Nov 012011
 

More than 40 small, middling-quality studies (n~80, some randomized) showing inconsistent results as to whether antioxidant therapy with acetylcysteine or other drugs reduces the risk for contrast nephropathy / acute kidney injury after angiography or CT-angiography. A 2008 meta-analysis concluded Mucomyst was helpful, reducing risk of nephropathy by almost 40% vs saline alone. However, the authors noted [… read more]

Nov 012011
 

In a non-inferiority study, Buhl et al randomized 1,600 adults with moderate or severe COPD to use the new extra-long-acting beta agonist indacaterol 150 mcg or tiotropium 18 mcg inhaled once daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study period, pre-dose FEV1 improvements were similar in both groups (~125 mL). Indacaterol induced higher post-dose FEV1 improvements [… read more]

Nov 012011
 

The 2009 randomized CESAR trial in Lancet concluded that in severe ARDS in the U.K., referral to an ECMO center saved lives. However, patients in the control (non-ECMO) group didn’t consistently get low-tidal ventilation, and many patients randomized to ECMO never received it, creating skepticism of the findings. A case series from Australia/New Zealand (ANZ ECMO) in JAMA showed a 70% survival [… read more]

Nov 012011
 

No one knows when to start antiretroviral drugs in people with HIV and tuberculosis. Delaying ARVs is often done, for fear of drug toxicity and interactions, as well as immune reconstitution syndrome (dangerous worsening of the inflammatory response to TB as the immune system recovers). Of course, that means the HIV gets to continue its [… read more]

Nov 012011
 

Karner et al further confirmed the lack of general lack of evidence for “triple therapy” (inhaled corticosteroid, tiotropium, and long-acting beta agonist) for COPD. In a Cochrane analysis, they could only identify one randomized trial (n=293) testing LABA+tiotropium vs. triple-therapy (LABA+tiotropium+ICS). The trial suffered from high and uneven dropout rates between treatment arms, precluding any [… read more]

Oct 312011
 

Poor people have higher rates of obesity. There are those who believe that’s because the poor lack self-control and discipline, overeating when they should be pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. That hard-core personal responsibility ethic is hard to refute, maybe because it contains a grain of truth, maybe because it lets all us non-poor [… read more]

Oct 302011
 

Lucassen et al sharpened their pencils and tried to combine in a meta-analysis 52 studies (n=55,268) that examined the success of methods of using “gestalt” (subjective impression) or clinical decision rules (Wells, Geneva or revised Geneva scores) to diagnose acute pulmonary embolism. The punchline (and their unstated but implied conclusion) is, we just can’t safely [… read more]

Oct 302011
 

How many licks does it take to get to the middle of a Tootsie Roll Pop? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? And that other timeless mystery: How many airways do patients with COPD have, how narrowed are they, and what is the relationship between said narrowing, coexisting emphysematous destruction, [… read more]

Oct 292011
 

While we were screening our heavy smokers for lung cancer with chest CTs, the Dutch and Belgians have been screening their own (in the NELSON trial, which will report results in 2015). They double-dipped their imaging data here to ask the question, how good is chest CT at identifying undiagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? 1,140 [… read more]

Oct 272011
 

Resection of isolated pulmonary metastasis resulted in surprising longevity in this study by Hornbech et al. They report a series of 248 patients, 97% of whom had a complete resection of their pulmonary metastasis, following them for an average of 5 years. The five year survival rates after pulmonary metastasectomy were as follows: Colorectal cancer: [… read more]

Oct 242011
 

Adaptive support ventilation (ASV) has entered wide use based on its attractive premise: it’s patient-centered ventilation, adapting breath-by-breath to deliver precisely the right amount of pressure support to achieve a targeted minute ventilation. However, evidence for any superiority over conventional ventilator modes is limited to cardiac surgery patients who were extubated in ~6 hours regardless of [… read more]

Oct 232011
 

Talc pleurodesis is 90-95% effective at prevention of recurrent primary spontaneous pneumothorax. However, there have been reports of ARDS occurring after talc pleurodesis, mostly in patients with malignant pleural effusions, raising concerns over its use. Bridevaux et al report results of talc pleurodesis on 418 patients with primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) at nine centers in Europe and [… read more]

Oct 222011
 

Is bronchoalveolar lavage useful in the diagnosis and management of interstitial lung disease? Meyer and Raghu believe so (although their manuscript title suggests they’re not 100% sure). They explain why in the October ERJ. They argue that if interpreted in the right clinical context, certain bronchoalveolar lavage findings can help cinch the diagnosis of ILD: Lymphocytes >= 25%: [… read more]

Oct 212011
 

The new coumadin-killers, direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran (approved in the U.S.) and direct factor Xa inhibitor rivaroxaban (coming soon) could usher in an awesome new era of anticoagulation, without warfarin’s requirements of cumbersome monitoring and annoying in-hospital titrations. But what happens when patients taking these drugs bleed, or need emergency surgery? Fresh-frozen plasma doesn’t work. [… read more]

Oct 202011
 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published its 696 page rule on how accountable care organizations, the new medical care deilvery model, should structure themselves to qualify for reimbursement under the Affordable Care Act. The New England Journal published commentary by Don Berwick, current head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, explaining [… read more]

Oct 142011
 

Here’s a free “head-to-head” discussion with arguments for and against implementation of routine mild hypothermia for all patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The benefits of hypothermia after out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrests are reasonably well-established, and multiple society guidelines (SCCM’s, AHA’s) advocate the practice. The question is whether to induce mild hypothermia / targeted temperature management in all [… read more]

Oct 122011
 

The elderly have been largely excluded from clinical trials on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as their surgical risks have been perceived as too high to benefit as a group from lung resection. Many people believe that in practice, elderly people with NSCLC have often been excluded from consideration for lung resection solely based on [… read more]

Oct 112011
 

In 2006, Medicare (we) spent 25% of our dollars on treatment for people in their last year of life. The debate rages, waged with euphemism in public and painful, conflicting emotions in private: how can we let Grandma go peacefully and with dignity, without feeling too guilty or ending up in front of a Senate subcommittee? [… read more]

Oct 102011
 

Ischemic heart disease makes COPD symptoms worse both at rest and during exacerbations, without increasing the frequency of COPD exacerbations, according to an epidemiologic study by Patel et al. They prospectively observed 386 Londoners with COPD for one year, 64 of whom had ischemic heart disease (with or without history of myocardial infarction, defined by [… read more]