Publications news

Analyzing central-line associated bloodstream infection prevention bundles in 22 countries: The results of ID-IRI survey


Nov 22

Central line-associated bloodstream infection prevention bundles
Are we doing enough?
Look at the results of this international survey on American Journal of Infection Control


Background: Because central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) are a significant complication of central venous access, it is critical to prevent CLABSIs through the use of central line bundles. The purpose of this study was to take a snapshot of central venous access bundles in various countries. Methods: The participants in intensive care units (ICUs) completed a questionnaire that included information about the health center, infection control procedures, and central line maintenance. The countries were divided into 2 groups: those with a low or low-middle income and those with an upper-middle or high income. Results: Forty-three participants from 22 countries (46 hospitals, 85 ICUs) responded to the survey. Eight (17.4%) hospitals had no surveillance system for CLABSI. Approximately 7.1 % (n = 6) ICUs had no CLABSI bundle. Twenty ICUs (23.5%) had no dedicated checklist. The percentage of using ultrasonography during catheter insertion, transparent semi-permeable dressings, needleless connectors and single-use sterile pre-filled ready to use 0.9% NaCl were significantly higher in countries with higher and middle-higher income (P < .05). Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that there are significant differences in the central line bundles between low/low-middle income countries and upper-middle/high-income countries. Additional measures should be taken to address inequity in the management of vascular access in resource-limited countries.

Association of COVID-19 Vaccinations With Intensive Care Unit Admissions and Outcome of Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 Pneumonia in Lombardy, Italy



Nov 22

COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduced the risk of ICU admission for COVID-19 pneumonia, even when adjusted by confounders as age and sex. No difference in ICU outcome was observed between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, even if vaccinated ones had more risk factors since they were older and with more comorbidities. Have a look the the results of this retrospective study conducted in Lombardy on a cohort study of more than 10 million people   Full text on Jama Network Open  
Importance  Data on the association of COVID-19 vaccination with intensive care unit (ICU) admission and outcomes of patients with SARS-CoV-2–related pneumonia are scarce. Objective  To evaluate whether COVID-19 vaccination is associated with preventing ICU admission for COVID-19 pneumonia and to compare baseline characteristics and outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated patients admitted to an ICU. Design, Setting, and Participants  This retrospective cohort study on regional data sets reports: (1) daily number of administered vaccines and (2) data of all consecutive patients admitted to an ICU in Lombardy, Italy, from August 1 to December 15, 2021 (Delta variant predominant). Vaccinated patients received either mRNA vaccines (BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273) or adenoviral vector vaccines (ChAdOx1-S or Ad26.COV2). Incident rate ratios (IRRs) were computed from August 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022; ICU and baseline characteristics and outcomes of vaccinated and unvaccinated patients admitted to an ICU were analyzed from August 1 to December 15, 2021. Exposures  COVID-19 vaccination status (no vaccination, mRNA vaccine, adenoviral vector vaccine). Main Outcomes and Measures  The incidence IRR of ICU admission was evaluated, comparing vaccinated people with unvaccinated, adjusted for age and sex. The baseline characteristics at ICU admission of vaccinated and unvaccinated patients were investigated. The association between vaccination status at ICU admission and mortality at ICU and hospital discharge were also studied, adjusting for possible confounders. Results  Among the 10 107 674 inhabitants of Lombardy, Italy, at the time of this study, the median [IQR] age was 48 [28-64] years and 5 154 914 (51.0%) were female. Of the 7 863 417 individuals who were vaccinated (median [IQR] age: 53 [33-68] years; 4 010 343 [51.4%] female), 6 251 417 (79.5%) received an mRNA vaccine, 550 439 (7.0%) received an adenoviral vector vaccine, and 1 061 561 (13.5%) received a mix of vaccines and 4 497 875 (57.2%) were boosted. Compared with unvaccinated people, IRR of individuals who received an mRNA vaccine within 120 days from the last dose was 0.03 (95% CI, 0.03-0.04; P < .001), whereas IRR of individuals who received an adenoviral vector vaccine after 120 days was 0.21 (95% CI, 0.19-0.24; P < .001). There were 553 patients admitted to an ICU for COVID-19 pneumonia during the study period: 139 patients (25.1%) were vaccinated and 414 (74.9%) were unvaccinated. Compared with unvaccinated patients, vaccinated patients were older (median [IQR]: 72 [66-76] vs 60 [51-69] years; P < .001), primarily male individuals (110 patients [79.1%] vs 252 patients [60.9%]; P < .001), with more comorbidities (median [IQR]: 2 [1-3] vs 0 [0-1] comorbidities; P < .001) and had higher ratio of arterial partial pressure of oxygen (Pao2) and fraction of inspiratory oxygen (FiO2) at ICU admission (median [IQR]: 138 [100-180] vs 120 [90-158] mm Hg; P = .007). Factors associated with ICU and hospital mortality were higher age, premorbid heart disease, lower Pao2/FiO2 at ICU admission, and female sex (this factor only for ICU mortality). ICU and hospital mortality were similar between vaccinated and unvaccinated patients. Conclusions and Relevance  In this cohort study, mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines were associated with significantly lower risk of ICU admission for COVID-19 pneumonia. ICU and hospital mortality were not associated with vaccinated status. These findings suggest a substantial reduction of the risk of developing COVID-19–related severe acute respiratory failure requiring ICU admission among vaccinated people.   zoi221102f2_1666195583-16384

