Biomarker circadian rhythm profiles in critically ill mechanically ventilated patients

Mary Anne Vincent, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Objective: To explore the natural trajectory of core body temperature (CBT) and cortisol (CORT) circadian rhythms in mechanically ventilated intensive care unit (MV ICU) patients. Design: Prospective, observational, time-series pilot study. Setting: Medical-surgical and pulmonary ICUs in a tertiary care hospital. Sample: Nine (F = 3, M = 6) adults who were mechanically ventilated within 12 hrs of ICU admission with mean ± SD age of 65.2 ± 14 years old. Measurements: Core body temperature and environmental measures of light, sound, temperature, and relative humidity were logged in 1-min intervals. Hourly urine specimens and 2-hr interval blood specimens were collected for up to 7 consecutive days for CORT assay. Mechanical ventilation days, ICU length of stay, and ICU mortality were documented. Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II scores were computed for each study day. The data of each biologic and environmental variable were analyzed using single cosinor analysis of 24-hr serial segments. One patient did not complete the study because mortality occurred within 8 hrs of enrollment. Nine ICU patients completed the study in 1.6 to 7.0 days. Results: No normal circadian rhythm pattern was found when the cosinor-derived parameters of amplitude (one-half the peak-trough variability) and acrophase (peak time) were compared with cosinor-derived parameter reference ranges of healthy, diurnally active humans, although 83% of patient-day CBT segments showed statistically significant (p ≤ .05) and biologically meaningful (R2≥ 0.30) 24-hr rhythms with abnormal cosinor parameters. Cosinor parameters of the environmental temporal profiles showed 27% of light, 76% of ambient temperature, and 78% of relative humidity serial segments had a significant and meaningful 24-hr diurnal pattern. Average daily light intensity varied from 34 to 187 lx with a maximum light exposure of 1877 lx. No sound measurement segment had a statistically significant cosine pattern, and numerous 1-minute interval peaks ≥ 60 dB occurred around the clock. Average daily ambient temperature and relative humidity varied from 19 to 24°C and from 25% to 61%, respectively. There was no statistically significant association between CBT or clinical outcomes and cosinor-derived parameters of the environmental variables. Circadian rhythms of urine and plasma CORT were deferred for later analysis. Conclusions: The natural trajectory of the CBT circadian rhythm in MV ICU patients demonstrated persistent cosinor parameter alteration, even when a significant and meaningful 24-hr rhythm was present. The ICU environmental measures showed erratic light and sound exposures. Room temperature and relative humidity data produced the highest rate of significant and meaningful diurnal 24-hr patterns. Additional research is needed to clarify relations among the CBT biomarker of the circadian clock and environmental variables of MV ICU patients.

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Recommended Citation

Vincent, Mary Anne, "Biomarker circadian rhythm profiles in critically ill mechanically ventilated patients" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3459700.