Category: Our Publications

Basic Transesophageal and Critical Care Ultrasound

André Denault, Annette Vegas, Yoan Lamarche, Jean-Claude Tardif, Pierre Couture
September 8, 2017 by CRC Press
Reference – 412 Pages – 476 Color Illustrations
ISBN 9781482237122 – CAT# K23154

Basic Transesophageal and Critical Care Ultrasound provides an overview of transesophageal ultrasound of the heart, lung, and upper abdomen as well as basic ultrasound of the brain, lung, heart, abdomen, and vascular system. Ultrasound-guided procedures commonly used in critically ill patients are also covered.

With more than 400 clinical images, this well-illustrated text and its accompanying videos demonstrate new developments and challenges for those interested in mastering basic transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and bedside surface ultrasound.

Each chapter is presented in an easy-to-read format that includes color diagrams and ultrasound images which optimize interactive learning for both novice and experienced clinicians. The book is divided into two parts. The first is dedicated to basic TEE while the second provides focused coverage of bedside ultrasound.

The book also includes chapters on extra-cardiac TEE and ultrasound of the brain—unconventional areas that will become more important in the future as clinicians evaluate not only the etiology of hemodynamic instability but also the impact on multiple organs and systems such as the kidney, liver, splanchnic perfusion, and brain.

This text is an invaluable resource to those preparing for the National Board of Echocardiography’s Examination of Special Competence in Basic Perioperative Transesophageal Echocardiography (PTEeXAM) and its equivalents outside the USA and Canada.

In addition, it prepares physicians for the American College of Chest Physician’s critical care ultrasound certification. The contents follow the syllabus of the TEE basic echo exam to ensure complete coverage of a trainee’s requirements. It also includes sample questions and two helpful mock exams. Written by a multidisciplinary team of experts in TEE, the book is a must-have for those in training and in practice.

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There are minimal data on long-term functional survival (alive and not institutionalized) in patients undergoing cardiac operations who require a prolonged intensive care unit length of stay (prICULOS). We sought to describe 1- and 5-year functional survival in patients who had a prICULOS (ICULOS ≥ 5 days) and determine predictors of functional survival at 1 year.

Data were obtained from linked clinical and administrative databases from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2011 to conduct this retrospective single-region analysis. Logistic regression was used to develop a model predicting functional survival at 1 year for patients who had a prICULOS after cardiac operations.

There were 9,545 admissions to the ICU after cardiac operations; of these patients, 728 (7.6%) experienced a prICULOS. There was an increasing trend in patients who had a prICULOS over this study period. The functional survival at 1 and 5 years from the surgical procedure for the non-prICULOS versus the prICULOS cohort was 1 year (94.9% versus 73.9%) and 5 years (84.9% versus 53.8%) (p < 0.001) . Factors associated with lower rates of functional survival at 1 year were age 80 years or older, female sex, peripheral vascular disease, preoperative renal dysfunction, cerebrovascular disease, preoperative infection, need for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation/ventricular assist device (ECMO/VAD) after cardiotomy, number of days on mechanical ventilation, and number of days in the ICU beyond 5 days (area under the receiver operating characteristic [ROC] curve = 0.766).

The majority of patients who had a prICULOS experienced successful functional survival up to 5 years after cardiac operations. Identification of risk factors for poor functional survival may be of assistance to clinicians, patients, and families for prognostication and decision making.

The objective of our study was to evaluate the efficacy of 24/7 in-house intensivist care for patients requiring prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay following cardiac surgery.

A propensity-matched retrospective before-and-after observational study comparing 2 models of ICU physician staffing was undertaken. Previously, residents (with intensivist backup) provided care for patients after cardiac surgery (surgical ICU cohort). ICU physician staffing was modified with the implementation of 24/7 in-house board-certified intensivist coverage in a cardiac surgery ICU (cardiac surgery ICU cohort) for postoperative care. Patients with a prolonged ICU stay (ie, >48 hours) were identified and their outcomes analyzed for both models of care.

Propensity matching between cohorts was successful for 271 patients (75.7%), with matched patients being used for comparison. There was no difference in ICU or 30-day mortality. There was also no difference in ICU length of stay (LOS); however, the median hospital LOS was significantly shorter in the cardiac surgery ICU cohort (12.3 vs 11.0 days; P < .01). There was a decrease in the proportion of patients receiving transfused red blood cells in the cardiac surgery ICU cohort (80.8% vs 65.7%; P < .001). The cardiac surgery ICU cohort had reduced complications relating to sepsis (4.7% vs 0.7%; P < .01) and renal failure (22.5% vs 12.5%; P < .01); however, the identification of neurologic dysfunction was significantly higher (11.1% vs 20.7%; P < .01). CONCLUSIONS: For patients requiring a prolonged ICU stay, our model of 24/7 in-house intensivist coverage was not associated with changes in ICU LOS, nor ICU and 30-day mortality. However a reduction in blood product use, ICU complications, and total hospital LOS was observed.


