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May 122013
Killer carbapenem-resistant bacteria spreading through LTACs

Killer Carbapenem-Resistant Bacteria Spreading Across U.S. Gut-living bacteria like Klebsiella are gaining resistance to carbapenems at an alarming rate, and long-term acute care hospitals (LTACs) and nursing homes seem to be the incubators for these killer bugs spreading across the U.S. Carbapenems  like meropenem and doripenem have been the gold standard to treat infections from [… read more]

Apr 252013
Pulse oximetry as time machine: Lag times confuse doctors, complicate intubations (EMCrit)

image: wikimedia Pulse Oximetry: The 30-Second Time Machine Why does it seem to take so long to re-oxygenate your crashing patient? Because your pulse oximeter is lying to you, no matter how good it is. Telescopes show us how a star looked millions or billions of years ago; pulse oximeters create a similar, though tiny [… read more]

Mar 172013
FDA warns of sudden cardiac death with use of azithromycin

FDA Warns of Sudden Cardiac Death Risk from Azithromycin Last summer, PulmCCM reported on a New England Journal paper suggesting an increased risk of sudden cardiac death in patients taking even a short 5-day course of azithromycin. Yesterday, the FDA expressed its official concern in a Drug Safety Communication and statement to the press on [… 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]

Jan 062013
Sedation vacations don't improve outcomes in large trial (RCT)

Do “Sedation Vacations” Really Speed Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation? Daily interruptions of sedation (“sedation holiday” or “sedation vacation”) became the standard of critical care for weaning from mechanical ventilation in ICUs around the world after J.P. Kress et al’s landmark 2000 New England Journal of Medicine paper showing daily sedation interruptions freed ~64 patients from ventilators [… read more]

Jan 052013
Tranexamic acid saves lives, reduces transfusions. So why does no one use it? (Review)

Tranexamic Acid: Underused for Uncontrolled Bleeding? Tranexamic acid is a simple little molecule, just a synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine. But it’s also a potent pro-hemostatic drug that binds plasminogen and plasmin and stops the degradation of fibrin (the stuff in blood clots). In the U.S., tranexamic acid is sold as Lysteda (oral) [… read more]

Jan 032013
Can procalcitonin help guide therapy for suspected pneumonia & other infections? (Review)

Procalcitonin to Guide Treatment of Pneumonia (More PulmCCM Topic Reviews) With mounting evidence for its utility as a biomarker for pneumonia, procalcitonin is one of the hottest 2012 topics in pulmonary & critical care. Procalcitonin tends to rise quickly as bacterial infections (but not viral infections) develop, increase with the severity of infection, and decline [… read more]

Dec 312012
Adherence with low tidal volumes for ARDS is poor at top centers; reduces survival

(image: Wikipedia) Anyone with the keys to a ventilator knows, or should, that low tidal volume ventilation (~6 mL/kg ideal body weight) for patients with ARDS can be lifesaving: as many as one in 11 people with ARDS treated by low tidal volume ventilation may have their lives saved or extended while in the hospital. [… read more]

Dec 312012
In ARDS, women and short people get higher, potentially deadly tidal volumes

In most areas of life, it helps to be tall, and needing treatment for ARDS further proves the rule. Tall people are less likely to get harmful lung-distending tidal volumes during mechanical ventilation, simply by virtue of having bigger lungs. It’s bad enough that we intensivists might discriminate against the under-six-feet crowd (of which I [… read more]

Dec 302012
Meet the New ARDS: Expert panel announces new definition, severity classes

(image: Wikipedia) A consensus panel led by V. Marco Ranieri, Gordon Rubenfeld, Arthur Slutsky et al announced a new definition and severity classfication system for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that aims to simplify the diagnosis and better prognosticate outcomes from the life-threatening pulmonary illness. The proposed “Berlin definition” predicted mortality ever-so-slightly better than the [… read more]

Dec 282012
ACCP, ATS only weakly recommend lung cancer CT screening, warn of harms

The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) has issued its long-awaited recommendations on lung cancer screening with chest CT — and far from a ringing endorsement of screening, they are conservative and subdued, emphasizing the potential risks of an uncontrolled approach to lung cancer screening in the general population. The American Society of Clinical Oncology [… read more]

Dec 282012
American Lung Association recommends CT screening for lung cancer

The American Lung Association has become the largest advisory body to recommend lung cancer screening for high-risk people, advising nearly all people aged 55-74 with a 30+ pack-year smoking history (the entry criteria for the National Lung Screening Trial, or NLST) to undergo low-dose CT scanning to detect early lung cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, [… read more]

Dec 262012
Pleural catheters equal to pleurodesis for dyspnea relief from malignant effusions (TIME2)

(image: Wikipedia) In the TIME2 randomized trial published in the June 13 2012 JAMA, indwelling pleural catheters and talc pleurodesis were equivalent at reducing dyspnea over the 6 weeks following the procedure among 106 patients with malignant pleural effusions. Most patients receiving pleural catheters required no hospital stays, and overall had fewer repeat procedures than those [… read more]

Dec 242012
Let's be honest: quitting smoking usually does make you fatter

There’s no use in sugar-coating the truth: Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, and smoking prevents weight gain. Not wanting to gain weight is a common reason why body-obsessed teenage girls say they smoke–and as far as we know, they’re “right:” teens who smoke gain slightly less weight than teens who don’t. It’s also long been believed [… read more]

Dec 222012
Trophic feeding equal to full enteric feeding in acute lung injury (EDEN trial)

Where should we set the dial for caloric delivery to our patients with acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)? Weak observational trials suggest low caloric intake might be associated with poor outcomes [ref1, 2]. On the other hand, other observational data suggests just the opposite: restricting calories early on may reduce ventilator [… read more]

Dec 042012
Linezolid (Zyvox) good for MDR, XDR tuberculosis (RCT)

Linezolid (Zyvox) for XDR-TB: New Hope, New Caution Approved by the FDA in 2000 for drug-resistant gram positive bacterial infections, linezolid (Zyvox, Pfizer) has in clinical practice been mainly used for skin infections and the occasional pneumonia due to methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA). Now linezolid looks to be effective as an adjunct therapy for multi-drug resistant [… read more]

Oct 312012
Hospital-acquired infections: stopping Gov't payment did not reduce their incidence

Preventing Hospital Acquired Infections: Stopping Payment Had No Effect In October 2008, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stopped paying for two hospital-acquired infections: urinary infections due to indwelling catheters (UTIs) and central catheter-associated bloodstream infections (CABSI). At the time the policy was announced years ago, it was described as an incentive [… read more]

Aug 172012
Advanced bronchoscopy yields are 70% in meta-analysis (Review)

(image: Wikipedia) As one after another specialty society endorses routine lung cancer screening with chest CT scans, we all know a Nodule Storm is coming to a pulmonology clinic near you. Thankfully, smart people are asking how we can systematically and successfully handle this soon-to-be-common outpatient clinical problem. Most of these many thousands of nodules [… read more]

Aug 112012
Intubation & Airway Management Review (LITFL)

When it comes to airway management skills, muscle memory rules, and there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. But in between intubations and endotracheal tube changes, what’s the best way to bolster your skills and knowledge base? Reading textbooks and journal articles provides truthful information, but I suspect it gets filed away and stashed in your [… read more]