The high number of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus requiring care for ARDS puts sedation in the critical care unit (CCU) to the edge. Depth of sedation has evolved over the last 40 years (no-sedation, deep sedation, daily emergence, minimal sedation, etc.). Most guidelines now recommend determining the depth of sedation and minimizing the use of benzodiazepines and opioids. The broader use of alpha-2 adrenergic agonists (‘alpha-2 agonists’) led to sedation regimens beginning at admission to the CCU that contrast with hypnotics+opioids (“conventional“ sedation), with major consequences for cognition, ventilation and circulatory performance. The same doses of alpha-2 agonists used for ‘cooperative’ sedation (ataraxia, analgognosia) elicit no respiratory depression but modify the autonomic nervous system (cardiac parasympathetic activation, attenuation of excessive cardiac and vasomotor sympathetic activity). Alpha-2 agonists should be selected only in patients who benefit from their effects (‘personalized’ indications, as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ approach). Then, titration to effect is required, especially in the setting of systemic hypotension and/or hypovolemia. Since no general guidelines exist for the use of alpha-2 agonists for CCU sedation, our clinical experience is summarized for the benefit of physicians in clinical situations in which a recommendation might never exist (refractory delirium tremens; unstable, hypovolemic, hypotensive patients, etc.). Because the physiology of alpha-2 receptors and the pharmacology of alpha-2 agonists lead to personalized indications, some details are offered. Since interactions between conventional sedatives and alpha-2 agonists have received little attention, these interactions are addressed. Within the existing guidelines for CCU sedation, this article could facilitate the use of alpha-2 agonists as effective and safe sedation while awaiting large, multicentre trials and more evidence-based medicine.
Septic events complicated by hemodynamic instability can lead to decreased organ perfusion, multiple organ failure, and even death. Acute renal failure is a common complication of sepsis, affecting up to 50-70 % of cases, and it is routinely diagnosed by close monitoring of urine output. We postulated that analysis of the minute-to-minute changes in the urine flow rate (UFR) and also of the changes in its minute-to-minute variability might lead to earlier diagnosis of renal failure. We accordingly analyzed the clinical significance of these two parameters in a group of critically ill patients suffering from new septic events.
The study was retrospective and observational. Demographic and clinical data were extracted from the hospital records of 50 critically ill patients who were admitted to a general intensive care unit (ICU) and developed a new septic event characterized by fever with leukocytosis or leukopenia. On admission to the ICU, a Foley catheter was inserted into the urinary bladder of each patient. The catheter was then connected to an electronic urinometer – a collecting and measurement system that employs an optical drop detector to measure urine flow. Urine flow rate variability (UFRV) was defined as the change in UFR from minute to minute.
Both the minute-to-minute UFR and the minute-to-minute UFRV decreased significantly immediately after each new septic episode, and they remained low until fluid resuscitation was begun (p < 0.001 for both parameters). Statistical analysis by the Pearson method demonstrated a strong direct correlation between the decrease in UFR and the decrease in the systemic mean arterial pressure (MAP) (R = 0.03, p = 0.003) and between the decrease in UFRV and the decrease in the MAP (R = 0.03, p = 0.004). Additionally, both the UFR and the UFRV demonstrated good responses to fluid administration prior to improvement in the MAP.
We consider that minute-to-minute changes in UFR and UFRV could potentially serve as early and sensitive signals of clinical deterioration during new septic events in critically ill patients. We also suggest that these parameters might be able to identify the optimal endpoint for the administration of fluid resuscitative measures in such patients.
We present the case of a 67-year-old male patient, who was admitted to the intensive care unit for hypoxemic respiratory failure due to severe COVID-19 pneumonitis, requiring mechanical ventilation. Despite close monitoring using transpulmonary pressure measurements and interventions to pursue lung-protective ventilation, the patient developed extensive barotrauma including a right-sided pneumothorax, subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum while on pressure support ventilation. We hypothesize that the high respiratory drive that COVID-19 patients seem to exhibit, combined with diffuse alveolar injury and increased alveolar pressure, resulted in gross barotrauma.
