Even in Intensive Care, Health Care Costs Are Factor For Both Patients and Clinicians

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah D. Gordon, MBA Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Harvard Kennedy School Cambridge, Massachusetts

Deborah  Gordon

Deborah D. Gordon, MBA
Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government
Harvard Kennedy School
Cambridge, Massachusetts

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

Response: Against the backdrop of rising health care costs, and the increasing share of those costs that consumers bear, studies show people are interested in finding health care cost information and engaging with their providers on issues of cost.

We were interested in learning to what extent, if any, discussion or consideration of cost would be documented in electronic health records.

Using machine learning techniques to extract data from unstructured notes, we examined 46,146 narrative clinical notes from ICU admissions. We found that approximately 4% of admissions had at least one note with financially relevant content. That financial content included documentation of cost as a barrier to adhering to treatment prior to admission, and as a consideration in treatment and discharge planning.    Continue reading

Critical Illness: Haloperidol and Ziprasidone for Treatment of Delirium

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN Program Clinical Manager Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Truman Pun

Brenda Truman Pun, DNP, RN
Program Clinical Manager
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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

Response: Delirium is a serious problem in Intensive Care Units around the world. Approximately 80% of mechanically ventilated patients develop delirium, acute confusion, while in the ICU. Once thought to be a benign side effect of the ICU environment, research now shows that delirium is linked to a myriad of negative outcomes for patients which include longer ICU and Hospital stays, prolonged time on the ventilator, increased cost, long-term cognitive impairment and even mortality. For a half a century clinicians have been using haloperidol, an typical antipsychotic, to treat delirium in the ICU. However, there has never been evidence to support the use of haloperidol or its pharmacologic cousins, the atypical antipsychotics, to treat delirium. These drugs have serious side effects that include heart arrhythmias, muscle spasms, restlessness and are associated with increased mortality when given for prolonged periods in the outpatient settings leading to a black box warning for their use in this setting.

The MIND-USA study was a double blind placebo controlled trial which evaluated the efficacy and safety of antipsychotics (i.e., haloperidol and ziprasidone) in the treatment delirium in adult ICU patients.   Continue reading

Serum Neurofilament Biomarker Helps Determine if Brain Function Will Recover After Cardiac Arrest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Marion Moseby-Knappe

Dr. Moseby-Knappe

Marion Moseby-Knappe, MD
Neurologist and Researcher
Center for Cardiac Arrest at Lund University and
Skane University Hospital
Lund, Sweden

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

Response: Our research focuses on improving methods for examining unconscious patients treated on intensive care units after cardiac arrest. If a patient does not wake up within the first days after cardiac arrest, physicians need to evaluate how likely it is that the patient will awaken at all and to which extent there is brain injury.

According to European and American guidelines, decisions on further medical treatment of cardiac arrest patients should always be based on a combination of examinations and not only one single method. Various methods are combined when assessing the patient such as examining different neurologic reflexes, head scans (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging), other specialist examinations (electroencephalogram or somatosensory evoked potentials) or blood markers.

Our research focuses on patients included in the largest cardiac arrest trial to date, the Targeted Temperature Management after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (TTM) Trial.

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No Benefit, More Complications with Hypothermia after Traumatic Brain Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jamie Cooper AO BMBS MD FRACP FCICM FAHMS Professor of Intensive Care Medicine Monash University Deputy Director & Head of Research,  Intensive Care & Hyperbaric Medicine The Alfred, Melbourne

Prof. Cooper

Jamie Cooper AO
BMBS MD FRACP FCICM FAHMS
Professor of Intensive Care Medicine
Monash University
Deputy Director & Head of Research,
Intensive Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
The Alfred, Melbourne

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

Response: 50-60 million people each year suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) . When the injury is severe only one half are able to live independently afterwards.

Cooling the brain (hypothermia) is often used in intensive care units for decades to  decrease inflammation and brain swelling and hopefully to improve outcomes, but clinical staff have had uncertainty whether benefits outweigh complications.