Cerebral flow variation at different intra-aortic balloon settings in cardiogenic shock



Nov 22

Support the heart to perfuse the brain! See the effects of better perfusion clearly displayed in this case report; full text available here on the European Heart Journal Cardiovascular Imaging

Kidney Transplants From Donors on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Prior to Death Are Associated With Better Long-Term Renal Function Compared to Donors After Circulatory Death



Oct 22

Good clinical outcome of kidney from DCD despite the long "no touch period"! See the report on 11-year Italian experience; Free full text here on Transplant International   Abstract Donation after circulatory death (DCD) allows expansion of the donor pool. We report on 11 years of Italian experience by comparing the outcome of grafts from DCD and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) prior to death donation (EPD), a new donor category. We studied 58 kidney recipients from DCD or EPD and collected donor/recipient clinical characteristics. Primary non function (PNF) and delayed graft function (DGF) rates, dialysis need, hospitalization duration, and patient and graft survival rates were compared. The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was measured throughout the follow-up. Better clinical outcomes were achieved with EPD than with DCD despite similar graft and patient survival rates The total warm ischemia time (WIT) was longer in the DCD group than in the EPD group. Pure WIT was the highest in the class II group. The DGF rate was higher in the DCD group than in the EPD group. PNF rate was similar in the groups. Dialysis need was the greatest and hospitalization the longest in the class II DCD group. eGFR was lower in the class II DCD group than in the EPD group. Our results indicate good clinical outcomes of kidney transplants from DCD despite the long “no-touch period” and show that ECMO in the procurement phase improves graft outcome, suggesting EPD as a source for pool expansion.   ti-35-10179-g0x1

Waveforms-guided cycling-off during pressure support ventilation improves both inspiratory and expiratory patient-ventilator synchronisation



Oct 22

Can we improve patient-ventilator interaction with waveform analysis? Have a look to this prospective randomised crossover study on Anaesthesia Critical Care & Pain Medicine.  



To test the performance of a software able to control mechanical ventilator cycling-off by means of automatic, real-time analysis of ventilator waveforms during pressure support ventilation.


Prospective randomised crossover study.


University Intensive Care Unit.


Fifteen difficult-to-wean patients under pressure support ventilation.


Patients were ventilated using a G5 ventilator (Hamilton Medical, Bonaduz, Switzerland) with three different cycling-off settings: standard (expiratory trigger sensitivity set at 25% of peak inspiratory flow), optimised by an expert clinician and automated; the last two settings were tested at baseline pressure support and after a 50% increase in pressure support.

Measurements and main results

Ventilator waveforms were recorded and analysed by four physicians expert in waveforms analysis. Major and minor asynchronies were detected and total asynchrony time computed.

