Signa Vitae

Journal for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

Category: Articles (Page 1 of 55)

Biomarkers of sepsis in neonates and children

Abstract

Sepsis, and related complications, is still a common cause of death in hospitalized patients worldwide, especially in critically ill neonates and children. Sepsis is also responsible for significant morbidity, and financial burden. It is very important to recognize sepsis early, since delayed diagnosis is associated with worse outcome. The early detection of sepsis remains a great challenge for clinicians because the use of blood cultures, the gold standard for diagnosis of bacteremia, is fraught with difficulties. The role of different immune and metabolic biomarkers is to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of sepsis. White blood cell count, C-reactive protein and procalcitonin are currently the most widely used biomarkers, but they have limited abilities to distinguish sepsis from other inflammatory conditions or to predict outcome. In this review, these biomarkers will be discussed along with novel diagnostic, prognostic and treatment response biomarkers, including interleukins -6, -8, -18, tumor necrosis factor – alpha, CD11b, CD64 and CD15s. The future of sepsis biomarkers lies in extensive validation studies of all novel biomarkers and their combinations as early predictors of sepsis. Also, research to identify novel sepsis biomarkers and develop specific therapeutic strategies based on biomarker information has to be continued.

Key words: infant, child, biomarkers, CD15s antigen, C-reactive protein, procalcitonin

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Anesthesia for carotid endarterectomy: where do we stand at present?

Abstract

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgical procedure performed to reduce the incidence of embolic and thrombotic stroke. Although only a preventive procedure, CEA carries the risk of perioperative complications. There is constant searching for an optimal anesthetic technique. There are pros and cons for both anesthetic techniques used: regional (RA) and general anesthesia (GA). A large number of studies have compared RA and GA techniques in CEA surgery patients. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients with stroke, myocardial infarction, or death. However, neither the GALA trial nor the pooled analysis was adequately powered to reliably detect an effect of type of anesthesia on mortality. It may therefore be appropriate to consider other additional parameters (stress response, incidence of postoperative delirium and cognitive impairment, functional recovery, total surgery time, intensive care unit requirement, hospital stay, hospital costs and patients satisfaction) when comparing the outcomes of the two techniques.

Although, the debate continues as to whether regional anesthesia or general anesthesia is safer, the choice of anesthetic technique is a complex decision and surgical teams should be able to offer both RA and GA. The individual approach is the ideal choice and should be determined at the discretion of the surgeon, anesthetist and patient depending on the clinical situation and own preferences.

Key words: surgery, carotid endarterectomy, anesthesia, general, regional, outcome

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Acute intoxication and poisoning in children: the experience of a tertiary-care hospital from 2001-2012

Abstract

The frequency and distribution of acute intoxications and poisoning from non-pharmacological substances in children was evaluated in this observational-descriptive study. This was done by analyzing all admissions to the Emergency Room of our University in Rome during the period 1st January 2001 to 31st December 2012. We found 249 patients aged 0-14 years: 147 males and 102 females. The highest incidence occurred in the first 4 years of life: 44.2% in the 1-2 year age-group. Cases were mostly related to solvents (44.6%), natural products (17.7%), agricultural products (12.9%), corrosive acids and alkaline caustics (14.8%). Most admissions occurred during the time slot 18:00 to 21:00 (23.7%). No clinical symptoms were observed in 116 children (46.6% of the total), and physical examination was unrevealing. The remaining 133 displayed nausea/vomiting (22%) and pharyngeal hyperemia (18.8%). Laboratory tests and imaging studies were only performed in selected cases. In terms of consulting requests, the Poisons Center was contacted 156 times (62.6% of cases), the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit 38 times (15.2%), and the surgeon-endoscopist 18 times (7.2%). A short period of observation and monitoring in the Emergency Room was warranted in 106 children (42.5%). Gastroprotective drugs were used in 75 cases (30.1%) and activated charcoal in 18 (7.2%). Nintey-five children (38.2%) were admitted to the pediatric department , but no complications occurred. Targeted information programs in schools and during pediatric check-ups should decrease the risk of ingestion of non-pharmacological substances in children, and the costs of its management.

Key words: intoxication, poisoning, child

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Immature granulocyte count on the new Sysmex XN-9000: performance and diagnosis of sepsis in the intensive care unit

Abstract

Introduction. The amount of immature leukocytes reflects marrow response to bacterial infection, and this may be quantified as the band or immature granulocyte (IG) count. The aim of this study was to analyze the IG count performance of the Sysmex XN-9000 hematology analyzer in intensive care unit (ICU) patients.

Methods. 480 peripheral blood samples from adult patients admitted to the ICU (301 control, 119 sepsis and 60 septic shock) were analyzed with Sysmex XN-9000. Serum C reactive protein (CRP) was measured on Siemens ADVIA 2400. IG count in peripheral blood was determined either by XN-9000 or optical microscopy (OM). Agreement between the two methods was assessed with Pearson’s correlation, Passing-Bablok regression and Bland Altman bias. Diagnostic accuracy was estimated through ROC curves analysis. Sysmex XN-9000 imprecision and within-run precision were also evaluated.

Results. Pearson’s correlation (r) relative to IG count, as absolute and percentage values, was 0.89 (p <0.0001) and 0.74 (p <0.0001), respectively, with a Bias of 0.22 and 1.69 respectively. The Area Under the curve (AUC) for the IG count for diagnosing sepsis was greater on XN-9000 than OM and equal to the serum CRP. The diagnostic accuracy of IG counts improves when taking into account the conventional criteria for diagnosing sepsis.

Conclusion. IG count appears suitable and reliable when performed using XN-9000. Even if a modest overestimation was found, the diagnostic accuracy showed by IG analysis on XN-9000 may represent a valid alternative to OM count for diagnosing sepsis in ICU patients.

Key words: immature granulocyte, Sysmex XN, sepsis, automated cell count

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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Species in a cardiac surgical intensive care unit

Abstract

Objective. Multi-drug resistant bacterial infections, in particular when Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is involved, have become a relevant problem in both general and specialized intensive care units. The aim of this study was to identify the epidemiology of MRSA infections in a Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit, to assess their impact on mortality and to identify predictors of MRSA infection and mortality in this population.

Design and settings. A 7-year observational study in a cardiac surgery teaching center.

Participants. Eight thousand, one hundred and sixty-two microbiological samples were obtained from 7,313 patients who underwent cardiac surgery in the study period.

Interventions. None.

Variables of interest and main results. Twenty-eight patients (0.38%) had MRSA infection. The most frequent site of MRSA isolation was from bronchoalveolar samples. Hospital mortality was 50% in patients with MRSA infection and 2% in patients without MRSA infection (p<0.001).

Few preoperative independent predictors of MRSA infection and hospital mortality were found at multivariate analysis. Outcomes were found to be most influenced by perioperative variables. MRSA infection was the strongest predictor of mortality, with an odds ratio of 20.5 (95% CI 4.143-101.626).

Conclusions. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections following cardiac surgery still have a strong impact on the patients’ outcome. More efforts should be directed toward the development of new risk analysis models that might implement health care practices and might become precious instruments for infection prevention and control.

Key words: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, infections, cardiac surgery, mortality, intensive care, cardiac anaesthesia

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