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On 4 June 2020, after a week of increasing scientific concern and scrutiny, first The Lancet, then the New England Journal of Medicine, retracted studies that were based on inaccessible data. The studies have been extremely damaging to chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 clinical trials around the globe. MORU researchers played a key role in bringing this scandal to light, whose consequences continue to play out.
Awake Proning as an Adjunctive Therapy for Refractory Hypoxemia in Non-Intubated Patients with COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Failure: Guidance from an International Group of Healthcare Workers
ABSTRACTNon-intubated patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19 could benefit from awake proning. Awake proning is an attractive intervention in settings with limited resources, as it comes with no additional costs. However, awake proning remains poorly used probably because of unfamiliarity and uncertainties regarding potential benefits and practical application. To summarize evidence for benefit and to develop a set of pragmatic recommendations for awake proning in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, focusing on settings where resources are limited, international healthcare professionals from high and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with known expertise in awake proning were invited to contribute expert advice. A growing number of observational studies describe the effects of awake proning in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia in whom hypoxemia is refractory to simple measures of supplementary oxygen. Awake proning improves oxygenation in most patients, usually within minutes, and reduces dyspnea and work of breathing. The effects are maintained for up to 1 hour after turning back to supine, and mostly disappear after 6–12 hours. In available studies, awake proning was not associated with a reduction in the rate of intubation for invasive ventilation. Awake proning comes with little complications if properly implemented and monitored. Pragmatic recommendations including indications and contraindications were formulated and adjusted for resource-limited settings. Awake proning, an adjunctive treatment for hypoxemia refractory to supplemental oxygen, seems safe in non-intubated patients with COVID-19 acute respiratory failure. We provide pragmatic recommendations including indications and contraindications for the use of awake proning in LMICs.
Lung Ultrasound for Detection of Pulmonary Complications in Critically Ill Obstetric Patients in a Resource-Limited Setting.
Critically ill parturients have an increased risk of developing pulmonary complications. Lung ultrasound (LUS) could be effective in addressing the cause of respiratory distress in resource-limited settings with high maternal mortality. We aimed to determine the frequency, timing of appearance, and type of pulmonary complications in critically ill parturients in an obstetric unit in Sierra Leone. In this prospective observational study, LUS examinations were performed on admission, after 24 and 48 hours, and in case of respiratory deterioration. Primary endpoint was the proportion of parturients with one or more pulmonary complications, stratified for the presence of respiratory distress. Secondary endpoints included timing and types of complications, and their association with "poor outcome," defined as a composite of transfer for escalation of care or death. Of 166 patients enrolled, 35 patients (21% [95% CI: 15-28]) had one or more pulmonary complications, the majority diagnosed on admission. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (period prevalence 4%) and hydrostatic pulmonary edema (4%) were only observed in patients with respiratory distress. Pneumonia (2%), atelectasis (10%), and pleural effusion (7%) were present, irrespective of respiratory distress. When ultrasound excluded pulmonary complications, respiratory distress was related to anemia or metabolic acidosis. Pulmonary complications were associated with an increased risk of poor outcome (odds ratio: 5.0; 95% CI: 1.7-14.6; P = 0.003). In critically ill parturients in a resource-limited obstetric unit, LUS contributed to address the cause of respiratory distress by identifying or excluding pulmonary complications. These were associated with a poor outcome.
Untargeted Molecular Analysis of Exhaled Breath as a Diagnostic Test for Ventilator-Associated Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (BreathDx).
Patients suspected of ventilator-associated lower respiratory tract infections (VA-LRTIs) commonly receive broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy unnecessarily. We tested whether exhaled breath analysis can discriminate between patients suspected of VA-LRTI with confirmed infection, from patients with negative cultures. Breath from 108 patients suspected of VA-LRTI was analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The breath test had a sensitivity of 98% at a specificity of 49%, confirmed with a second analytical method. The breath test had a negative predictive value of 96% and excluded pneumonia in half of the patients with negative cultures. Trial registration number: UKCRN ID number 19086, registered May 2015.
Ultrasound versus Computed Tomography Assessment of Focal Lung Aeration in Invasively Ventilated ICU Patients.
It is unknown whether and to what extent the penetration depth of lung ultrasound (LUS) influences the accuracy of LUS findings. The current study evaluated and compared the LUS aeration score and two frequently used B-line scores with focal lung aeration assessed by chest computed tomography (CT) at different levels of depth in invasively ventilated intensive care unit (ICU) patients. In this prospective observational study, patients with a clinical indication for chest CT underwent a 12-region LUS examination shortly before CT scanning. LUS images were compared with corresponding regions on the chest CT scan at different subpleural depths. For each LUS image, the LUS aeration score was calculated. LUS images with B-lines were scored as the number of separately spaced B-lines (B-line count score) and the percentage of the screen covered by B-lines divided by 10 (B-line percentage score). The fixed-effect correlation coefficient (β) was presented per 100 Hounsfield units. A total of 40 patients were included, and 372 regions were analyzed. The best association between the LUS aeration score and CT was found at a subpleural depth of 5 cm for all LUS patterns (β = 0.30, p < 0.001), 1 cm for A- and B1-patterns (β = 0.10, p < 0.001), 6 cm for B1- and B2-patterns (β = 0.11, p < 0.001) and 4 cm for B2- and C-patterns (β = 0.07, p = 0.001). The B-line percentage score was associated with CT (β = 0.46, p = 0.001), while the B-line count score was not (β = 0.07, p = 0.305). In conclusion, the subpleural penetration depth of ultrasound increased with decreased aeration reflected by the LUS pattern. The LUS aeration score and the B-line percentage score accurately reflect lung aeration in ICU patients, but should be interpreted while accounting for the subpleural penetration depth of ultrasound.