Critical CareIntensive CareSMACCTraumaThe Importance of Bone Health in Intensive Care Units: Karin Amrein

The Importance of Bone Health in Intensive Care Units: Karin Amrein

Karin Amrein highlights the importance of bone health in ICU. Karin asks – do fractures matter?

If the presentation is a hip fracture for elderly patients, then the answer is obviously, yes! However, Karin will describe why this answer should be a resounding yes for all patients who are admitted to the ICU.

Critical illness affects bone. It is not a stretch to conceptualise this. However, Karin wants to impress on you that bone affects critical illness also!

Bone is an endocrine organ, the largest endocrine organ.

Fragility fractures are associated with substantially increased mortality and morbidity.

One year post hip fracture, 50% of the patients are either dead or in a nursing home. Prevention is crucial!

After an ICU stay, patients have a largely elevated risk of fractures – up to 65%. However, this risk factor is not recognised in the literature.

If you survive critical illness and get home, you have done well. If you then sustain a fracture, you are almost back to square one!

Karin attempts to explain this association. The ICU population is getting older, and the very nature of an ICU admission means they are predominantly sedentary – that much is true.

However, there is likely more factors at play. Inflammation, endocrine alterations, increased osteoclastic activity, hypercatabolism leading to muscle breakdown (and in turn bone breakdown), malnutrition and drugs are all likely implicated in the increased risk.

Karin takes you through each factor in turn in detail. So, what can be done about the increased risk of fractures in ICU patients post discharge. Addressing each factor in turn is difficult, however Karin shows some viable options to consider in this patient population.

Karin demonstrates how poor bone health, leading to fractures, produces poor outcomes. In turn, she discusses how treating the bone health, and reducing the fracture rate, leads to improved morbidity and mortality!

Karin concludes with some recommendations for ICU patients providing some tangible and practical takeaways.

The Importance of Bone Health in Intensive Care Units: Karin Amrein

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Karin Amrein