Hand Hygiene in Intensive Care Units: A Matter of Time?

Stahmeyer, J.T. The Journal of Hospital Infection. Published online: January 28, 2017

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Background: Healthcare-associated infections are a frequent threat to patient safety and cause significant disease burden. The most important single preventive measure is hand hygiene (HH). Barriers to adherence with HH recommendations include structural aspects, knowledge gaps, and organizational issues, especially a lack of time in daily routine.

Conclusion: Complying with guidelines is time consuming. Sufficient time for HH should be considered in staff planning.

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Immunotherapy improves the prognosis of lung cancer: do we have to change intensive care unit admission and triage guidelines?

Guillon, A. et al. Critical Care. Published online: 27 January 2017

Bald heads may soon not be a sign that identifies a cancer patient receiving treatment. Indeed, therapies for cancer patients are improving dramatically leading to increased survival rates, and most are associated with a different toxicity profile. Recently, antibody-based therapy has transformed the therapeutic landscape and biology of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other solid tumors. This may also reshuffle the playing cards for an intensive care unit (ICU) admission policy due to improved outcomes.

In November 2016, the results of the KEYNOTE-024 trial showed for the first time the superiority of immunotherapy over chemotherapy as first-line treatment for NSCLC [1]. In this phase 3 trial, a humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) against programmed death 1 (PD-1) was tested in patients who had previously untreated advanced NSCLC. The clinical trial was stopped by the safety monitoring committee on the basis of substantial clinical benefit of immunotherapy, and patients remaining in the chemotherapy group were switched to receive immunotherapy.

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Nurses’ prioritization of enteral nutrition in intensive care units

Bloomer, M. J et al. Nursing in Critical Care. Published online: 30 January 2017

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Background: Enteral nutrition is important in critically ill patients to improve patient outcomes, with nurses playing a pivotal role in the delivery and ongoing care of enteral nutrition. A significant deficit in nurses’ knowledge and education relating to enteral nutrition has been identified, leading to iatrogenic malnutrition and potentially compromising patient care. Enteral nutrition appears to be prioritized lower than many other aspects of care. However, there is scant research to show how nurses prioritize enteral nutrition.

Conclusion:Respondents relied on their clinical judgement to inform decisions in relation to enteral nutrition in critically ill patients. Most respondents agreed that enteral nutrition was an important aspect of patient care, but acknowledged that other aspects of care were prioritized more highly. Despite this, some delays to enteral nutrition were perceived to be avoidable, and nurses recognized a need to advocate on the patient’s behalf to increase the visibility of enteral nutrition.

Relevance to clinical practice: The findings of this study demonstrate that enteral nutrition is often prioritized lower than other competing care needs in the critically ill patient. Given the importance of enteral nutrition to patient recovery, changes to clinical practice to improve enteral nutrition management are necessary.

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Guideline: Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock

Howell, M.D, & Davis, A.M. JAMA. Published online: 19 January 2017

Managing infection:

  • Antibiotics: Administer broad-spectrum intravenous antimicrobials for all likely pathogens within 1 hour after sepsis recognition (strong recommendation; moderate quality of evidence [QOE]).

  • Source control: Obtain anatomic source control as rapidly as is practical (best practice statement [BPS]).

  • Antibiotic stewardship: Assess patients daily for deescalation of antimicrobials; narrow therapy based on cultures and/or clinical improvement (BPS).

Managing resuscitation:

  • Fluids: For patients with sepsis-induced hypoperfusion, provide 30 mL/kg of intravenous crystalloid within 3 hours (strong recommendation; low QOE) with additional fluid based on frequent reassessment (BPS), preferentially using dynamic variables to assess fluid responsiveness (weak recommendation; low QOE).

  • Resuscitation targets: For patients with septic shock requiring vasopressors, target a mean arterial pressure (MAP) of 65 mm Hg (strong recommendation; moderate QOE).

  • Vasopressors: Use norepinephrine as a first-choice vasopressor (strong recommendation; moderate QOE).

Mechanical ventilation in patients with sepsis-related ARDS:

  • Target a tidal volume of 6 mL/kg of predicted body weight (strong recommendation; high QOE) and a plateau pressure of ≤30 cm H2O (strong recommendation; moderate QOE).

Formal improvement programs:

  • Hospitals and health systems should implement programs to improve sepsis care that include sepsis screening (BPS).

Read the full guidelines here

Nurses’ practices and knowledge about interventional patient hygiene

El-Soussi, A.H. & Asfour, H.I. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing. Published online: 25 January 2017

Background: The Nursing profession is struggling to return to basic nursing care to maintain patients’ safety. “Interventional patient hygiene” (IPH) is a measurement model for reducing the bioburden of both the patient and health care worker, and its components are hand hygiene, oral care, skin care/antisepsis, and catheter site care.