We conducted the largest randomised trial of hypothermia in TBI, in 500 patients, in 6 countries, called POLAR. We started cooling by ambulance staff, to give hypothermia the best chance to benefit patients. We continued for 3-7 days in hospital ind ICU. We measured functional outcomes at 6 months.

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Do Antipsychotics Shorten Duration of Delirium in ICU Patients?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eugene Wesley Ely, M.D. Dr. E. Wesley Ely is a Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Ely
Photo: Anne Rayner, VU

Eugene Wesley Ely, M.D.
Dr. E. Wesley Ely is a Professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. 

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

Response: Critically ill patients are not benefitting from antipsychotic medications that have been used to treat delirium in intensive care units (ICUs) for more than four decades, according to a study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Each year, more than 7 million hospitalized patients in the United States experience delirium, making them disoriented, withdrawn, drowsy or difficult to wake.

The large, multi-site MIND USA (Modifying the INcidence of Delirium) study sought to answer whether typical and atypical antipsychotics — haloperidol or ziprasidone —affected delirium, survival, length of stay or safety.

Researchers screened nearly 21,000 patients at 16 U.S. medical centers. Of the 1,183 patients on mechanical ventilation or in shock, 566 became delirious and were randomized into groups receiving either intravenous haloperidol, ziprasidone or placebo (saline).

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Who is Really Sick? Eyeball Assessment vs Formal Triage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Anne Kristine Servais Iversen, Anne Kristine Servais Iversen Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Rigshospitalet Copenhagen, Denmark 

Dr. Servais Iversen

Dr Anne Kristine Servais Iversen,
Anne Kristine Servais Iversen
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Rigshospitalet
Copenhagen, Denmark 

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

Response: Systematic triage has been implemented worldwide with different triage scales in use all over the world. Prior to the introduction of formalised triage, patients were prioritised based on clinical assumption.

After the introduction of formalised triage only a few studies have assessed agreement between formal and informal triage. Additionally, the majority of formalised triage scales are supported by limited and often insufficient evidence. This is troublesome since formalised triage forces clinicians to follow an algorithm rather than use their experience and clinical judgement. During my own residency at a Danish Emergency ward I was often contacted by the nurse performing formalised triage telling me that a patient she was assessing scored to be very acute (high triage level), but that she didn’t believe that to be the case. In order for her to prioritise the patient to a lower (less acute) triage level the patient had to be assessed by a doctor.

Very often my colleagues and I would agree with the nurse in that the scoring was to high, and we therefore had to overrule the formalised triage decision. In cases like these you ask yourself whether or not we are using the most effective and best form of triage for initial patient sorting.

Our study found that agreement between formalised triage and a quick clinical assessment in the form of Eyeball triage is poor. It also suggest that eyeball triage better predicts those at highest risk of death within 48-hours and 30 days after assessment.

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Real World Treatment of Serious Infections with Ceftolozane/Tazobactam

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas P. Lodise Jr., PharmD, PhD Clinical Pharmacist at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Albany, NY

Dr. Lodise

Thomas P. Lodise Jr., PharmD, PhD
Clinical Pharmacist at the Stratton
VA Medical Center in Albany, NY
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Albany, NY

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does Ceftolozane/Tazobactam differ from other antibiotics for serious Gram-negative infections including Pseudomonas aeruginosa?

Response: Treatment of patients with Gram-negative infections is increasingly difficult due to rising resistance to commonly used agents. Ceftolozane/tazobactam (C/T) is a potent anti-pseudomonal agent with broad Gram-negative coverage that is indicated for complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI) and complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI) and is currently being studied for ventilated nosocomial pneumonia. C/T differs from other antibiotics in terms of its potency against multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of the most concerning and difficult-to-treat Gram-negative pathogens. This study evaluates C/T in a large database of US hospitals to better understand treatment patterns and associated outcomes.