Automation compared to standard setting reduced cycling delay from 407 [257-567] to 59 ms [22-111] and ineffective efforts from 12.5% [3.4-46.4] to 2.8% [1.9-4.6]) at baseline support (p <  0.001); expert optimisation performed similarly. At high support both cycling delay and ineffective efforts increased, mainly in the case of expert setting, with the need of reoptimisation of expiratory trigger sensitivity. At baseline support, asynchrony time decreased from 39.9% [27.4-58.7] with standard setting to 32% [22.3-39.4] with expert optimisation (p <  0.01) and to 24.4% [19.6-32.5] with automation (p < 0.001). Both at baseline and at high support, asynchrony time was lower with automation than with expert setting.


Cycling-off guided by automated real-time waveforms analysis seems a reliable solution to improve synchronisation in difficult-to-wean patients under pressure support ventilation.


The weaning from mechanical ventilation: a comprehensive ultrasound approach



Oct 22

How to use cardiac, diaphragm and lung ultrasound to improve the assessment of the patients to wean from mechanical ventilation? Here a narrative review on Current Opinion in Critical Care Available on Pubmed  


Purpose of review: Due to heart, lung and diaphragm interactions during weaning from mechanical ventilation, an ultrasound integrated approach may be useful in the detection of dysfunctions potentially leading to weaning failure. In this review, we will summarize the most recent advances concerning the ultrasound applications relevant to the weaning from mechanical ventilation. Recent findings: The role of ultrasonographic examination of heart, lung and diaphragm has been deeply investigated over the years. Most recent findings concern the ability of lung ultrasound in detecting weaning induced pulmonary edema during spontaneous breathing trial. Furthermore, in patients at high risk of cardiac impairments, global and anterolateral lung ultrasound scores have been correlated with weaning and extubation failure, whereas echocardiographic indexes were not. For diaphragmatic ultrasound evaluation, new indexes have been proposed for the evaluation of diaphragm performance during weaning, but further studies are needed to validate these results. Summary: The present review summarizes the potential role of ultrasonography in the weaning process. A multimodal integrated approach allows the clinician to comprehend the pathophysiological processes of weaning failure. screenshot-2022-09-05-at-18-28-46

Pulmonary artery acceleration time accuracy for systolic pulmonary artery pressure estimation in critically ill patients



Sep 22

Can we use pulmonary artery acceleration time to estimate pulmonary artery pressure in critically ill patients? Maybe not..have a look to the free full text here from the Ultrasound Journal  


Background: Estimation of pulmonary pressures is of key importance in acute cardiovascular and respiratory failure. Pulmonary artery acceleration time (PAAT) has emerged as reliable parameter for the estimation of systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP) in cardiological population with preserved right ventricular function. We sought to find whether PAAT correlates with sPAP in critically ill patients with and without right ventricular (RV) systolic dysfunction. Methods: Observational study. We measured sPAP using continuous-wave Doppler analysis of tricuspid regurgitation velocity peak method and we assessed the validity of PAAT in estimating sPAP in patients admitted to adult intensive care unit (ICU) for acute cardiovascular and respiratory failure. Results: We enrolled 236 patients admitted to cardiothoracic ICU for cardiovascular and respiratory failure (respectively: 129, 54.7% and 107, 45.3%). 114 (48.3%) had preserved RV systolic function (defined as TAPSE ≥ 17 mm), whilst 122 (51.7%) had RV systolic impairment (defined as TAPSE < 17 mm). A weak inverse correlation between PAAT and sPAP (ρ-0.189, p 0.0035) was observed in overall population, which was confirmed in those with preserved RV systolic PAAT and sPAP (ρ-0.361, p 0.0001). In patients with impaired RV systolic function no statistically significant correlation between PAAT and sPAP was demonstrated (p 0.2737). Adjusting PAAT values for log10, heart rate and RV ejection time did not modify the abovementioned correlations. Conclusions: PAAT measurement to derive sPAP is not reliable in cardiothoracic critically ill patients, particularly in the coexistence of RV systolic impairment.


