Racemic adrenaline and inhalation strategies in acute bronchiolitis. (Kamat)

N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 13;368(24):2286-93. PMID: 23758233

BACKGROUND: Acute bronchiolitis in infants frequently results in hospitalization, but there is no established consensus on inhalation therapy–either the type of medication or the frequency of administration–that may be of value. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of inhaled racemic adrenaline as compared with inhaled saline and the strategy for frequency of inhalation (on demand vs. fixed schedule) in infants hospitalized with acute bronchiolitis.

METHODS: In this eight-center, randomized, double-blind trial with a 2-by-2 factorial design, we compared inhaled racemic adrenaline with inhaled saline and on-demand inhalation with fixed-schedule inhalation (up to every 2 hours) in infants (<12 months of age) with moderate-to-severe acute bronchiolitis. An overall clinical score of 4 or higher (on a scale of 0 to 10, with higher scores indicating more severe illness) was required for study inclusion. Any use of oxygen therapy, nasogastric-tube feeding, or ventilatory support was recorded. The primary outcome was the length of the hospital stay, with analyses conducted according to the intention-to-treat principle.

RESULTS: The mean age of the 404 infants included in the study was 4.2 months, and 59.4% were boys. Length of stay, use of oxygen supplementation, nasogastric-tube feeding, ventilatory support, and relative improvement in the clinical score from baseline (preinhalation) were similar in the infants treated with inhaled racemic adrenaline and those treated with inhaled saline (P>0.1 for all comparisons). On-demand inhalation, as compared with fixed-schedule inhalation, was associated with a significantly shorter estimated mean length of stay–47.6 hours (95% confidence interval [CI], 30.6 to 64.6) versus 61.3 hours (95% CI, 45.4 to 77.2; P=0.01) – as well as less use of oxygen supplementation (in 38.3% of infants vs. 48.7%, P=0.04), less use of ventilatory support (in 4.0% vs. 10.8%, P=0.01), and fewer inhalation treatments (12.0 vs. 17.0, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: In the treatment of acute bronchiolitis in infants, inhaled racemic adrenaline is not more effective than inhaled saline. However, the strategy of inhalation on demand appears to be superior to that of inhalation on a fixed schedule. (Funded by Medicines for Children; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00817466; EudraCT number, 2009-012667-34.).

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Targeted versus universal decolonization to prevent ICU infection. (Kamat)

N Engl J Med. 2013 Jun 13;368(24):2255-65. PMID: 23718152

BACKGROUND: Both targeted decolonization and universal decolonization of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are candidate strategies to prevent health care-associated infections, particularly those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

METHODS: We conducted a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial. Hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three strategies, with all adult ICUs in a given hospital assigned to the same strategy. Group 1 implemented MRSA screening and isolation; group 2, targeted decolonization (i.e., screening, isolation, and decolonization of MRSA carriers); and group 3, universal decolonization (i.e., no screening, and decolonization of all patients). Proportional-hazards models were used to assess differences in infection reductions across the study groups, with clustering according to hospital.

RESULTS: A total of 43 hospitals (including 74 ICUs and 74,256 patients during the intervention period) underwent randomization. In the intervention period versus the baseline period, modeled hazard ratios for MRSA clinical isolates were 0.92 for screening and isolation (crude rate, 3.2 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days), 0.75 for targeted decolonization (3.2 vs. 4.3 isolates per 1000 days), and 0.63 for universal decolonization(2.1 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days) (P=0.01 for test of all groups being equal). In the intervention versus baseline periods, hazard ratios for bloodstream infection with any pathogen in the three groups were 0.99 (crude rate, 4.1 vs. 4.2 infections per 1000 days), 0.78 (3.7 vs. 4.8 infections per 1000 days), and 0.56 (3.6 vs. 6.1 infections per 1000 days), respectively (P<0.001 for test of all groups being equal). Universal decolonization resulted in a significantly greater reduction in the rate of all bloodstream infections than either targeted decolonization or screening and isolation. One bloodstream infection was prevented per 54 patients who underwent decolonization. The reductions in rates of MRSA bloodstream infection were similar to those of all bloodstream infections, but the difference was not significant. Adverse events, which occurred in 7 patients, were mild and related to chlorhexidine.