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Hospital Sinks a Trap For Bad Bacteria

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gili Regev-Yochay, MD, Lead author Director of the Infection Prevention & Control Unit Sheba Medical Center Tel HaShomer, Israel.   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: CPE (Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae) is endemic in Israel. In our ICU we had a prolonged CPE outbreak with one particular bacteria, which is not that common (OXA-48 producing-Serratia marcescens).  Enhancing our regular control measures (hand hygiene, increased cleaning etc..) did not contain the outbreak.    MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?   Response: The outbreak source were the sink-traps in nearly all the patient rooms, which were contaminated with this same bacteria. Once we understood that this was the source we took two measures:  1) Sink decontamination efforts, including intensive chlorine washes of the drainage and water system, replacement of all sink-traps, acetic acid treatment and more, all these efforts were only partially and only temporarily successful. So that even today, after a year of such efforts and a period in which we didn't have any patients with this infection, the drainage system is still contaminated with these bugs and they grow in the sink-traps and can be found in the sink outlets.  2) The second measure we took was an educational intervention, where we engaged the ICU team through workshops to the issue of the contaminated sinks and together enforced strict "sink-use guidelines" (sinks are to be used ONLY for hand washing, prohibiting placement of any materials near the sinks, etc.). Using these two measure the outbreak was fully contained.  To date, nearly 1.5 years since the last outbreak case, we did not have any further infections in our ICU patients with this bug.  MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?  Response: Sink-traps and drainage systems can be a major source of CPE transmission.  While traditionally CPE outbreaks were attributed to patient-to patient transmission, the environment and particularly water and drainage system appears to play a major role.  MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?   Response: There is urgent need to find a technological solution for drainage system contaminations.  While some have suggested to get rid of sinks in ICU this is probably not realistic in the era of emerging Clostridium infections (where washing hands, and not only alcohol rubs are needed).   Citation:  Gili Regev-Yochay, Gill Smollan, Ilana Tal, Nani Pinas Zade, Yael Haviv, Valery Nudelman, Ohad Gal-Mor, Hanaa Jaber, Eyal Zimlichman, Nati Keller, Galia Rahav. Sink traps as the source of transmission of OXA-48–producing Serratia marcescens in an intensive care unit. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 2018; 1 DOI: 1017/ice.2018.235    <span class="last-modified-timestamp">Oct 6, 2018 @ 7:25 pm</span>          The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.   Gili Regev-Yochay, MD
, Lead author
Director of the Infection Prevention & Control Unit
Sheba Medical Center
Tel HaShomer, Israel. 

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

Response: CPE (Carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae) is endemic in Israel. In our ICU we had a prolonged CPE outbreak with one particular bacteria, which is not that common (OXA-48 producing-Serratia marcescens).  Enhancing our regular control measures (hand hygiene, increased cleaning etc..) did not contain the outbreak.

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When Should Children in Pediatric Intensive Care Receive Parenteral Nutrition?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD Pediatric intensivist Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital

Dr. Verbruggen

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD
Pediatric intensivist
Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital

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

Response: In critically ill children treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) are often difficult to feed. The subsequent macronutrient deficit was found to be associated with impaired outcomes in the PICU. Furthermore, being undernourished in the PICU has also been associated with poor outcome of critical illness in children.

These associations formed the basis for guidelines recommending initiation of parenteral nutritional support early when enteral feeding is insufficient. However, the multicenter randomised controlled trial (RCT) ‘Pediatric Early versus Late Parenteral Nutrition in Critical Illness’ (PEPaNIC), including 1440 critically ill children, showed that withholding PN for one week (Late-PN) resulted in fewer new infections and reduced the duration of PICU stay as compared to initiating PN at day 1 (Early-PN). However, withholding PN for one week in critically ill children, who are already undernourished upon admission to the PICU, raised concerns among experts.

