Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Critical care (London, England)


There are numerous causes of a raised core temperature. A fever occurring in sepsis may be associated with a survival benefit. However, this is not the case for non-infective triggers. Where heat generation exceeds heat loss and the core temperature rises above that set by the hypothalamus, a combination of cellular, local, organ-specific, and systemic effects occurs and puts the individual at risk of both short-term and long-term dysfunction which, if severe or sustained, may lead to death. This narrative review is part of a series that will outline the pathophysiology of pyrogenic and non-pyrogenic fever, concentrating primarily on the pathophysiology of non-septic causes.

Concepts: Inflammation, Hypothalamus, Thermoregulation, Temperature, Hyperthermia, Fever, Sepsis, The Core


Severe traumatic injury continues to present challenges to healthcare systems around the world, and post-traumatic bleeding remains a leading cause of potentially preventable death among injured patients. Now in its fifth edition, this document aims to provide guidance on the management of major bleeding and coagulopathy following traumatic injury and encourages adaptation of the guiding principles described here to individual institutional circumstances and resources.


All of medicine aspires to be precise, where a greater understanding of individual data will lead to personalized treatment and improved outcomes. Prompted by specific examples in oncology, the field of critical care may be tempted to envision that complex, acute syndromes could bend to a similar reductionist philosophy-where single mutations could identify and target our critically ill patients for treatment. However, precision medicine faces many challenges in critical care. These include confusion about terminology, uncertainty about how to divide patients into discrete groups, the challenges of multi-morbidity, scale, and the need for timely interventions. This review addresses these challenges and provides a translational roadmap spanning preclinical work to identify putative treatment targets, novel designs for clinical trials, and the integration of the electronic health record to implement precision critical care for all.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Health, Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Avicenna, Illness, Electronic health record


Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and sepsis are now frequently identified by observations of vital signs and detection of organ failure during triage in the emergency room. However, there is less focus on the effect on patient outcome with better observation and treatment at the ward level.

Concepts: Inflammation, Hospital, Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Philosophy of science, Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, Septic shock, Sepsis


Survivors of intensive care are known to be at increased risk of developing longer-term psychopathology issues. We present a large UK multicentre study assessing the anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caseness in the first year following discharge from an intensive care unit (ICU).


Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) survivors experience a high prevalence of cognitive impairment with concomitantly impaired functional status and quality of life, often persisting months after hospital discharge. In this review, we explore the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment following ARDS, the interrelations between mechanisms and risk factors, and interventions that may mitigate the risk of cognitive impairment. Risk factors for cognitive decline following ARDS include pre-existing cognitive impairment, neurological injury, delirium, mechanical ventilation, prolonged exposure to sedating medications, sepsis, systemic inflammation, and environmental factors in the intensive care unit, which can co-occur synergistically in various combinations. Detection and characterization of pre-existing cognitive impairment imparts challenges in clinical management and longitudinal outcome study enrollment. Patients with brain injury who experience ARDS constitute a distinct population with a particular combination of risk factors and pathophysiological mechanisms: considerations raised by brain injury include neurogenic pulmonary edema, differences in sympathetic activation and cholinergic transmission, effects of positive end-expiratory pressure on cerebral microcirculation and intracranial pressure, and sensitivity to vasopressor use and volume status. The blood-brain barrier represents a physiological interface at which multiple mechanisms of cognitive impairment interact, as acute blood-brain barrier weakening from mechanical ventilation and systemic inflammation can compound existing chronic blood-brain barrier dysfunction from Alzheimer’s-type pathophysiology, rendering the brain vulnerable to both amyloid-beta accumulation and cytokine-mediated hippocampal damage. Although some contributory elements, such as the presenting brain injury or pre-existing cognitive impairment, may be irreversible, interventions such as minimizing mechanical ventilation tidal volume, minimizing duration of exposure to sedating medications, maintaining hemodynamic stability, optimizing fluid balance, and implementing bundles to enhance patient care help dramatically to reduce duration of delirium and may help prevent acquisition of long-term cognitive impairment.


The use of ultrasound (US) has been proposed to reduce the number of complications and to increase the safety and quality of central venous catheter (CVC) placement. In this review, we describe the rationale for the use of US during CVC placement, the basic principles of this technique, and the current evidence and existing guidelines for its use. In addition, we recommend a structured approach for US-guided central venous access for clinical practice. Static and real-time US can be used to visualize the anatomy and patency of the target vein in a short-axis and a long-axis view. US-guided needle advancement can be performed in an “out-of-plane” and an “in-plane” technique. There is clear evidence that US offers gains in safety and quality during CVC placement in the internal jugular vein. For the subclavian and femoral veins, US offers small gains in safety and quality. Based on the available evidence from clinical studies, several guidelines from medical societies strongly recommend the use of US for CVC placement in the internal jugular vein. Data from survey studies show that there is still a gap between the existing evidence and guidelines and the use of US in clinical practice. For clinical practice, we recommend a six-step systematic approach for US-guided central venous access that includes assessing the target vein (anatomy and vessel localization, vessel patency), using real-time US guidance for puncture of the vein, and confirming the correct needle, wire, and catheter position in the vein. To achieve the best skill level for CVC placement the knowledge from anatomic landmark techniques and the knowledge from US-guided CVC placement need to be combined and integrated.

Concepts: Internal jugular vein, Jugular vein, Central venous catheter, Subclavian vein, Catheter, Common facial vein, Catheters, Peripheral venous catheter


Providing supplemental oxygen is fundamental in the management of mechanically ventilated patients. Increasing amounts of data show worse clinical outcomes associated with hyperoxia. However, these previous data in the critically ill have not focused on outcomes associated with brief hyperoxia exposure immediately after endotracheal intubation. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to evaluate the impact of isolated early hyperoxia exposure in the emergency department (ED) on clinical outcomes among mechanically ventilated patients with subsequent normoxia in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Concepts: Oxygen, Cohort study, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, The Canon of Medicine, Intensive care medicine, Endotracheal tube, Intubation


In this study, we primarily investigated whether ICU admission or ICU stay at weekends (Saturday and Sunday) is associated with a different risk of ICU mortality or chance of ICU discharge than ICU admission or ICU stay on weekdays (Monday to Friday). Secondarily, we analysed whether weekend ICU admission or ICU stay influences risk of hospital mortality or chance of hospital discharge.

Concepts: Patient, Weekend, Workweek, Saturday, Week-day names, Sunday, Thai solar calendar


Two recent publications by Sheikh and Horner and Teng et al. reviewed studies on incorporating vitamin C to treat septic patients; however, a meta-analysis was not offered in either report. This commentary extends both reviews by integrating a meta-analysis and sharing aggregated results. Pooled analyses demonstrated a marked reduction in mortality and duration of vasopressor administration in the group with the use of vitamin C.