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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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Acetaminophen May Shorten ICU Stay For Some Patients

Dr. Paul Jeffrey Young MD Intensive Care Unit, Wellington Regional Hospital Wellington South, New ZealandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Paul Jeffrey Young MD
Intensive Care Unit, Wellington Regional Hospital
Wellington South, New Zealand

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

Response: Fever is a response to infection that is broadly conserved across many animal species and it seems reasonable to presume that the components of the immune response have adapted to function optimally in the physiological febrile range.  We have previously shown that among patients with fever and infection, increasing degrees of fever in the first 24 hours in ICU are generally associated with reducing mortality risk after adjusting for illness severity.  Although acetaminophen (paracetamol) is commonly used to treat fever in the ICU, there are no previous data to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this practice.  The HEAT trial was designed by a group of ICU clinicians to test the hypothesis that treating fever with acetaminophen in critically ill patients with infections would worsen outcomes, or more specifically that it would reduce the number of days patients spent alive and free from requiring intensive care.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The primary finding was that early administration of acetaminophen to treat fever did not alter the number of ICU-free days in adult ICU patients with infections.  The mortality rates of acetaminophen and placebo patients were similar.  Patients who received acetaminophen had lower body temperature than patients who received placebo and did not have significantly more adverse events.  Acetaminophen use was associated with a shorter ICU stay than placebo among survivors and a longer ICU stay among patients who died.

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ICU Treatment For Pneumonia May Decrease Readmissions and Costs

Thomas Valley, MD Fellow, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MIMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thomas Valley, MD
Fellow, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

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

Dr. Valley: There has been dramatic growth in intensive care unit (ICU) use over the past 30 years. As the reasons for this growth are not entirely clear, some have suggested that the ICU is a meaningful source of low-value care. The value of the ICU, however, depends on the net benefit that ICUs provide patients. Prior observational studies assessing the effectiveness of the ICU were limited because patients admitted to the ICU are inherently sicker and more likely to die than patients admitted to the general ward. Given the substantial number of patients with pneumonia who are admitted to an ICU, it is vital to understand whether admission to the ICU is beneficial.

In our study of 1.1 million Medicare beneficiaries with pneumonia between 2010 and 2012, we used an instrumental variable, a statistical technique to pseudo-randomize patients based on their proximity to a hospital that uses the ICU frequently for pneumonia, in order to determine whether ICU admission saved lives and at what financial cost. An estimated 13 percent of patients were admitted to the ICU solely because they lived closest to a hospital that used the ICU frequently for pneumonia. Among these patients, ICU admission was associated with a nearly six percent reduction in 30-day mortality compared to general ward admission. In addition, there were no significant differences in hospital costs or Medicare reimbursement between patients admitted to the ICU and to the general ward.

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Arterial Catheters Remain Source of Hospital Associated Infections

Leonard Mermel, DO, ScM, AM (Hon), FSHEA, FIDSA, FACP Professor of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University Medical Director, Dept. of Epidemiology & Infection Control, Rhode Island Hospital

 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leonard Mermel, DO, ScM, AM (Hon), FSHEA, FIDSA, FACP 
Professor of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Medical Director, Dept. of Epidemiology & Infection Control, Rhode Island Hospital
Adjunct Clinical Professor, University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy

 

 

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

Dr. Mermel: Arterial catheters are an under recognized source of hospital-associated bloodstream infection. As a result, arterial catheter infection prevention strategies are less well studied than with central lines.  We did a national survey and our findings reaffirmed the fact that physicians using these catheters underestimate the risk of infection.  Additionally and not surprisingly, infection prevention strategies are variable particularly concerning barrier precautions at insertion.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Mermel: Arterial catheters can cause catheter-related bloodstream infections.  These devices should be aseptically inserted and managed post-insertion and removed as soon as no longer required for patient care.  We are also in need of better studies to clearly delineate the ideal infection prevention strategies with these catheters based on our understanding of the pathogenesis of such infections.  Continue reading

Skin Mottling Associated In Increased Mortality In ICU Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rémi Coudroy MD
CHU de Poitiers, Service de Réanimation Médicale
CIC 1402 (ALIVE group), Université de Poitiers, Poitiers, France

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

Dr. Coudroy: Skin mottling is characterized by a red-violaceous discoloration of the skin. Its occurrence, as impaired consciousness and decreased urinary output are well-known clinical signs of shock. Skin mottling has been investigated only in patients with septic shock and recent studies have found that the extent and the persistence of skin mottling for more than 6 hours were associated with mortality. However, in daily clinical practice, we noticed that skin mottling occurred in patients without septic shock, and there was no data supporting the impact of skin mottling on the prognosis of critically ill patients.

