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Mar 032013
 
"Trach collar" beats pressure support trials for long-term ventilator weaning (RCT)

“Trach Collar” Trials Beat Pressure Support for Long-Term Ventilator Weaning By Blair Westerly, MD Patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation linger in ICUs and long-term acute care hospitals for weeks, accounting for a significant portion of intensive care unit costs and often suffering serious complications while dependent on the ventilator. Despite this issue’s rising importance, the [… read more]

Feb 272013
 
Knowing When, When Knowing Is Impossible (Paul McLean)

Knowing When, When Knowing Is Impossible By Paul C. McLean The child was her first, and there were complications and aggressive therapies from the start and for months. She was unaware that the medical team was coming to believe the baby would not survive, that aggressive treatments no longer served a therapeutic purpose and were [… read more]

Feb 212013
 
Intubation in pre-hospital cardiac arrest strongly associated with worse outcomes

Intubation for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest May Harm, Not Help by Blair Westerly, MD Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a major public-health problem, and despite advances in care, survival is still low. Improved survival has been associated with early CPR, rapid defibrillation, and integrated post cardiac arrest care, but pre-hospital “advanced airway management” (i.e., intubation [… read more]

Feb 192013
 
Time to retire routine replacement of peripheral IVs

Time to Retire Routine Replacement of Peripheral IVs Study question:  Do peripheral I.V.s need to be changed every 72-96 hours per the CDCs recommendations or can they be changed as clinically indicated? How many times as a resident did you receive a call at 4 a.m., often at the very moment you were about to [… read more]

Feb 122013
 
Pulmonary Hypertension Update, Part 2: Treatment of PH (Review)

Pulmonary Hypertension 2013 Update/Review Part 2 of 2: Treatment of PH Read Part 1: Diagnosis and Classification of Pulmonary Hypertension by Brett Ley, MD There are 3 classes of pulmonary vasodilator drugs: phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors (PDE-5 inhibitors, e.g. sildenafil, tadalafil), endothelin receptor antagonists (ERAs, e.g. bosentan, ambrisentan), and prostacyclins (epoprostenol, iloprost, treprostinil).  Because the large trials [… read more]

Feb 072013
 
Blood transfusion harmful, even deadly, in some patients with GI bleeds (RCT)

Blood Transfusion: Deadly for GI Bleeds? You read the headline right: in a randomized trial published in the January 3 New England Journal of Medicine, liberal blood transfusions (to a hemoglobin of 9 g/dL) seemed to cause the deaths of people with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding, as compared to transfusing when hemoglobin fell below 7 [… read more]

Feb 052013
 
Pulmonary Hypertension Update, Part 1: Classification & Diagnosis (Review)

Pulmonary Hypertension Update/Review Part 1 of 2: Classification and Diagnosis Read Part 2: Treatment of PAH by Brett Ley, MD Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is defined simply as a mean pulmonary artery pressure of 25 mmHg or greater. However, this entity encompasses a heterogeneous group of patients and underlying etiologies where accurate diagnosis, correct physiologic classification, and careful evaluation for [… read more]

Jan 312013
 
Etomidate associated with increased mortality in sepsis: meta-analysis

Etomidate: Unsafe for Intubation in Patients with Sepsis? by Blair Westerly, MD Etomidate is commonly used for rapid sequence intubation; however, even after one dose, it has been associated with adrenal axis suppression in critically ill patients. Though both adrenal insufficiency and increased mortality in sepsis have been associated with etomidate, the relationship of the [… read more]

Jan 292013
 
Forget "embolic burden" of pulmonary embolism: location is everything

In Most Patients with Pulmonary Embolism, Central Clot is Worse than Peripheral by Brett Ley, MD Pulmonary embolism (PE) presents with a wide range of clinical severity and course. Management decisions (level of care, length of observation, and aggressive therapies such as thrombolysis) are generally based on a patient’s risk of a poor outcome. Guidelines recommend risk [… read more]