Conclusion: The mean percentage IPH knowledge score is higher than the mean percentage IPH practice score of all IPH items. Barriers for implementing IPH include workload, insufficient resources, and lack of knowledge/training.

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Patients’ experience of thirst while being conscious and mechanically ventilated

Kjeldsen, C.L. et al. Nursing in Critical Care. Published online: 25 January 2017

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Background: Because of changes in sedation strategies, more patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are conscious. Therefore, new and challenging tasks in nursing practice have emerged, which require a focus on the problems that patients experience. Thirst is one such major problem, arising because the mechanical ventilator prevents the patients from drinking when they have the urge to do so. To gain a deeper understanding of the patients’ experiences and to contribute new knowledge in nursing care, this study focuses on the patients’ experiences of thirst during mechanical ventilation (MV) while being conscious.

Conclusion: Patients associate feelings of desperation, anxiety and powerlessness with the experience of thirst. These feelings have a negative impact on their psychological well-being. A strategy in the ICU that includes no sedation for critically ill patients in need of MV introduces new demands on the nurses who must care for patients who are struggling with thirst.

Relevance to clinical practice: This study shows that despite several practical attempts to relieve thirst, it remains a paramount problem for the patients. ICU nurses need to increase their focus on issues of thirst and dry mouth, which are two closely related issues for the patients. Communication may be a way to involve the patients, recognize and draw attention to their problem.

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Oral care in ventilated intensive care unit patients

Diaz, T.L. et al. American Journal of Infection Control. Published online: 23 January 2017

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Highlights:

  • A quality improvement project was developed to evaluate the pre/post effects of standardized placement and supply of oral care equipment in patient rooms.
  • Daily audits were performed to assess nursing behavior related to the performance of oral care on intubated patients with components from a 24 hour kit.
  • Increasing supply and creating uniform placement of oral care tools in patient rooms contributes to increased performance of oral hygiene interventions by nurses.

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Thrombolytic removal of intraventricular haemorrhage in treatment of severe stroke: results of the randomised, multicentre, multiregion, placebo-controlled CLEAR III trial

The results of this multi-centre randomised controlled trial by Hanley et al was published in the Lancet in January 2017.

Background:  Intraventricular lancet-graphic is a subtype of intracerebral haemorrhage, with 50% mortality and serious disability for survivors. We aimed to test whether attempting to remove intraventricular haemorrhage with alteplase versus saline irrigation improved functional outcome.

Methods:  In this randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multiregional trial (CLEAR III), participants with a routinely placed extraventricular drain, in the intensive care unit with stable, non-traumatic intracerebral haemorrhage volume less than 30 mL, intraventricular haemorrhage obstructing the 3rd or 4th ventricles, and no underlying pathology were adaptively randomly assigned (1:1), via a web-based system to receive up to 12 doses, 8 h apart of 1 mg of alteplase or 0·9% saline via the extraventricular drain. The treating physician, clinical research staff, and participants were masked to treatment assignment. CT scans were obtained every 24 h throughout dosing. The primary efficacy outcome was good functional outcome, defined as a modified Rankin Scale score (mRS) of 3 or less at 180 days per central adjudication by blinded evaluators. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00784134.

Findings:  Between Sept 18, 2009, and Jan 13, 2015, 500 patients were randomised: 249 to the alteplase group and 251 to the saline group. 180-day follow-up data were available for analysis from 246 of 249 participants in the alteplase group and 245 of 251 participants in the placebo group. The primary efficacy outcome was similar in each group (good outcome in alteplase group 48% vs saline 45%; risk ratio [RR] 1·06 [95% CI 0·88–1·28; p=0·554]). A difference of 3·5% (RR 1·08 [95% CI 0·90–1·29], p=0·420) was found after adjustment for intraventricular haemorrhage size and thalamic intracerebral haemorrhage. At 180 days, the treatment group had lower case fatality (46 [18%] vs saline 73 [29%], hazard ratio 0·60 [95% CI 0·41–0·86], p=0·006), but a greater proportion with mRS 5 (42 [17%] vs 21 [9%]; RR 1·99 [95% CI 1·22–3·26], p=0·007). Ventriculitis (17 [7%] alteplase vs 31 [12%] saline; RR 0·55 [95% CI 0·31–0·97], p=0·048) and serious adverse events (114 [46%] alteplase vs 151 [60%] saline; RR 0·76 [95% CI 0·64–0·90], p=0·002) were less frequent with alteplase treatment. Symptomatic bleeding (six [2%] in the alteplase group vs five [2%] in the saline group; RR 1·21 [95% CI 0·37–3·91], p=0·771) was similar.

