Outside the intensive care unit (ICU), clinically important deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is usually defined as a symptomatic event that leads to objective radiologic confirmation and subsequent treatment. The objective of the present survey is to identify the patient factors and radiologic features of lower limb DVT that intensivists consider more or less likely to make a DVT clinically important in ICU patients.
Our definition of clinically important DVT was a DVT likely to result in short-term or long-term morbidity or mortality if left untreated, as opposed to a DVT that is unlikely to have important consequences. We asked respondents to indicate the likelihood that patient factors and ultrasonographic features make a DVT clinically important using a five-point scale (from 1 = much less likely to 5 = much more likely).
Of the 71 Canadian intensivists who responded, 70 (99%) rated three patient factors as most likely to make a DVT clinically important: clinical suspicion of pulmonary embolism (mean score 4.6), acute or chronic cardiopulmonary morbidity that might limit a patient's ability to tolerate pulmonary embolism (score 4.5), and leg symptoms (score 4.2). Of the ultrasound features, proximal (score 4.7), large (score 4.2), and totally occlusive (score 3.9) thrombi were considered the three most important.
When labeling a DVT as clinically important, intensivists rely on different patient specific factors and thrombus characteristics than are used to assess the clinical importance of DVT outside the ICU. The clinical importance of DVT is influenced by unique factors such as cardiopulmonary reserve among mechanically ventilated patients.
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Pediatric venous thromboembolism (VTE) is becoming an increasingly recognized morbidity associated with critical illness. The objective of this survey is to identify the patient factors and radiological features that pediatric intensivists consider more or less likely to make a venous thrombosis (VTE) clinically important in their patients.
Our definition of clinically important VTE was a VTE likely to result in short- or long-term morbidity or mortality if left untreated. We asked respondents to rate the likelihood that patient factors and radiological features make a venous thrombosis clinically important using a 5-point scale (1 = much less likely to 5 = much more likely).
The 38 (58.5%) of 65 pediatric intensivists responding rated 4 patient factors as most likely to make a VTE clinically important: clinical suspicion of pulmonary embolism (mean score, 4.8), symptoms (mean, 4.5), detection by physical exam (mean, 4.4), and the presence of an acute or chronic cardiopulmonary comorbidity that might limit a patient's ability to tolerate pulmonary embolism (mean, 4.3). Of the radiological features, the 2 considered most important were VTE involving the vena cava extending into the right atrium (mean, 5) and central veins (mean, 4.5).
When labeling a VTE as clinically important, pediatric intensivists rely on several specific patient factors and thrombus characteristics.
To understand clinicians' perceptions regarding practice guidelines in Canadian intensive care units (ICUs) to inform guideline development and implementation strategies.
We developed a self-administered survey instrument and assessed its clinical sensibility and reliability. The survey was mailed to ICU physicians and nurses in Canada to determine local ICU guideline development and use, and to compare physicians' and nurses' attitudes and preferences towards guidelines.
The survey was completed by 51.6% (565/1095) of potential respondents. Although less than half reported a formal guideline development committee in their ICU, 81.0% reported that guidelines were developed at their institutions. Of clinicians who used guidelines in the ICU, 70.2% of nurses and 42.6% of physicians reported using them frequently or always. Professional society guidelines (with or without local modification) were reportedly used in most ICUs, but physicians were more confident than nurses of their validity (P
To successfully implement the recommendations of critical care nutrition guidelines, one potential approach is to identify barriers to providing optimal enteral nutrition (EN) in the intensive care unit (ICU), and then address these barriers systematically. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop a questionnaire to assess barriers to enterally feeding critically ill patients and to conduct preliminary validity testing of the new instrument.
The content of the questionnaire was guided by a published conceptual framework, literature review, and consultation with experts. The questionnaire was pre-tested on a convenience sample of 32 critical care practitioners, and then field tested with 186 critical care providers working at 5 hospitals in North America. The revised questionnaire was pilot tested at another ICU (n = 43). Finally, the questionnaire was distributed to a random sample of ICU nurses twice, two weeks apart, to determine test retest reliability (n = 17). Descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, Cronbach alpha, intraclass correlations (ICC), and kappa coefficients were conducted to assess validity and reliability.
We developed a questionnaire with 26 potential barriers to delivery of EN asking respondents to rate their importance as barriers in their ICU. Face and content validity of the questionnaire was established through literature review and expert input. The factor analysis indicated a five-factor solution and accounted for 72% of the variance in barriers: guideline recommendations and implementation strategies, delivery of EN to the patient, critical care provider attitudes and behavior, dietitian support, and ICU resources. Overall, the indices of internal reliability for the derived factor subscales and the overall instrument were acceptable (subscale Cronbach alphas range 0.84 - 0.89). However, the test retest reliability was variable and below acceptable thresholds for the majority of items (ICC's range -0.13 to 0.70). The within group agreement, an indices reflecting the reliability of aggregating individual responses to the ICU level was also variable (ICC's range 0.0 to 0.82).
We developed a questionnaire to identify barriers to enteral feeding in critically ill patients. Additional studies are planned to further revise and evaluate the reliability and validity of the instrument.
To examine the influence of education and clinical experience on residents' attitudes toward withdrawal of life support.