The etiology of postcardiac surgery delirium is complex. Our primary objective was to determine the effect of the postoperative environment on the prevalence of delirium by examining the in-hospital delirium rates in 2 postoperative intensive care units with differing physical infrastructure. We further sought to identify other risk factors associated with in-hospital delirium.

The rates of postoperative delirium were retrospectively examined in consecutive cardiac surgery patients during 2 separate 6-month periods. Environment 1 was characterized by a lack of physical barriers between bed spaces and was windowless, and environment 2 consisted of private rooms with physical barriers for each patient and with wall-to-wall exterior windows. Univariate and multivariate analyses to determine the risk factors associated with in-hospital delirium, including the effect of environment, were undertaken.

Of the 1010 patients studied, 148 (14.7%) experienced in-hospital delirium after cardiac surgery. The prevalence of delirium was not significantly different between environments 1 and 2 (16.1% vs 13.5%; P = .25). However, in patients younger than 65 years, the proportion of intensive care unit days on which delirium occurred was greater in environment 1 than in environment 2 (5.4% vs 1.7%; P = .006). Postoperative stroke or transient ischemic attack, mechanical ventilation longer than 24 hours, age 65 years or older, concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting and valve surgery, prehospital admission benzodiazepine use, a requirement for any postoperative blood product transfusion, and postoperative renal insufficiency were identified as risk factors.

The intensive care unit environment did not have a significant effect on the overall prevalence of delirium. However, that does not preclude the possibility that the intensive care unit environment might interact with other factors, such as age, in a complex manner. Attempts to reduce delirium by adjusting the intensive care unit environment alone will likely not be sufficient, and instead will require a more comprehensive multimodal approach.

To characterize the prevalence, incidence, and risk factors for depression before and after cardiac surgery.

Patients awaiting nonemergent surgery (N = 436), completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 for depression, as well as the International Physical Activity Questionnaire short version preoperatively (Q1, n = 436) and at hospital discharge (Q2, n = 374). At baseline patients were categorized depression “naïve,” “at risk,” or “depressed.” At each interval patients were identified as “not depressed” (Patient Health Questionnaire-9 score 0-3), “possibly depressed” (score 4-9), or “depressed” (score >9). Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified independent baseline and perioperative variables associated with depression.

Depression prevalence at Q1 and Q2 was 23.6% and 37.7%, respectively (P < .001). The incidence of new depression at discharge was 29.2%. Multivariate logistic regression identified independent variables associated with depression: preoperative left ventricular ejection fraction 30% to 49% (Q1: odds ratio [OR], 1.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-3.21; P = .042), left ventricular ejection fraction < 30% (Q1: OR, 2.81; 95% CI, 1.13-6.96; P = .026), physical inactivity (Q1: OR, 2.03; 95% CI; 1.26-3.28; P = .002), baseline at-risk group (Q2: OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.28-3.67; P = .004), baseline depressed group (Q2: OR, 7.46; 95% CI, 4.06-13.69; P < .0001), hospital length of stay >7 days (Q2: OR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.03-2.55; P = .039).

Depression is prevalent in one-third of cardiac surgery patients at time of discharge. It is not associated with operative or postoperative risk factors, with the exception of prolonged hospital stay >7 days. Preoperative depression or being at risk for depression, is associated with the highest risk for postoperative depression.


Advances in critical care medicine have allowed for improved care of patients requiring prolonged intensive care unit length of stay (prICULOS) after cardiac operations, yet little is known regarding their eventual outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine short- and long-term outcomes in patients undergoing cardiac operations with prICULOS.

All cases of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), aortic valve, mitral valve, and combined CABG/valve surgical procedures performed at a single institution from July 2002 to July 2007 were identified. All-cause mortality in patients discharged alive from the hospital was determined until December 2007 through linkage with the Social Security Death Index. Patients who experienced intraoperative death or those with missing or invalid social security numbers were excluded. The definition of prICULOS was total ICULOS greater than 7 days.

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Delirium is a common neurologic complication after cardiac surgery, and may be associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Research has focused on potential causes of delirium, with little attention to its sequelae.