Jan 242013
 
Continuing beta blockers safe during acute COPD exacerbations

Continuing Selective Beta Blockers Safe During COPD Exacerbations by Blair Westerly, MD Many COPD patients also have congestive heart failure or ischemic heart disease, two conditions where beta blocker therapy improves survival, but it has consistently been underutilized. The fear physicians have of instituting beta blockers in COPD is mostly secondary to the theoretical concern [… read more]

Jan 232013
 
Does your COPD patient need in-flight oxygen? New algorithm may help

Who Needs In-Flight Oxygen? New Method May Help by Brett Ley, MD COPD patients without a long-term indication for supplemental oxygen may still be at risk for severe hypoxemia during air travel since cabin pressures are generally maintained to simulate altitudes of about 8000 feet. In-flight supplemental oxygen is recommended when the partial pressure of [… read more]

Jan 182013
 
Come One, Come All – Low tidal volumes improve outcomes

Low Tidal Volumes Improve Outcomes in Non-ARDS Patients Since the landmark ARDSnet trial of low tidal volume ventilation published in the NEJM in 2000, protecting the injured lung with low tidal volumes has been widely adopted. In case you missed it, that trial showed that low tidal volume ventilation (6 ml/kg IBW) improved mortality from [… read more]

Jan 102013
 
Does GERD really cause chronic cough?

Chronic Cough and GERD: A Tangled Connection by Michael Peters, MD Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is considered to be one of the cardinal causes of chronic cough. A study in Chest challenges that fundamental concept, but comes up short in refuting it. What They Did Samantha Decalmer, Rachel Stovold, Jaclyn A. Smith et al conducted [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
Sedation vacations don't improve outcomes in large trial (RCT)

Do “Sedation Vacations” Really Speed Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation? Daily interruptions of sedation (“sedation holiday” or “sedation vacation”) became the standard of critical care for weaning from mechanical ventilation in ICUs around the world after J.P. Kress et al’s landmark 2000 New England Journal of Medicine paper showing daily sedation interruptions freed ~64 patients from ventilators [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
Intensive glucose control probably kills, says NICE-SUGAR post-hoc

Intensive glucose control in critically ill patients — keeping glucose below 120 with a continuous insulin drip — was all the rage for a few years in the early 2000s after it was shown to improve survival in surgery patients, and then seemed to do the same in non-surgical, critically ill MICU patients who were [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
PANTHER-IPF negative, stopped early for harm from steroids, Imuran in IPF (RCT)

(image: Wikipedia) As we reported a few months ago, the PANTHER-IPF trial was stopped early for safety, when it became clear that the combination of prednisone and azathioprine was hurting people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Ganesh Raghu (U-Washington), Kevin Anstrom (Duke), Talmadge King (UCSF) et al report the final results in the May 24 New [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
Precedex as good as Versed or Propofol, but with cardiovascular effects (RCT)

Precedex Takes Step Toward FDA Indication for Longer-Term Use Precedex (dexmedetomidine) only has existing FDA indications for short-term sedation (< 24 hours) in both mechanically ventilated and non-intubated patients. That short leash is because of dexmedetomidine’s tendency to produce  hypotension and bradycardia, and has limited Precedex’s approved uses mainly to elective surgeries and other invasive procedures. Many intensivists use Precedex off-label for critically [… read more]

Jan 052013
 
Tranexamic acid saves lives, reduces transfusions. So why does no one use it? (Review)

Tranexamic Acid: Underused for Uncontrolled Bleeding? Tranexamic acid is a simple little molecule, just a synthetic derivative of the amino acid lysine. But it’s also a potent pro-hemostatic drug that binds plasminogen and plasmin and stops the degradation of fibrin (the stuff in blood clots). In the U.S., tranexamic acid is sold as Lysteda (oral) [… read more]

Jan 042013
 
Antibiotics (azithromycin) to prevent COPD exacerbations (Review)

(image: Rxhealthdrugs.com) Azithromycin for Prevention of COPD Exacerbations Azithromycin taken daily prevents exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD exacerbations), but seems to also carry risks for cardiovascular death and hearing loss. The true balance of risks and benefits with use of azithromycin to prevent COPD exacerbations is unknown, but physicians who choose to prescribe [… read more]