A pilot feasibility, safety and biological efficacy multicentre trial of therapeutic hypercapnia after cardiac arrest: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Cardiac arrest causes ischaemic brain injury. Arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) is a major determinant of cerebral blood flow. Thus, mild hypercapnia in the 24 h following cardiac arrest may increase cerebral blood flow and attenuate such
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  STUDY PROTOCOL Open Access A pilot feasibility, safety and biological efficacymulticentre trial of therapeutic hypercapnia aftercardiac arrest: study protocol for a randomizedcontrolled trial Glenn M Eastwood 1,2,3 , Antoine G Schneider 4 , Satoshi Suzuki 5 , Michael Bailey 3 , Rinaldo Bellomo 1,6* ,for the CCC trial investigators Abstract Background:  Cardiac arrest causes ischaemic brain injury. Arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO 2 ) is a majordeterminant of cerebral blood flow. Thus, mild hypercapnia in the 24 h following cardiac arrest may increasecerebral blood flow and attenuate such injury. We describe the Carbon Control and Cardiac Arrest (CCC) trial. Methods/Design:  The CCC trial is a pilot multicentre feasibility, safety and biological efficacy randomizedcontrolled trial recruiting adult cardiac arrest patients admitted to the intensive care unit after return of spontaneous circulation. At admission, using concealed allocation, participants are randomized to 24 h of eithernormocapnia (PaCO 2  35 to 45 mmHg) or mild hypercapnia (PaCO 2  50 to 55 mmHg). Key feasibility outcomes arerecruitment rate and protocol compliance rate. The primary biological efficacy and biological safety measures arethe between-groups difference in serum neuron-specific enolase and S100b protein levels at 24 h, 48 h and 72 h.Secondary outcome measure include adverse events, in-hospital mortality, and neurological assessment at6 months. Discussion:  The trial commenced in December 2012 and, when completed, will provide clinical evidence as towhether targeting mild hypercapnia for 24 h following intensive care unit admission for cardiac arrest patients isfeasible and safe and whether it results in decreased concentrations of neurological injury biomarkers comparedwith normocapnia. Trial results will also be used to determine whether a phase IIb study powered for survival at90 days is feasible and justified. Trial registration:  Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12612000690853. Keywords:  cardiac arrest, hypercapnia, intensive care, normocapnia, randomized trial, resuscitation Background Cardiac arrest results in the immediate cessation of bloodflow, sudden unconsciousness and, without prompt returnof spontaneous circulation, irreversible brain injury withinminutes [1,2]. Blood flow following return of spontaneous circulation, while vital to survival, also heralds the onset of cerebral reperfusion injury [3]. For cardiac arrest survivors,acute neurological injury exerts a profound effect onimmediate, short-term and long-term quality of life out-comes [4,5]. Recent level I evidence has shown that the ap- plication of therapeutic hypothermia does not afford thepreviously accepted benefits of neurological protection orreduction in mortality [6]. Despite best efforts, the mortality outcomes for resuscitated cardiac arrest patients admittedto the intensive care unit remain high [7] and, in Australiaand New Zealand, over the past decade intensive care unitmortality has essentially remained unchanged at 46% in2003 and 48% in 2012 [8]. Thus, identifying modifiable as-pects of post-resuscitation care to provide cerebral protec-tion remains of extreme importance. * Correspondence: 1 Department of Intensive Care, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia 6 Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AustraliaFull list of author information is available at the end of the article TRIALS © 2015 Eastwood et al.; licensee BioMed Central. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the CreativeCommons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andreproduction in any medium, provided the srcinal work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public DomainDedication waiver ( ) applies to the data made available in this article,unless otherwise stated. Eastwood  et al. Trials  (2015) 16:135 DOI 10.1186/s13063-015-0676-3  Arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO 2 ) may be amodifiable component of patient care that might deliverimproved neurological outcomes. Mild hypercapnia in-creases cerebral perfusion [9,10] is known to have anticon-  vulsant properties [11,12] as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects [13]. However, optimal PaCO 2  levelsduring the early post-resuscitation period are currently poorly defined. Nonetheless, retrospective cohort studieshave identified hypocapnia, both before admittance to[13,14] and within the intensive care unit [15-19], as being independently associated with worse neurological and