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Dec 012016
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Folly of Pulmonary Vascular Resistance

When interpreting hemodynamic studies of drugs which – potentially – alter the resistance of the pulmonary vascular tree, we often turn to the calculated pulmonary vascular resistance [cPVR] as our guide.  For instance, a vasopressor determined to increase the cPVR is wholly avoided in a patient with pulmonary arterial hypertension.  We envision the vascular conduits [… read more]

Dec 012016
 
Targeted molecular therapies for non-small cell lung cancer: Clinical Update

For too long, treatment for advanced non-small cell lung cancer was brutally simple: platinum chemotherapy and a trip to the attorney to get one’s affairs in order. Fortunately for patients, it’s not quite so straightforward anymore. Effective targeted molecular therapies for non-small cell lung cancer are now available, often taken orally with fewer side effects than traditional cytotoxic [… 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 232016
 
Breo Ellipta beat usual care for COPD in real-world study

GlaxoSmithKline recently got a boost for fluticasone-furoate + vilanterol (Breo Ellipta), its new once-daily COPD maintenance inhaler. Patients with COPD randomized to Breo Ellipta (called Relvar Ellipta in Europe), instead of usual care, had 8% fewer exacerbations and no increased risk for serious adverse events over one year. GSK presented the data at the ERS [… read more]

Nov 182016
 
Does intensive rehab and physical therapy in the ICU really help?

Every year, over a million people in the U.S. suffer respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. They experience enormous catabolic stress, extended periods of inactivity, and usually go without their usual caloric intake. It’s no surprise that many are rendered profoundly debilitated by the experience. For many, this weakness and loss of muscle mass represents a second [… read more]

Nov 172016
 
Older transfused blood as good as fresh (INFORM)

What’s the shelf life of human blood? Like the milk in your fridge, stored donated human blood has an expiration date: currently it’s 42 days, set by the FDA. But is fresher blood actually better? As with ordering wine by the glass, should patients about to be transfused blood ask for “whatever was opened most recently”? There’s [… 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]

Nov 082016
 
CPAP did not reduce cardiovascular risk, especially when not worn

Nightly use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) did not prevent cardiovascular events in high risk patients with obstructive sleep apnea, according to a large randomized trial. The SAVE study suggests that CPAP has no cardiovascular benefits for the millions of people using it less than 4 hours a night. However, those using CPAP for more [… read more]

Nov 052016
 
Levosimendan in Septic Shock: the LeoPARDS study

“I want to be your medicine, I want to feed the sparrow in your heart …” -Kristian Matsson Case A 39 year old woman is admitted to the intensive care unit for hypotension, anuria and altered mentation despite 3 litres of intravenous lactated ringers infusion.  She is febrile and found to have gram negative bacteremia [… read more]

Nov 022016
 
Long-term oxygen brought no benefits for moderate hypoxemia in COPD

In patients with COPD with exertional hypoxemia, long-term supplemental oxygen did not improve survival or quality of life in a multicenter randomized trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The NIH-funded study calls into question the current practice of routinely treating moderately hypoxemic COPD patients with supplemental oxygen, and the billions spent for it [… read more]

Oct 282016
 
Corticosteroids for sepsis didn't prevent septic shock (HYPRESS trial)

The idea that augmenting cortisol levels to normal or supranormal levels must be somehow beneficial in septic shock has a compelling basis in physiology and intuition. For physicians, injecting powerful synthetic hormones to restore homeostasis to save a dying patient is a seductive fulfillment of the scientist-savior fantasy. So intensivists were primed to believe the results of [… read more]

Oct 212016
 
PESIT Investigators: the prevalence of PE in those hospitalized following first syncope

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” -Oscar Wilde The Case A 76 year old woman without known medical comorbidity is ambulating along 7th avenue, rounding the corner where St. Vincent’s Hospital once operated.  It is an exceptionally humid August afternoon and she has not been eating well because [… read more]

Oct 202016
 
Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices: What You Need to Know (Part 2 of 2)

The Rise of Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices What Critical Care Physicians Need to Know Felipe Teran-Merino M.D. Part 2 of 2 (read part 1)   II. Main MCS devices used for emergency and short-term support Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump The oldest and simplest mechanical device is the intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP). Introduced in 1968, the IABP is still used as a [… read more]

Oct 202016
 
Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices: What You Need to Know (Part 1 of 2)

The Rise of Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices What Critical Care Physicians Need to Know Felipe Teran-Merino M.D. Part 1 of 2 (read part 2)   I. The failing pump and hemodynamic rationale for the use of MCS devices The rising field of mechanical circulatory support (MCS) offers a spectrum of therapies and devices with the potential to rescue patients [… read more]

Oct 142016
 
Piperacillin-Tazobactam: The Antibiotic You’re Not Administering Correctly

“Half of the time we’re gone but we don’t know where, and we don’t know where …” -Paul Simon The Case A 42 year old man is admitted with fever, right upper-quadrant pain and jaundice.  Over the last few hours he has become progressively confused and hypotensive.  He has normal renal function with adequate urine [… read more]

Sep 252016
 
Sepsis-Associated AKI – Bellomo Kidney – Implications for Management

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” -Thoreau The Case A 56 year old man with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy [LVEF 40% and mitral regurgitation] is admitted with severe sepsis due to appendicitis.  One month prior to admission, his outpatient cardiologist saw him and noted a dry weight of 88 kg.  On admission to the [… read more]

Sep 102016
 
Let’s Plan for Extubation in the Morning

“Truth is like the sun, its value wholly depends upon our being at a correct distance away from it.” -Hjalmar Söderberg The evening is invigorating; the Stockholm Marathon has been run and cobblestoned cafés, concealed within winding, narrowed side-streets are in the throes of summer’s end.  I take a coffee and meander about the Grand [… read more]

Aug 262016
 
Rising Lactate & the Art of Venous Blood Gas Interpretation

A 23 year old woman is admitted with severe abdominal pain following 5 days of profound non-bloody diarrhea and 72 hours of recalcitrant non-bloody emesis.  She has lost 7 pounds in this time frame and has been unable to maintain oral hydration.  Her eyes are sunken and her vital signs are notable for a heart [… read more]