Critical care “normality”: Individualized versus protocolized care.

Link to article at PubMed

Critical care "normality": Individualized versus protocolized care.

Crit Care Med. 2010 Oct;38(10 Suppl):S590-9

Authors: Wendon J

Patients with critical illness are heterogeneous, with differing physiologic requirements over time. Goal-directed therapy in the emergency room demonstrates that protocolized care could result in improved outcomes. Subsequent studies have confirmed benefit with such a "bundle-based approach" in the emergency room and in preoperative and postoperative scenarios. However, this cannot be necessarily extrapolated to the medium-term and long-term care pathway of the critically ill patient. It is likely that the development of mitochondrial dysfunction could result in goal-directed types of approaches being detrimental. Equally, arterial pressure aims are likely to be considerably different as the patient's physiology moves toward "hibernation." The agents we utilize as sedative and pressor agents have considerable effects on immune function and the inflammatory profile, and should be considered as part of the total clinical picture. The role of gut failure in driving inflammation is considerable, and the drive to feed enterally, regardless of aspirate volume, may be detrimental in those with degrees of ileus, which is often a difficult diagnosis in the critically ill. The pathogenesis of liver dysfunction may be, at least in part, related to venous engorgement that will contribute toward portal hypertension and gut edema. This, in association with loss of the hepatosplanchnic buffer response, it is likely to contribute to venous pooling in the abdominal cavity, impaired venous return, and decreased central blood volumes. Therapies such as those used in "small-for-size syndrome" may have a role in the chronic stages of septic vascular failure.

PMID: 21164402 [PubMed - in process]

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