mor-tality outcomes in cardiac arrest patients. Recently, a retro-spective observational study of 16,542 patients enrolled at125 participating intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand between 2000 and 2011 [18] found that, while hy-percapnic patients had a similar mortality rate to normo-capnic patients, they had a greater likelihood of beingdischarged home. Such findings were independently con-firmed in a study of 409 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest pa-tients from 21 Finnish intensive care units between March2010 and February 2011 [11], and supported by observa-tions on cardiac arrest in children [20] and experimentalstudies [21,22]. Therefore, mild hypercapnia during the 24 hours aftercardiac arrest might contribute to positive neurologicaloutcomes. Moreover, given that resuscitated cardiac ar-rest patients admitted to the intensive care unit typically receive mechanical ventilation, it should be feasible totarget specific PaCO 2  levels. This article describes aprotocol for a pilot feasibility, safety and biological efficacy multicentre randomized controlled trial of therapeutic hy-percapnia after cardiac arrest: the Carbon Control afterCardiac Arrest (CCC) trial. Methods/Design The CCC trial is a prospective pilot, feasibility, safety and biological efficacy multicentre, randomized con-trolled trial.Feasibility outcome measures include screened:recruitedpatient ratio, weekly recruitment rate, protocol adherence,time from cardiac arrest to first intensive care unit arterialblood gas analysis, separation in PaCO 2  levels betweengroups, and ability to obtain Glasgow Outcome Scale(Extended) assessments at 6 months from the date of randomization for survivors. Safety outcome measuresinclude adverse changes in serum concentrations of neuron-specific enolase and S100b protein (at 24 h,48 h and 72 h), incidence and types of cardiacarrhythmia, adverse changes in acid-base values, oxy-genation (mean arterial oxygen tension, fraction of in-spired oxygen requirement, alveolar-arterial gradient,positive end expiratory pressure requirements) or inthe findings of cardiac echocardiography or cerebralcomputed tomography during the first 24 h afteradmission to the intensive care unit, occurrence of cerebral edema or right ventricular failure, incidenceof acute kidney injury as estimated using  ‘ risk, injury,failure, loss, end-stage ’  renal disease (RIFLE) criteria,need for continuous renal replacement therapy, andliver failure.The primary biological efficacy outcome measure is thedifference in serum concentrations of neuron-specific eno-lase and S100b protein at 24 h, 48 h and 72 h afterrandomization between the hypercapnia and the controlgroups. Neuron-specific enolase (a cytoplasmic glycolyticenzyme) and S100b (a calcium binding protein) are bio-markers specific to the central nervous system [23,24]. Serum concentrations of neuron-specific enolase andS100b increase in both the cerebrospinal fluid and bloodfollowing a cardiac arrest. Both biomarkers are predictive of neurological outcome rather than survival outcome forresuscitated cardiac arrest patients [23,24]. Sustained ele-  vated concentrations of neuron-specific enolase and S100bprotein in the first 24 h to 72 h following cardiac arrest areassociated with poor neurological outcome [24,25]. Second- ary efficacy outcome measures include date, time and vitalstatus at intensive care unit and hospital discharge and hos-pital discharge destination as clinical outcomes. A summary of the feasibility, safety and primary and secondary out-comes is provided in Table 1. Study setting and participants The intensive care units of four tertiary hospitals inAustralia and New Zealand will participate in this trial.The CCC trial participants have to satisfy the protocol-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria   Resuscitated non-traumatic in-hospital or out-of-hospital cardiac arrest;   Receiving mechanical ventilation;   Admitted to intensive care unit. Exclusion criteria   Spontaneous ventilation;   Death considered imminent;   Clinical or radiological suspicion of raisedintracranial pressure or intracranial bleeding;   Pregnant;   Younger than 18 years;   Severe chronic airflow limitation;   Severe metabolic acidosis (pH< 7.1 and base excess< − 6 mmol/l) uncorrected within the first 2 h of admission to intensive care unit;   Transferred from another healthcare facility;   Participation declined by the treating clinician. Eastwood  et al. Trials  (2015) 16:135 Page 2 of 6  Randomization, allocation concealment and interventions Randomization to either group will be performed usingsealed opaque envelopes with permuted blocks of ran-dom sizes (block sizes 2 to 6) in a 1:1 ratio. Clinicianswill be directed to target normocapnia (PaCO 2  35 to45 mmHg) or mild hypercapnia (PaCO 2  50 to 55 mmHg)for 24 h during mechanical ventilation for each partici-pant from the time of randomization. At all four sites, ventilation management, to adjust PaCO 2  levels, will beachieved using intensive care unit-performed