Pericardial decompression syndrome (PDS) is a rare but eventually fatal syndrome, which occurs after pericardial drainage. In this report we describe a patient who suffered from cardiovascular collapse and pulmonary edema after pericardial drainage. A male patient aged 42yrs complained of progressive dyspnea over the past 2 months and presented with clinical signs of pericardial tamponade. The patient underwent a surgical subxiphoid pericardial drainage under general anesthesia and mechanical ventilation. After pericardial drainage of 2.2lt, the patient was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, where he was extubated2 hours later. Immediately after extubation, he showed clinical signs of cardiovascular collapse and pulmonary edema. The patient was reintubated immediately and placed on mechanical ventilation. He was extubated after 12hrs. His postoperative course was uneventful and he was discharged from the hospital after a few days. Continue reading
Codes of ethics are considered as indispensable parameters of every aspect of medical care. When performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) ethical issues become even more important since cardiac arrest (CA) is directly related to death. The aim of this study was to record personal opinions and everyday clinical practice approaches of healthcare professionals (HCPs) regarding ethical issues related to CPR. HCPs answered a questionnaire consisting of 30 questions related to ethical issues in CPR on a voluntary basis. The study included 195 HCPs (88♂& 107♀). Out of the 195 HCPs, 95 were physicians, 71 nurses and 29 paramedics. 49 HCPs (25.1%) worked in the prehospital setting (EMS or Healthcare Centers) and 147 (74.9%) in hospitals. Continue reading

Induction of anesthesia can be accomplished with intravenous or inhalational anesthetic agents, which have both desired and side effects. The aim of this study was to record, investigate and compare the hemodynamic profile of five different induction anesthetic agents in patients undergoing major vascular surgery. One hundred and fifty patients, who were scheduled for major vascular surgery, were randomly assigned into five groups according to the anesthetic agent that was used for anesthesia induction. The five agents used for anesthesia induction were: propofol [2mg/kg], thiopental [3mg/kg], etomidate [0.3mg/kg], midazolam [0.2mg/kg] and diazepam [0.3mg/kg]. Before induction of anesthesia patients were administered Ringer lactate to replace volume deficit due to preoperative fasting. Besides standard intraoperative monitoring, an arterial catheter and a pulmonary artery catheter were placed in all patients before anesthesia induction.

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Central venous pressure (CVP) measurement along with invasive arterial pressure measurement are the two most widely used monitoring parameters in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and in the operating room (OR).In contrast with left heart catheterization, right heart catheterization is a procedure which is performed in the daily clinical practice both in the OR and the ICU and with which all anesthesiologists are well familiarized. Despite the limited usefulness of absolute CVP values, analysis of the CVP waveform offers important information regarding patient’s underlying pathology.ECG tracing should be taken concurrently with CVP measurement and CVP should be evaluated and interpreted in relationship to the ECG. CVP values are affected by several parameters such as mechanical ventilation and PEEP application, which should be taken into account when interpreting CVP measurements. Tricuspid regurgitation (TR) is a relatively common abnormality and in most of the cases it is asymptomatic and has no clinical significance. In regard to etiology, TR can be categorized as primary (or organic) and secondary (or functional).TR allows blood to flow backwards across the valve from the right ventricle to the right atrium during right ventricle systole. When blood backflow is significant there may be giant systolic V waves in the CVP waveform. In case of severe TR, the giant systolic V waves are so prominent that the CVP waveform resembles the right ventricular pressure contour. This is called ventricularization of the right atrial pressure waveform. In contrast with the giant V waves in the CVP waveform, ventricularization of the right atrial pressure waveform is the most specific diagnostic criterion of severe TR. TR disease is diagnosed and thoroughly evaluated by echocardiography, which can give us information about its etiology and severity. However, CVP waveform may be indicative of TR and therefore could trigger further investigation and evaluation by echocardiography. Continue reading
The electrical properties of the skin, also known as electrodermal activity (EDA), are considered as an indirect measure of autonomous nervous system. Along with that, the effects of noise-induced stress in intensive care units, is well explored. This study explores the noise-induced acute electrodermal activity changes in adult critical care patients and to compare these changes with cardiovascular effects of the same stress (noise) stimulus. Skin conductance variability, noise level, selected hemodynamic and respiratory parameters were monitored during 4 hour routine daytime intensive care nursing and treatment in an adult Intensive Care Unit. Average ambient noise levels during the time window (4 min) before the stimulation were 54.33(2.65) dB for Group A and 55.65(3.31) dB, while the noise stimulation was on average for Group A 70.8 (1.98) dB, and for Group B: 71.31(3.31) dB. EDA changes to noise stimulus were more distinct than hemodynamic and respiratory parameters. Yet, a weak relation was found between all EDA parameters and the particular noise level changes. Noise-induce stress causes more distinct EDA changes when measured immediately post stimulus. In addition, sedation level seems to affect the intensity of these changes. However, further studies are needed in to order to reach a definite conclusion. Continue reading