Point-of-care ultrasound training for residents in anaesthesia and critical care: results of a national survey comparing residents and training program directors’ perspectives



Sep 22

How is the actual training during residency in Italy? Have a look to the national survey comparing directors' and residents' perspectives. We are ok only for ultrasound-guided central line, it remains a lot to do for all the rest!   Free full text here on BMC medical education  


Background: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has become an essential tool for anaesthesia and critical care physicians and dedicated training is mandatory. This survey describes the current state of Italian residency training programs through the comparison of residents' and directors' perspective. Methods: Observational prospective cross-sectional study: 12-question national e-survey sent to Italian directors of anaesthesia and critical care residency programs (N = 40) and residents (N = 3000). Questions focused on POCUS teaching (vascular access, transthoracic echocardiography, focused assessment for trauma, transcranial Doppler, regional anaesthesia, lung and diaphragm ultrasound), organization (dedicated hours, teaching tools, mentors), perceived adequacy/importance of the training and limiting factors. Results: Five hundred seventy-one residents and 22 directors completed the survey. Bedside teaching (59.4-93.2%) and classroom lessons (29.7-54.4%) were the most frequent teaching tools. Directors reported higher participation in research projects (p < 0.05 for all techniques but focused assessment for trauma) and simulation (p < 0.05 for all techniques but transthoracic echocardiography). Use of online teaching was limited (< 10%); however, 87.4% of residents used additional web-based tools. Consultants were the most frequent mentors, with different perspectives between residents (72.0%) and directors (95.5%; p = 0.013). Residents reported self-training more frequently (48.5 vs. 9.1%; p < 0.001). Evaluation was mainly performed at the bedside; a certification was not available in most cases (< 10%). Most residents perceived POCUS techniques as extremely important. Residents underestimated the relevance given by directors to ultrasound skills in their evaluation and the minimal number of exams required to achieve basic competency. Overall, the training was considered adequate for vascular access only (62.2%). Directors mainly agreed on the need of ultrasound teaching improvement in all fields. Main limitations were the absence of a standardized curriculum for residents and limited mentors' time/expertise for directors. Conclusion: POCUS education is present in Italian anaesthesia and critical care residency programs, although with potential for improvement. Significant discrepancies between residents' and directors' perspectives were identified. screenshot-2022-09-05-at-18-00-54

Ultrasound localization of central vein catheter tip by contrast-enhanced transthoracic ultrasonography: a comparison study with trans-esophageal echocardiography



Sep 22

A great collaboration with Pr. Corradi: how to use ultrasound to reliably detect central vein catheter tip and replace chest x-ray   Full text here on Critical Care  


Background: To assess the usefulness of pre-operative contrast-enhanced transthoracic echocardiography (CE-TTE) and post-operative chest-x-ray (CXR) for evaluating central venous catheter (CVC) tip placements, with trans-esophageal echocardiography (TEE) as gold standard. Methods: A prospective single-center, observational study was performed in 111 patients requiring CVC positioning into the internal jugular vein for elective cardiac surgery. At the end of CVC insertion by landmark technique, a contrast-enhanced TTE was performed by both the apical four-chambers and epigastric bicaval acoustic view to assess catheter tip position; then, a TEE was performed and considered as a reference technique. A postoperative CXR was obtained for all patients. Results: As per TEE, 74 (67%) catheter tips were correctly placed and 37 (33%) misplaced. Considering intravascular and intracardiac misplacements together, they were detected in 8 patients by CE-TTE via apical four-chamber view, 36 patients by CE-TTE via epigastric bicaval acoustic view, and 12 patients by CXR. For the detection of catheter tip misplacement, CE-TTE via epigastric bicaval acoustic view was the most accurate method providing 97% sensitivity, 90% specificity, and 92% diagnostic accuracy if compared with either CE-TTE via apical four-chamber view or CXR. Concordance with TEE was 79% (p < 0.001) for CE-TTE via epigastric bicaval acoustic view. Conclusions: The concordance between CE-TTE via epigastric bicaval acoustic view and TEE suggests the use of the former as a standard technique to ensure the correct positioning of catheter tip after central venous cannulation to optimize the use of hospital resources and minimize radiation exposure.  

The Role of Lung Ultrasound Monitoring in Early Detection of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in COVID-19 Patients: A Retrospective Observational Study



Jun 22

A newly appeared dynamic linear-arborescent air bronchogram was 100% specific for ventilator-associated pneumonia in COVID-19 patients. A high ventilator-associated pneumonia lung ultrasound score (or an increase in the lung ultrasound score) strongly oriented to ventilator-associated pneumonia.

Find the full text here on Journal of Clinical Medicine