Therefore we set out to investigate the impact of withholding supplemental PN in a subgroup of critically ill children who were acutely undernourished upon admission to the PICU.  Continue reading

First Trial Compares Treatment Options For Serious Infections Caused by ESBL-Producers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patrick Harris FRACP Staff Specialist Microbiology | Pathology Queensland | Health Support Queensland Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Queensland, UQ Centre for Clinical Research (Paterson Group)

Dr. Harris

Patrick Harris FRACP
Staff Specialist
Microbiology | Pathology Queensland | Health Support Queensland
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
University of Queensland, UQ Centre for Clinical Research (Paterson Group

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

Response: Increasingly, common bacterial pathogens such as E. coli or Klebsiella have acquired genes known as extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs), which mediate resistance to many of our most important antibiotics. Despite their clinical importance, we have limited information derived from randomised clinical trials on the best antibiotic treatments for life-threatening infections caused by these ESBL-producers.

We aimed to compare two readily available antibiotics, meropenem (a carbapenem drug, as the “standard of care”) and piperacillin-tazobactam (which may be an alternative to meropenem). Many ESBL-producing bacteria test susceptible to piperacillin-tazobactam in the laboratory, yet clinical efficacy has been uncertain.  Some observational studies have suggested that piperacillin-tazobactam may be effective against ESBL-producers, but the data have been contradictory.  The theory has been that piperacillin-tazobactam may be less likely to select for resistance to carbapenems – which, when it occurs, can result in infection with bacteria that are almost untreatable.

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Daily Chest X-Rays Still Overused in Mechanically Ventilated Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

Dr. Gershengorn

Hayley B. Gershengorn, MD
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida
Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

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

Response: Beginning in December, 2011, professional guidelines have recommended against the practice of daily chest radiography (CXRs) for mechanically ventilated patients.  However, we hypothesized that this practice was still commonplace in the US and varied from hospital to hospital.

To address this question, we performed a retrospective cohort study of >500,000 mechanically ventilated adults across 416 US hospitals. We found that 63% of these patients received daily CXRs and that, while use has been decreasing, this decrease is small (a 3% relative reduction in the odds of daily CXR receipt per discharge quarter starting in 2012).

Moreover, the hospital at which a patient received care greatly impacted the likelihood of daily CXR receipt.

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“Rory’s Regulations” Improves Pediatric Sepsis Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Idris V.R. Evans, M.D.,MA Assistant Professor Department of Critical Care Medicine University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Evans

Idris V.R. Evans, M.D.,MA
Assistant Professor
Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

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

Response: New York State issued a state-wide mandate in 2013 for all hospitals to develop protocols for sepsis recognition and treatment. This mandate was called “Rory’s Regulations” in honor of Rory Staunton, a boy who died from sepsis in 2012.

Pediatric protocols involved a bundle of care that included blood cultures, antibiotics, and an intravenous fluid bolus within 1–hour. We analyzed data collected by the NYS Department of Health on 1,179 patients from 54 hospitals and found that the completion of the pediatric bundle within 1 hour was associated with a 40% decrease in the odds of mortality.  Continue reading

Ultra-Early Deterioration Predicts Poor Outcome in Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kristina Shkirkova

Kristina Shkirkova

Kristina Shkirkova
Doctoral Student in Neuroscience
Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

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

Response: Stroke is the second leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability worldwide. Stroke onset is sudden with symptoms progressing rapidly in the first hours after onset. The course of symptom progression after stroke is not well studied in the ultra-early window before hospital arrival and during early postarrival period.

There is an urgent need to characterize the frequency, predictors, and outcomes of neurologic deterioration among stroke patients in the earliest time window.

