Policy, Ethics, Education Archives - PulmCCM
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Policy, Ethics, Education Articles

Jul 152015
 
Medicare will pay for death panels, I mean end-of-life counseling

Medicare announced last week it will finally pay doctors for their time spent talking to patients about their end-of-life preferences, among the most important medical decisions most people will make. The decision overcomes years of setbacks brought about by Sarah Palin’s politicizing of the Affordable Care Act’s provision for end-of-life counseling as endorsing “death panels” of [… read more]

Jul 022015
 
Direct thrombin inhibitors associated with heart attack risk in multiple trials

Direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs) are anticoagulants (blood thinners) most often used as alternatives to heparin and warfarin. DTIs are approved by the FDA for prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism (deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) and to prevent blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation. But multiple randomized trials suggest these widely used anticoagulants might cause heart [… 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 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]

May 022015
 
Kids experiment with e-cigarettes (and are smoking less than ever)

A new report from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms U.S. teenagers and pre-adolescents are experimenting with e-cigarettes in dramatically greater numbers. But mentioned almost as an afterthought in the scare pieces presented as public health stories: fewer kids are smoking deadly real cigarettes than ever before. E-cigarette use by students in junior high and high school [… read more]

Apr 202015
 
FDA warns against use of OTC homeopathic asthma treatments

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising the public not to use over the counter homeopathic asthma products. Thanks to protection from friendly legislators, the multibillion dollar homeopathic and supplement industry is allowed to mislead the public by labeling homeopathic products as “promoting lung health,” or even advertising them specifically as “providing relief [… read more]

Apr 122015
 
Antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia: Is azithromycin out?

Is it time for a change in the standard treatment of community-acquired pneumonia? A new Dutch study says, maybe. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) says, not so fast. IDSA’s guidelines for treatment of community acquired pneumonia were last updated in 2007. For patients admitted to the hospital but not needing the ICU, they have [… 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]

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]

Mar 152015
 
How safe is thoracentesis? Giant case series sheds light

Thoracentesis for pleural effusion — that is, inserting a long needle between someone’s ribs to drain a fluid collection from the chest — has always come with a scary menu of potential risks, including pneumothorax, hemothorax and pulmonary edema. A new study reports a low complication rate from thousands of thoracenteses. But debate will remain whether the safety results — achieved [… read more]

Mar 092015
 
FDA warns: drinking on Chantix may have unexpected effects

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that varenicline (Chantix) can alter people’s reaction when drinking alcohol, potentially causing a lowered tolerance, blackouts, and aggressive behavior. Oh, and watch out for seizures too (these were rare). The warnings come as advance notice of a label change, based on FDA’s review of cases reported over time by Pfizer [… read more]

Mar 062015
 
Chlorhexidine baths in ICU don't prevent infections in large trial

Throwing the Baby out with the (Chlorhexidine) Bathwater? New Data on Disinfectant Baths By Lekshmi Santhosh, MD As a critical care community, we’ve been forever searching for a magic bullet to eradicate healthcare-acquired infections. So when the pair of 2013 NEJM trials on daily chlorhexidine bathing showed statistically significant reductions on the incidence of hospital-acquired [… read more]

Mar 052015
 
E-cigarettes double smokers' quit rates vs placebo: meta-analysis

Electronic cigarettes containing nicotine can double smokers’ rates of quitting at one year, compared to e-cigarettes without nicotine (placebo), according to a new small meta-analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. The rates of smoking cessation using nicotine-containing e-cigarettes (9%) were roughly comparable to that seen with other forms of nicotine replacement therapy in past trials. The [… read more]

Mar 042015
 
Lung-RADS launches: New system for lung cancer screening chest CTs

The American College of Radiology has started implementing its new system for risk-stratifying the findings on low dose chest CTs performed for lung cancer screening. The ACR’s new system is called Lung-RADS™, and it emulates the ACR’s familiar Bi-RADS’s 0-4 scoring system for mammography: Lung-RADS 0: Incomplete, meaning previous chest CTs are still being located [… read more]

Feb 132015
 
The PulmCCM App Re-Re-Launches, Again

Longtime readers of PulmCCM will remember, there once was an app for iPhone and Android phones. Then, one day, there wasn’t. Technical difficulties, etc. Then, just when everyone had almost forgotten about it, the app was back! Most people had moved on with their lives, but a few were touched by this digital comeback story. Then — [… read more]