Chronic Critical Illness Archives - PulmCCM
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Chronic Critical Illness Articles

Jan 122014
 
Cognitive impairment after critical illness as bad as Alzheimer's

People who survive critical illness often experience long-term cognitive impairment, even among those with normal or near-normal pre-hospital brain function. Cognitive impairment after critical illness is poorly understood; relatively few prospective clinical trials in critical care have followed patients after hospital discharge, and measuring cognitive impairment and determining its onset is difficult. Cognitive impairment reduces [... read more]

Oct 242013
 
Dysphagia and swallowing disorders in the ICU (Review)

ICU-related Dysphagia and Swallowing Disorders More than 700,000 people develop respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation each year in the U.S. alone, and those that survive are at elevated risk for developing swallowing dysfunction. The aspiration syndromes that follow can be devastating, especially if not recognized and addressed early. Denver’s Madison Macht et al provide a clinical [... read more]

Jun 272013
 
Early tracheostomy does not improve survival or other outcomes (TracMan trial)

image: CUHK Early Tracheostomy Does Not Help in Large “TracMan” Trial More than 100,000 tracheostomies are performed worldwide each year for people requiring prolonged periods of mechanical ventilation. It’s generally agreed that to avoid damaging the trachea and throat, a tracheostomy should be placed within 3 weeks of mechanical ventilation. But prior to 3 weeks, [... read more]

Mar 032013
 
"Trach collar" beats pressure support trials for long-term ventilator weaning (RCT)

“Trach Collar” Trials Beat Pressure Support for Long-Term Ventilator Weaning By Blair Westerly, MD Patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation linger in ICUs and long-term acute care hospitals for weeks, accounting for a significant portion of intensive care unit costs and often suffering serious complications while dependent on the ventilator. Despite this issue’s rising importance, the [... read more]

Feb 272013
 
Knowing When, When Knowing Is Impossible (Paul McLean)

Knowing When, When Knowing Is Impossible By Paul C. McLean The child was her first, and there were complications and aggressive therapies from the start and for months. She was unaware that the medical team was coming to believe the baby would not survive, that aggressive treatments no longer served a therapeutic purpose and were [... read more]

Feb 212013
 
Intubation in pre-hospital cardiac arrest strongly associated with worse outcomes

Intubation for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest May Harm, Not Help by Blair Westerly, MD Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a major public-health problem, and despite advances in care, survival is still low. Improved survival has been associated with early CPR, rapid defibrillation, and integrated post cardiac arrest care, but pre-hospital “advanced airway management” (i.e., intubation [... read more]

May 232012
 
For some LTAC patients, pessimism is the new kindness

(image: flickrCC) Half of patients transferred to long-term acute care facilities (LTACs) on prolonged mechanical ventilation will die within a year, according to a 2010 review. Only a small minority will ever go home without needing significant caregiver assistance. For those over age 65, the prognosis is even worse. It seems rude, or even cruel, [... read more]

Apr 022012
 

This post was featured on KevinMD.com; an excerpt follows. “Full code” is the universal default status for patients who haven’t chosen otherwise. Yet I suspect most physicians believe this policy is wrong. We feel in our hearts we’re doing harm when we perform CPR on poor souls whose bodies are trying to naturally end their [... read more]

Mar 022012
 
Walk to wean: Early mobilization for ventilated patients (Review, CHEST)

Daily interruption of sedation (daily awakening or sedation holidays) works like a charm to get patients off the ventilator, faster. After proving that a decade or so ago, practice-changers John Kress and William Schweickert have turned their attention to early mobilization as the next intervention that could help mechanically ventilated patients escape the ventilator faster. [... read more]

Jan 082012
 
Elderly critically ill who survive ICU rationing live well (CHEST)

Many argue that as a limited resource serving unlimited needs, medical care is “rationed” by definition, and ICU resources (being more limited and expensive) are simply more overtly rationed. For example, in France, ICU admission is often denied to the very elderly critically ill, explicitly because of their age (this happens in the U.K., too, probably). In the U.S., [... read more]

Dec 102011
 

Severe sepsis has had a 35-45% mortality rate in clinical trials. Gagan Kumar et al use national observational data to suggest that while population rates of severe sepsis are increasing, survival has likely improved, with mortality falling from 39% to 27%, 2000-2007. However, most of the new survivors are not going home, but rather to [... read more]

Nov 222011
 

As Sancho et al point out here, there is a paucity of information available about tracheotomy in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — when it’s best to perform the life-prolonging surgery, as well as what patients, families, and physicians can expect afterward. They followed 116 patients with ALS; 76 were recommended to receive tracheotomy when they could [... read more]

Nov 112011
 

Obesity may impose extra burdens on critical care staff (think turning, transport, intubation and central line placement), but reviews suggest people with “ordinary” obesity (BMI 30-39) with have the same mortality from critical illness as overweight or healthy-weight people. In fact, obese people may have a survival advantage, despite possible longer durations of mechanical ventilation and ICU stays. But what about extreme obesity (BMI > [... read more]

Nov 062011
 

Doctors are generally lousy at predicting death in terminally ill patients, and in ICU patients with indeterminate outcomes. Mortality prediction models have proliferated to improve our performance, but in the critical care literature, have mostly shown high predictive accuracy only at the tail ends of probability (high probability of survival or death). Siontis et al (led [... read more]

Oct 242011
 

Adaptive support ventilation (ASV) has entered wide use based on its attractive premise: it’s patient-centered ventilation, adapting breath-by-breath to deliver precisely the right amount of pressure support to achieve a targeted minute ventilation. However, evidence for any superiority over conventional ventilator modes is limited to cardiac surgery patients who were extubated in ~6 hours regardless of [... read more]

Oct 112011
 

In 2006, Medicare (we) spent 25% of our dollars on treatment for people in their last year of life. The debate rages, waged with euphemism in public and painful, conflicting emotions in private: how can we let Grandma go peacefully and with dignity, without feeling too guilty or ending up in front of a Senate subcommittee? [... read more]

Apr 242011
 

Sacanella et al prospectively observed 230 generally healthy, cognitively intact, highly functional & independently living Spaniards 65 years or older (mean age 75) after urgent admission to a single MICU. About half received mechanical ventilation (54%). Seventy died in-hospital; 48 died within a year, for a one-year survival of 49%. But among the 112 survivors, [... read more]

Apr 052011
 

Analyzing 50,481 victims of prolonged mechanical ventilation in Taiwan 1997-2007, Hung et al report outcomes were frankly terrible, with median survival of about 4 months. Those with a primary indication of neurologic damage fared significantly better. Those with a PMV indication of COPD, younger than 85, had 6-18 months median survival. Authors take the additional [... read more]

Mar 022011
 

In a rare encouraging positive study in the chronically critically ill, 71% of vent-dependent patients (~6 weeks on MV) who did multiple sets of daily inspirations backwards through a PEEP valve weaned from mechanical ventilation (defined as >72 hrs off the vent), vs. 47% receiving a sham treatment. MIP also improved by 10 cmH2O in [... read more]