Pubmed Monday

Second victim support structures in anaesthesia: a cross-sectional survey in Belgian anaesthesiologists


Background: Anaesthesiologists are prone to patient safety situations after which second victim symptoms can occur. In international literature, a majority of these second victims indicated that they were emotionally affected in the aftermath of a patient safety incident (PSI) and received little institutional support after these events.

Objective: To study the current second victim support structures in anaesthesia departments in Belgium.

Methods: An observational cross-sectional survey. Belgian anaesthesiologists and anaesthesiologists in training were contacted through e-mail from May 27th until 15 July 2020.

Results: In total, 456 participants completed the online survey. 73.7% (n = 336) of the participants encountered a PSI during the last year of their medical practice. 80.9% (n = 368) of respondents answered that they do discuss incidents with their colleagues. 18.0% (n = 82) discussed all incidents. 19.3% (n = 88) admitted that these incidents are never discussed in their department. 15.4% of participants (n = 70) experienced or thought that the culture is negative during these PSI discussions. 17.3% (n = 79) scored the culture neutral. Anaesthesiologists who encountered a PSI in the last years scored the support of their anaesthesia department a mean score of 1.59 (ranging from -10 to +10). A significant correlation (P < 0.05) was found between the culture during the morbidity and mortality meetings, the support after the incidents and the perceived quality of the anaesthesia department.

Conclusion: Of the participating anaesthesiologist in Belgium, 80.9% discussed some PSIs and 18.0% discussed all PSIs as a normal part of their staff functioning with an experienced positive or neutral culture during these meetings in 84.6%. Psychological safety within the anaesthesiology departments is globally good; however, it could and should be optimized. This optimization process warrants further investigations in the future.

Hemodynamic support in septic shock


Purpose of review The current article reviews recent findings on the monitoring and hemodynamic support of septic shock patients.

Recent findings The ultimate goal of hemodynamic resuscitation is to restore tissue oxygenation. A multimodal approach combining global and regional markers of tissue hypoxia seems appropriate to guide resuscitation. Several multicenter clinical trials have provided evidence against an aggressive fluid resuscitation strategy. Fluid administration should be personalized and based on the evidence of fluid responsiveness. Dynamic indices have proven to be highly predictive of responsiveness. Recent data suggest that balanced crystalloids may be associated with less renal failure. When fluid therapy is insufficient, a multimode approach with different types of vasopressors has been suggested as an initial approach. Dobutamine remains the firs inotropic option in patients with persistent hypotension and decrease ventricular systolic function. Calcium sensitizer and phosphodiesterase inhibitors may be considered, but evidence is still limited. Veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation may be considered in selected unresponsive patients, particularly with myocardial depression, and in a highly experienced center.

Summary Resuscitation should be personalized and based on global and regional markers of tissue hypoxia as well as the fluid responsiveness indices. The beneficial effect of multimode approach with different types of vasopressors, remains to be determined.

Minimizing postoperative pulmonary complications in thoracic surgery patients


Purpose of review: Quantification and optimization of perioperative risk factors focusing on anesthesia-related strategies to reduce postoperative pulmonary complications (PPCs) after lung and esophageal surgery.

Recent findings: There is an increasing amount of multimorbid patients undergoing thoracic surgery due to the demographic development and medical progress in perioperative medicine. Nevertheless, the rate of PPCs after thoracic surgery is still up to 30-50% with a significant influence on patients' outcome. PPCs are ranked first among the leading causes of early mortality after thoracic surgery. Although patients' risk factors are usually barely modifiable, current research focuses on procedural risk factors. From the surgical position, the minimal-invasive approach using video-assisted thoracoscopy and laparoscopy leads to a decreased rate of PPCs. The anesthesiological strategy to reduce the incidence of PPCs after thoracic surgery includes neuroaxial anesthesia, lung-protective ventilation, and goal-directed hemodynamic therapy.

Summary: The main anesthesiological strategies to reduce PPCs after thoracic surgery include the use of epidural anesthesia, lung-protective ventilation: PEEP (positive end-expiratory pressure) of 5-8 mbar, tidal volume of 5 ml/kg BW (body weight) and goal-directed hemodynamics: CI (cardiac index) ≥ 2.5 l/min per m2, MAD (Mean arterial pressure) ≥ 70 mmHg, SVV (stroke volume variation) < 10% with a total amount of perioperative crystalloid fluids ≤ 6 ml/kg BW (body weight) per hour.

Septic shock: a microcirculation disease


Purpose of review The aim of this study was to discuss the implication of microvascular dysfunction in septic shock.

