Complications associated with prolonged hypertonic saline therapy in children with elevated intracranial pressure. (Krohn)

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2013 Jul;14(6):610-20. PMID: 23823197

OBJECTIVES: Safe upper limits for therapeutic hypernatremia in the treatment of intracranial hypertension have not been well established. We investigated complications associated with hypernatremia in children who were treated with prolonged infusions of hypertonic saline.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart analysis.

SETTING: PICU in university-affiliated children’s hospital.

PATIENTS: All children from 2004 to 2009 requiring intracranial pressure monitoring (external ventricular drain or fiberoptic intraparenchymal monitor) for at least 4 days who were treated with hypertonic saline infusion for elevated intracranial pressure and did not meet exclusion criteria.

INTERVENTION: Continuous hypertonic saline infusion on a sliding scale was used to achieve target sodium levels that would keep intracranial pressure less than 20 mm Hg once the conventional therapies failed.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Eighty-eight children met inclusion criteria. Etiologies of elevated intracranial pressure included trauma (n = 48), ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke (n = 20), infection (n = 8), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (n = 5), neoplasm (n = 2), and others (n = 5). The mean peak serum sodium was 171.3 mEq/L (range, 150-202). The mean Glasgow Outcome Score was 2.8 (± 1.1) at time of discharge from the hospital. Overall mortality was 15.9%. Children with sustained (> 72 hr) serum sodium levels above 170 mEq/L had a significantly higher occurrence of thrombocytopenia (p < 0.001), renal failure (p < 0.001), neutropenia (p = 0.006), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (p = 0.029) after controlling for variables of age, gender, Pediatric Risk of Mortality score, duration of barbiturate-induced coma, duration of intracranial pressure monitoring, vasopressor requirements, and underlying pathology. Children with sustained serum sodium levels greater than 165 mEq/L had a significantly higher prevalence of anemia (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Children treated by continuous hypertonic saline infusion for intracranial hypertension whose serum sodium levels exceeded certain thresholds experienced significantly more events of acute renal failure, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, anemia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome than those whose sodium level was maintained below these thresholds.

Full-text for Children’s and Emory users.

Inhaled epoprostenol vs inhaled nitric oxide for refractory hypoxemia in critically ill patients. (Stockwell)

J Crit Care. 2013 May 14. pii: S0883-9441(13)00067-1. PMID: 23683572

PURPOSE: The purpose of this is to compare efficacy, safety, and cost outcomes inpatients who have received either inhaled epoprostenol (iEPO) or inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) for hypoxic respiratory failure.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This is a retrospective, single-center analysis of adult, mechanically ventilated patients receiving iNO or iEPO for improvement in oxygenation.

RESULTS: We evaluated 105 mechanically ventilated patients who received iEPO (52patients) or iNO (53 patients) between January 2009 and October 2010. Most patientsreceived therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome (iNO 58.5% vs iEPO 61.5%; P = .84). There was no difference in the change in the partial pressure of arterial O2/fraction of inspired O2 ratio after 1 hour of therapy (20.58 ± 91.54 vs 33.04 ± 36.19 [P = .36]) in the iNO and iEPO groups, respectively. No difference was observed in duration of therapy (P = .63), mechanical ventilation (P = .07), intensive care unit (P = .67), and hospital lengths of stay (P = .26) comparing the iNO and iEPO groups. No adverse events were attributed to either therapy. Inhaled nitric oxide was 4.5 to 17 times more expensive than iEPO depending on contract pricing.

CONCLUSIONS: We found no difference in efficacy and safety outcomes when comparing iNO and iEPO in hypoxic, critically ill patients. Inhaled epoprostenol is associated with less drug expenditure than iNO.

Full-text for Children’s and Emory users.

Comparison of the Berlin definition for acute respiratory distress syndrome with autopsy. (Fortenberry)

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Apr;187(7):761-7. PMID: 23370917

Rationale: A revised definition of clinical criteria for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the Berlin definition, was recently established to classify patients according to their severity. 

Objective: To evaluate the accuracy of these clinical criteria using diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) at autopsy as the reference standard. 

Methods: All patients who died and had a clinical autopsy in our intensive care unit over a 20-year period (1991–2010) were included. Patients with clinical criteria for ARDS were identified from the medical charts and were classified as mild, moderate, or severe according to the Berlin definition using PaO2/FiO2 oxygenation criteria. Microscopic analysis from each pulmonary lobe was performed by two pathologists. 

Measurements and Main Results: Among 712 autopsies analyzed, 356 patients had clinical criteria for ARDS at time of death, classified as mild (n = 49, 14%), moderate (n = 141, 40%), and severe (n = 166, 46%). Sensitivity was 89% and specificity 63% to identify ARDS using the Berlin definition. DAD was found in 159 of 356 (45%) patients with clinical criteria for ARDS (in 12, 40, and 58% of patients with mild, moderate, and severe ARDS, respectively). DAD was more frequent in patients who met clinical criteria for ARDS during more than 72 hours and was found in 69% of those with severe ARDS for 72 hours or longer. 

Conclusions: Histopathological findings were correlated to severity and duration of ARDS. Using clinical criteria the revised Berlin definition for ARDS allowed the identification of severe ARDS of more than 72 hours as a homogeneous group of patients characterized by a high proportion of DAD.

Full-text access for Children’s and Emory users.