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Signa Vitae

Journal of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

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Serum cortisol level as a useful predictor of surgical disease in patients with acute abdominal pain

Abstract

Introduction. The immediate aim should be to identify potentially resuscitative acute abdominal pain that requires prompt investigation or early surgical intervention. We aimed to evaluate whether serum cortisol levels differentiate surgical and non-surgical disease in patients with acute abdominal pain.

Materials and methods. In this prospective cross-sectional study, the primary end-point was defined as differences in serum cortisol levels between surgically and non-surgically treated patients with non-traumatic acute abdominal pain. The secondary end-point was to compare the cortisol levels with defined complete blood count (CBC) parameters in those groups.

Results. One hundred eleven patients with acute abdominal pain were included in the study. Three most frequent diagnoses were nonspecific abdominal pain, acute appendicitis and dyspeptic complaints. Thirty patients were hospitalized and 22 of them were operated. The median cortisol level was 23.13 µg/dl in surgically treated patients and 13.94 µg/dl in non-surgically treated patients (p<0.001). The area under the ROC curve using cortisol to detect surgical disease was 0.750 (95% CI, 0.659-0.827) and the accuracy of cortisol to detect surgical disease was not inferior to defined CBC parameters. A cortisol value of 17.98 µg/dl had a sensitivity of 67.4% and a specificity of 77.3% for surgical disease.

Conclusion. Operated patients had higher serum cortisol levels. High serum cortisol levels may indicate surgical disease at the early stage on admission in ED patients with acute abdominal pain and may be used as a marker in the prediction of acute surgical abdomen.

Key words: abdominal pain, cortisol, emergency department, surgery

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A rare consequence of trauma: Chylothorax

Abstract

Chylothorax is defined as the lymphatic fluid accumulation in the pleural space due to the obstruction or injuries in the ductus thoracicus. The incidence of chylothorax due to blunt and penetrating traumas is low at a rate of 0.2-3%. This case presentation intends to evoke chylothorax as a rare cause of pleural effusion due to injuries.

A 27-day-old infant was brought to the emergency department with the complaint of a sudden respiratory distress developing after falling off the couch. The respiratory rate was 62, the pulse rate was 174, and the oxygen saturation rate was 68%. In the physical examination, the respiratory sounds were diminished bilaterally. The patient was intubated. As the saturation levels did not improve after intubation, a needle aspiration was performed bilaterally in the anterior axillary line with a prediagnosis of massive haemothorax. A yellowish fluid was aspirated from the pleural space bilaterally. Chest tubes were inserted bilaterally to treat respiratory distress due to mass effect of chylothorax. Massive chylothorax cases may result in serious complications leading to respiratory distress and cardiac dysfunction. An early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can be life-saving in these patients.

Key words: chylothorax, trauma, pleural effusion

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Massive transfusion protocol: the reason it is necessary

Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this study is to identify problems of emergency transfusion at the bedside and to determine need for massive transfusion protocol.

Methods. We included patients who met the criteria for “trauma team activation” and were admitted to division of trauma. The amount of blood product transfused in each unit was investigated for balanced transfusion. We also investigated the compliance with assessment of blood consumption score. The correlation between the time elapsed from patient visit to first transfusion order and time elapsed from first transfusion order to transfusion start was analyzed. Finally, we investigated various factors which serve to influence the decision-making process regarding early transfusion order.

Results. Ratio of packed Red blood cells (pRBC): Fresh frozen plasma (FFP) was well-balanced, but platelet transfusion done was much lower than pRBC and FFP in emergency room. The application of emergency blood release did not match the criteria of assessment of blood consumption (ABC) score. The time from the first transfusion order to the transfusion start was found to be constant irrespective of time from patient visit to first transfusion order. And, the time from the first transfusion order to transfusion start did not differ significantly among patients with early transfusion order and delayed transfusion order. Only systolic blood pressure of < 90 mmHg was identified as a major predictor for early transfusion order.

Conclusion. Balanced transfusion is not easy and emergency transfusion could be delayed at the bedside. Integrated and systematic structures for massive transfusion protocol would be invaluable and indispensable.

Key words: transfusion, emergency, protocol

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Effect of transported hospital resources on neurologic outcome after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

Abstract

Objective. Appropriate regional transport protocol for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients is important for achieving favorable outcomes in a certain community. This study aimed to investigate the effect of transported hospital resources on the neurologic outcome after OHCA.

Methods. We categorized cardiac receiving centers (CRC) in our community into two levels (primary [P-CRC] and definite CRC [D-CRC]) according to the hospital resources that were identified by the Hospital Assessment Survey in 2015. OHCA patients with presumed cardiac etiology resuscitated by emergency medical service providers between 2012 and 2014, were enrolled in the study. The main exposure was the level of CRC. The primary endpoint was discharge with good neurologic outcomes. We compared outcomes between CRCs after adjusting for potential confounders.

Results. Among the 9,912 patients, 5,876 were transported to P-CRC and 4,036 to D-CRC from 2012 to 2014. Patients admitted to D-CRC showed better neurologic outcome than those admitted to P-CRC (6.2% vs 1.5%, p<0.001). With regard to patients who survived to admission, the neurologic outcome of patients in D-CRC was better than those in P-CRC (11.3% vs 3.3%, p<0.001). In the multivariable logistic model, the adjusted odds ratio for all OHCA patients was 2.10 (95% confidence interval, 1.51–2.95).

Conclusion. Transportation of OHCA patients to the D-CRC resulted in significantly good neurologic outcome than those transported to P-CRC. Further research is needed to establish a regional OHCA transport protocol.

Key words: cardiac arrest, outcome, regionalization

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Short- and long-term outcome of patients aged 65 and over after cardiac surgery

Abstract

To analyze the short and long-term outcome of patients aged 65 years and over, after cardiac surgery. Over a 12-year period we analyzed 1750 patients with a mean age of 70.09 3.94 years. They were classified into three age groups: between 65 and 69 (n = 709), between 70 and 74 (n = 695) and 75 years and above (n = 346). Follow-up information was obtained by telephone conversation after a 6-month and 3-year period of discharge from the hospital. Included in the follow-up were 1235 patients and an interview was conducted with 501 (40.6%) patients or their next of kin.

Even though the in-hospital morbidity was highest in the oldest age group, there were no significant differences between groups (p = 0.051). There was no significant difference between groups in the length of hospital stay. The greatest in-hospital mortality was noted in the oldest age group (p = 0.046) compared to patients in the age groups between 65 and 69 and between 70 and 74 years old (p = 0.023 and p = 0.036). In the follow-up study, there was a significantly smaller telephone feedback response in the oldest age group compared to the youngest group (p = 0.003). There were no differences between the groups with respect to mortality and cardiac death after the 6-month and 3-year periods of discharge from hospital.

Our data showed that despite a poor short – and long-term outcome in patients aged 75 and over, all patients had an acceptable operative risk.

Key Words: elderly; outcome; cardiac surgery

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