AAV viral vector (rAAV), which is derived from the relatively innocent AAV virus. We used this vector to “smuggle” a healthy copy of the CFTR gene into the affected cells. We administered rAAV to CF mice via their airways. Most of the mice recovered. In patient-derived intestinal cell cultures or organoids, chloride and fluid transport was restored.

Medical Research: What does the study add to the field?

Response: Development of Cystic fibrosis gene therapy requires a thorough preclinical examination of a candidate vector in relevant cell and animal models before being administered to humans. Here, both in mice with Cystic fibrosis and in mini-guts or intestinal organoids derived from Cystic fibrosis patients, this approach yielded positive results setting the stage for further validation in large animal models which mimic the CF patient situation more faithfully. We believe that our study will revive the interest in CF gene therapy as a promising, mutation-independent approach to ultimately cure Cystic fibrosis.

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Peripheral Thermometers May Not Be Accurate Especially In Critically Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Daniel Niven MD, MSc, FRCPC
Department of Critical Care Medicine
Department of Community Health Sciences
O’Brien Institute for Public Health
Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Niven: Fever (temperature 38.0 degrees Celsius or higher) and hypothermia (temperature less than 36.0 degrees Celsius) are commonly included in diagnostic criteria for certain disorders, influence clinical decision making, and are associated with an increased risk for death in select patient populations. Therefore, accurately measuring body temperature is important. Unfortunately, the accuracy of many commonly employed thermometers is not well defined. 

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Niven: This systematic review and meta-analysis examined the accuracy of thermometers measuring temperature from peripheral sites (for example, forehead measurement devices) relative to central sites (for example, the bladder) in adults and children. From 75 studies and 8,682 patients, this meta-analysis found that the majority of commonly used peripheral thermometers do not have clinically acceptable accuracy among adults and children. This was especially the case for patients with fever and hypothermia, where peripheral temperature measurements may be as much as 1 to 2 degrees higher or lower than actual body temperature. Sensitivity for detection of fever was low (64%), whereas specificity was high (96%).

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Easing ICU Admission Threshold May Improve Care and Reduce Costs

Joseph M Carrington DO, MHA Department of Medicine - PGY3 Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital

Dr. Carrington

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joseph M Carrington DO, MHA
Department of Medicine – PGY3
Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Carrington: This study looked at a total of 886 patients at a community hospital. We were faced with the dilemma that our ICU beds were frequently over utilized with severely ill patients for whom our interventions had minimal impact. This prevented patients who were less ill from coming to the ICU who may have benefited from our services. We made a hospital wide culture change to lower ICU admission thresholds. Any patient felt to be “borderline” received an automatic ICU evaluation without any push-back. The result of these earlier interventions was a decrease in complications from patients decompensating in the ED and floors. In turn, the overall ICU length of stay, mortality, and ICU transfers all decreased. By decreasing these overall complications and mortality, our number of ICU over-utilizes decreased. This saved our hospital an annualized amount of over $2 million and freed up ICU beds and resources.

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Electronic Alerts Improved Sepsis Care and Outcomes

Dr. Pablo Moreno Franco Assistant Professor of Medicine MAYO Clinic

Dr. Franco

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
DrPablo Moreno Franco MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
MAYO Clinic

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Pablo Franco: Early alerts and prompt management of patient with severe sepsis and septic shock (SS/S) starting in the emergency department (ED) have been shown to improve mortality and other pertinent outcomes. With this in mind, we formed a multidisciplinary sepsis and shock response team (SSRT) in September 2013. Automated electronic sniffer alerted ED providers for possible sepsis and when S/SS was identified, they were encouraged to activate SSRT.

SSRT-Compliance-Study-Cohort Two blinded reviewers retrospectively abstracted data on clinical trajectory and outcomes of all patients with sepsis and SS/S admitted at a single academic medical center between September 2013 and September 2014. Given importance of timely recognition and interventions in S/SS, we specifically focused on 2 periods: 0-4 hours and 4-12 hours after hospital admission. Additionally, we compared the compliance to “standard of care” between the SSRT pre-implementation period and the study period.

There were 167 patients admitted with sepsis, among which there were 3 SSRT activations and sepsis mortality was 3.6%. There were 176 patients with SS, SSRT was called in 42 (23%) and SS mortality was 8.5%. CCS was involved in 66 patients and mortality was 6.9% if SSRT was activated, versus 21.6% if SSRT was not activated. There were 76 patients with septic shock, SSRT was called in 44 (57%) and septic shock mortality was 25%. Critical Care Service (CCS) was involved in 68 patients and mortality rates with and without SSRT were 30.9% and 15.4%, respectively. The all-or-none compliance with applicable goals of resuscitation improved from the baseline 0% to over 50% at the study period end. Overall observed/expected sepsis mortality index improved from 1.38 pre-SSRT to 0.68 post-SSRT implementation.

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Veterans with PTSD Require More Sedatives in Critical Care Units

Jad Kebbe, MD Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Department of Medicine University of Buffalo

Dr. Jad Kebbe

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jad Kebbe, MD
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Department of Medicine
University of Buffalo

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kebbe: This study proceeded after sensing that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was a major contributor to ill outcomes in Veterans who are hospitalized in general, and mechanically ventilated in the intensive care unit (ICU) in particular. There is plenty of data depicting the comorbid roles PTSD plays in other medical conditions, leading to an increase in the use of medical services. Furthermore, PTSD affects a Veteran’s adherence to both medical and psychiatric therapies. Having said this, the ICU course could itself negatively affect a pre-existing PTSD, or even lead to the inception of such a condition de novo. However, to date, there has been no study looking at the effect a pre-existing PTSD diagnosis may have on the ICU hospitalization and thereafter.

Our study confirmed that PTSD led to an increase in sedative requirements (opiates and benzodiazepines) for Veterans who were mechanically ventilated for more than 24h between 2003 and 2013, and revealed a trend towards an increase in mortality when compared to Veterans not suffering from PTSD.

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