Interpretation:  In patients with intraventricular haemorrhage and a routine extraventricular drain, irrigation with alteplase did not substantially improve functional outcomes at the mRS 3 cutoff compared with irrigation with saline. Protocol-based use of alteplase with extraventricular drain seems safe. Future investigation is needed to determine whether a greater frequency of complete intraventricular haemorrhage removal via alteplase produces gains in functional status.

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Can high-flow nasal cannula reduce the rate of endotracheal intubation in adult patients with acute respiratory failure compared with conventional oxygen therapy and non-invasive positive pressure ventilation?

This systematic review and meta analysis by Ni et al was published in the January 2017 issue of the journal Chest.

Background:  The effects of high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) on adult patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) are controversial. We aimed to further determine the effectiveness of HFNC in reducing the rate of endotracheal intubation in adult patients with ARF by comparison to noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) and conventional oxygen therapy (COT).

Methods:  The Pubmed, Embase, Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) as well as the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) Web of Science were searched for all the controlled studies that compared HFNC with NIPPV and COT in adult patients having ARF. The primary outcome was the rate of endotracheal intubation and the secondary outcomes were intensive care unit (ICU) mortality and length of ICU stay (ICU LOS).

Results:  Eighteen trials with a total of 3881 patients were pooled in our final studies. Except for ICU mortality (I2=67%, χ2=12.21, P=0.02) and rate of endotracheal intubation (I2=63%, χ2=13.51, P=0.02) between HFNC and NIPPV, no significant heterogeneity was found in outcome measures. Compared with COT, HFNC was associated with a lower rate of endotracheal intubation (Z=2.55, P=0.01), while no significant difference was found in the comparison with NIPPV (Z=1.40, P=0.16). As for the ICU mortality and ICU LOS, HFNC did not show any advantage over either COT or NIPPV.

Conclusions:  In patients with ARF, HFNC is a more reliable alternative of NIPPV to reduce rate of endotracheal intubation than COT.

 

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Effectiveness and safety of procalcitonin evaluation for reducing mortality in adults with sepsis, severe sepsis or septic shock

This systematic review by Andriolo et al was published in the Cochrane Library in January 2017.  The text below is the plain language summary with the full text available via this link.

Review question:  Is procalcitonin evaluation effective in reducing mortality and time receiving antimicrobial therapy in adults with sepsis?cochrane-57-1

Background:  Sepsis is defined as confirmed or suspected infection associated with a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). This condition can evolve to an acute organ dysfunction, known as ‘severe sepsis’; or to persistent hypotension, even after adequate fluid replacement, known as ‘septic shock’. Procalcitonin (PCT) is a biological indicator in the blood that has been found to increase during blood infection. We wanted to assess whether evaluation of PCT can reduce mortality and time receiving antimicrobial therapy in adults with blood infection. To this end, we compared PCT versus nothing, versus standard care (only usual clinical judgement) and versus other blood chemical indicators. Nowadays, other chemical indicators include C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukins and neopterin.

Study characteristics:  The evidence is current to July 2015. However, we reran the search in October 2016 and will incorporate the three studies of interest when we update the review. For this version, we included 10 studies in this review. These studies were carried out in Australia, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Indonesia and Switzerland. Researchers evaluated participants from academic and non-academic surgical, general and trauma intensive care units (ICUs) and emergency departments. All studies analysed adults with confirmed or presumed blood infection. Comparisons were most commonly based on ‘standard care’, but one trial used CRP-guided antibiotic therapy. In six trials, study authors had worked as consultants for, and/or received payments from, companies involved in the procalcitonin analysis.

Key results:  Results showed no significant differences in mortality at longest follow-up (124/573; 21.6% versus 152/583; 26.1%), at 28 days (37/160; 23.1% versus 39/156; 25%), at ICU discharge (28/247; 11.3% versus 25/259; 9.6%) or at hospital discharge (82/398; 20.6% versus 81/407; 19.9%), respectively, for PCT and non-PCT groups. Also, researchers found no differences in mechanical ventilation, clinical severity, reinfection or duration of antimicrobial therapy. No study provided information about participants for whom the antimicrobial regimen was changed from a broad to a narrower spectrum.

Quality of the evidence:  We considered the body of available evidence as having very low to moderate quality owing to absence of methods to prevent errors during studies or absence of information about such methods, as well as possibly insufficient numbers of studies and patients per outcome. Additionally, the authors of most studies worked as consultants and/or received payments from companies involved in the procalcitonin analysis.