Four Canadian teaching hospitals.
Residents rotating through four intensive care units.
The survey examined ethics education and experience regarding end-of-life care, importance of factors influencing withdrawal of life support, confidence in decisions, and recommendations for enhancing end-of-life education. The response rate was 83.9% (52 of 62). A minority of residents reported an appropriate amount of formal teaching on ethical principles (17.3%), patient-centered education (28.8%), and informal discussion (28.8%) before their intensive care unit rotation. During their rotation, most residents cared for patients in whom withdrawal of life support was considered. Although they usually attended family meetings, residents were never (34.6%) or rarely (42.3%) the primary discussant. Before the intensive care unit rotation, confidence in withdrawal decisions was related to male sex (p =.001) and previous patient-centered ethics education (p =.02). At the end of the intensive care unit rotation, only resident involvement in family meetings (p =.02) and being the primary discussant at such meetings (p =.01) were associated with confidence. After we adjusted for pre-rotation confidence in withdrawal of life support decision-making, the only predictor of post-rotation confidence was family meeting involvement (p
Consent for research is a difficult and unpredictable process in pediatric critical care populations. The objectives of this study were to describe consent rates in pediatric critical care research and their association with patient, legal guardian, consent process, and study design-related factors.
A prospective, cohort study was conducted from 2009 to 2010 in six tertiary care pediatric intensive care units (PICU) in Canada with legal guardians of patients who were approached for consent for any ongoing PICU research study. Data were recorded on details of the consent process for all consent encounters.
We recorded 271 consent encounters. The overall consent rate was 80.1% (217/271). We observed higher consent rates when the research assistant was introduced by a member of the clinical team prior to approaching the family (89.7 vs. 77.7%; P = 0.04). Legal guardians of cardiac surgery patients were less likely to provide consent than those of all other patients (75.3 vs. 86.0%; P = 0.03). There was no difference in consent rates between therapeutic (117/145, 80.7%) versus non-therapeutic studies (100/126, 79.4%; P = 0.88).
This study provides future researchers with consent data for determination of recruitment rates, sample sizes, budget estimations, and study timelines. Future pediatric critical care studies should consider incorporating the lower consent rates in cardiac surgery patients and routine introduction of the research assistant to the family by a member of the patient's care team into their study designs. The potential influence of parental factors on consent rates in pediatric critical care studies requires further research.
Comment In: Intensive Care Med. 2012 Jan;38(1):4-622120772
End-of-life decisions regarding the administration, withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining therapy in the critical care setting can be challenging. Disagreements between health care providers and family members occur, especially when families believe strongly in preserving life, and physicians are resistant to providing medically "futile" care. Such disagreements can cause tension and moral distress among families and clinicians.
To outline the roles and responsibilities of physicians, substitute decision makers, and the judicial system when decisions must be made on behalf of incapable persons, and to provide a framework for conflict resolution during end-of-life decision-making for physicians practicing in Canada.
We used a case-based example to illustrate our objectives. We employed a comprehensive approach to understanding end-of-life decision making that included: 1) a search for relevant literature; 2) a review of provincial college policies; 3) a review of provincial legislation on consent; 4) a consultation with two bioethicists and 5) a consultation with two legal experts in health law.
In Canada, laws about substitute decision-making for health care are primarily provincial or territorial. Thus, laws and policies from professional regulatory bodies on end-of-life care vary across the country. We tabulated the provincial college policies on end-of-life care and the provincial legislation on consent and advance directives, and constructed a 10-step approach to conflict resolution.
Knowledge of underlying ethical principles, understanding of professional duties, and adoption of a process for mediation and conflict resolution are essential to ensuring that physicians and institutions act responsibly in maintaining a patients' best interests in the context of family-centred care.
Although guidelines for fresh frozen plasma (FFP) use have been published, many transfusions are considered inappropriate. Current guidelines suggest few circumstances in which FFP transfusion to critically ill patients is warranted. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the consistency of Canadian guidelines for FFP administration to critically ill patients and to examine factors associated with inappropriate FFP transfusions.
Retrospective cohort study.
15-bed medical surgical intensive care unit in a teaching hospital.
254 consecutive adults admitted during 1 yr expected to stay in intensive care for more than 72 hrs.
Patient demographics, illness severity, life support, intensive care and hospital length of stay, and survival were prospectively collected. All FFP orders were identified from the hospital laboratory information system. For each order, coagulation parameters, planned invasive interventions, recent or current bleeding, and bleeding severity were retrospectively collected. Three observers independently adjudicated whether transfusions were consistent with guidelines, inconsistent but appropriate for the intensive care context, or inappropriate. Of 254 patients, 76 (29.9%) received FFP, accounting for 225 orders to transfuse 547 units. Of 225 orders, 73 (32.4%) were consistent with guidelines, 45 (20.0%) were inconsistent but appropriate, and 107 (47.6%) were inappropriate. Considering transfusions clustered within patients, chance-independent agreement on whether transfusions were inappropriate or not was high (phi 0.73, 0.64-0.81). Independent determinants of inappropriate FFP were the presence of less severe coagulopathy as indicated by lower international normalized ratios (p
Comment In: Crit Care Med. 2007 Jul;35(7):1777-817581362