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May 072011
 

De Smet et al reheat the data from their 2009 NEJM study, in which they cluster-randomized and crossed-over 5,939 patients staying >48hrs in 13 Dutch ICUs to receive either 1) standard care; 2) selective oropharyngeal decontamination (topical amphotericin B, colistin, and tobramycin in the oropharynx), or 3) selective digestive tract decontamination (the same drugs in the mouth, stomach, [… read more]

May 062011
 

Rich et al from U. of Chicago add to the “we said, they said” record on echocardiography’s accuracy in measuring PA pressures (and by implication, whether it can be used to justify oral therapy for PAH without invasive testing). They measured 160 people’s PAP by right heart catheterization and ECHO, both tests within one month; they then [… read more]

May 052011
 

CF patients are instructed to inhale dornase alpha 30 minutes before airway clearance techniques. This has always been based on lore and plausibility. Dentice & Elkins publish their meta-analysis of 5 studies, including a total of 122 patients who were randomized and crossed-over to test the effect of the timing of dornase inhalation on outcomes. [… read more]

May 052011
 

Rubboli et al summarize the (weak) evidence and current guidelines. General avoidance of drug-eluting stents in those with need of long-term warfarin is still the party-line recommendation, with triple therapy (warfarin, aspirin, clopidogrel) for those who receive a DES due to a strong indication. While TT is clearly superior for high risk patients (e.g., mechanical valve), the [… read more]

May 042011
 

As part of their landmark Keystone MHA project in Michigan ICUs (that previously demonstrated a 0% catheter-related bloodstream infection rate with adherence to a central-line bundle), Sexton, Pronovost et al also implemented the CUSP intervention to create a climate of continuous quality improvement and safety. Based on surveys of the staff in 71 ICUs, mean safety scores rose from 42.5% in 2004 to [… read more]

May 042011
 

Osteopontin is a cytokine; Lorenzen et al measured levels in 95 people with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, 25 of whom were followed prospectively for 3 months after therapy initiation. Elevated osteopontin was more common in people with IPAH than in healthy controls, predicted mortality, and correlated with 6-minute-walk distance and NYHA class in the retrospective cohort. CHEST 2011;139:1010-1017.

May 032011
 

In a review of the charts of 3,138 patients who died in 15 ICUs, Muni et al report that the 21% nonwhite patients (incl. 9% Asians, 7% blacks, 3% Hispanics) had odds ratios of 0.41 for having a living will; 1.59 for having full life support at the time of death; 1.57 for having a physician recommend [… read more]

May 032011
 

Clinical research is hamstrung by slow, labor-intensive data collection, necessitated by disparate technologies (or lack of them) in the ICU. Saeed et al announce MIMIC II, a free, public access database that includes nearly all the relevant data from 25,328 ICU stays at Beth Israel 2001-2007 (including hourly vital signs, all labs, and some ECG waveforms). The quantum leap here [… read more]

Apr 302011
 

Never-smokers make up >25% of the people with COPD in some studies. Who are these people? The BOLD study gathered data from 14 countries (in the U.S., Europe, Turkey, China, South Africa, Philippines and Australia), including spirometry and questionnaires on environmental exposures and symptoms from 10,000 people. Of the 4,291 never-smokers, 4% had ATS-defined COPD (5.6% by [… read more]

Apr 292011
 

Iyer et al re-checked PFTs on 1,284 people with nonspecific results (low FEV1 or FVC but normal TLC and FEV1/FVC ratio), at a median of 3 years after the abnormal test. 64% continued to have the nonspecific result; 16% had restriction; 15% had obstruction; 2% had a mixed pattern; 3% were normal. They recommend changing [… read more]

Apr 282011
 

Patients taking pramipexole for 6 months had a 14-point fall in their IRLS score, and 59% “responded” (had at least a 50% fall in their score). But time worked well, too: placebo patients had an 11-point decline in scores and 43% responded. So 1 in 6 responded to pramipexole, practically speaking (they don’t say this, [… read more]

Apr 262011
 

Pulmonary hypertension is often “diagnosed” with a tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity > 2.5 m/s on echocardiogram. Bossone et al found that 76 of 615 (12%) trained athletes (strength or endurance) exceeded this number, and suggest the upper limit of normal should be 40 mm Hg in endurance athletes. CHEST 2011;139:788-794.

Apr 262011
 

Four-drug therapy (RIPE) requires high patient commitment and imposes logistical demands on health systems in developing countries. Lienhardt et al report that a fixed-drug combination (FDC) of rifampin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol was noninferior in producing negative cultures at 18 months compared to taking the drugs separately (both arms ~94% cure rate) in Africa, Asia and Latin [… read more]

Apr 252011
 

Fen-phen died in court, but phenteramine was cleared of all serious charges. Gadde et al report phase III results for Qnexa (by Vivus), a phenteramine-topiramate combination. Over 56 weeks, takers of a double-dose of study drug lost 10 kg; single-dose, 8 kg; and placebo, 1.4 kg. There were plenty of side effects (dry mouth and paresthesias [… read more]

Apr 242011
 

Sacanella et al prospectively observed 230 generally healthy, cognitively intact, highly functional & independently living Spaniards 65 years or older (mean age 75) after urgent admission to a single MICU. About half received mechanical ventilation (54%). Seventy died in-hospital; 48 died within a year, for a one-year survival of 49%. But among the 112 survivors, [… read more]