arterialblood gas analysis data assessed after adjustment to 37°C(alpha-stat) and guided on a minute-by-minute basis by end-tidal CO 2  levels. After the 24 h intervention period,the treating clinician will determine the target PaCO 2 level for each participant as per usual care. All remainingpatient care decisions will be at the treating clinicians ’ discretion. Blood samples will be centrifuged and iso-lated serum will immediately be frozen to  − 80°C at eachparticipating site. Stored serum samples will then beshipped to the coordinating hospital and sent for batchanalysis at a central laboratory in Melbourne, Victoria. Data collection and management Trained research staff at each trial site will collect trialrelated data using a paper-based case report form. Infor-mation to be collected using the case report form is out-lined in Table 2. Completed case report forms will besent to the principal investigator at the Austin Hospital,and data will be collated and entered into a central trialdatabase. The trial investigators at the Austin Hospital,Melbourne will develop and manage the trial database,coordinate sample shipment and batch analysis and willperform the data analysis. Ethical issues and trial registration The Austin Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee isthe lead ethics committee (approval: HREC/13/Austin/166;previously H2012/04737) and has provided approval for theAustralian sites. Jurisdictional ethics committee approvalhas been obtained from the Health and Disability EthicsCommittees, Ministry of Health, NZ (12/NTA/54) for theNew Zealand site. Because of the specific nature of the trial,and the need to apply the intervention in a timely fashion,the need for prior informed consent was waived by the hu-man research ethics committee. At the earliest appropriatetime, the participant or their legal surrogate wereasked for delayed consent. The trial was prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand ClinicalTrials Registry (ACTRN12612000690853). Statistical analysis Trial profile Flow of patients through the trial will be displayed in aConsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT)diagram. We will report the number of screened patientswho met study inclusion criteria and the number of pa-tients included in the study. We will report the reasonsfor exclusion of ineligible patients according to the pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, as listed. Inaddition, we will report the number of patients enrolledinto the trial and the number of participants from whoma full set of serum biomarker samples were obtained. Statistical analysis procedures The efficacy and safety of the intervention will be evalu-ated on an intention-to-treat analysis of all eligible par-ticipants randomized to the trial. A sample size of 50participants with full serum biomarker samples (base-line, 24 h, 48 h and 72 h) was deemed sufficient to allow for a meaningful assessment of neurological biomarkerdifference between groups and for safety and feasibility outcomes. No imputation or assumptions will be madefor missing data. Normally distributed continuous datawill be reported as mean with standard deviation andcompared using Student ’ s  t   test or analysis of variance(ANOVA). Non-normally distributed continuous data Table 1 Primary and secondary outcomes of the CCC trial Feasibility outcomes  Screened:recruited patient ratioWeekly recruitment rate Time from cardiac arrest to first analysis of arterial blood gas in intensive care unitSeparation in PaCO 2  levels between groupsfor feasibilityProtocol adherence Safety outcomes  Adverse changes in cerebral injury biomarkers(at 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h)Incidence and type of cardiac arrhythmiasAdverse changes in acid-base balanceAdverse changes in oxygenation (meanarterial carbon dioxide tension, fraction of inspired oxygen, alveolar-arterial gradient,positive end expiratory pressure requirement)Adverse findings of cardiac echocardiographyor cerebral computerized tomographyOccurrence of cerebral oedema or rightventricular failure and incidence of acutekidney injury as estimated using RIFLE ( ‘ risk,injury, failure, loss, end-stage ’  renal disease)criteria, need for renal replacement therapy orliver failure Primary biologicalefficacy outcome Difference in serum neuron-specific enolaseand S100b protein concentrations at 24 h,48 h, and 72 h compared with baseline foreach group Secondary outcomes  Date, time and vital status at discharge fromintensive care unit and hospital and dischargedestination as clinical measuresGlasgow Outcome Scale (Extended) assessedat 6 months from date of randomization forsurvivors, as a neurological assessment Eastwood  et al. Trials  (2015) 16:135 Page 3 of 6  will be reported as median with interquartile range andcompared using the Mann-Whitney U test or the Kruskal-Wallis one way ANOVA. Where sufficient symmetry exists,biomarker sample data for each participant for each time-point will be compared with repeated measures ANOVA;alternatively, non-parametric techniques will be employed.Categorical data will be reported as number and percentageand compared using chi-square or Fisher exact tests whereindicated. Unless otherwise stated, a two-sided  P   value of 0.05 will be used to indicate statistical significance. We willalso perform an adjusted analysis for key cardiac arrest orbaseline characteristics or intensive care unit managementimbalances. All analyses will be performed using SAS ver-sion 9.3 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA). Tables and figures Planned tables are:   Baseline characteristics, cardiac arrest characteristicsand intensive care unit procedures for the trialparticipants overall and according to study group.   