In a retrospective monocentric observational study over a 1-year period in a 15-bed tertiary medical ICU where skin mottling over the knees is assessed by nurses, we found that skin mottling occurred in 29% of patients admitted to ICU. Nurses’ evaluation of skin mottling was highly reliable. In 60% of cases, mean arterial pressure was ≥ 65 mmHg without vasopressors. The occurrence of skin mottling was associated with mortality independently from calculated severity scores at admission (i.e. Simplified Acute Physiology Score II). Similarly, the persistence of skin mottling for more than 6 hours was associated with mortality independently from organ failure at the onset of skin mottling (i.e. the use of vasopressors, the need for mechanical ventilation and hyperlactatemia).

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Multidrug Resistant Bacteria Found Commonly In Oncology Intensive Care

Dr. Cornejo-Juárez Department of Infectious Disease, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología Tlalpan MexicoMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Cornejo-Juárez
Department of Infectious Disease,
Instituto Nacional de Cancerología
Tlalpan Mexico

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Cornejo: Critically ill patients in the intensive care unit are at major risk of hospital-acquired infections. Immunosuppressed patients have a higher risk related with continuous exposure to the hospital setting, mucositis and disruption of skin integrity, presence of indwelling catheters and abnormal immune system because of primary malignancy or chemotherapy. Our aimed was to investigate prevalence and outcome of hospital-acquired infections in an oncology ICU.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Cornejo: We found that hospital-acquired infections are a major problem in the ICU. Hospital-acquired infections are related with higher mortality. Multidrug resistant bacteria are frequently involved in these infections, and are associated with increased mortality.

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Antimicrobial Chlorhexidine Baths Did Not Reduce Hospital Infections

Michael Noto, MD, PhD Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Noto, MD, PhD

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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

Dr. Noto: Health care-associated infections are the most common complication for hospitalized patients and several studies have suggested that bathing critically ill patients with the antimicrobial chlorhexidine reduces health care-associated infections.  In the largest study of chlorhexidine bathing to date, however, we were unable to demonstrate a reduction in infections.

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Low-Risk ICU Patients Can Still Develop Acute Kidney Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florentina E. Sileanu BS
Center for Critical Care Nephrology and Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness Center
Departments of Critical Care Medicine and Department of Biostatistics,
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and
Dr. John A. Kellum, MD, MCCM
Professor of Medicine, Bioengineering and Clinical & Translational Science
Vice Chair for Research
Center for Critical Care Nephrology,
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, PA

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

Response: Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) affects millions of Americans each year resulting in increased short and long-term complications including need for dialysis and death. Many trials recruiting subjects at risk for AKI have focused on those with other (e.g. cardiovascular and respiratory) organ failures because these patients are at highest for AKI. However, patients without these conditions might not be at low-risk for AKI. We explored whether Acute Kidney Injury occurring as a single organ failure or occurring before other organ failures would be associated with the same outcomes as in sicker patients. Using a large, academic medical center database, with records from July 2000 through October 2008, we identified a “low-risk” cohort as patients without cardiovascular and respiratory organ failures defined as not receiving vasopressor support or mechanical ventilation within the first 24 hours of ICU admission. We were able to show that low-risk patients have a substantial likelihood of developing AKI and that the relative impact on mortality of AKI is actually greater for low-risk patients (OR, 2.99; 95% 2.62-3.41) than for high-risk patients (OR, 1.19; 95% 1.09-1.3).

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Study Addresses Nutritional Support Of Critically Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sheila E. Harvey, Ph.D.
CTU Manager/Senior Research Fellow
ICNARC
Napier House London

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Harvey: The CALORIES trial was set-up in the context of concerns about malnutrition in critically ill patients in NHS hospitals and conflicting evidence as to the optimal route for delivery of early nutritional support to critically ill patients. The enteral route is the mainstay of nutritional support in the critically ill but it is frequently associated with gastrointestinal intolerance and underfeeding. In contrast, the parenteral route, though more invasive and expensive, is more likely to secure delivery of the intended nutrition but has been associated with more risks and complications (e.g. infectious complications) compared with the enteral route.

In light of the uncertainty surrounding the most effective route for delivery of early nutritional support and, given recent improvements in the delivery, formulation and monitoring of parenteral nutrition, the UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme put out a “call” for a large pragmatic randomised controlled trial to be conducted in critically ill patients to determine the optimal route of delivery of early nutritional support. CALORIES was set up to test the hypothesis that early nutritional support delivered via the parenteral route is superior to early nutritional support delivered via the enteral route in adults who had an unplanned admission to an intensive care unit and who could be fed via either route.

The primary outcome was all-cause mortality at 30 days. The secondary outcomes included infectious and non-infectious complications (hypoglycaemia, elevated liver enzymes, nausea requiring treatment, abdominal distension, vomiting, new or substantially worsened pressure ulcers).