CONCLUSIONS: In routine ICU practice, universal decolonization was more effective than targeted decolonization or screening and isolation in reducing rates of MRSA clinical isolates and bloodstream infection from any pathogen. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; REDUCE MRSA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00980980).

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A no-prophylaxis platelet-transfusion strategy for hematologic cancers. (Wittkamp)

N Engl J Med. 2013 May 9;368(19):1771-80. PMID: 23656642

BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of platelet transfusions to prevent bleeding in patients with hematologiccancers remains unclear. This trial assessed whether a policy of not giving prophylactic platelet transfusions was as effective and safe as a policy of providing prophylaxis.

METHODS: We conducted this randomized, open-label, noninferiority trial at 14 centers in the United Kingdom and Australia. Patients were randomly assigned to receive, or not to receive, prophylactic platelet transfusions when morning platelet counts were less than 10×10(9) per liter. Eligible patients were persons 16 years of age or older who were receiving chemotherapy or undergoing stem-cell transplantation and who had or were expected to have thrombocytopenia. The primary end point was bleeding of World Health Organization (WHO) grade 2, 3, or 4 up to 30 days after randomization.

RESULTS: A total of 600 patients (301 in the no-prophylaxis group and 299 in the prophylaxis group) underwent randomization between 2006 and 2011. Bleeding of WHO grade 2, 3, or 4 occurred in 151 of 300 patients (50%) in the no-prophylaxis group, as compared with 128 of 298 (43%) in the prophylaxis group (adjusted difference in proportions, 8.4 percentage points; 90% confidence interval, 1.7 to 15.2; P=0.06 for noninferiority). Patients in theno-prophylaxis group had more days with bleeding and a shorter time to the first bleeding episode than did patients in the prophylaxis group. Platelet use was markedly reduced in the no-prophylaxis group. A prespecified subgroup analysis identified similar rates of bleeding in the two study groups among patients undergoing autologous stem-cell transplantation.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study support the need for the continued use of prophylaxis with platelet transfusion and show the benefit of such prophylaxis for reducing bleeding, as compared with no prophylaxis. A significant number of patients had bleeding despite prophylaxis. (Funded by the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Research and Development Committee and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service; TOPPS Controlled-Trials.com number, ISRCTN08758735.).

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A randomized trial of glutamine and antioxidants in critically ill patients. (Kamat)

N Engl J Med 2013; 368:1489-1497.

BACKGROUND: Critically ill patients have considerable oxidative stress. Glutamine and antioxidant supplementation may offer therapeutic benefit, although current data are conflicting.

METHODS: In this blinded 2-by-2 factorial trial, we randomly assigned 1223 critically ill adults in 40 intensive care units (ICUs) in Canada, the United States, and Europe who had multiorgan failure and were receiving mechanical ventilation to receive supplements of glutamine, antioxidants, both, or placebo. Supplements were started within 24 hours after admission to the ICU and were provided both intravenously and enterally. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality. Because of the interim-analysis plan, a P value of less than 0.044 at the final analysis was considered to indicate statistical significance.

RESULTS: There was a trend toward increased mortality at 28 days among patients who received glutamine as compared with those who did not receive glutamine (32.4% vs. 27.2%; adjusted odds ratio, 1.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.64; P=0.05). In-hospital mortality and mortality at 6 months were significantly higher among those who received glutamine than among those who did not. Glutamine had no effect on rates of organ failure or infectious complications. Antioxidants had no effect on 28-day mortality (30.8%, vs. 28.8% with no antioxidants; adjusted odds ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.40; P=0.48) or any other secondary end point. There were no differences among the groups with respect to serious adverse events (P=0.83).

CONCLUSIONS: Early provision of glutamine or antioxidants did not improve clinical outcomes, and glutamine was associated with an increase in mortality among critically ill patients with multiorgan failure. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00133978.)

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