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Aug 172011
 

Johnson et al reviewed charts in a retrospective case-control cohort study on 754 consecutive patients at Barnes-Jewish with severe sepsis or shock due to Gram-negative bacteremia. The exposure was receipt of antibiotics in the previous 90 days. 310 of the bacteremic patients had received antibiotics previously. Compared to unexposed controls, the previously antibiotic-exposed had a [… read more]

Aug 162011
 

Self-reported adherence is usually overestimated. Most people prescribed chronic daily medication take it ~60% of the time, but say/believe they take it 90% of the time. People with cystic fibrosis are instructed to spend more than an hour a day sitting through up to 7 nebulizer treatments. Daniels et al used a smart nebulizer machine [… 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]

Aug 132011
 

Unimpressed by the unimpressive results of the CAPACITY trials testing pirfenidone for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the FDA bucked its advisory panel (which had recommended approval) and insisted on another randomized trial in order to reconsider the drug. In July 2011 InterMune started enrollment for ASCEND, which plans to provide results on pirfenidone vs. placebo in [… read more]

Aug 112011
 

Do we need to worry about pre-existing heparin-induced thrombocytopenia antibodies in people admitted with pulmonary embolism / deep venous thrombosis? Or can we keep happily slinging heparin at first sight? Warkentin et al analyze data from the Matisse VTE studies, which enrolled 3,994 patients with DVT or PE. All had ELISA HIT antibodies collected at [… read more]

Aug 102011
 

In the “why didn’t I think of that?” department: Menzies et al performed pleural fluid sampling on 62 patients with clinical pleural infection, and sent samples to the lab in both standard tubes and in blood culture bottles inoculated at the bedside. 20 standard samples were culture-positive; adding the positive inoculated samples identified an additional [… read more]

Aug 092011
 

Hersh et al analyzed spirometry and patient-reported data on family history from the COPDGene study, comparing 821 people with COPD to 776 smoking controls. Subject-recalled parental history of COPD had an odds ratio of 1.7 for COPD in the subject. The population attributable risk from family history for COPD was 18.6%. They acknowledge the vulnerability [… read more]

Aug 082011
 

Mavros et al did the heavy lifting required to review 998 studies relating in some way to atelectasis and postoperative fever. They felt only 8 of those studies deserved analysis (990 were excluded either for not reporting sufficient data, or not focusing on the question at hand). One study reported an association between atelectasis and [… read more]

Aug 072011
 

Hartwig et al report a series of 157 people receiving fundoplication within 1 year after lung transplant, for reflux diagnosed by abnormal esophageal pH probe. They compared these to 65 with reflux who did not undergo fundoplication. The surgical patients had about 10% higher FEV1s, both at peak and at one year. This was not [… read more]

Aug 062011
 

Darling et al report findings from the Early Lung PET trial for non-small cell lung cancer. PET-CT had 70% sensitivity and 94% specificity for identifying cancerous mediastinal lymph nodes (with invasive staging as the reference standard). Sounds good. However, among the 22 patients with PET-CT scans positive for mediastinal nodes, 8 did not have cancer [… read more]

Aug 052011
 

Low physical activity is associated with mortality in COPD, but until now, only on the basis of self-reported activity levels. Waschki et al prospectively followed 170 people (~75% men, ~65 years old) with stable COPD for 48 months. Besides spirometry (mean FEV1 56% predicted), the investigators also collected other data expected to be predictive, including [… read more]

Jul 292011
 

O’Connor et al report results of a randomized trial of 7,141 people with acute decompensated heart failure who got nesiritide or placebo in addition to standard care. To sum up, nesiritide didn’t seem to do much of anything at all (for dyspnea, risk of rehospitalization or death, or any other endpoint). NEJM 2011;365:32-43.

Jul 252011
 

Under mandate by the FDA to answer lingering questions about long-acting beta agonists’ safety for treatment of asthma, four major pharma firms will launch five large randomized trials comparing inhaled corticosteroid / long-acting beta agonist combination products vs. ICS alone. The trials (4 in adults, 1 in kids) will enroll >50,000 people starting this year, [… read more]

Jul 242011
 

Planer et al randomized 151 smokers admitted for acute coronary syndrome to receive either bupropion sustained-release or placebo for 8 weeks. There was no difference in abstinence rates at 3, 6, or 12 months. Those who had an invasive procedure during hospitalization were 4 times more likely to quit, though. (n=151) Arch Intern Med 2011;171:1055-1060.

Jul 242011
 

Hashimoto et al randomized 95 adults taking chronic prednisone for severe asthma to usual care or home-tapering guided by spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide (from hand-held devices) and a symptom diary. The self-tapered group used significantly less prednisone without a worsening in symptoms (primary endpoint), hospitalizations or exacerbations (2′ endpoints). (n=95) Thorax 2011;66:514-520.

Jul 222011
 

Widespread beliefs among physicians that people with mental illness are more addicted, or less desirous or capable of quitting smoking, are wrong and perpetuate a deadly problem, argues J.J. Prochaska. You should nag mentally ill folks to quit smoking as you would anyone else, she urges. NEJM 2011;365:196-198. FULL FREE TEXT