Primary and secondary outcome measures. Planned figures are:   CONSORT-style diagram illustrating the flow of patients through the trial. Table 2 Variables recorded in the CCC trial case reportform Baseline information  Patient characteristics (age, sex,comorbities)Inclusion criteria and consent detailsDate and time of hospital admissionDate and time of admission tointensive care unitAPACHE II and III score on admissionand immunocompromised statusDate and time of randomization Cardiac arrest characteristics  Location (in or out of- hospital), dateand time of cardiac arrestBystander cardiopulmonaryresuscitation Time (minutes) until emergencyresponder arrivalInitial cardiac rhythm Time of first defibrillation andnumber of defibrillation episodes Time of return of spontaneouscirculation Total adrenaline doseSuspected cause of cardiac arrest(arrhythmic, hypoxic, ischaemic,pulseless electrical activity) Intensive care unit proceduresand ventilation management  Time of first arterial blood gasmeasurement and number of arterialblood gas measurements in first24 h Therapeutic hypothermia initiated(yes or no)Nutrition commenced (yes or no)Coronary angiography in first 24 hBicarbonate infusion commenced infirst 24 hRecurrent cardiac arrhythmia (yes orno)Need for extracorporeal membraneoxygenation or renal replacementtherapyElectroencephalography, computedtomography of the brain orechocardiography (yes and findingor not performed) in first 24 hIntravenous medication use(fentanyl, midazolam, neuromuscularblockage medication, midazolam,morphine, propofol)Duration of mechanical ventilationArterial blood gas data during first36 h of intensive care unit care whilemechanically ventilatedVentilation data during first 36 h of intensive care unit care whilemechanically ventilated Table 2 Variables recorded in the CCC trial case reportform  (Continued) Urinary and serum creatinineconcentrations while in the intensivecare unit Clinical outcomes  Date, time and vital status atdischarge from intensive care unitDate, time and vital status atdischarge from hospitalDestination after discharge fromhospital Feasibility measures  Screened:recruited patient ratio andweekly recruitment rateSeparation in PaCO 2  levels betweengroups Time (minutes) from cardiac arrest tofirst arterial blood gas analysis inintensive care unit Safety measures  Occurrence of severe raisedintracranial pressure or rightventricular failure, incidence of acutekidney injury as estimated usingRIFLE ( ‘ risk, injury, failure, loss, end-stage ’  renal disease) criteria and liverfailure Neurological evaluationmeasure Glasgow Outcome Scale (Extended)evaluation performed at 6 months APACHE, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation; PaCO 2 , arterialcarbon dioxide tension. Eastwood  et al. Trials  (2015) 16:135 Page 4 of 6    PaCO 2  levels for normocapnia and mild hypercapniagroup participants over the first 36 h followingenrolment.   Serum neuron-specific enolase concentrations fornormocapnia and mild hypercapnia group participantswith a complete set of neurological injury biomarkers(baseline, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h).   Serum S100b protein concentrations fornormocapnia and mild hypercapnia groupparticipants with a complete set of neurologicalinjury biomarkers (baseline, 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h). Data and safety monitoring No data monitoring committee was established for thisinvestigator-initiated clinical trial. The principal investi-gator at each site will review safety data for the durationof the trial. All adverse events and serious adverse eventslinked with the study intervention will be reported tothe Austin Health Human Research Ethics Committeewithin 24 h of study staff becoming aware of the eventand in accordance with institutional and jurisdictionalhuman research ethics committee requirements. Funding and support The CCC trial is supported by the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Clinical Trials Group.Funding support has been received from the AnaesthesiaIntensive Care Trust Fund (Austin Hospital, Melbourne),Intensive Care Foundation, Ambulance Victoria and theAustin Medical Research Foundation. Funding bodieshave no input into the design, management or reportingof the trial. Discussion The study commenced recruitment on 6 December 2012at the Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia as single-centre trial. In October, 2013 the additional three par-ticipating sites joined the CCC trial, following the receiptof streamlined ethical approval, making this a multicen-tre trial. It is estimated that participant recruitment willbe completed by November 2014 and final 6-monthneurological assessment completed in May, 2015.The results of the CCC trial will provide preliminary clinical evidence regarding the feasibility and safety of targeting mild hypercapnia for 24 h following intensivecare unit admission for cardiac arrest patients. It willalso provide preliminary information on whether suchtreatment leads to lower levels of neurological injury biomarkers concentrations, compared with normocap-nia. Such trial results will be used to determine whethera phase IIb study is feasible, safe and justified. Trial status Recruitment is active. Abbreviations ANOVA: analysis of variance; APACHE: Acute Physiology and Chronic HealthEvaluation; CCC: Carbon Control and Cardiac Arrest; CONSORT: ConsolidatedStandards of Reporting Trials; PaCO 2 : arterial carbon dioxide tension; RIFLEcriteria:  ‘ risk, injury, failure, loss, end-stage ’ . Competing interests All authors state that they have no competing interests to declare. Authors ’  contributions GME conceived the study, contributed to the study design, obtained grantfunding and was responsible for preparing the manuscript. RB conceived thestudy, contributed to the study design, obtained grant function and is theprincipal investigator. AGS conceived the study, contributed to the studydesign, obtained grant funding and revised the manuscript. SS contributedto the study design and revised the manuscript. MB contributed to thestudy, provided statistical input and revised the manuscript. All authors readand approved the final manuscript. Acknowledgements  Thanks to the site principal investigators: Associate Professor Nerina Harley(Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia), Dr Shay McGuiness (Auckland CityHospital, New Zealand) and Dr Gopal Taori (Monash Medical Centre,Australia); research coordinators: Ms Leah Peck, Ms Helen Young (AustinHospital, Australia), Ms Deborah Barge, Ms Andrea Jordan (Royal MelbourneHospital, Australia), Ms Pauline Galt, Ms Tammy Lamac (Monash MedicalCentre, Australia); and clinical staff who facilitated the conduct of this study.We acknowledge the following funding bodies: Anaesthesia Intensive Care Trust Fund (Austin Hospital, Melbourne); the Australia and New ZealandIntensive Care Foundation; Ambulance Victoria; and the Austin MedicalResearch Foundation. Author details 1 Department of Intensive Care, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.  2 Schoolof Nursing and Midwifery, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.  3 AustraliaNew Zealand Intensive Care Society - Research Centre, Monash University,Melbourne, Australia.  4 Department of Intensive Care Medicine and BurnCenter, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland. 5 Department of Anesthesiology and Resuscitology, Okayama UniversityHospital, Okayama, Japan.  6 Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne,Melbourne, Australia. Received: 27 November 2014 Accepted: 25 March 2015 References 1. Wiklund LM, Miclescu A, Semenas E, Rubertsson S, Sharma HS. Centralnervous tissue damage after hypoxia and reperfusion in conjunction withcardiac arrest and cardiopulmonary resuscitation: mechanisms of action andpossibilities for mitigation. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2012;102:173 – 87.2. Eastwood GM, Young PJ, Bellomo R. The impact of oxygen and carbondioxide management on outcome after cardiac arrest. Curr Opin Crit Care.2014;20:266 – 72.3. Neumar RW, Nolan JP, Adrie C, Aibiki M, Berg RA, Böttiger BW, et al.Post-cardiac arrest syndrome: epidemiology, pathophysiology, treatment, andprognostication: a consensus statement from the International Liaison Committeeon Resuscitation (American Heart Association, Australian and New ZealandCouncil on Resuscitation, European Resuscitation Council, Heart and Stroke Foun-dation of Canada, InterAmerican Heart Foundation, Resuscitation Council of Asia,and the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa); the American HeartAssociation Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee; the Council onCardiovascular Surgery and Anaesthesia; the Council on Cardiopulmonary,Perioperative, and Critical Care, the Council on Clinical Cardiology; and the StrokeCouncil. Circulation. 2008;118:2452 – 83.4. Lemiale V, Dumas F, Mongardon N, Giovanetti O, Charpentier J, Chiche JD,et al. Intensive care unit mortality after cardiac arrest: the relativecontribution of shock and brain injury in a large cohort. Intensive Care Med.2013;39:1972 – 80.5. Polanowska KE, Sarzy ń ska-D ł ugosz IM, Paprot AE, Sikorska S, Seniów JB,Karpi ń ski G, et al. Neuropsychological and neurological sequelae of out-of- Eastwood  et al. Trials  (2015) 16:135 Page 5 of 6
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