Policy, Ethics, Education Articles

Mar 152017
 
Should FDA mandate lower nicotine content in cigarettes?

In June 2009, then-President Barack Obama signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, authorizing FDA to regulate the nicotine content of cigarettes. The only real limit to FDA’s new authority was a provision prohibiting FDA from “requiring the reduction of nicotine yields of a tobacco product to zero.” Prior to that [… read more]

Mar 092017
 
LABA safety studies for asthma saw no increased risk in Advair or Symbicort

After the Serevent Nationwide Surveillance (SNS) and SMART trials both appeared to link the use of long-acting beta agonists (LABAs) to an increased risk of asthma-related death, routine asthma care got scary. The FDA slapped a black box warning on LABAs like Serevent (salmeterol) and Foradil (formoterol) and also the combination treatments containing them (Advair, [… read more]

Mar 082017
 
Pulmonologist incomes down in 2016; self-employed make more

The 2016 Medscape Physician Compensation Report relates that orthopedic surgeons and cardiologists earn on average the most of those physicians surveyed ($443,000 and $410,000 annually) (1). Pulmonologists and critical care physicians fell in the middle of the spectrum of physician incomes ($281,000 and $306,000 respectively). Allergists were at the lower end ($205,000). Physicians in each category earned [… read more]

Mar 012017
 
Are ventilator-associated pneumonia rates plummeting, or unchanged?

In 2008 hospitals were informed they would no longer be paid for treating hospital acquired infections like ventilator associated pneumonia. Miraculously, the rates of VAP (self-reported by hospitals to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) fell dramatically by 60 to 70% between 2006 and 2012, to less than one VAP per 1,000 ventilator days [… read more]

Feb 232017
 
The Normalization Fallacy: why much of "critical care" may be neither

By Scott Aberegg, MD, MPH Like many starry-eyed medical students, I was drawn to critical care because of the high stakes, its physiological underpinnings, and the apparent fact that you could take control of that physiology and make it serve your goals for the patient. On my first MICU rotation in 1997, I was so swept [… read more]

Feb 022017
 
CDC Releases Ventilator-Associated Events Criteria

A new term has been coined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ventilator-associated events (VAEs)¹. In 2011, the CDC convened a working group composed of members of several stakeholder organizations to address the limitations of the definition of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) definition². The organizations represented in the Working Group include: the Critical Care [… read more]

Feb 012017
 
Advanced Critical Care Simulation Conference: Feb 17-18 in Phoenix (Register)

Register Now! PulmCCM is not affiliated with Banner University or the University of Arizona. SHARPEN YOUR LIFE-SAVING CRITICAL-CARE SKILLS Focusing on the clinical situations of highest concern to bedside intensivists, including the emergency evaluation of the patient with undifferentiated shock, the failed airway, refractory ARDS and obstetrical code arrest, this conference will bring participants up-to-date [… read more]

Jan 282017
 
Last chance to apply for the ALiEM Faculty Incubator

Junior faculty members: Looking for a way to bolster your academic credentials and engage/network with an established community of medical educators? The ALiEM (Academic Life in Emergency Medicine) Faculty Incubator is a yearlong online faculty development program (limited to 30 participants yearly), nearly exclusively done with online asynchronous interactions through the Slack platform. The incubator [… read more]

Dec 162016
 
Inferior vena cava filters are overused. What's the harm?

Inferior vena cava filters (IVCF) are placed to prevent deep venous thromboses (DVT) from traveling to the heart and lungs, causing pulmonary embolism (PE). IVC filters’ rationale makes sense, but despite their wide use, the benefits and risks of IVCF remain unclear. With about 50,000 IVC filters placed annually in the U.S., that’s a lot of unclarity. [… read more]

Nov 252016
 
Life-sucking power of electronic health records measured, reported, lamented

Feel like you spend twice as much time on your electronic health record as you do with patients? You may be doing better than half of your colleagues. In a new work study funded by the American Medical Association, researchers observed 57 physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, cardiology, and orthopedics over hundreds of hours. They discovered [… read more]

Nov 092016
 
Almost half of intensivists feel severe burnout, report says

Almost half of critical care physicians report symptoms of severe burnout associated with their ICU work, according to a report and “call to action” from the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (CCSC). Symptoms of severe burnout were highest among pediatric critical care specialists, while 45% of intensivists caring for adults acknowledged severe burnout. Burnout symptoms include [… read more]

Aug 252016
 
FAQ: How To Study for the Critical Care Medicine Board Examination?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny [@heart_lung] “Let the wild rumpus start!” -Maurice Sendak Many of you are preparing for the Critical Care Medicine Board Examination; thank you to those who have downloaded my free review notes.  I often receive a question or two about the exam and how germane my notes were, in retrospect.  This is a [… read more]

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]