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Physicans and Nurses Traumatized By Medical Errors

Alexandra Laurent Maître de conférences de psychologie clinique et psychopathologie Laboratoire de psychologie EA3188 Université de Franche-ComtéMedicalResearch.com Interview with :
Alexandra Laurent

Maître de conférences de psychologie clinique et psychopathologie
Laboratoire de psychologie EA3188
Université de Franche-Comté

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

Dr. Laurent: Human error among healthcare professionals is a subject of current affairs and especially in ICUs which are among the services with a high risk of error. If the error affects the patient and his/her family, it will also have an impact on the caregivers involved, their colleagues, and even the entire service. In an editorial in the BMJ, Wu introduced the term “the second victim” to define a caregiver implicated in and traumatised by an medical error for which he/she feels personally responsible. Therefore, it’s important to improve understanding of the psychological repercussions of error on professionals in ICUs, and to identify the defense mechanisms used by professionals to cope with errors.

In the month following the error, We found that the professionals (doctors and nurses) described feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings were associated with: anxiety states with rumination and fear for the patient; a loss of confidence; an inability to verbalize one’s error; questioning oneself at a professional level; and anger towards the team.

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Effect of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation In Critically Ill Patients

Karin Amrein, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Medical University of Graz 8036 Graz, AustriaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Karin Amrein, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Medical University of Graz
8036 Graz, Austria

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Amrein: This is the first large clinical trial on vitamin D in critical care. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, a population of mixed adult ICU patients with vitamin D deficiency (defined as 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level ≤ 20ng/ml) was assigned to receive either vitamin D3 or placebo. We used a high loading dose of vitamin D3 followed by monthly maintenance doses of 90,000 IU for a total of 5 months. Because of a substantially increased risk for skeletal complications below 12ng/ml of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, we used this threshold for a predefined subgroup analysis.

Overall, high-dose vitamin D3 compared with placebo did not reduce hospital length of stay (primary endpoint), intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, hospital mortality, or 6 month-mortality

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CHEST Consensus Statement: Care of the Critically Ill and Injured During Pandemics and Disasters

The American College of Chest Physicians released an expert consensus statement, Care of the Critically Ill and Injured During Pandemics and Disasters
while the global health-care community cares for patients with the Ebola virus.Three of the authors discussed this important statement with MedicalResearch.com.

Asha V. Devereaux, MD, MPH Sharp Hospital, Coronado, CAAsha V. Devereaux, MD, MPH
Sharp Hospital
Coronado, CA

Jeffrey R. Dichter, MD Allina Health, Minneapolis, MN, and Aurora Health, Milwaukee, WIJeffrey R. Dichter, MD
Allina Health, Minneapolis, MN
and Aurora Health, Milwaukee, WI

 

Niranjan Kissoon, MBBS, FRCP(C) BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CanadaNiranjan Kissoon, MBBS, FRCP(C)
BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada


Medical Research: What are the main ethical concerns and criteria for evaluating
who may be eligible for treatment during a pandemic or disaster?

Dr. Asha Devereaux: The main ethical concerns regarding eligibility for treatment during a pandemic will be access to limited or scarce resources. Who should get treatment and who decides will be some significant questions whenever there is a scarcity of healthcare resources. Transparency and the fairness of the ethical framework for decision-making will need to be made public and updated based upon the changing dynamics of resources and disease process.

Dr. Niranjan Kissoon: There is work to be done in this area and engagement of citizens, government, medical community, ethicists and legal experts in the process is important.

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Muscle Wasting in Critical Illness

Zudin Puthucheary MBBS B.Med.Sci D.UHM EDICM MRCP FHEA NIHR Research Fellow, Respiratory and Critical Care Institute of Health and Human Performance, UCL Post-CCT Fellow in Trauma and Critical Care, Kings College HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Zudin Puthucheary MBBS B.Med.Sci D.UHM EDICM MRCP FHEA
NIHR Research Fellow, Respiratory and Critical Care
Institute of Health and Human Performance, UCL
Post-CCT Fellow in Trauma and Critical Care,
Kings College Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: That muscle wasting occurs rapidly and early in critical illness, with up to 2-3% loss of muscle mass per day. This is related to the numbers of organs failed, and is made worse by the degree of acute lung injury, and increased protein delivery. Muscle wasting is the result of both decreased muscle protein synthesis and increased muscle protein breakdown. In addition 40% of these patients developed muscle necrosis over the study period.
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ICU Critical Care: Costs and Perceived Futility

Thanh N. Huynh, MD, MSHS Clinical Instructor UCLA Division of Pulmonary Critical CareMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Thanh N. Huynh, MD, MSHS
Clinical Instructor
UCLA Division of Pulmonary Critical Care

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Huynh: Our study shows that it is common for ICU doctors to recognize that futile treatment is provided to patients who cannot benefit from it.  In our study, 11% of ICU patients were perceived as receiving futile treatment.  The outcomes of these 123 patients were uniformly poor, with 85% dying within 6 months.  Advances in critical care medicine has allowed us to save lives, but it has also allowed us provide aggressive life-sustaining treatments that may not benefit all patients.  When aggressive treatment is poorly matched with a patient’s prognosis, doctors will consider such treatment as futile and our study shows that this is not an uncommon occurrence in our health system.

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