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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]

Jan 042013
 
Azithromycin reduces exacerbations in non-CF bronchiectasis (RCT)

Azithromycin for non-CF Bronchiectasis Bronchiectasis — the permanently dilated, tortuous bronchi that can result after previous lung infections — is a frustrating problem for pulmonologists to treat, but not nearly as frustrating as it can be for patients to live with. People with bronchiectasis are plagued by chronic coughing, and many experience a steady decline [... read more]

Jan 042013
 
Femoral lines might not be so bad after all for infection risk

“We’ve got to get that femoral line out of there!” The attending’s face as he says it shadowed with a simmer of fear, a dash of anger. How could the moonlighter have been so incompetent or lazy as to choose the benighted femoral site for a central venous line when the internal jugular and subclavian [... read more]

Jan 032013
 
Can procalcitonin help guide therapy for suspected pneumonia & other infections? (Review)

Procalcitonin to Guide Treatment of Pneumonia (More PulmCCM Topic Reviews) With mounting evidence for its utility as a biomarker for pneumonia, procalcitonin is one of the hottest 2012 topics in pulmonary & critical care. Procalcitonin tends to rise quickly as bacterial infections (but not viral infections) develop, increase with the severity of infection, and decline [... read more]

Jan 032013
 
Inhaled corticosteroids stunt growth of America's youth by a half-inch

Daily Inhaled Steroids Stunt Kids’ Growth, Study Shows If you’re a half-inch shy of six feet, the next time you’re getting your jump shot blocked by your non-asthmatic friend, you can blame the inhaled corticosteroids your Mom made you take as a kid. Studies have consistently showed children’s height slows down for a few years [... read more]

Jan 032013
 
At treating asthma, patients may be as good as their doctors (BASALT trial)

Consensus guidelines advise that patients with regular symptoms of asthma should take inhaled corticosteroids every day, and when they’re having poor asthma control, they should tell their doctor, who can increase the steroid dose or add other “step-up” therapies. But asthma symptoms vary daily and can worsen at any time. And it can be hard [... read more]

Jan 022013
 
Adding tiotropium (Spiriva) helped some with uncontrolled asthma (RCT)

Spiriva (Tiotropium) for Uncontrolled Asthma Most people with asthma can achieve good control with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA). Some people living with asthma, though, experience persistent symptoms despite maximum doses of these inhaled medications. Fairly or not, LABAs have also been sullied with an FDA black-box warning for worsening bronchospasm in a [... read more]

Jan 022013
 
PET scans often inaccurate; may deny curative surgery for lung cancer

The use of positron emission tomography — better known as PET scans — has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, thanks to their seemingly magical ability to identify foci of undetected metastatic cancer. But PET scans’ perceived high accuracy in diagnosing metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) — a published 94% sensitivity and 83% [... read more]

Jan 012013
 
Should lactate clearance replace SvO2 in sepsis protocols?

It started with a friendly pro/con debate in the December 2011 Chest, about whether lactate clearance or mixed venous oxygen saturation is a better “goal” for early goal-directed therapy in severe sepsis and septic shock. It ended with Alan Jones reviving the rumors and innuendo that have swirled for years around Emanuel Rivers’s body of work. Continuous [... read more]

Jan 012013
 
Hydroxyethyl starch fries kidneys in another large trial (RCT)

Hydroxyethyl Starch (Voluven) Causes Kidney Failure In Large Trial Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) was already wearing a scarlet letter as an potentially dangerous volume resuscitation agent for patients in shock, after evidence emerged this year that hydroxyethyl starch kills people with severe sepsis. Now, another huge, convincing trial shows that hydroxyethyl starch (Voluven) damages kidneys and [... read more]

Dec 312012
 
Adherence with low tidal volumes for ARDS is poor at top centers; reduces survival

(image: Wikipedia) Anyone with the keys to a ventilator knows, or should, that low tidal volume ventilation (~6 mL/kg ideal body weight) for patients with ARDS can be lifesaving: as many as one in 11 people with ARDS treated by low tidal volume ventilation may have their lives saved or extended while in the hospital. [... read more]

Dec 312012
 
In ARDS, women and short people get higher, potentially deadly tidal volumes

In most areas of life, it helps to be tall, and needing treatment for ARDS further proves the rule. Tall people are less likely to get harmful lung-distending tidal volumes during mechanical ventilation, simply by virtue of having bigger lungs. It’s bad enough that we intensivists might discriminate against the under-six-feet crowd (of which I [... read more]

Dec 302012
 
Bad news for IP guys? Incidental mediastinal lymphadenopathy may not need routine biopsy

(image: Wikipedia) With increasing use of chest CT, incidental mediastinal lymphadenopathy seems to be frequently discovered and subsequently biopsied using EBUS. The “if it’s enlarged, stick a needle in it” mantra is challenged by a paper by Stigt et al. 83 people (age ~59) with at least one incidentally discovered mediastinal lymph node > 1 [... read more]

Dec 302012
 
Meet the New ARDS: Expert panel announces new definition, severity classes

(image: Wikipedia) A consensus panel led by V. Marco Ranieri, Gordon Rubenfeld, Arthur Slutsky et al announced a new definition and severity classfication system for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that aims to simplify the diagnosis and better prognosticate outcomes from the life-threatening pulmonary illness. The proposed “Berlin definition” predicted mortality ever-so-slightly better than the [... read more]

Dec 302012
 
Azithromycin associated with cardiovascular death

(image: Rxhealthdrugs.com) People taking 5 days of azithromycin had a very small absolute increased risk of death, especially due to cardiovascular causes, compared to people taking amoxicillin, in a retrospective cohort review by Wayne Ray, Katherine Murray, and C. Michael Stein published in the May 17 New England Journal of Medicine. Erythromycin and clarithromycin (the other [... read more]

Dec 292012
 
Xigris' epitaph: "I Never Worked a Day in My Life" (PROWESS-SHOCK)

Recombinant human activated protein C or dotrecogin alfa — better known as Xigris, by Eli Lilly — seemed a godsend when it was first approved for treatment of severe sepsis in 2001. Xigris’ FDA approval (despite an evenly split 10-10 vote) was based solely on the Eli Lilly-funded PROWESS study, a phase 3 randomized trial [... read more]

Dec 292012
 
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) gets FDA indication for DVT and PE; no heparin bridging needed

Xarelto (rivaroxaban): New FDA Indication for DVT, PE The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Bayer’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban) for a new indication for treating deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), and for long-term prophylaxis of recurrent DVT and PE. Xarelto already had FDA approval for prevention of DVTs and PEs after knee or [... read more]

Dec 292012
 
Oral rivaroxaban (Xarelto) noninferior to warfarin for PE (RCT)

(image: InPharm) Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) was noninferior to standard treatment (heparin and warfarin) in preventing recurrent VTE in patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE), in the large EINSTEIN-PE randomized trial published in the April 5 New England Journal of Medicine. A once-daily oral factor Xa inhibitor that has already been demonstrated to be noninferior for treatment [... read more]

Dec 292012
 
An aspirin a day keeps recurrent DVT and PE away (RCT)

(image: Rex Parker) Among people with unprovoked deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), 1 in 5 will experience another DVT or PE within 2 years after stopping anticoagulation with warfarin (Coumadin). For this reason, the ACCP’s recommendations for treatment of unprovoked proximal DVT or PE suggest consideration of an “indefinite” period of anticoagulation [... read more]