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How Doctors Communicate Empathy Critical to Family-Physician Partnership

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Tessie W. October. MD, MPH Critical Care Specialist Children’s National Health System

Dr. October

Dr. Tessie W. October. MD, MPH
Critical Care Specialist
Children’s National Health System 

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

Response: This is a qualitative study that examines the impact of empathetic statements made by doctors on the ensuing conversation with families of critically ill children. We know families are more satisfied when doctors show empathy, but until this study, we did not know how these empathetic statements are received by families. In this study we found that doctors frequently respond to a family’s emotions by responding with empathy, but how the doctor presented that empathetic statement mattered. When doctors made an empathetic statement, then paused to allow time for a family’s response, the family was 18 times more likely to share additional information about their fears, hopes or values. Conversely, when doctors buried the empathetic statement within medical talk or if a second doctor interrupted, the empathetic statement frequently went unheard by the family.

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Family-Support Intervention in ICUs Increased Patient Comfort and Reduced Costs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Douglas B. White, M.D., M.A.S. Director of the Clinical Research Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness (CRISMA) Center’s Program on  Ethics and Decision Making in  Department of Critical Care Medicine University of Pittsburgh 

Dr. White

Douglas B. White, M.D., M.A.S.
Director of the Clinical Research Investigation and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness (CRISMA) Center’s Program on
Ethics and Decision Making in  Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh 

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

Response: We set out to test the effectiveness of PARTNER (PAiring Re-engineered ICU Teams with Nurse-driven Emotional Support and Relationship-building). PARTNER is delivered by the interprofessional team in the ICU, consisting of nurses, physicians, spiritual care providers, social workers and others who play a part in patient care. The program is overseen by nurse-leaders in each ICU who receive 12 hours of advanced communication skills training to support families. The nurses meet with the families daily and arrange interdisciplinary clinician-family meetings within 48 hours of a patient coming to the ICU. A quality improvement specialist helps to incorporate the family support intervention into the clinicians’ workflow.

PARTNER was rolled out at five UPMC ICUs with different patient populations and staffing. It was implemented in a staggered fashion so that every participating ICU would eventually get PARTNER. Before receiving PARTNER, the ICUs continued their usual methods of supporting families of hospitalized patients. None of the ICUs had a set approach to family communication or required family meetings at regular intervals before receiving PARTNER. A total of 1,420 adult patients were enrolled in the trial, and 1,106 of these patients’ family members agreed to be a part of the study and its six-month follow-up surveys. The patients were very sick, with about 60 percent dying within six months of hospitalization and less than 1 percent living independently at home at that point.

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Reducing Opioids Near End of Hospital Stay May Limit Outpatient Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jason Kennedy, MS Research project manager Department of Critical Care Medicine University of Pittsburgh

Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy, MS
Research project manager
Department of Critical Care Medicine
University of Pittsburgh

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

Response: Most previous studies of opioid use in health care have focused on the outpatient setting. But opioids are often introduced during hospitalization. That’s something clinicians can control, so we looked at inpatient prescription of these drugs to identify targets that may reduce opioid use once patients are out of the hospital.

We analyzed the medical records of 357,413 non-obstetrical adults hospitalized between 2010 and 2014 at 12 University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) hospitals in southwestern Pennsylvania. The region is one of the areas of the country where opioid addiction is a major public health problem. We focused on the 192,240 patients who had not received an opioid in the year prior to their hospitalization – otherwise known as “opioid naïve” patients.

Nearly half (48 percent) of these patients received an opioid while hospitalized.  After discharge, those patients receiving hospital opioids were more than twice as likely to report outpatient opioid use within 90-days (8.4 percent vs. 4.1 percent). Patients who receive an opioid for most of their hospital stay and patients who are still taking an opioid within 12 hours of being discharged from the hospital appear more likely to fill a prescription for opioids within 90 days of leaving the hospital.  Continue reading

Pneumonia Patients on Ventilators May Benefit from New Ceftolozane/Tazobactam Antibiotics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Elizabeth Rhee MD Director, Infectious Disease Clinical Research at Merck

Dr. Rhee

Dr. Elizabeth Rhee MD
Director, Infectious Disease Clinical Research Merck

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

Response: High-risk patients, such as the critically ill, with suspected bacterial infections require prompt treatment with appropriate empiric therapy to improve survival. Given the high prevalence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the ICU setting, new safe and broadly effective treatment options are needed for critically ill patients requiring antipseudomonal agents.

