Critical Care Articles

Jun 232017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Mean Systemic Filling Pressure – Part 2

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] Briefly, part 1 of this reflection on the mean systemic filling pressure [Pmsf] considered an analogy for volume status as the vastness of an ocean beyond the hull of a leaking ship; I argue that looking only inside the hull of the ship cannot tell you the volume of the [… read more]

Jun 162017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Mean Systemic Filling Pressure – Part 1

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] It’s 4 in the morning; I am somewhere between Riga and Stockholm.  The moon is full and bright and rippling across the black, Baltic Sea.  This warm, June darkness is cut like onyx by deep vibrations of a cruise ship and its collections of giggling Swedes; they karaoke ‘Spaceman’ by [… read more]

Jun 042017
 
Tight blood sugar control did not help critically ill kids

Remember when intensive glucose control in adults became all the “lifesaving” rage — and was then revealed to actually be harmful? Well, it doesn’t seem to work in kids either. Tight glucose control in critically ill children with hyperglycemia failed to reduce ICU days as compared with a higher target glucose range, in a large randomized [… read more]

May 152017
 
Sepsis drives far more readmissions than we realized

Sepsis may contribute to far more hospital readmissions than previously recognized — more than any other monitored condition. Recognition of this by federal and private payers could result in increased intensity of oversight of health teams’ care delivery for patients with sepsis. Hospital readmissions are squarely in the sights of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid [… read more]

May 072017
 
Video laryngoscopy was no better than directly intubating in the ICU, and may have been worse (MACMAN)

Video laryngoscopy provides beautiful close-up views of the larynx, by navigating a sensor past the tongue and pharyngeal tissues that can obstruct direct laryngoscopy views. These visual advantages led to its wide adoption by anesthesiologists, emergency physicians, and intensivists after video laryngoscopy’s introduction in the late 1990s. The intuition that better visualization must result in improved intubation rates — [… read more]

Apr 262017
 
Can early warning systems predict (and prevent) cardiac arrest?

The increasingly data-saturated modern health care milieu has been catnip to technologists and statisticians. If only we could manage and analyze the data better, as this appealing narrative has it, we could improve health outcomes in the hospital. Predictive modeling algorithms represent the apotheosis of this paradigm, offering hope to detect patients’ impending deterioration and cardiac arrest [… read more]

Apr 222017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Weaning-Induced Cardiac Dysfunction & the Passive Leg Raise

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] Reminder: Help me with my master’s thesis!  Please complete a learning module, and fill out this exceptionally brief survey! Perhaps the landmark trial elaborating an evolving cardiac dysfunction during the spontaneous breathing trial [SBT] is that of Lemaire and colleagues – published in 1988 [1].  One particularly memorable patient of [… read more]

Apr 122017
 
Which position is safest for central line placement: subclavian, jugular, femoral? (3SITES)

Where to place a central venous catheter is a decision driven mainly by individual experience and preference. The limited evidence available has not established any site as superior; the subclavian position has been reported as being less infection-prone, but more likely to cause pneumothorax, compared to other sites. A large French randomized trial adds significantly to the evidence base. [… read more]

Apr 062017
 
Free Online Hemodynamic Physiology Modules: an update & request

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet …” -Kipling Last year, I began adding physiology modules to heart-lung.org as a part of a Master’s Degree I am undertaking at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.  The goal of these modules has been to encourage [… read more]

Apr 052017
 
Meta-analysis confirms EGDT for sepsis is unhelpful and wasteful (PRISM)

Three large, well-conducted randomized trials around the world (ProCESS, ARISE, and ProMISe) all agreed: use of early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) for sepsis does not improve mortality or any other important clinical outcome. The Big Three sepsis trials were a death knell for the formerly ubiquitous “sepsis bundles,” protocols based on the single-center 2001 trial of EGDT [… read more]

Apr 052017
 
Pre-hospital hypothermia hurt, not helped after cardiac arrest

Therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest was almost immediately accepted as standard care in 2002 when two smallish, unblinded randomized trials (n=77 and n=273) showed a significant benefit from hypothermia after out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest. Hospitals and their cardiac care units quickly adopted resource-intensive protocols to manage patients’ special needs while being cooled to an icy 33° [… read more]

Mar 292017
 
Could vitamin C save lives in sepsis? These hospitals aren't waiting for proof.

After hundreds of trials failing to show benefit of drug treatments for sepsis, could a simple, cheap and effective treatment — high-dose vitamin C — be hiding in plain sight? A respected leader in critical care medicine thinks so, and his hospital system is all in. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is depleted during sepsis. That might be bad, [… read more]

Mar 202017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Heliox & Mechanical Power

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] Of the countless things taught to me by Dr. Chitkara at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System, one that sticks is the difference between density-dependent and viscosity-dependent airflow.  He often used the chronic bronchitic suffering through the viscous, humid New York City summers as a teaching example.  The importance [… read more]

Mar 022017
 
Therapeutic hypothermia? No benefit in cooling kids after in-hospital cardiac arrest (THAPCA)

Cooling kids to 33ºC after resuscitation from in-hospital cardiac arrest brought no benefits compared to fever prevention (maintenance at 36.8°C), in the large THAPCA randomized trial. After one year, survival was 39% with hypothermia and 36% with management of body temperature in the normal range. There were no differences in neurologic outcomes or any other [… read more]

Mar 012017
 
Are ventilator-associated pneumonia rates plummeting, or unchanged?

In 2008 hospitals were informed they would no longer be paid for treating hospital acquired infections like ventilator associated pneumonia. Miraculously, the rates of VAP (self-reported by hospitals to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) fell dramatically by 60 to 70% between 2006 and 2012, to less than one VAP per 1,000 ventilator days [… read more]

Feb 232017
 
The Normalization Fallacy: why much of "critical care" may be neither

By Scott Aberegg, MD, MPH Like many starry-eyed medical students, I was drawn to critical care because of the high stakes, its physiological underpinnings, and the apparent fact that you could take control of that physiology and make it serve your goals for the patient. On my first MICU rotation in 1997, I was so swept [… read more]

Feb 222017
 
Simple qSOFA score predicts sepsis as well as anything else

Sepsis is sneaky. Physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists struggle to accurately identify patients with sepsis in the emergency department, hospital ward, and in data sets. The so-called SIRS criteria were abandoned as insensitive and nonspecific in the most recent iteration of sepsis care. Sepsis is instead now defined as “life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated [… read more]

Feb 152017
 
Oxygen saturation in critical illness: could low-normal be best?

Oxygen is essential for life, but by forming superoxides and free radicals, supplemental oxygen can also inflict damage on lung and other body tissues. The sweet spot for oxygen delivery in critically ill patients is unknown, but increasing evidence suggests that when it comes to blood oxygen saturation during critical illness, “normal” levels might actually [… read more]

Feb 142017
 
A Primer on the Perils of Intravenous Fluids – Part 2

Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] Read part 1 here Fluids and the Glycocaylx Critically-ill patients all likely have endothelial dysfunction to some degree.  This perturbation in microvascular physiology may be underpinned by abnormal glycocalyx structure and function.  Sepsis, trauma, surgery and ischemic insults are all known to disrupt the glycocalyx which will increase vascular fluid capacitance.  [… read more]

Feb 132017
 
A Primer on the Perils of Intravenous Fluids – Part 1

Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] “To every (wo)man is given the key to the gates of heaven. The same key opens the gates of hell.  And so it is with science.” -Richard Feynman A rich, frosty wind etherizes my face; this cool gust rips through the medieval, labyrinthine passageways of Old Stockholm like frayed edges of [… read more]