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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]

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]