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

Dec 192014
 
Age-adjusted D-dimer to rule out PE: coming of age?

Put a CT scanner in every U.S. emergency department, add the non-specific signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism, stir in its potential lethality and morbidity, and line up a few thousand lawyers on the sidelines ready to capitalize on any missed diagnoses, and it’s no wonder that the use of CT-angiograms to rule out pulmonary embolism has risen 11-fold [… read more]

Dec 072014
 

Ignoring its advisory panel, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals will be covered by Medicare. However, CMS applied restrictions that will limit access to screening, avoiding the chaotic marketplace free-for-all that would have resulted from an unrestricted approval. Medicare will pay for one lung cancer [… read more]

Oct 312014
 
Life after sepsis protocols: What now? (You decide.)

2014 has been a rough year for advocates of sepsis protocols. First, the long-awaited ProCESS trial did not show any benefit from use of the original early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) protocol used in the single-center 2001 trial by Rivers et al that, despite criticism, became the standard of care for the following decade. Patients cared for in the 2 non-EGDT arms [… read more]

Oct 172014
 
FDA approves pirfenidone (Esbriet) and nintedanib (Ofev) for IPF

The U.S. FDA approved the first two drugs proven to slow progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF): pirfenidone (Esbriet by Roche, which bought Intermune) and nintedanib (Ofev by Boehringer Ingelheim) on Wednesday October 15. Both drugs will offer new hope for patients, and new pain to the insurance companies and the government who pay for them. Pirfenidone [… read more]

Jul 302014
 
What are Ventilator-Associated Events (and why should you care)?

Have you heard of ventilator-associated events (VAEs)? Like it or not, this neologism of healthcare-speak is coming to an ICU near you soon. Here’s the lowdown on VAEs and why they matter to the practicing intensivist. What are Ventilator-Associated Events? Ventilator-associated events are an invention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), created in [… read more]

May 222014
 
Medicare bucks USPSTF, denies coverage for lung cancer screening

The Centers for Medcare and Medcaid Services sent lung cancer screening’s forward momentum into a tailspin last month, when Medicare’s advisory panel shocked observers by voting  against covering lung cancer screening with annual low dose chest CT as a standard benefit. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) had already recommended lung cancer screening be [… read more]

May 082014
 
Red blood cell transfusions increase hospital-acquired infections (meta-analysis)

Red Cell Transfusions Increase Risk for Nosocomial Infection: Meta-Analysis Transfusing blood to anemic patients has an almost irresistible intuitive and theoretical appeal both to physicians and the patients who get transfused. It’s perhaps the archetypal example of the “find it – fix it” approach to doctoring: correct all laboratory abnormalities and ipso facto, the patient [… read more]

May 072014
 
FDA approves implantable tongue-buzzer for obstructive sleep apnea treatment

Image: Inspire Med Systems Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation for Sleep Apnea Wins FDA Approval The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Inspire Medical Systems’ pacemaker-like hypoglossal nerve stimulator for patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who cannot tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The Inspire device stimulates key airway muscles controlled by the hypoglossal [… read more]

Mar 252014
 

May 10th and 11th (pre-congress courses on may 9th), Montreal. Great speakers, great topics, great city, great weather (well…hopefully no snow!). Do you know how to use ultrasound to help you diagnose or manage coma, bowel obstruction, CHF, dyspnea, swollen joints and renal failure, among other things?  No matter how good you are at the [… read more]

Feb 282014
 
Bloggers correct the New England Journal on ICU decontamination article

Blogger Peer Review Corrects NEJM Article’s Error In June 2013, PulmCCM unquestioningly reported the results of a major randomized trial in the New England Journal of Medicine by Susan S. Huang et al, showing that decontaminating patients upon arrival to the ICU with chlorhexidine baths and nasal mupirocin resulted in a dramatic drop in nosocomial infections [… read more]

