Review Articles Articles

Oct 072011
 

Zhang et al pooled 20 studies that compared ultrasound, chest X-ray, or both against a reference standard (usually CT scan) for the diagnosis of pneumothorax. Chest X-ray had a pooled sensitivity of 52% and specificity 99% for diagnosis of pneumothorax. Ultrasound’s pooled sensitivity was 88% and specificity, 100%. Unsurprisingly, the accuracy of ultrasonography to diagnose [… read more]

Oct 062011
 

Goncalves-Pereira and Povoa meta-reviewed 57 reviews of pharmacokinetics of common beta-lactam antibiotics (piperacillin, meropenem, cefepime, ceftazidime, etc.) on patients in ICUs. The results were troubling or at least confusing: studies reported wide variability in pharmacokinetics of beta-lactam antibiotics in critically ill patients, with volume of distribution and drug clearance varying more than 2-fold for the [… read more]

Oct 052011
 

Confirming my suspicions that when it comes to severe asthma, we are all mostly just faking it, this consensus guideline from the European U-BIOPRED public/private consortium points out how little we really know about this complex and variable illness. There are a couple of helpful tables and algorithms here to help you make sure you’ve [… read more]

Sep 282011
 

37 Canadian oncologists got together in a consensus panel to talk about biomarkers and histologic subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer. The take-home: All NSCLC should be tested for the EGFR mutation, as tyrosine kinase inhibitors can prolong survival for eligible patients. There is insufficient evidence to recommend routine testing for other mutations (KRAS, p53, [… read more]

Sep 172011
 

Surprisingly little is really known about airway remodeling in asthma, including its clinical course, or how treatment may modify it. Two examples: rather than occurring as a late sequela of unchecked inflammation, numerous recent studies show remodeling can occur in tandem with inflammation starting in early childhood. A recent NEJM article generates the hypothesis that [… read more]

Sep 082011
 

Part 1 of Levine et al’s excellent review on toxicology in the ICU. Some of their helpful recommendations/reminders: False positive UDS are common for tricyclics (diphenhydramine/Benadryl, carbamazepine, quetiapine/Seroquel), as are false negatives for benzodiazepines (lorazepam/Ativan, alprazolam/Xanax). The osmolal gap is elevated in ethanol, methanol, ethylene glycol, isopropanol, propylene glycol toxicity, but also in shock and [… read more]

Sep 032011
 

Everything new in COPD from the 10th Lund COPD Symposium, including biomarkers, risk factors, research into systemic effects and exacerbation prevention, and the latest cutting edge treatment: “Activity Promotion” (the article declares this a “paradigm shift” …. but wasn’t trying to get people to move more also part of the old paradigm?) Proc Am Thorac [… read more]

Sep 022011
 

September’s Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine has 4-5 review articles each on sarcoidosis (how to handle calcium problems; cardiac sarcoid); interstitial lung disease (biologics for connective-tissue disease related ILD; LAM therapies; stem cell therapy for pulmonary fibrosis), and pulmonary vascular disease. Curr Opin Pulm Med 2011;17.

Aug 242011
 

Muscedere J. Subglottic secretion drainage for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Care Med 2011;39:1985-1991. In short, it probably works to prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia (13 randomized trials, n=2,442. 12 were positive, pooled risk ratio 0.55, associated with 1-1.5 shorter days in the ICU and on the ventilator). So why not use [… read more]

Aug 232011
 

An excellent free full text review by Paul O’Byrne. What’s new here: Did you know that formoterol is used as a first-line rescue inhaler, outside the U.S.? Formoterol has a steeper dose-response curve than salmeterol: repeated doses have an additive bronchodilator effect. The use of budesonide/formoterol as a combination maintenance AND rescue inhaler (added prn [… read more]

Aug 212011
 

Schuetz et al review the 16 randomized controlled trials (n=4,647) testing procalcitonin-guided vs. standard care on the outcomes of antibiotic use, mortality, and infection control. Most of these studies were done in Europe; 6 were in ICU patients. Using procalcitonin reduced antibiotic use in all settings (primary care, emergency department, ICU) with no detectable differences [… read more]

Aug 142011
 

Accountability for Medical Error: Moving Beyond Blame to Advocacy. CHEST 2011;140:519-526.  Bell et al’s great essay on the dysfunctional mechanics and culture of liability / safety / blame surrounding medical errors in hospitals and our medical care system in general. They propose steps toward “collective accountability,” e.g., we MDs should sit on hospital safety committees. But [… read more]