Ceftolozane/tazobactam (C/T) is an antipseudomonal cephalosporin/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination with broad in vitro activity against Gram-negative pathogens, including MDR P. aeruginosa and many extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers. It is FDA approved for complicated intra-abdominal and urinary tract infections in adults at 1.5g (1g/0.5g) q8h. C/T is currently being studied at 3g (2g/1g) q8h, for the treatment of ventilated nosocomial pneumonia, in the ASPECT-NP Phase 3 trial.

This Phase 1 pharmacokinetic (PK) study investigated the penetration of a 3g dose of C/T in the epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of ventilated patients with proven or suspected pneumonia. This is the dose and patient population being evaluated in ASPECT-NP. ELF lines the alveoli, and investigators took samples in a group of 26 patients to see what amount of C/T was in the lung and what was circulating in the plasma during the dosing intervals.

In mechanically ventilated critically ill patients, the 3g dose of C/T achieved ≥50% lung penetration (relative to free plasma) and sustained levels in ELF above the target concentrations for the entire dosing interval. These findings support the 3g dose that is included in the ASPECT-NP Phase 3 trial.  Continue reading

New Cephalosporin Combination Tested for Complicated Sepsis Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Becky Jayakumar, PharmD College of Pharmacy Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Roseman University of Health Sciences

Dr. Jayakumar

Becky Jayakumar, PharmD
College of Pharmacy
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
Roseman University of Health Sciences

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

Response: Bacteremia (bloodstream infections) due to Gram-negative (GN) bacteria are a frequent cause of severe sepsis and pose serious therapeutic challenges due to multidrug-resistance (MDR). Ceftolozane/tazobactam (C/T) is a novel antipseudomonal cephalosporin combined with an established β-lactamase inhibitor.

This retrospective, observational study evaluated the clinical outcomes of C/T real-world use in severely ill patients. Twenty-two patients with sepsis and/or bacteremia were included; 95% of whom had Pseudomonas aeruginosa that was resistant to almost all antibacterials with the exception of colistin. C/T successfully treated the majority of these complicated patients. In this real-world study, 77% of patients had a clinical response with C/T and 75% had a microbiological response. Clinical success rates were high and mortality rates were similar to other studies in this severely ill population. Continue reading

Merck Tests New Antibiotic Combination For Hard to Treat Bacterial Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amanda Paschke, MD, MSCE Senior principal scientist Infectious disease clinical research Merck Research Laboratories

Dr.Amanda  Paschke

Amanda Paschke, MD, MSCE
Senior principal scientist
Infectious disease clinical research
Merck Research Laboratories

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

Response: This study sought to evaluate a new beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor antibacterial combination, imipenem/relebactam (IMI/REL), compared with colistin plus imipenem for the treatment of infections caused by resistant Gram-negative bacteria.

Patients enrolled in the trial had hospital-acquired or ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia (HABP/VABP), complicated intra-abdominal infections (cIAI), or complicated urinary tract infections (cUTI) caused by pathogens that were non susceptible to imipenem, a carbapenem antibacterial.

In this study, the primary outcome was a favorable overall response to treatment, which was comparable between the IMI/REL vs colistin + IMI arms. Colistin (often combined with a carbapenem) is currently among the standard of care treatment regimens for MDR infections.  A key secondary endpoint of the study was safety.  IMI/REL was well tolerated; among all treated patients, drug-related adverse events (AEs) occurred in 16.1% of IMI/REL and 31.3% of colistin + IMI patients with treatment-emergent nephrotoxicity observed in 10% (3/29 patients) and 56% (9/16 patients), respectively (p=0.002). Results of the trial support the use of imipenem-relebactam (IMI/REL) as an efficacious and well-tolerated treatment option for carbapenem-resistant infections.  Continue reading

