Rapid Response Systems

Rapid Response Systems

An elderly man was admitted with an acute abdomen and free air visible under the diaphragm on CXR. He was fluid resuscitated before undergoing emergency laparotomy, where a perforated duodenal ulcer was oversewn. He was admitted to ICU postoperatively, extubated the next morning and deemed fit for discharge to the surgical ward later that day. Due to a lack of surgical beds, he was eventually discharged from ICU at 22:30. Eight hours post discharge, he was urgently re-referred to ICU after being found moribund on the ward. Before he could be seen and assessed he suffered an unrecoverable asystolic arrest. Review of his observation charts showed that there had been a clear deterioration in recorded observations, including hypotension for the two preceeding hours. However, the Early Warning Score had been calculated incorrectly, and no escalation had occurred.

What evidence is there that rapid response systems are effective in preventing patient deterioration and improving outcomes?

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Neuroprognostication Post Cardiac Arrest (Post TTM Era)

Neuroprognostication Post Cardiac Arrest (Post TTM Era)

A  young adult female with known diagnosis of poorly controlled type 1 diabetes mellitus was admitted with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. She had only recently been discharged from hospital after an admission with diabetic ketoacidosis. On arrival she had a GCS 3 with minimal respiratory effort. She was in profound DKA. Her temperature was 34.7°C on admission to ICU and she had targeted temperature management aiming for 36°C which was achieved within 2 hours. Her pH had normalised to 7.35 within 8 hours. 48 hours later one pupil became fixed and dilated. CT brain was consistent with global hypoxic ischaemic injury. EEG and SSEP on day 3 revealed severe lack of normal cortical activity. After discussion with family, treatment was withdrawn on day 4.

How do we undertake neuroprognostication after cardiac arrest in the post-TTM era?

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Nutrition in Acute Pancreatitis

Nutrition in Acute Pancreatitis

A 55-year-old previously healthy lady was admitted with pancreatitis secondary to gallstones. Her admission modified Glasgow Score was 4, and CT scan showed approximately 70% necrosis of the pancreas encompassing the neck, body and tail with sparing of the head. She rapidly developed ARDS, AKI and vasoplegia, and subsequently developed abdominal compartment syndrome requiring decompressive laparotomy. Her later complications included intraabdominal collections requiring percutaneous drainage, upper GI bleeding, and staged closure of her laparostomy. She was initially commenced on enteral NG feeding but developed high NG aspirates despite pro-kinetics. Parenteral nutrition (PN) was commenced in combination with a ‘trophic’ enteral feed. Four weeks into her admission her triglyceride level was found to be elevated, necessitating lipid free PN and cessation of propofol. This led to a drop in her triglyceride level.

How should we manage the provision of nutrition in acute pancreatitis?

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Intensive Care Acquired Weakness

Intensive Care Acquired Weakness

A cardiovascularly fit 65 year old man was admitted with septic shock secondary to community acquired pneumonia, which progressed to multi-organ failure. During his recovery it was noted that he had generalised weakness with no focal neurology. He underwent respiratory weaning, and rehabilitation therapy over the next 4 weeks but had persistent weakness at his ICU discharge.

How can ICU-acquired weakness be diagnosed and managed?Read More »

Neuroprognostication after Cardiac Arrest

Neuroprognostication after Cardiac Arrest

A 30 year old man suffered a 30 minute cardiorespiratory arrest secondary to an asthma attack. He was resuscitated, had his severe bronchospasm managed and he was treated with therapeutic hypothermia at 33 degrees. Once rewarmed, his neurology was assessed over several days. He was ventilated on a spontaneous mode, but his pupils remained fixed and dilated and there was no higher motor function seen. A CT brain was consistent with severe hypoxic ischaemic injury. After discussion with the family, treatment was withdrawn.

How reliable is neuroprognostication after cardiac arrest? What modalities are tested? Is there a difference in patients treated with therapeutic hypothermia?

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ICU Admission with Haematological Malignancy

Outcomes of ICU Admission with Haematological Malignancy

An middle aged woman presented with a blast crisis following acute transformation of preexisting chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia. She failed to respond to several cycles of chemotherapy and underwent allogeneic bone marrow transplant. She subsequently developed neutropaenic septic shock and was found to have fungal pulmonary abscesses. Her sepsis was aggressively managed on ICU and she made steady progress and eventually recovered, and was discharged from hospital 5 weeks after her ICU admission.

What is the current evidence related to the mortality and morbidity associated with admission to intensive care for patients with haematological malignancy?Read More »

ECMO for Severe Refractory Hypoxaemia

ECMO for Severe Refractory Hypoxaemia

An 60 year old woman developed ARDS secondary to pneumococcal meningitis. Despite optimal ventilatory management and restrictive fluid intake her oxygenation remained severely impaired. She was referred to the regional respiratory failure unit who established her on mobile ECMO for retrieval. She remained on ECMO for five days, weaned off the ventilator after three further days and made a full neurological recovery leaving hospital two weeks later.

Is there sufficient evidence to promote the use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) for the management of severe refractory hypoxia in the United Kingdom?Read More »

The Role of ECMO in ARDS

The Role of ECMO in ARDS

A middle aged man with acute pancreatitis developed multiorgan failure and was admitted to the ICU and required ventilation and noradrenaline. He became progressively more hypoxic despite lung protective ventilation, paralysis, inverse ratios and a restrictive fluid regime. He developed bilateral pneumothoraces requiring chest drains. He was retrieved to the nearest refractory hypoxia centre and established on VV ECMO. On the third day of ECMO therapy he developed lateralising signs and was found to have had a large intracranial haemorrhage. Treatment was subsequently withdrawn.

Do patients with ARDS benefit from ECMO?Read More »

Organ Donation After Cardiac Death

DCD Organ Donation: Eligibility and Contra-indications

A 35 year old man sustained a severe penetrating traumatic brain injury. His injuries were deemed to be unsurvivable, but he was not brainstem dead. He was on the organ donor register, and his family were keen to proceed with donation. He was admitted to the ICU to manage his end of life care and facilitate organ donation after circulatory death.

What are the eligibility criteria and contra-indications to organ donation after circulatory death?Read More »