Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Southern African Journal of Critical Care (Online)]]> vol. 38 num. 1 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>A comparison of the content taught in critical care transportation modules across South African bachelor's degrees in emergency medical care</b>]]> BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE. Critical care transport (CCT) involves the movement of critically ill patients between healthcare facilities. South Africa (SA), like other low- to middle-income countries, has a relative shortage of ICU beds, making CCT an inevitability. In SA, CCTs are mostly done by emergency care practitioners; however, it is unclear how universities offering Bachelor in Emergency Medical Care (BEMC) courses approach their teaching in critical care and whether the content taught is consistent between institutions. In our study we formally evaluate and compare the Intensive and Critical Care Transport modules offered at SA universities in their BEMC programmes. METHODS. The electronic version of curricula of the critical care transport modules from higher education institutes in SA offering the BEMC were subjected to document analysis. Qualitative (inductive content analysis) and quantitative (descriptive analysis) methods were used to describe and compare the different components of the curriculum. Curricula were assigned into components and sub-components according to accepted definitions of curricula. The components included: aims, goals, composition and objectives of the course; content or teaching material and work-integrated learning. RESULTS. The four universities that offer BEMC programmes were invited to participate, and three (75%) consented and provided data. The duration of the modules ranged from 6 to 12 months, corresponding with notional hours of 120 - 150. A total of 83 learning domains were generated from the coding process. These domains included content on mechanical ventilation, patient monitoring, arterial blood gases, infusions and fluid balance, and patient preparation and transfer. Two universities had identical structures and learning outcomes, while one had a different structure and outcomes; it corresponded with a 58% similarity. Clinical placements were in critical and emergency care units, operating theatres and prehospital clinical services. CONCLUSION. In all components compared, the universities offering BEMC were more similar than they were different. It is unclear whether the components taught are relevant to the SA patient population and healthcare system context, or whether students are adequately prepared for clinical practice. Postgraduate educational programmes might need to be developed to equip emergency care practitioners to function in this environment safely. <![CDATA[<b>Mortality risk prediction models: Methods of assessing discrimination and calibration and what they mean</b>]]> Mortality prediction models, which this author prefers to call outcome-risk assignment models, are ubiquitous in critical care practice. They are designed to assess the risk of dying for any given patient by assigning risk based on indices of physiological derangement, high-risk diagnoses or diagnostic categories, or the need for therapeutic intervention to support organ function. It is important to recognise that predictive models derived to date are not accurate enough to allow reliable prediction of individual patient outcome, and therefore cannot be used as criteria for admission to intensive care. Patients identified as high risk for mortality must be flagged for appropriate intensive intervention and close monitoring in order to reduce the risk of dying due to the current illness. <![CDATA[<b>Prediction of in-hospital mortality: An adaptive severity-of-illness score for a tertiary ICU in South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND. A scoring system based on physiological conditions was developed in 1984 to assess the severity of illness. This version, and subsequent versions, were labelled Simplified Acute Physiology Scores (SAPS). Each extension addressed limitations in the earlier version, with the SAPS III model using a data-driven approach. However, the SAPS III model did not include data collected from the African continent, thereby limiting the generalisation of the results. OBJECTIVES. To propose a scoring system for assessing severity of illness at intensive care unit (ICU) admission and a model for prediction of in-hospital mortality, based on the severity of illness score. METHODS. This is a prospective cohort study which included patients who were admitted to an ICU in a South African tertiary hospital in 2017. Logistic regression modelling was used to develop the proposed scoring system, and the proposed mortality prediction model. RESULTS. The study included 829 patients. Less than a quarter of patients (21.35%; n=177) died during the study period. The proposed model exhibited good calibration and excellent discrimination. CONCLUSION. The proposed scoring system is able to assess severity of illness at ICU admission, while the proposed statistical model may be used in the prediction of in-hospital mortality. <![CDATA[<b>A randomised controlled trial of intracuff lidocaine and alkalised lidocaine for sedation and analgesia requirements in mechanically ventilated patients</b>]]> BACKGROUND. Airway irritation caused by prolonged inflation of endotracheal tube (ETT) cuff results in post-intubation morbidities. OBJECTIVE. We aimed to study intracuff lidocaine and alkalised lidocaine on sedation or analgesia requirements of patients undergoing mechanical ventilation in the intensive care unit (ICU). The primary outcome was to calculate the total dose of propofol and fentanyl required to obtund the unwanted airway and circulatory reflexes. Secondary outcomes were to determine the frequency and