The respiratory characteristics that COVID-19 patients seem to exhibit might expose those on mechanical ventilation to an increased risk of developing ventilation-induced lung injury. This case emphasizes that caution should be taken in the respiratory treatment of patients with COVID-19 pneumonitis.
Cardiogenic shock is a constant challenge for the intensivist when complicating a myocardial infarction, due to the high rate of associated morbidity and mortality, especially in the setting of mechanical complications such as papillary muscle rupture.
We present the case of a 49-year-old woman with cardiogenic shock due to acute myocardial infarction (AMI) complicated by severe mitral valve insufficiency due to papillary muscle rupture. She was treated initially by medical optimization, followed by mitral valve replacement and complete surgical revascularization, requiring rescue mechanical circulatory support by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
ECMO proved to be a rescue therapy in a patient with refractory cardiogenic shock after urgent cardiac surgery.
The choice of anesthesia for emergency cesarean delivery (CD) is one of the most important choices to make in obstetric anesthesia. In this study, we examine which type of anesthesia was used for emergency CD in our hospital, and how the choice affected the time from entry to the operation room until incision (TTI), time until delivery (TTD), and maternal/neonatal outcomes.
Retrospectively, we examined all emergency CD’s performed in Shaare Zedek Medical Center between January–December 2018. Results: 1059 patients met the inclusion criteria, of which 7.7% underwent general anesthesia (GA), 36.2% – conversion from labor epidural analgesia to surgical anesthesia, 52% – spinal anesthesia and 4.1% – combined spinal epidural. We did not find a significant difference between the GA and conversion epidural groups in terms of TTI or TTD. Nevertheless, GA was found to be correlated to a high rate of blood-products requirement and ICU admission. The rate of newborns with an APGAR score of less than 7, in both first and fifth second after birth, was significantly higher in the GA group, as well as the need for NICU admission.
This study clearly emphasizes that the TTI are shortest when using GA or conversion of labor epidural analgesia to surgical anesthesia. Meanwhile, GA is also linked to higher rates of admissions to ICU as well as poorer neonatal outcomes compared to the other groups. Additionally, our study uncovered a low rate of GA, and relatively low rate of regional anesthesia failure, which meets the accepted standards.
Combined spinal-epidurals with low-dose intrathecal opioids and local anesthetics are commonly used to initiate labor analgesia due to the fast onset of analgesia and good patient satisfaction. Intrathecal fentanyl has been associated with fetal bradycardia, and the rate may be higher at doses of 25 mcg and above. As such, our institution limits intrathecal fentanyl doses to less than 15 mcg for labor. Prompted by a few incidents of prolonged fetal bradycardia at even these low doses, we sought to audit the side effects associated with varying low doses of intrathecal fentanyl.
After IRB approval, a retrospective review was performed on 555 labor records from May–December, 2016. All the patients received combined spinal epidurals for labor analgesia. Intrathecal medication consisted of 1 mL of 0.25% bupivacaine, and varying fentanyl doses: 2.5, 5, 10, and 15 mcg. The incidences of prolonged fetal heart rate decelerations, emergent cesarean delivery, magnitude of pain reduction, pruritus requiring treatment, and hypotension were compared.
Demographic variables were equivalent between the groups. There were no differences in the rates of prolonged fetal decelerations (in order of increasing fentanyl dose: 4.4%, 2.3%, 7.6%, 3.0%, p-value = 0.11), emergent cesarean delivery, magnitude of pain reduction, pruritus, or maternal hypotension.
In conclusion, the rates of prolonged fetal heart rate decelerations after combined spinal epidural with intrathecal bupivacaine and fentanyl does not differ for fentanyl doses of 15 mcg and below.
Trochanteric fractures are a major trauma in the elderly population and represent a significant part of public health spending. Various fixation devices are used as treatment for these fractures. This study aimed to evaluate three surgical methods in the treatment of pertrochanteric femoral fractures.