Η βελτίωση των χειρουργικών τεχνικών αλλά κυρίως των χημειοθεραπευτικών σχημάτων αύξησε κατά πολύ την επιβίωση των ασθενών με κακοήθη νόσο των πνευμόνων. Οι ασθενείς που έχουν υποβληθεί σε θωρακοχειρουργική επέμβαση για κακοήθη νόσο πνευμόνων, έχουν αυξημένη πιθανότητα να υποβληθούν σε μια νέα διαγνωστική ή θεραπευτικήεπέμβαση, λόγω υποτροπής της αρχικής νόσου, ή εμφάνισης ενός δεύτερου πρωτοπαθούς όγκου του πνεύμονα.

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Increased IAP often coexists with sepsis in severely ill patients in the ICU, under mechanical ventilation and pharmaceutical support of the circulation with inotropes and vasoactive drugs. Both conditions have an unfavorable effect on the cardiovascular system. The purpose of this experimental study was to record the effect of increased intra-abdominal pressure on the cardiovascular system of pigs, with or without additional sepsis. Sixteen male pigs were randomly assigned in two groups A and B. In both groups, after induction to anesthesia and mechanical ventilation, the intra-abdominal pressure was increased to 25mmHg by helium insufflation in the peritoneal cavity, and that level of IAP was preserved until the end of the experiment. In Group A no other intervention apart from the increase in IAP was made, whereas in Group B, 60 minutes after the increase in IAP, 100μg/kg LPS were administered. Data were recorded after induction of anesthesia and initiation of mechanical ventilation (baseline measurement/measurement 0) and thereafter every 20 min after intra-abdominal pressure increase. The last measurement (measurement 9) was obtained immediately before release of pneumoperitoneum. Parameters measured or calculated included HR, BP(s,d,m), RVPs, PAP(s,d,m), PΑWP, CO, SV, SVR, PVR, SvO2, ETCO2. HR increased statistically significantly only in Group B, 60 minutes after the administration of LPS. BP (s, d, m) presented a significant change only in Group B, an initial increase immediately after LPS administration, followed by a decrease. CVP, RVPs and PAP (s, d, m) increased in both groups after IAP increase, whereas they presented an additional increase in Group B, after LPS administration. PΑWP changed only in Group B, after LPS administration. CO and SV were dramatically reduced in Group B, immediately after LPS administration, but gradually recovered their initial values until the end of the experiment. SVR changed only in Group B. They increased after LPS administration and then they gradually decreased. PVR increased dramatically after LPS administration and, despite gradual decrease they remained at high values until the end of the experiment. SvO2 decreased in Group B after LPS administration but gradually recovered its initial values. At the conditions of this particular experiment, the increase in intra-abdominal pressure was well tolerated by the laboratory animals. On the contrary, sepsis induction by LPS administration had an unfavorable effect on the cardiovascular system.

