Critical Care Archives - PulmCCM
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Critical Care Articles

May 012016
 
ICU Physiology in 1,000 Words: ARDS - Part 2

Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] As mentioned in part 1, Gattinoni and Quintel have outlined their approach to managing the acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS] [1].  They argue that treatment of ARDS should minimize firstly, the mechanical power applied to the lungs – as described in part 1.  Secondly, Gattinoni and Quintel note that, in the [… read more]

Apr 222016
 
ICU Physiology in 1,000 Words: ARDS - Part 1

Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] “Often, as new knowledge progresses, old knowledge is abandoned or forgotten.” -Luciano Gattinoni In a succinct and current treatise, Gattinoni and Quintel outline the modern management of the acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS] [1].  It is imperative, they reason, that treatment of ARDS minimizes firstly, the mechanical power applied to the [… read more]

Mar 182016
 
The Physiologically Difficult Airway – Part 2

In part 2, I continue my commentary on this excellent review; part 1 may be found here.  In this post I will consider patients with severe metabolic acidosis and those with right ventricular [RV] dysfunction and/or failure. Severe Metabolic Acidosis In patients with severe metabolic acidosis, alveolar ventilation tends to be maximal as a compensatory mechanism.  [… read more]

Mar 112016
 
The Physiologically Difficult Airway – Part 1

To celebrate the birthday of Dr. Erin Hennessey [@ErinH_MD] – my former co-fellow and current Stanford intensivist-anesthesiologist – I will interpret a relatively recent and terrifically high-yield overview of physiologically challenging intubations.  In this must-read survey, the authors highlight particularly troublesome intubations not from the classic, anatomical perspective, but from the standpoint of the – [… read more]

Mar 012016
 
An Expected or Maladaptive Response to Infection?  Sepsis Reconsidered

“A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks … English … becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” George Orwell reminds us [… read more]

Feb 172016
 
Recruitment Maneuvers & PEEP in the Morbidly Obese

A recent study of applied respiratory physiology in the mechanically-ventilated, obese patient was published.  The ubiquitous focus on lung protective ventilation with “low” [physiological] lung volumes, and low plateau pressure may leave the obese patient susceptible to untoward respiratory embarrassment.  Excess abdominal and chest wall weight affect each of the following: reduction in lung volume, [… read more]

Feb 132016
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Driving Pressure & Stress Index

By Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] The problem with the lung in the acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS] is not that it is stiff, but rather, that it is small [1].  In the 1980s, CT scans of the lungs of patients with ARDS revealed that the functional lung was attenuated in size and that dependent densities [… read more]

Jan 212016
 
That Fallible IVC

A 58 year old man with ethanol-related cirrhosis is admitted to the floor with anuria and a rising creatinine.  Over the day, serial ultrasounds of his interior vena cava [IVC] consistently reveal that it is diminutive and collapsing.  He receives many liters of crystalloid without much change in his urine output.  In the middle of [… read more]

Jan 172016
 
Review: Lactate & Sepsis

On this snowy, Stockholm Sunday, I look out from my quarters on the Mälardrottningen across the still, icy waters and I think about a cirrhotic patient for whom I recently cared.  She presented with significant dyspnea as she had stopped taking her diuretics.  Instead, she was using excessive doses of her friend’s albuterol inhaler to treat [… read more]

Aug 252015
 
Are central lines really needed for vasopressor infusions?

image: Wikipedia There’s only one sure way to prevent complications from a central line: don’t place one. Like many invasive interventions, some of central venous catheters’ indications have been called into question in recent years. Monitoring of central venous pressure and central venous oxygen saturation via central IV access — once considered essential to good care [… read more]

Aug 012015
 

ICU Physiology in 1000 Words Veno-Arterial Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (VA-ECMO) Jon-Emile S. Kenny M.D. [@heart_lung] Perhaps the most memorable patient of both my pulmonary and critical care fellowships was that of a very young woman who suffered from propofol-related infusion syndrome [PRIS]. As a consequence of PRIS, she endured multiple cardiac arrests and was placed [… read more]

Jul 012015
 
Families stall end of life talks, say doctors. True?

Doctors and nurses said patients and their families created the largest obstacles to end-of-life decision making in the ICU, in a large survey published in JAMA Internal Medicine. About 1,300 staff at 13 academic hospitals in Canada rated barriers to end-of-life goals of care on a 1-7 scale. Doctors and nurses considered the largest barriers [… read more]

May 312015
 
SICU Basic Training (Video, Part 2 of 2)

Part 2 of a video lecture by Dr. Richard Savel, director of the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) at Maimonides Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Designed for an audience of SICU house staff, its content is applicable to non-surgical critically ill patients as well. Topics presented include shock; sepsis bundles; acid base status; [… read more]

May 282015
 
Restricting calories by 50% during critical illness results in no harm

Everyone agrees that providing adequate nutrition in critical illness is vitally important. The problem is, no one knows for sure what “adequate” means. Caloric targets are not based on evidence from randomized trials with meaningful clinical outcomes. They emerge as consensus from educated guesses by researchers conducting physiology studies. One camp believes that extra calories should [… read more]

May 272015
 
High flow oxygen by nasal cannula saves lives over noninvasive ventilation

Image: F&P Healthcare Noninvasive ventilation (NIV), often referred to by the trade name “BiPAP®,” can prevent intubation and save lives in patients with COPD exacerbations or pulmonary edema due to heart failure. Its proven benefits and low risk have led to NIV being used for patients in respiratory failure in virtually every acute care setting [… read more]

May 172015
 
SICU Basic Training (Video, Part 1)

Dr. Richard Savel, director of the surgical intensive care unit (SICU) at Maimonides Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine contributes this excellent educational video. Designed for an audience of SICU house staff, its content is applicable to non-surgical critically ill patients as well. Topics presented include shock; sepsis bundles; acid base status; metabolic acidosis; metabolic alkalosis; [… read more]

May 172015
 
The only VAP prevention method that saves lives is the one you’re not using

There’s always been doubt about the efficacy of the numerous “ventilator bundles” hospitals use to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). A provocative new analysis concludes that none of these methods save lives — except the one that almost no ICUs are using today. Healthcare associated pneumonias (HAP), especially ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAP), are associated with increased mortality, excess antibiotic use, lengthened hospital [… read more]

May 062015
 
Is more than one patient per ICU nurse dangerous?

The fewer patients an ICU nurse has to juggle, the better those patients’ chances of making it out of the hospital alive, according to a large observational study published in Critical Care Medicine. Data from the large EPIC II study suggested that two patients per nurse may be too many for safe, high-quality critical care. Nurse-to-patient [… read more]

Mar 282015
 
Surviving Sepsis Says EGDT Not Needed in All Patients with Septic Shock

As regular PulmCCM readers know, the ProCESS, ARISE and ProMISe randomized trials showed no benefit of protocolized early goal-directed therapy as compared to usual conscientious care in the treatment of severe sepsis and septic shock. In response to ProCESS and ARISE, the influential Surviving Sepsis Campaign now advises that measurement of central venous pressure (CVP) and [… read more]

Mar 272015
 
Endovascular therapy helps in ischemic stroke, again (ESCAPE)

Endovascular Therapy Improves Outcomes from Ischemic Stroke By Parth Rali, MD and Igor Titoff, DO Endovascular therapy for ischemic stroke has long been an attractive treatment modality for ischemic strokes, but until recently large randomized trials have not confirmed a benefit [1,2,3]. Two of these—IMS III1 and SYNTHESIS2—failed to prove the benefit of endovascular therapy (with-or-without tissue plasminogen activator) [… read more]