PulmCCM

The PulmCCM team writes the posts under this moniker. Read the About page for more of the PulmCCM story.

Jan 012012
 

Faster recovery from severe sepsis (or other disorders causing patchy/global hypoperfusion) should be accompanied by a faster disappearance of lactate from the bloodstream. The rate of lactate clearance was reported by Nguyen et al in Crit Care Med 2004 (among others) to predict survival from septic shock, and a strategy substituting lactate clearance of 10% for [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

The National Lung Screening Trial demonstrated annual screening with chest CT saves one life per 320 screened compared to yearly screening with chest radiography. However, there was no “usual care” group (no screening at all) to compare against. Oken et al report additional results from the PLCO Trial (Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

After receiving hundreds of postmarketing adverse event reports of suicidal thoughts or behaviors (and 32 completed suicides) associated with smoking cessation drug varenicline (Chantix), the FDA slapped a black box warning on the med in 2009 and commissioned two large retrospective observational studies totaling more than 40,000 patients starting either varenicline (Chantix) or nicotine replacement. [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

Severe sepsis makes the heart irritable, probably due to all the evil humors and increased cardiac demand. Between 6-20% of patients with severe sepsis develop atrial fibrillation for the first time; that’s old news. What’s been unclear is what new-onset atrial fibrillation in severe sepsis means: is it an expected, yeah-so-what marker of critical illness, [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

Ultrasound is the future. It’s even better than that: it’s the present. So say proponents Seth Koenig, Mangala Narasimhan and pioneer & innovator Paul Mayo in this month’s CHEST review. They endorse a “paradigm shift” meaning, in effect, you get professionally trained on this highly versatile, effective, and immediate-results-providing modality and integrate it into your routine [… read more]

Jan 012012
 

Each individual episode of critical illness produces a mushroom cloud of data, most of which dissipates without being recorded at all (think realtime infusion rates of vasopressors and continuous ECG monitoring). A few large databases capture outcomes data from multiple participating hospitals (like the National Inpatient Sample), and the new MIMIC-II integrated data system can [… read more]

Dec 272011
 

COPD is a progressive disease causing inexorable decline in lung function, right? We were all taught it, but maybe no one checked first. Vestbo et al’s ECLIPSE, a simple but large and elegant observational study that continues to furnish new insights into COPD, shows the truth is far more nuanced and complicated. After following 2,163 patients with COPD of [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Noble et al report results of two Phase III placebo-controlled trials in N. America and Europe, with 779 patients total. In one trial, pirfenidone reduced FVC decline by ~4% at 72 weeks; in the other, it did not; pooling all the data, pirfenidone reduced FVC decline by 2.5% compared to placebo. There were abundant mild [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Walkey et al combined 8 randomized trials including 1,641 people with MRSA pneumonia, and found no significant differences between those treated with linezolid or vancomycin in survival, resolution of clinical pneumonia, eradication from sputum of MRSA, or adverse events. Authors dispute linezolid’s supposedly higher lung penetration, pointing out that that dogma evolved from studies of healthy people; [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Webb and Samuels (Emory neuro-intensivists) report on a brain-injured patient who, after induced hypothermia and rewarming, had absent brainstem function and a confirmatory apnea test. However, in the O.R. for organ donation 24 hours later, brainstem function transiently returned and the surgery had to be aborted. They urge caution to the rest of us in [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Results of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) are in! Enrollment was 8/2002 to 4/2004. Follow-up was through end of 2009. Patients were age 55-74, with >30 pack-year smoking history, still smoking or quit <15 years. Intervention / Control: Low-dose chest CT vs. chest plain films thrice-yearly. By screening these 53,454 high-risk people, 62 deaths [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

More than 65,000 people develop empyema each year, and 25% of them are in the hospital a month or longer. Past randomized trials and a meta-analysis showed streptokinase didn’t help, but case series suggested tissue plasminogen activator might. Rahman et al randomized 210 people to a 2 x 2 table: double-placebo, DNAse and t-PA, DNAse [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample and the national Multiple Cause-of-Death files, Wiener et al found that since the inception of CT-angiography in 1998, the number of CT-PE scans have risen 11-fold, and age-adjusted incidence of pulmonary embolism rose from 62 to 112 per 100,000 (an 81% increase). Over the same period, the mortality rate (presence of PE [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Wechsler et al randomized and crossed-over 39 subjects with stable asthma to sequentially receive treatment with 1) albuterol; 2) fake albuterol; 3) fake acupuncture, or 4) nothing. Although albuterol improved stable asthmatic subjects’ FEV1 by 20%, they perceived equal improvement in subjective symptoms when given a sham inhaler or a sham acupuncture treatment. (These also [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Chong J et al review the 23 placebo-randomized trials of just-FDA-approved roflumilast and its sister cilomilast, the oral phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors. The overall mean improvements in quality of life (1 point on the SGRQ scale) and lung function (46 mL of FEV1) were tiny. The drugs did significantly reduce exacerbations with an odds ratio of 0.78 — as [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Moores LK et al. Current Approach to the Diagnosis of Acute Nonmassive Pulmonary Embolism. CHEST 2011;140:509-518.  Review. Where is the best area under the curve, or the “overdiagnosis sweet spot?” It seems no approach gets us off the hook as we seek to avoid anticoagulating people without PEs (without missing any, of course): CT-angiography  is more sensitive [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

See Update Below: the larger RELAX trial (enrolling patients with less severe pulmonary hypertension) did not show a benefit of sildenafil. Guazzi et al randomized 44 people with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and associated pulmonary hypertension (confirmed by right heart catheterization) to receive the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor sildenafil or placebo for one year, along with [… read more]

Dec 262011
 

Insurance companies, Medicare, and public health authorities haven’t yet sorted out the complexities of the survival benefit found in the Lung Cancer Screening Trial. The number needed to screen to prevent a death was ~300; ~40% of patients had at least one false positive scan, 95% were false positives overall, and overdiagnosis was very likely [… read more]