Visualizing multiple organ failure: a method for analyzing temporal and dynamic relations between failing systems and interventions
© BioMed Central Ltd 2007
Published: 6 July 2007
Multiple organ failure is common among critically ill patients who have a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit or die. Apart from causing significant morbidity and mortality, the treatment for multiple organ failure requires use of limited and costly resources. Although the epidemiology and progression of multiple organ failure are well described, it is not possible to conduct detailed and reliable analyses of the temporal relations between failing organs and the effects of interventions (for instance, institution of antibiotic therapy or surgery). In addition, progression of multiple organ failure may differ between patient populations . We describe a method that allows evaluation of the temporal and dynamic nature of multiple organ failure.
We developed this approach by using multiple organ failure scores (Multiple Organ Dysfunction Score [MODS], Logistic Organ Dysfunction Score [LODS] and Sequential Organ Failure Assessment [SOFA]) stored in our critical care database [2–5]. Using these scores, we have constructed a surface topogram of organ failure for the entire stay in the intensive care unit, using the open source data visualization software OpenDX Visualization Data Explorer (version 4.4.4) .
In conclusion, we believe that this method will be useful in analyzing temporal and dynamic relations within and between failing organ systems and related interventions. We also suggest that this approach could be used as a basis for constructing statistical methods to analyze these relations quantitatively.
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