Critical Care Articles

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]

Feb 082017
 
Early renal replacement therapy in critical illness did not improve outcomes (AKIKI)

When is the optimal time to initiate renal-replacement therapy in the ICU? Patients with acute renal failure (a.k.a. acute kidney injury or AKI) in the ICU experience worse outcomes than patients who do not. As the kidneys shut down, toxic electrolytes and metabolic waste products build up in the blood. Intuition says — screams, really [… read more]

Feb 022017
 
CDC Releases Ventilator-Associated Events Criteria

A new term has been coined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ventilator-associated events (VAEs)¹. In 2011, the CDC convened a working group composed of members of several stakeholder organizations to address the limitations of the definition of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) definition². The organizations represented in the Working Group include: the Critical Care [… read more]

Feb 012017
 
Passive leg raise test: helpful maneuver, or ICU parlor trick?

Patients who arrive at the hospital with hypotension will almost all receive intravenous fluid resuscitation (one hopes). When signs of hypoperfusion occur later in a patient’s hospital course, it can be much harder to decide if additional fluid will be helpful. Physical exam is unreliable, and no available technology can accurately identify how much water is [… read more]

Jan 242017
 
2016 Surviving Sepsis Guidelines: A Review and Analysis

By Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] PulmCCM is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine or the Surviving Sepsis Campaign. Click here to read the Surviving Sepsis Guidelines. “I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century.  When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make [… read more]

Jan 112017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Hidden Hemodynamics in Respiratory Mechanics

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] Hemodynamic assessment, by any means, demands a shrewd familiarity with mechanical heart-lung interaction.  The two ventricles communicate in series and in parallel; each ventricle’s pressure-volume characteristics and loading conditions pulsate between systole and diastole.  And around the heart and pericardium lies the respiratory pump – the lungs within the thorax [… read more]

Dec 242016
 
Pneumonia or Atelectasis?  Here's a trick to tell them apart

By Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] “New York is cold, but I like where I’m living … There’s music on Clinton Street all through the evening.” -Leonard Cohen It’s the end of December; we collectively reflect on the year that was and try to find our footing for the next.  In the short winter days of 2016, it [… read more]