Perioperative data were collected prospectively on all isolated cases of coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) performed from 1995 to 2006 at a single center. The definition of delirium used in the study was that of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Characteristics of patients who became delirious postoperatively were compared with those of patients who did not. The outcomes of interest were long-term all-cause mortality, hospital admission for stroke, and in-hospital mortality, examined in all three cases through multivariate analysis.

Of 8,474 patients who underwent CABG within the defined period, 496 (5.8%) developed postoperative delirium and 229 (2.7%) died while in the hospital. At baseline, patients who developed delirium were more likely to be older and to have a greater burden of comorbid illness. Delirium was an independent predictor of perioperative stroke (odds ratio [OR]; 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.22 to 3.16), but was not associated with in-hospital mortality (OR, 0.81; 95%CI, 0.49 to 1.34). Delirious patients had a median postoperative hospital stay of 12 days (interquartile range [IQR], 8 to 21 days) versus 6 days (IQR, 5 to 8 days) for those who were nondelirious. Delirium was identified as an independent predictor of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.52; 95%CI, 1.29 to 1.78) and hospitalization for stroke (HR, 1.54; 95%CI, 1.10 to 2.17).

There was an association between delirium and adverse outcomes after CABG that persisted beyond the immediate perioperative period. Patients with delirium after CABG appear to have an increased long-term risk of death and stroke. The advancing age and rising rates of delirium in the CABG population make it necessary to address the prevention and management of delirium in this population.

Authors: Y Lamarche, D Sirounis, JG Abel, M Gao, L Ding, SV Lichtenstein

Reference: Can J Cardiol 2011; 27(5) Supplement S196 - Abstract 374

BACKGROUND: Several risk scoring systems can help predict surgical mortality and complications in cardiac surgery. Those systems have not been designed and are not validated in pa-tients admitted to an Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit (CSICU) immediately after surgery.
METHODS: The British Columbia Cardiac Surgery Registry was used to build a model to identify predictors of thirty-day mortality after adult cardiac surgery. From January 2000 to December 2009, preoperative and intraoperative data from 30 500 patients operated in four hospitals were used to build a multiple logistic regressionmodel. Sixty percent of the patients were used in the derivation group. Forty percent of the patients were used as a validation group. Type of procedure was forced into the model whereas all other variable with a P value <0.05 were integrated into the final model. RESULTS: Mortality occurred in 2.6% of patients (n = 790). Preoperative factors identified in the model as predictors of operative mortality were age, female gender, emergency status, pulmonary hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, renal dysfunction, diabetes, peptic ulcer disease, history of alcohol abuse and refusal of blood products. Intraoperative risk factors included intraaortic balloon pump, ventricular assist device or ECMO leaving the operating room; presence of any intraoperative complication reported by the surgeon, the use of inotropes, high dose vasopressors, red blood cell transfusion and cardiopulmonary bypass time. When used after surgery, the model had C-statistics of 0.86 and 0.86 in the training and validation set, respectively. CONCLUSION: Preoperative and intraoperative variables could be used at admission to a CSICU to calculate a severity score predicting the surgical mortality. The score is simple, easy to use and was highly predictive in that population. External validation in other settings will be necessary. The score could be used to describe the acuity of patients after cardiac surgery in further cardiac surgical intensive care studies.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a starch solution for volume resuscitation in a flow-based protocol improves circulatory status better than a crystalloid solution, as defined by the need for catecholamines in patients the morning after cardiac surgery, and whether this can be performed without increased morbidity.

DESIGN: Concealed, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.

PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred sixty-two patients who underwent cardiac surgery at a tertiary care hospital.

INTERVENTIONS: Based on predefined criteria indicating a need for fluids, and a nurse-delivered algorithm that used central venous pressure and cardiac index obtained from a pulmonary artery catheter, patients were allocated to receive 250-mL boluses of 0.9% saline or a 250-molecular weight 10% solution of pentastarch.

RESULTS: Two hundred thirty-seven patients received volume boluses: 119 hydroxyethyl starches and 118 saline. Between 8:00 am and 9:00 am the morning after surgery, 13 (10.9%) of hydroxyethyl starch patients and 34 (28.8%) saline patients were using catecholamines (p = .001). Hydroxyethyl starch patients had less pneumonia and mediastinal infections (p = .03) and less cardiac pacing (p = .03). There were two deaths in each group. There was no difference in the daily creatinine, development of RIFLE risk criteria during hospital stay, or new dialysis. The numbers and volumes of packed red blood cells were similar in the two groups, but more hydroxyethyl starch patients received plasma transfusions (p = .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Use of a colloid solution for volume resuscitation in a nurse-delivered flow-based algorithm, which included a pulmonary artery catheter, significantly improved hemodynamic status, an important factor for readiness for discharge from the intensive care unit.