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Feb 032012
 

Jean-Pierre Tourtier and Sophie Cottez of the Military Hospital Val-de-Grâce, Paris share the case of a 61-year-old man who underwent vertebroplasty after a therapeutic laminectomy for resection of a vertebral hemangioma. Cement made it into his paravertebral vascular system, and thence to his systemic circulation and pulmonary arteries, where it made for some interesting radiographic pictures. [... read more]

Feb 022012
 

Here’s a great example of how weak findings in small, underpowered studies — findings which should be at most viewed as hypothesis-generating — become transmuted into Serious Studies With Important Implications when the lay press give them too much credit. In this case, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and CNN took the bait after [... read more]

Jan 282012
 

Hayder Saeed and Suleiman Massarweh of the University of Kentucky share with us the story and images of a woman presenting with weight loss and cough, and discovered to have hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy, velvety palmar skin, clubbing … and an 11 cm adenocarcinoma in the right lung. Saeed H, Massarweh S. Hypertrophic Pulmonary Osteoarthropathy and [... read more]

Jan 192012
 

A 40-year old asthmatic woman coughed the corner of her right lower lobe right through her chest wall, needing a thoracotomy to repair it. She seemed to have recovered well at 3-month follow-up. Matthew O’Shea and Morgan Cleasby of Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham (United Kingdom) share their fascinating pictures in a New England Journal show-and-tell. [... read more]

Jan 072012
 
Neti pots kill 2 after transmitting brain-eating amoeba

In December 2011, The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals reported the first two cases of death-by-neti-pot. Both deaths were due to lethal encephalitis caused by Naegleria fowleri, a freshwater amoeba. The first victim, a 20-year old man, died in June; it was known that he had used a neti pot, but the connection was [... read more]

Jan 062012
 
Big bucks riding on FDA's little dosing decision for indacaterol (NEJM)

In July 2011, FDA approved indacaterol, Novartis’s new once-daily long-acting beta agonist, for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In contrast to its European counterpart (EMA), which approved indacaterol there at doses up to 300 mcg, FDA only approved indacaterol in the 75 mcg daily dose. The FDA’s Badrul Chowdhury explains why in the [... read more]

Jan 022012
 
FDA approves Aclidinium (Tudorza Pressair), a b.i.d. "me-too" to Spiriva for COPD

July 29, 2012 Last week, the FDA approved aclidinium bromide (Tudorza Pressair) as a daily inhaler treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the agency announced in a press release. Aclidinium is a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (or “anticholinergic”) bronchodilator that will compete with tiotropium (Spiriva), which was launched in 2004 and until now was the [... read more]

Jan 012012
 
Xigris X'd! PROWESS-SHOCK negative; activated protein C yanked from global market

A newer post is available reviewing the final published findings for PROWESS-SHOCK in NEJM. PROWESS-SHOCK results are in, and they sounded the death knell for drotecogin alfa (activated protein C / Xigris), Eli Lilly’s often-challenged blockbuster drug for septic shock. Investigators reported a 28-day all-cause mortality rate of 26.4% in patients treated with activated drotrecogin [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

This nice (and brief) review article on interpreting elevated troponin levels can be summed up by its quote from cardiologist Robert Jesse: “When troponin was a lousy assay it was a great test, but now that it’s becoming a great assay, it’s getting to be a lousy test.” Troponin abnormality is set at the 99th [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Every July, 100,000 house staff change jobs, with the sudden arrival of huge cohorts of promising talented young interns who also happen to be (by definition, and speaking from personal experience) disoriented and incompetent. Does changeover result in excess mortality — the so-called “July effect” in the U.S. (in the U.K., they go right ahead and [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Numerous small (n~100), single-center randomized trials have shown a benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in acute lung injury and ARDS (reduced mortality, length of stay, and organ failure; improved oxygenation and respiratory mechanics). A meta-analysis combining these studies suggested a stat.significant benefit in mortality (risk ratio 0.67), ventilator requirement (-5 days), and ICU stay (-4 [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

The smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) got a black-box warning in 2009 after the FDA received >500 reports of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and 32 completed suicides in the U.S. (This was out of several million prescriptions filled, though.) After that postmarketing surprise, the FDA sponsored 2 observational studies in Chantix users: one at the [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Faster recovery from severe sepsis (or other disorders causing patchy/global hypoperfusion) should be accompanied by a faster disappearance of lactate from the bloodstream. The rate of lactate clearance was reported by Nguyen et al in Crit Care Med 2004 (among others) to predict survival from septic shock, and a strategy substituting lactate clearance of 10% for [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Quitting smoking is astoundingly difficult: only about 3% stay quit at 6 months without help. Using nicotine replacement therapy increases that to 9%. The more effective but often-maligned drug Chantix (varenicline) increases it to up to 33% at six months, but after a year, smoking cessation rates even with varenicline may fall to only 11% over [... read more]

Jan 012012
 

Severe sepsis makes the heart irritable, probably due to all the evil humors and increased cardiac demand. Between 6-20% of patients with severe sepsis develop atrial fibrillation for the first time; that’s old news. What’s been unclear is what new-onset atrial fibrillation in severe sepsis means: is it an expected, yeah-so-what marker of critical illness, [... read more]

Dec 262011
 

Medications are often stopped during transfers of care. Bell et al analyzed administrative-level data for almost 400,000 hospitalizations in Ontario, Canada, as well as 90-day follow-up outpatient prescription data. They conclude that medications were likely to be discontinued after discharge from the hospital or ICU, “potentially unintentionally.” Five medication classes were analyzed (inhalers, anticoagulant/antiplatelets, acid-suppressors, thyroxine [... read more]

Dec 222011
 

Neither a large 2009 multicenter study nor a 2011 meta-analysis showed any clinical benefit from the use of ICU telemedicine. Lilly et al report the results of a large single-center study in which they progressively implemented ICU telemedicine among 6,290 patients in 7 ICUs (a stepped-wedge design), with non-telemedicine groups acting as controls at each [... read more]