Dexmedetomidine Reduced Risk of Delirium

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yoanna Skrobik MD FRCP(c) MSc McGill University Health Centre Canada

Dr. Skrobik

Yoanna Skrobik MD FRCP(c) MSc
McGill University Health Centre
Canada

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

Response: My clinical research interests revolve around critical care analgesia, sedation, and delirium. I validated the first delirium screening tool in mechanically ventilated ICU patients (published in 2001), described ICU delirium risk factors, associated outcomes, compared treatment modalities and described pharmacological exposure for the disorder. I was invited to participate in the 2013 Society of Critical Care Medicine Pain, Anxiety, and Delirium management guidelines, and served as the vice-chair for the recently completed Pain, Agitation, Delirium, Early Mobility and Sleep upcoming guidelines.

Until this study, no pharmacological prevention or intervention could convincingly be considered effective in ICU delirium. Although Haloperidol and other antipsychotics are frequently used in practice, their lack of efficacy and possible disadvantages are increasingly being understood.

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Balanced IV Fluids Can Reduce Kidney Damage and Death in Critically Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Todd W. Rice, MD, MSc Associate Professor of Medicine Director, Vanderbilt University Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine Nashville, TN  

Dr. Rice

Todd W. Rice, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Vanderbilt University Hospital Medical Intensive Care Unit
Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine
Nashville, TN  

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

Response: Our study (called the SMART study) evaluates the effects of different types of intravenous fluids used in practice in critically ill patients.  It is very similar to the companion study (called the SALT-ED study and published in the same issue) which compares the effects of different types of intravenous fluids on non-critically ill patients admitted to the hospital.  Saline is the most commonly used intravenous fluid in critically ill patients.  It contains higher levels of sodium and chloride than are present in the human blood.  Balanced fluids contain levels of sodium and chloride closer to those seen in human blood.

Large observational studies and studies in animals have suggested that the higher sodium and chloride content in saline may cause or worsen damage to the kidney or cause death.  Only a few large studies have been done in humans and the results are a bit inconclusive.

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For Most Patients Balanced IV Fluids Better Than Saline

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wesley H. Self, MD, MPH Associate Professor Department of Emergency Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, TN 

Dr. Self

Wesley H. Self, MD, MPH
Associate Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN  

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

Response: Doctors have been giving IV fluids to patients for more than 100 years. The most common IV fluid during this time has been saline; it has high levels of sodium and chloride in it (similar to table salt).  Balanced fluids are an alternative type of IV fluid that has lower levels of sodium and chloride that are more similar to human blood.

Our studies were designed to see if treating patients with these balanced fluids resulted in better outcomes than saline.  We found that patients treated with balanced fluids had lower rates of death and kidney damage than patients treated with saline.

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Standardization and Collaboration Reduced Use of Costly CRRT Treatment for Critically Ill Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rodrigo F. Alban, MD FACS Associate Director Performance Improvement Associate Residency Program Director NSQIP Surgeon Champion Department of Surgery Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Alban

Rodrigo F. Alban, MD FACS
Associate Director Performance Improvement
Associate Residency Program Director
NSQIP Surgeon Champion
Department of Surgery
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 

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

Response: Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) is a modality of hemodialysis commonly used to manage renal failure in critically ill patients who have significant hemodynamic compromise.  However, it is also resource-intensive and costly and its usage is highly variable and lacks standardization.

Our institution organized a multidisciplinary task force to target high value care in critically ill patients requiring CRRT by standardizing its process flow, promoting cross-disciplinary discussions with patients and family members, and increasing visibility/awareness of CRRT use.  After our interventions, the mean duration of CRRT decreased by 11.3% from 7.43 to 6.59 days per patient.  We also saw a 9.8% decrease in the mean direct cost of CRRT from $11642 to $10506 per patient.  Finally, we also saw a decrease in the proportion of patients expiring on CRRT, and an increase in the proportion of patients transitioning to comfort care.

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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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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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