Dalteparin is a low-molecular weight heparin that, unlike enoxaparin, is safe for people with renal failure. Among 3,746 ICU patients in 6 countries, followed until hospital discharge, there was no difference in the rate of proximal deep venous thrombosis (5.1% vs 5.8%, 1′ endpoint) between once-daily dalteparin and twice-daily UFH, as detected by twice-weekly ultrasounds. [... read more]
Lungs from brain-dead or deceased donors are considered unusable 85% of the time, worsening waiting-list times and death rates. At a single Toronto center, Cypel et al perfused damaged donor lungs ex-vivo (EVLP; here’s how) for 4 hours, and if their numbers were good (PaO2/FiO2 > 349; less than 15% worsening in compliance, pulmonary vascular resistance and [... read more]
Very interesting … Vega ME. Images in Clinical Medicine, N Engl J Med 2011;365:1915. FREE FULL TEXT
Most people with cystic fibrosis have mutations in the CFTR gene that prevent sufficient quantities of the assembled channels from making it to the cell membrane surface. That’s a hard problem to fix. However, a small minority (4-5%) have mutations on the G551D allele that impair the function of the CFTR ion channel once it [... read more]
No one knows when to start antiretroviral drugs in people with HIV and tuberculosis. Delaying ARVs is often done, for fear of drug toxicity and interactions, as well as immune reconstitution syndrome (dangerous worsening of the inflammatory response to TB as the immune system recovers). Of course, that means the HIV gets to continue its [... read more]
Poor people have higher rates of obesity. There are those who believe that’s because the poor lack self-control and discipline, overeating when they should be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. That hard-core personal responsibility ethic is hard to refute, maybe because it contains a grain of truth, maybe because it lets all us non-poor [... read more]
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published its 696 page rule on how accountable care organizations, the new medical care deilvery model, should structure themselves to qualify for reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. The New England Journal published commentary by Don Berwick, current head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, explaining [... read more]
Smoking cessation counseling is a nightmare for physicians because 1) it feels like a waste of the enormous time and effort required; and 2) it’s not: evidence shows that it’s exactly what we should do, every patient, every time. Even a 90% failure rate results in millions more lives saved than not attempting. Fiore and Baker give the [... read more]
Lung fibrosis is partially mediated by tyrosine kinase pathways. BIBF 1120 is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR), fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) — all receptors known to be involved in lung fibrosis. Supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, Richeldi et al randomized 432 patients with [... read more]
An impedance threshold device (essentially a one-way valve) attached to an endotracheal tube prevents air from leaving the chest during compressions, improving venous return, cardiac output and (in animal studies) perfusion. Auferheide and the ROC investigators report results of a huge randomized trial testing the ITD. 8,718 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest were randomized to [... read more]
Stiell et al (the ROC investigators) report results of a 10-center randomized trial in the U.S. and Canada. Among 9,933 patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest randomized to receive either 30-60 seconds or 2 minutes of uninterrupted CPR before rhythm analysis, there were no differences in survival, or survival to discharge with good functional status (primary [... read more]
Asthma’s complex and protean inflammatory processes vary between individuals, some of whom have elevated levels of interleukin-13 despite maximal treatment with inhaled steroids. IL-13 prompts airway epithelial cells to secrete periostin, which acts on fibroblasts and may contribute to airway remodeling in asthma. Lebrikizumab is a monoclonal antibody inhibiting IL-13. Corren et al used a [... read more]
Semenza GL. Oxygen sensing, homeostasis, and disease. NEJM 2011;365:537-547. An acronym-rich summary of decades of work by dozens of investigators eavesdropping on the secret messages cells send in response to hypoxia through HIF-1a, mTOR, VEGF and DMOG. I don’t understand a word of it, frankly. (Review)
O’Connor et al report results of a randomized trial of 7,141 people with acute decompensated heart failure who got nesiritide or placebo in addition to standard care. To sum up, nesiritide didn’t seem to do much of anything at all (for dyspnea, risk of rehospitalization or death, or any other endpoint). NEJM 2011;365:32-43.
Under mandate by the FDA to answer lingering questions about long-acting beta agonists’ safety for treatment of asthma, four major pharma firms will launch five large randomized trials comparing inhaled corticosteroid / long-acting beta agonist combination products vs. ICS alone. The trials (4 in adults, 1 in kids) will enroll >50,000 people starting this year, [... read more]
Parent et al report that among 398 people with sickle cell disease, the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension seemed to be 27% by echocardiography. By right heart catheterization, it was 6%. NEJM 2011;365:44-53.
Widespread beliefs among physicians that people with mental illness are more addicted, or less desirous or capable of quitting smoking, are wrong and perpetuate a deadly problem, argues J.J. Prochaska. You should nag mentally ill folks to quit smoking as you would anyone else, she urges. NEJM 2011;365:196-198. FULL FREE TEXT
King et al report a series of 80 otherwise healthy young vets who failed a 2-mile run fitness test due to dyspnea at Fort Campbell, KY. Many had been exposed to sulfur fires or other inhalational exposures. Among 49 who underwent open lung biopsy, 38 had constrictive bronchiolitis, an extremely rare condition in otherwise healthy [... read more]
Particulate matter causes cardiovascular deaths, and also worsens respiratory illness. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to reduce acceptable levels of PM and ozone, a move that would force industry to pay for new upgrades. NEJM 2011;365:198-201.
Rapid response teams. Jones DA et al. NEJM 2011;365:139-146. FULL FREE TEXT