Recent findings Resuscitation of sepsis has focused on systemic haemodynamics and, more recently, on peripheral perfusion indices. However, central microvascular perfusion is altered in sepsis and these alterations often persist despite normalization of various macro haemodynamic resuscitative goals. Endothelial dysfunction is a key element in sepsis pathophysiology. It is responsible for the sepsis-induced hypotension. In addition, endothelial dysfunction is also implicated involved in the activation of inflammation and coagulation processes leading to amplification of the septic response and development of organ dysfunction. It also promotes an increase in permeability, mostly at venular side, and impairs microvascular perfusion and hence tissue oxygenation.

Microvascular alterations are characterized by heterogeneity in blood flow distribution, with adequately perfused areas in close vicinity to not perfused areas, thus characterizing the distributive nature of septic shock. Such microvascular alterations have profound implications, as these are associated with organ dysfunction and unfavourable outcomes. Also, the response to therapy is highly variable and cannot be predicted by systemic hemodynamic assessment and hence cannot be detected by classical haemodynamic tools.

Summary Microcirculation is a key element in the pathophysiology of sepsis. Even if microcirculation-targeted therapy is not yet ready for the prime time, understanding the processes implicated in microvascular dysfunction is important to prevent chasing systemic hemodynamic variables when this does not contribute to improve tissue perfusion.

Pectoral nerve blocks for breast surgery A meta-analysis


BACKGROUND Pectoral nerve blocks (PECS block) might be an interesting new regional anaesthetic technique in patients undergoing breast surgery.

OBJECTIVE The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate postoperative pain outcomes and adverse events of a PECS block compared with no treatment, sham treatment or other regional anaesthetic techniques in women undergoing breast surgery.

DESIGN We performed a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCT) with meta-analysis and risk of bias assessment.

DATA SOURCES The databases MEDLINE, CENTRAL (until December 2019) and were systematically searched.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA All RCTs investigating the efficacy and adverse events of PECS compared with sham treatment, no treatment or other regional anaesthetic techniques in women undergoing breast surgery with general anaesthesia were included.

RESULTS A total of 24 RCTs (1565 patients) were included. PECS (compared with no treatment) block might reduce pain at rest [mean difference −1.14, 95% confidence interval (CI), −2.1 to −0.18, moderate quality evidence] but we are uncertain regarding the effect on pain during movement at 24 h after surgery (mean difference −1.79, 95% CI, −3.5 to −0.08, very low-quality evidence). We are also uncertain about the effect of PECS block on pain at rest at 24 h compared with sham block (mean difference −0.83, 95% CI, −1.80 to 0.14) or compared with paravertebral block (PVB) (mean difference −0.18, 95% CI, −1.0 to 0.65), both with very low-quality evidence. PECS block may have no effect on pain on movement at 24 h after surgery compared with PVB block (mean difference −0.56, 95% CI, −1.53 to 0.41, low-quality evidence). Block-related complications were generally poorly reported.

CONCLUSION There is moderate quality evidence that PECS block compared with no treatment reduces postoperative pain intensity at rest. The observed results were less pronounced if patients received a sham block. Furthermore, PECS blocks might be equally effective as PVBs. Due to mostly low-quality or very low-quality evidence level, further research is warranted.

European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Guidelines on peri-operative use of ultrasound for regional anaesthesia (PERSEUS regional anesthesia): Peripheral nerves blocks and neuraxial anaesthesia


Nowadays, ultrasound-guidance is commonly used in regional anaesthesia (USGRA) and to locate the spinal anatomy in neuraxial analgesia. The aim of this second guideline on the PERi-operative uSE of UltraSound (PERSEUS-RA) is to provide evidence as to which areas of regional anaesthesia the use of ultrasound guidance should be considered a gold standard or beneficial to the patient. The PERSEUS Taskforce members were asked to define relevant outcomes and rank the relative importance of outcomes following the GRADE process. Whenever the literature was not able to provide enough evidence, we decided to use the RAND method with a modified Delphi process. Whenever compared with alternative techniques, the use of USGRA is considered well tolerated and effective for some nerve blocks but there are certain areas, such as truncal blocks, where a lack of robust data precludes useful comparison. The new frontiers for further research are represented by the application of USG during epidural analgesia or spinal anaesthesia as, in these cases, the evidence for the value of the use of ultrasound is limited to the preprocedure identification of the anatomy, providing the operator with a better idea of the depth and angle of the epidural or spinal space. USGRA can be considered an essential part of the curriculum of the anaesthesiologist with a defined training and certification path. Our recommendations will require considerable changes to some training programmes, and it will be necessary for these to be phased in before compliance becomes mandatory.

