New England Archives - PulmCCM
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New England Articles

Aug 272015
 
Limited cancer screening seems appropriate after unprovoked PE

Cancers can cause pulmonary embolism, and an unprovoked PE may signal an undiscovered cancer lurking in the body. In older studies, as many as 1 in 10 patients with unprovoked PE were diagnosed with cancer within a year. (The current terminology is that a PE is provoked if associated with a known cancer or another provoking factor, but [… 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]

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]

Mar 202015
 
ProMISe Trial for Sepsis: Usual Care 3, Goal-Directed Therapy 0*

* (since 2014) The ARISE (Australasia) and ProCESS (U.S.) trials, published in 2014, each demonstrated no advantage of protocolized care for sepsis over conscientious usual care. For those remaining unconvinced, the U.K.-based ProMISe trial is available in the New England Journal of Medicine. ProMISe extends the growing global footprint of what some will call the [… read more]

Feb 062015
 
E-cigarettes fuss over formaldehyde: don't believe the hype (yet)

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) work via a heating element that the user activates while inhaling. Nicotine, along with a liquid solvent (usually propylene glycol), flavorings and whatever else is in the solution are vaporized (aerosolized, really) at the high temperature and inhaled by the user. E-cigarette sales are now a $1.5 billion/year business, growing by an [… read more]

Jan 112015
 
Nutrition in severe pancreatitis: none at all (for 3 days) worked fine

Image: Wikipedia Acute pancreatitis is a common and usually self-limited illness resolving after a few days of rest and not eating. A minority of people develop severe pancreatitis with necrosis, which can transform pancreatitis into an ordeal lasting weeks or months, characterized by multi-organ failure, infections, and a >15% mortality rate. Those infections are believed to be caused by [… read more]

Jan 102015
 
Cytisine for smoking cessation: as good as nicotine replacement -- and cheap

The smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix) works by weakly activating and also blocking nicotine receptors in the brain, simultaneously. This neat trick has the dual effects of reducing tobacco cravings while also blunting the “high” from smoking. That combination has made Chantix the most successful smoking-cessation therapy on the market, but it costs about $500 for [… read more]

Dec 212014
 
Ischemic stroke: Interventional treatment + alteplase = new standard of care? (MR CLEAN)

In the early 1990s, the clot-busting drug alteplase (intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator or rTPA) revolutionized stroke treatment when it was shown to significantly increase the chances of a good outcome after ischemic stroke when given in the first 4.5 hours since symptom onset. But alteplase is not a miracle drug. In a meta-analysis of 9 randomized trials, rTPA improved [… read more]

Oct 142014
 
Total parenteral nutrition vs enteral nutrition: no difference in critically ill? (CALORIES trial)

Feeding patients enterally (nasogastric or nasojejunal tube feedings) has been the standard of care for critically ill patients, based on weak evidence that it reduces infection rates; hence the adage “feed the gut, if you can.” That last caveat is included because so many critically ill patients have gastric motility impairment (with inability to achieve [… read more]

Oct 102014
 
Transfusion for hemoglobin above 7 g/dL: no benefit in septic shock (TRISS Trial)

Blood transfusions have been a central component of protocols for care of severe sepsis and septic shock, ever since the single-center 2001 Rivers trial included them in its interventions. Any benefit (or harm) caused by red cell transfusion independently was unknowable, and so the therapy became standard care as part of the so-called sepsis bundle. The Surviving [… read more]

Oct 052014
 
Are traditional protocols for goal directed therapy for sepsis dead? (ARISE trial)

Update: As astute commenters have mentioned below, and as I stated in our post on the ProCESS trial, protocols of some kind could still have a place in the care of sepsis if they ensure more rapid recognition and thorough treatment. Accordingly, I changed the headline to clarify that it’s only traditional sepsis protocols to which I refer, not the [… read more]

Sep 122014
 

All the best in the pulmonary and critical care medicine literature from our ongoing journal survey. Browse all the PulmCCM Roundups to stay up to date. Thrombolytics for Pulmonary Embolism: New Metaanalysis Most patients with massive pulmonary embolism (PE with shock) should receive thrombolytics, but it’s unclear from randomized trial data which patients with submassive pulmonary embolism [… read more]

Aug 162014
 
Which cancer patients need prophylaxis for DVT and pulmonary embolism?

People with cancer have the highest rates of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). However, the risk of venous thromboembolism varies widely by cancer type and between patients. Daily anticoagulant use can reduce the risk of DVT and pulmonary embolism, but at a cost of increased bleeding risk, patient inconvenience and discomfort, and cost. [… read more]

Jul 202014
 
PulmCCM Roundup #5

The PulmCCM Roundup gathers all the best in pulmonary and critical care from around the web.  Browse all the PulmCCM Roundups. Statins Fail for COPD, ARDS Statins have been optimistically tested as a tonic for everything from diabetes to dementia — so far, without success. That consistency was maintained in 2 recent trials showing statins’ [… read more]

Jun 272014
 
Azithromycin for COPD exacerbations: 2014 Update

Azithromycin to Prevent COPD Exacerbations: What’s New? By Abhishek Biswas, MD Multiple previous studies have suggested likely benefits from using azithromycin as an immunomodulator for cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, diffuse panbronchiolitis, post-transplant obliterative bronchiolitis and COPD. This month, a new Cochrane analysis and clinical review in JAMA concludes that “continuous macrolide antibiotic use for prophylaxis [is] associated with a [… read more]

Jun 262014
 
CPAP better than oxygen for obstructive sleep apnea

About half of people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can’t or won’t use the most effective therapy, overnight continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Most people with untreated OSA experience multiple episodes of hypoxemia — sometimes hundreds per night. For many patients declining CPAP treatment, their doctors provide overnight oxygen, in the hope that it might [… read more]

Jun 082014
 
PulmCCM Roundup #4

All the best in pulmonary and critical care from around the web. Browse all the PulmCCM Roundups. Asthma Childhood obesity increases the risk for asthma, and obesity is also strongly associated with asthma in adults. The mechanisms are likely multiple, complex and interdependent (pro-inflammatory mediators, etc.), not simply causative. Losing weight does seem to improve [… read more]

May 302014
 
N-acetylcysteine: no benefit in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

NAC for IPF: Fail (PANTHER-IPF Wrap-Up) Long ago, when pulmonologists were more ingenuous (in 2000), flawed clinical trials convinced the American Thoracic Society to recommend prednisone and either azathioprine or cyclophosphamide in its consensus guideline for some patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). By not including a true control arm, the also-flawed follow-up 2005 IFIGENIA trial reinforced this [… read more]

May 272014
 
Nintedanib protects lung function, prevents exacerbations of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (INPULSIS)

In 2011 PulmCCM reported the findings of the phase 2 TOMORROW study, showing Boehringer Ingelheim’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor code-named BIBF 1120 reduced lung function decline and prevented exacerbations in people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). At the 2014 American Thoracic Society annual meeting and in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators announced their latest [… read more]