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The deficiency of the natural heart pacemaker, the conduction disturbances and the appearance of arrhythmias are common complications after cardiac surgery. Placement of epicardiac electrodes (ventricular, atrial, or both) during cardiac surgery remains common practice, even though few patients will actually need some kind of temporary epicardiac pacing for various periods of time. Temporary epicardiac pacing may be ventricular, atrial or atrioventricular, depending on the specific features of each patient and it aims at preserving the cardiac rhythm, securing the desired heart rate and achieving an acceptable cardiac output. Temporary epicardiac pacing is not without danger, since, under specific circumstances, it may have a negative impact on the hemodynamics of the patient, to the point of circulatory collapse. It may also cause ventricular tachycardia (R on T phenomenon) and cardiac arrhythmias (if pacing is not synchronized to the heart’s natural pacemaker). Ventricular Pacing and Sensing (VVI) is accomplished by the placement of electrodes only on the ventricles, which a priori means a certain degree of hemodynamic compromise, due to the loss of atrial contribution in preserving cardiac output. In certain occasions, this impact may be even more significant. This case report concerns  a patient who underwent Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG) and after placement of the electrodes of temporary epicardiac ventricular pacing he presented significant decrease in systemic arterial pressure and the appearance of cannon A waves on central venous pressure (CVP) tracing every time the pacemaker was triggered. These phenomena, which receded after the disconnection of the pacemaker, consists a case of Pacemaker Syndrome.This problem was solved by adjusting the pacemaker’s frequency at a rate lower than that of the patient’s natural pacemaker.

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Patient care in Intensive Care Units is characterized by high demanding tasks, which leads in daily high workload. The aim of the study is to evaluate the effect of patient’s sedation level to workload for the certain task. It also examines whether workload lowers over time, as an effect of the experience gained by the repetition of the task. NASA- TLX tool was used as workload assessments method during a complex monitoring task in an adult Intensive Care Unit environment. The latter included monitoring and recording of skin conductance variability, noise level, hemodynamic and respiratory parameters were monitored during 4 hour routine in two groups of patients. The group was defined by the sedation level (Ramsay sedation score); otherwise no major differences were spotted in their characteristics. Both raw and weighted data of the NASA-TLX tool were included in the analysis, which was performed with MS Excel 2007 (Microsoft Co, USA) and Rstudio® IDE v.0.99.903 (Rstudio Inc, Boston, MA, USA). Patients’ sedation level did not affect NASA-TLX measured workload. The former was valid both for raw values and weighted data of the subscales of the NASA-TLX tool.  In the second part of the analysis where the raw values were treated as time series data, it was shown that some subscales (Ment, Phys) had a tendency towards lower values, others (e.g. Temp, Ef) had a relative stability and others  (Per) increased over time. The total workload (OW) did not seem to lower over time. While the patient’s sedation level does not affect workload of the specific task, several subscales of the NASA-TLX index do reveal a tendency over time; a fact that may be used as learning curve/ experience assessment for a given task. However, further studies are needed in order to define its future utility.

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Evaluation of monitoring readings, taking into account each patient’s pathology as well as the impact of every medical intervention can guide us to make optimal clinical decisions in the periopeative setting. We present three cases in which clinical decisions concerning the management of acute perioperative pulmonary hypertension were based both on haemodynamic monitoring readings and on each patient’s specific pathology. First case: After anesthesia induction in a patient with severe aortic valve insufficiency, an increase in pulmonary artery pressure was recorded. Infusion of isoprenaline, which has a positive chronotropic effect, decreased diastolic time, diastolic blood flow into the left ventricle and also pulmonary artery pressure. Second case: A patient with severe aortic valve stenosis was found with increased pulmonary artery pressure. Intravenous administration of atenolol (1+1mg) reduced the heart rate and the pulmonary artery pressure. Third case: A 15 year old patient with aortic isthmus rupture underwent open surgical repair with graft interposition. After establishment of one lung ventilation and left thoracotomy, pulmonary artery pressure increased. Pulmonary hypertension was managed successfully by oxygen insufflation to the non-ventilated left lung. In our first patient, heart rate increase reduced diastolic time, which decreased the amount of retrograde blood flow into the left ventricle through the regurgitant aortic valve. In the second patient, the heart rate reduction decreased blood flow velocity through the stenotic aortic valve as well as the pressure gradient between left ventricular chamber and aorta. In both patients, enhanced left ventricular function resulted in a reduction in pulmonary artery pressure. Decrease of the alveolar partial pressure of oxygen (PAO2) is the most important parameter that stimulates hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction. Oxygen insufflation increased PAO2, resulting in a decrease in pulmonary artery pressure .Clinical decisions based on haemodynamic monitoring readings resulted in effective management of pulmonary hypertension and in a good patient outcome.

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