Prevent deterioration and long-term ventilation: intensive care following thoracic surgery


Purpose of review: Patients with indication for lung surgery besides the pulmonary pathology often suffer from independent comorbidities affecting several other organ systems. Preventing patients from harmful complications due to decompensation of underlying organ insufficiencies perioperatively is pivotal. This review draws attention to the peri- and postoperative responsibility of the anaesthetist and intensivist to prevent patients undergoing lung surgery deterioration.

Recent findings: During the last decades we had to accept that 'traditional' intensive care medicine implying deep sedation, controlled ventilation, liberal fluid therapy, and broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy because of several side-effects resulted in prolongation of hospital length of stay and a decline in quality of life. Modern therapy therefore should focus on the convalescence of the patient and earliest possible reintegration in the 'life-before.' Avoidance of sedative and anticholinergic drugs, early extubation, prophylactic noninvasive ventilation and high-flow nasal oxygen therapy, early mobilization, well-adjusted fluid balance and reasonable use of antibiotics are the keystones of success.

Summary: A perioperative interprofessional approach and a change in paradigms are the prerequisites to improve outcome and provide treatment for elder and comorbid patients with an indication for thoracic surgery.

Best practice: antibiotic decision-making in ICUs


Purpose of review: A major challenge in the ICU is optimization of antibiotic use. This review assesses current understanding of core best practices supporting and promoting astute antibiotic decision-making.

Recent findings: Limiting exposure to the shortest effective duration is the cornerstone of antibiotic decision-making. The decision to initiate antibiotics should include assessment of risk for resistance. This requires synthesis of patient-level data and environmental factors to determine whether delayed initiation could be considered in some patients with suspected sepsis until sensitivity data is available. Until improved stratification scores and clinically meaningful cut-off values to identify MDR are available and externally validated, decisions as to which empiric antibiotic is used should rely on syndromic antibiograms and institutional guidance. Optimization of initial and maintenance doses is another enabler of enhanced outcome. Stewardship practices must be streamlined by re-assessment to minimize negative effects, such as a potential increase in duration of therapy and increased risk of collateral damage from exposure to multiple, sequential antibiotics that may ensue from de-escalation.

Summary: Multiple challenges and research priorities for antibiotic optimization remain; however, the best stewardship practices should be identified and entrenched in daily practice. Reducing unnecessary exposure remains a vital strategy to limit resistance development.

Lower or Higher Oxygenation Targets for Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure


Background: Patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure in the intensive care unit (ICU) are treated with supplemental oxygen, but the benefits and harms of different oxygenation targets are unclear. We hypothesized that using a lower target for partial pressure of arterial oxygen (Pao2) would result in lower mortality than using a higher target.

Methods: In this multicenter trial, we randomly assigned 2928 adult patients who had recently been admitted to the ICU (≤12 hours before randomization) and who were receiving at least 10 liters of oxygen per minute in an open system or had a fraction of inspired oxygen of at least 0.50 in a closed system to receive oxygen therapy targeting a Pao2 of either 60 mm Hg (lower-oxygenation group) or 90 mm Hg (higher-oxygenation group) for a maximum of 90 days. The primary outcome was death within 90 days.

Results: At 90 days, 618 of 1441 patients (42.9%) in the lower-oxygenation group and 613 of 1447 patients (42.4%) in the higher-oxygenation group had died (adjusted risk ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.94 to 1.11; P = 0.64). At 90 days, there was no significant between-group difference in the percentage of days that patients were alive without life support or in the percentage of days they were alive after hospital discharge. The percentages of patients who had new episodes of shock, myocardial ischemia, ischemic stroke, or intestinal ischemia were similar in the two groups (P = 0.24).

Conclusions: Among adult patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure in the ICU, a lower oxygenation target did not result in lower mortality than a higher target at 90 days. (Funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark and others; HOT-ICU number, NCT03174002.).

The Obese Patient: Facts, Fables, and Best Practices


The prevalence of obesity continues to rise worldwide, and anesthesiologists must be aware of current best practices in the perioperative management of the patient with obesity. Obesity alters anatomy and physiology, which complicates the evaluation and management of obese patients in the perioperative setting. Gastric point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) is a noninvasive tool that can be used to assess aspiration risk in the obese patient by evaluating the quantity and quality of gastric contents. An important perioperative goal is adequate end-organ perfusion. Standard noninvasive blood pressure (NIBP) is our best available routine surrogate measurement, but is vulnerable to greater inaccuracy in patients with obesity compared to the nonobese population. Current NIBP methodologies are discussed. Obese patients are at risk for wound and surgical site infections, but few studies conclusively guide the exact dosing of intraoperative prophylactic antibiotics for them. We review evidence for low-molecular-weight heparins and weight-based versus nonweight-based administration of vasoactive medications. Finally, intubation and extubation of the patient with obesity can be complicated, and evidence-based strategies are discussed to mitigate danger during intubation and extubation.

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