Materials and methods
From January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2014, 86 patients were divided into 3 groups. Fifteen patients were treated with osteosynthesis by reamed intramedullary nailing (RIMN), 15 patients were treated with unreamed intramedullary nailing (UIMN), and 13 patients were treated with dynamic hip screw (DHS) plate osteosynthesis. All patients were >75 years of age. They were evaluated with a clinical radiological follow-up and laboratory examination (LDH, CPK, IL-1-B, IL-8, TNF-α, alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, D-dimer, fibrinogen, ESR, CRP, and procalcitonin).
IL-8, TNF-α, fibrinogen, D-dimer and alpha-1-acid glycoprotein levels were higher in the DHS group compared with the other two groups at 1 month after surgery (P<0.05). LDH, IL-1β, and IL-6 levels were higher in the DHS group compared with the other two groups at 3 months after surgery (P<0.05). From 3 to 6 months after surgery, the TNF-α level was high in the DHS and RIMN groups (P<0.05). Infection markers did not demonstrate a difference among the 3 groups. Twelve patients died during the 12-month follow-up. Regardless of the method used, morbidity and mortality are linked to enticement and comorbidities rather than surgery within 48 hours after the trauma.
From our study, we can affirm that the values of cytokines and interleukins observed remain high during the 12-month follow up, regardless of whatever fixation devices or surgery type was performed within 48 hours of injury. Inflammatory markers are higher in patients in the DHS group. This can probably be explained by the fact that DHS technique is performed by open surgery, and this can create a higher inflammation of soft tissue. Mortality is reduced in the first 30 days after surgery if patients are mobilized early. Therefore, mortality in our study population of patients aged >75 years is linked more to the chronic inflammatory state and comorbidities, rather than fixation device or surgical type used.
However, future studies are needed to answer further questions that go beyond the scope of our study.
Volatile anaesthetics (VAs) have been shown to protect cardiomyocytes against ischaemia and reperfusion injury in cardiac surgery.
VAs have been shown in multiple trials and meta-analyses to be associated with better outcomes when compared to intravenous anaesthesia in cardiac surgery. However, recent data from a large randomised controlled trial do not confirm the superiority of VA as compared to total intravenous anaesthesia in this population.
This mini review presents the VA cardioprotective effects, their clinical use in cardiac surgery and the most recent evidence that compares VA to intravenous anaesthesia for reducing perioperative morbidity. At present, there is no clear superiority of VA over intravenous anaesthesia in improving the outcome after cardiac surgery.
Thyroid disorders sometimes have extra-thyroidal manifestations. Hyperthyroidism is a clinical syndrome resulting from excessive secretion of thyroid hormones. The most common cause is Graves’ disease. About 0.5–4.3% of patients with Graves’ disease have an infiltrative dermopathy called thyroid dermopathy, which is due to excessive deposition of glycosaminoglycans from activated fibroblasts. Skin fibroblasts are activated by thyroid stimulating hormone receptor antibodies the whole process being initiated by T lymphocytes. Rarely, thyroid dermopathy is also found in other thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto thyroiditis. The diffuse non-pitting edema variant is the most common clinical presentation. Other variants include the nodular, plaque, mixed, and elephantiasis types. Usually, the main concerns of the patients are cosmetic, discomfort, and difficulty in wearing shoes. Thyroid dermopathy usually presents after the diagnosis of Graves’ disease, but it may also present together or sometime after this condition. Rarely, thyroid dermopathy presents before the diagnosis of Graves’ disease is made. Apart from the shin and feet, other sites that can be affected include the arms, forearms, back, thighs, pinna, and nose. The management is multidisciplinary, involving dermatologists and endocrinologists. Usually, controlling the thyroid dysfunction does not translate into regression of the skin lesions. However, many patients have their thyroid dermopathy regress spontaneously, while others usually require local therapy. Other therapeutic options include systemic therapy such as pentoxifylline, compressive physiotherapy, and surgery.