Feb 222014
 
Epitaph for nitric oxide for ARDS

Image: Dartmouth Nitric Oxide: No Benefit Even in Severe ARDS Giving inhaled nitric oxide to people with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) improves oxygenation, but has never been demonstrated to improve survival. Not many physicians seem to use nitric oxide for ARDS anymore, except possibly as salvage therapy in life-threatening refractory disease. Even that well-meaning [… read more]

Feb 162014
 
PulmCCM Journal Launches: Your Submissions Welcome

Dear colleagues, I am excited to announce the launch of PulmCCM Journal, a new online, open access, peer-reviewed journal serving the practicing physician in critical care and respiratory medicine. PulmCCM Journal’s primary mission will be publishing high-quality, highly useful reviews of important clinical topics to improve decision-making and the quality of care worldwide. Case reports, [… read more]

Feb 092014
 
Should limited email ads finance PulmCCM's future? SURVEY RESULTS

Hello colleagues, PulmCCM has been doing great traffic-wise, but that hasn’t translated into financial health. PulmCCM took a net loss for 2013 as it has each year. That’s OK — making money has never been what this project is about. However, PulmCCM does need continuous funding to thrive and grow into its full potential. My [… read more]

Feb 012014
 
Spiriva and heart attack risk: new safety kerfuffle

Last year, PulmCCM reported on the TIOSPIR safety trial comparing the Spiriva dry-powder HandiHaler against the Respimat mist-delivery device. TIOSPIR showed no difference in all-cause mortality or composite cardiovascular risk endpoints between either Spiriva preparation. But this week, a group of drug safety researchers report their granular analysis of TIOSPIR data shows the Respimat device [… read more]

Jan 292014
 
Choosing Wisely's five top "no-no's" in critical care

Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) with the stated goal of “promoting conversations between physicians and patients by helping patients choose care that is supported by evidence, not duplicative, free from harm, and truly necessary.” Sounds good, huh? Politically, ABIM’s Choosing Wisely seeks to demonstrate to policymakers responsible [… read more]

Jan 262014
 
US Gov't pronounces lung cancer screening the standard of care

It’s official: the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) announced its formal recommendation for yearly low-dose chest CT screening for lung cancer in high-risk individuals on December 30, 2013. The final grade B recommendation (“Suggestion: offer or provide this service”) was virtually unchanged from the draft recommendations the USPSTF made in July 2013. It advises [… read more]

Jan 072014
 
Brain death equals death: says who?

Scott Aberegg, M.D., M.P.H. Oh, my, what a predicament.  Jahi McMath has been released from Oakland Hospital to the custody of the coroner and her family.  She has been issued a death certificate.  And she’s being transferred to an undisclosed care center, where it is hoped she will begin receiving artificial nutrition.  This is the height [… read more]

Dec 152013
 
Overdiagnosis rate with lung cancer screening CT is 18%

Low-dose CT screening reduced death from lung cancer by about 20% in the National Lung Screening Trial, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force signaled it would recommend CT screening for most people with a heavy smoking history. The Affordable Care Act stipulates that USPSTF-recommended screening tests be completely free to consumers, so lung cancer screening will [… read more]

Nov 062013
 
Breath tests can accurately diagnose lung cancer

Diagnosing lung cancer without a biopsy may seem like science fiction, but breath testing to identify lung cancer has made steady gains in accuracy in recent years. A study abstract presented by Peter Mazzone et al at Chest 2013 in Chicago shows just how far one of the new technologies — volatile organic compound analysis [… read more]

Oct 302013
 
"Choosing Wisely" campaign targets pulmonary hypertension drugs' off-label use

Choosing Wisely, the initiative for medical cost-effectiveness (don’t call it rationing!) of the American Board of Internal Medicine, included the use of vasodilators for pulmonary hypertension owing to left heart disease or hypoxemic lung disease (WHO Groups II and III) as #2 on its top five “no-no’s” in its new pulmonology section. The “Five Things Physicians and [… read more]