severity of cough and haemodynamic parameters. METHODS. It was a double-blinded, randomised controlled study in the ICU after emergency laparotomy, in patients aged 20 - 55 years, and classified as American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classes 1E and 2E with tube in situ. Exclusion criteria were patients with body mass index &gt;30 kg/m², haemodynamic instability, requiring positive end-expiratory pressure &gt;7 cm H2O, and a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. After ethics clearance and written consent, patients were randomly assigned into two groups (36 in each), Group L (ETT cuff inflated with lidocaine 2%) and Group AL (cuff inflated with a mixture of lidocaine 2% and sodium bicarbonate 1:1). RESULTS. Mean dose of propofol consumed in Group AL was significantly less than that in Group L (p<0.001). The mean standard deviation (SD) fentanyl utilisation in Group AL was 1 323.61 (187.27) μ& and that in Group L was 1433.09 (42.58) μg (p=0.040). Group L patients had a significantly higher incidence of cough than those in Group AL (p=0.01). There was no significant difference in the mean arterial pressure (p=0.22), although heart rate was significantly higher in Group L (p<0.001). Conclusions. Alkalised lidocaine reduces the requirement of sedation, analgesia, and the incidence of cough in intubated patients maintaining haemodynamic stability when compared with lidocaine. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of the Fundamental Critical Course on knowledge acquisition in Rwanda</b>]]> BACKGROUND. Emerging critical care systems have gained little attention in low- and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 4% of the healthcare workforce is trained in critical care, and mortality rates are unacceptably high in this patient population. AIM. We sought to retrospectively describe the knowledge acquisition and confidence improvement of practitioners who attend the Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) course in Rwanda. METHODS. We conducted a retrospective study in which we assessed survey data and multiple-choice question data that were collected before and after course delivery. The purpose of these assessments at the time of delivery was to evaluate participants' perception and acquisition of critical care knowledge. RESULTS. Thirty-six interprofessional clinicians completed the training. Performance on the multiple-choice questions improved overall after the course (mean score pre-course of 56.5% to mean score post-course of 65.8%, p-value <0.001) and improved in all content areas with the exception of diagnosis and management of acute coronary syndrome and acute respiratory failure/mechanical ventilation. Both physicians and nurses improved their scores significantly (68.9% to 75.6%, p-value = 0.031 and 52.0% to 63.5%, p-value <0.001, respectively). Self-reported confidence in level of knowledge also increased in all areas. Survey respondents indicated on open-answer questions that they would like the course offerings at least annually, and that further dissemination of the course in Rwanda was warranted. CONCLUSION. Deploying the established FCCS course improved Rwandan healthcare provider knowledge and confidence across most critical care content areas. Therefore, this course represents a good first step in bridging the gaps noted in emerging critical care systems. <![CDATA[<b>Risk factors and outcomes of extubation failure in a South African tertiary paediatric intensive care unit</b>]]> BACKGROUND. Extubation failure contributes to poor outcome of mechanically ventilated children, yet the prevalence and risk factors have been poorly studied in South African (SA) children. OBJECTIVE. To determine the prevalence, risk factors and outcomes of extubation failure in an SA paediatric intensive care unit (PICU). METHODS. This was a prospective, observational study of all mechanically ventilated children admitted to a tertiary PICU in Cape Town, SA. Extubation failure was defined as requiring re-intubation within 48 hours of planned extubation. RESULTS. There were 219 episodes of mechanical ventilation in 204 children (median (interquartile range (IQR)) age 8 (1.6 - 44.4) months). Twenty-one of 184 (11.4%) planned extubations (95% confidence interval (CI) 7.2% - 16.9%) failed. Emergency cardiac admissions (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 7.58 (95% CI 1.90 - 30.29), dysmorphology (aOR 4.90; 95% CI 1.49 - 16.14), prematurity (aOR 4.39; 95% CI 1.24 - 15.57), and ventilation &gt;48 hours (aOR 6.42 (95% CI 1.57 - 26.22) were associated with extubation failure. Children who failed extubation had longer durations of ventilation (231 hours (146.0 - 341.0) v. 53 hours (21.7 - 123.0); p<0.0001); longer duration of PICU (15 (9 - 20) days v. 5 (2 - 9) days; p<0.0001) and hospital length of stay (32 (21 - 53) days v. 15 (8 - 27) days; p=0.009); and higher 30-day mortality (28.6% v. 6.7%; p=0.001) than successfully extubated children. CONCLUSIONS. Extubation failure was associated with significant morbidity and mortality in our setting. Risk factors for extubation failure identified in our context were similar to those reported in other settings. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of government- and institution-implemented COVID-19 control measures on tertiary- and regional-level intensive care units in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems globally as most countries were not equipped to deal with the outbreak. To avoid complete collapse of intensive care units (ICUs) and health systems as a whole, containment measures had to be instituted. In South Africa (SA), the biggest intervention was the government-regulated national lockdown instituted in March 2020. OBJECTIVE. To evaluate the effects of the implemented lockdown and institutional guidelines on the admission rate and profile of non-COVID-19 patients in a regional and tertiary level ICU in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province, SA. METHODS. A retrospective analysis of all non-COVID-19 admissions to Harry Gwala and Greys hospitals was performed over an 8-month period (1 December 2019 - 31 July 2020), which included 4 months prior to lockdown implementation and 4 months post lockdown. RESULTS. There were a total of 678 non-COVID-19 admissions over the 8-month period. The majority of the admissions were at Greys Hospital (52.4%; n=355) and the rest at Harry Gwala Hospital (47.6%; n=323). A change in spectrum of patients admitted was noted, with a significant decrease in trauma and burns admissions post lockdown implementation (from 34.2 - 24.6%; p=0.006). Conversely, there was a notable increase in non-COVID-19 medical admissions after lockdown regulations were implemented (20.1 - 31.3%; p<0.001). We hypothesised that this was due to the gap left by trauma patients in an already overburdened system. CONCLUSIONS. Despite the implementation of a national lockdown and multiple institutional directives, there was no significant decrease in the total number of non-COVID-19 admissions to ICUs. There was, however, a notable change in spectrum of patients admitted, which may reflect a bias towards trauma admissions in the pre COVID-19 era. <![CDATA[<b>Professional quality of life of nurses in critical care units: Influence of demographic characteristics</b>]]> BACKGROUND. Professional quality of life, measured as compassion satisfaction, is a prerequisite for nurses working in intensive care units where patients rely on their care. Nurses who experience compassion satisfaction, or good professional quality of life, engage enthusiastically with all work activities and render quality patient care. In contrast, compassion fatigue eventually leads to disengagement from work activities and unsatisfactory patient outcomes. In this study, we described the demographic factors influencing professional quality of life of intensive care nurses working in public hospitals in Gauteng, South Africa (SA), during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVE. To describe the demographic factors associated with professional quality of life of critical care nurses working in Gauteng, SA. METHODS. In this cross-sectional study, we used total population sampling and invited all nurses who had worked for at least 1 year in one of the critical care units of three selected public hospitals in Gauteng to participate. One-hundred and fifty-four nurses responded and completed the ProQol-5 tool during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. RESULTS. The nurses' average age was 45 years, and 59.1% (n=91) had an additional qualification in critical care nursing. Most of the nurses had a diploma (51.3%; n=79), with a mean work experience of 12.56 years. The main demographic variables that influenced professional quality of life were years of work experience (p=0.047), nurses' education with specific reference to a bachelor's degree (p=0.006) and nurse-patient ratio (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS. Nurses working in critical care units in public hospitals in Gauteng experienced low to moderate compassion satisfaction, moderate to high burnout and secondary traumatic stress, suggesting compassion fatigue. The high workload, which may have been associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, influenced nurses' professional quality of life. <![CDATA[<b>Pharmacological management of post-traumatic seizures in a South African paediatric intensive care unit</b>]]> BACKGROUND. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common cause of paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admissions in South Africa. Optimal care of these patients includes the prevention and control of post-traumatic seizures (PTS) in order to minimise secondary brain injury. OBJECTIVES. To describe the demographics of children admitted to a South African PICU, to describe the characteristics of PTS, and to describe the prophylactic and therapeutic management of PTS within the unit. METHOD. A 3-year retrospective chart review was conducted at the PICU of the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital (CHBAH) in Soweto, Johannesburg, from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2018. RESULTS. Seventy-eight patients were admitted to the PICU, all with severe TBI. A total of 66 patient files were available for analysis. The median age of admission was 6 years (interquartile range (IQR) 4 - 9) with the majority of trauma secondary to mechanical injury (89%). Prophylactic anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) were initiated in 44 (79%) patients. Early PTS occurred in 11 (25%) patients who received prophylaxis and 4 (33%) who did not. Three (5%) patients developed late PTS, resulting in an overall incidence of PTS of 43%. The most common seizure type was generalised tonic clonic (82%). Children diagnosed with PTS were a median of 2 years younger than those without PTS, with increased prevalence of seizures (83% v. 38%) in children below 2 years of age. Maintenance therapy was initiated in all patients consistent with recommended dosages. Of the total 167 anti-epileptic levels taken during maintenance, only 56% were within target range. Of the initial 78 patients, 8 died (10%). The median length of stay was 7 (IQR 5 - 12) and 8 (IQR 8 - 24) days longer in ICU and hospital respectively, in children with PTS. CONCLUSION. PTS is a frequent complication of severe TBI in children. There was considerable variation in the approach to both prophylaxis and maintenance therapy of PTS in terms of choice of agent, dosage, frequency of drug monitoring and approach to subtherapeutic levels. It is clear that more high-level studies are required in order to better inform these practices.