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Signa Vitae

A Journal In Intensive Care And Emergency Medicine

Tag: shock

Near infrared spectroscopy for evaluation of skeletal muscle tissue oxygenation in different types of shock


Clinical examination is non-invasive, but has well-recognized limitations in detecting compensated and uncompensated low flow states and their severity.

This paper describes the principles of near infra-red spectroscopy (NIRS) and the basis for its proposed use, in hypovolaemic, cardiogenic and septic shock, for assessing global and regional tissue oxygenation. The vascular occlusion test is explained. Limitations of NIRS, current controversies, and what is necessary in the future to make this technology a part of the initial and ongoing assessment of a patient, are discussed as well. The ultimate goal of such techniques is to prevent miss-assessment and inadequate resuscitation of patients, two major initiators in the development of multisystem organ failure and death.

Key words: shock, skeletal muscle, near-infrared spectroscopy

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Decreasing mortality with drotrecogin alfa in high risk septic patients A meta-analysis of randomized trials in adult patients with multiple organ failure and mortality >40%


Objective. Sepsis is a complex inflammatory disease, rising in response to infection. Drotrecogin alfa, approved in 2001 for severe sepsis, has been withdrawn from the market. The aim of this study was to assess if drotrecogin alfa-activated can reduce mortality in the more severe septic patients.

Methods. We searched PubMed, Embase, Scopus, BioMedCentral, and in Clinicaltrials. gov databases to identify every randomized study performed on drotrecogin alfa-activated in any clinical setting in humans, without restrictions on dose or time of administration. Our primary end-point was mortality rate in high risk patients. Secondary endpoints were mortality in all patients, in patients with an Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) 2 score ≥ 25 and in those with an APACHE 2 score ≤25.

Results. Five trials were identified and included in the analysis. They randomized 3196 patients to drotrecogin alfa and 3111 to the control group. Drotrecogin alfa was associated with a reduction in mortality (99/263 [37.6%] vs 115/244 [47.1%], risk ratios (RR) = 0.80[0.65; 0.98], p = 0.03) in patients with multiple organ failure and a mortality risk in the control group of >40%, but not in the overall population or in lower risk populations.

Conclusions. In high risk populations of patients with multiple organ failure and a mortality of >40% in the control group, Drotrecogin alfa may still have a role as a lifesaving treatment. No beneficial effect in low risk patients was found. An individual patient meta-analysis including all randomized controlled trial on sepsis is warranted, along with new studies on similar drugs such as protein C zymogen.

Key words: sepsis, shock, intensive care, critically ill, mortality, drotrecogin alfa, recombinant human activated protein C

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Pediatric Shock


Millions of children die of shock due to various etiologies each year. Shock is a state of circulatory dysfunction where the metabolic demands of the tissue cannot be met by the circulation. Several different etiologies from hypovolemia to severe infection can result in shock. This review focuses on the definition of different types of shock seen in children and summarizes treatment strategies for the acute care practitioner based on pertinent recent literature. Early recognition and timely intervention are critical for successful treatment of pediatric shock. A strong index of suspicion by the treating clinician and early fluid resuscitation followed by ongoing assessment and timely transfer to a higher level of care can make the difference between life and death for the child who presents in shock.

Key words: shock, child, etiology, treatment

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Venous oximetry


Tissue hypoxia is the central pathophysiological process in shock and an important co-factor in the development of organ dysfunction. Hemodynamic parameters, usually used to assess the perfusion of organs and tissues, like arterial blood pressure, heart rate, urine output and blood gases can be normal in the presence of tissue hypoxia and cannot rule out imbalances between global oxygen supply and demand. Mixed venous oxygen saturation (SvO2) is a sensitive indicator of the adequacy of whole-body tissue oxygenation. However, it requires the placement of a pulmonary artery catheter, which is an invasive procedure with the possibility of numerous complications and is increasingly questioned due to the lack of evidence that it improves outcome. Central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) requires the insertion of a central venous catheter, which is routinely used in most critically ill patients, but it reflects the adequacy of oxygenation in the brain and upper part of the body and differs from SvO2. Still, it can be used as a surrogate for mixed venous oxygen saturation because the changes and trends of both variables parallel each other. Both variables are used extensively in the treatment of patients with severe sepsis, shock and trauma. In combination with other hemodynamic and biochemical parameters, they have diagnostic and prognostic value and allow for rational treatment of critically ill patients.

Key words: mixed venous oxygen saturation, central venous oxygen saturation, physiological monitoring, shock

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