Jon-Emile S. Kenny

Dr. Kenny is slowly curating the 'Finnegans Wake of Critical Care Blogs.' His favourite places are: Pier 64, The Hall of Ocean Life, Grand Central Station and the cafe at the top of Fotografiska. He has inherited his grandmother's fascination with the cosmos and Carl Sagan. Enjoy his homage to classical cardiorespiratory physiology at

Mar 072022
Balanced Crystalloids Probably Reduce Mortality in the Critically-Ill

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “What time is this, to trade the handshake for the fist?” -Joni Mitchell  Background As remarked by the authors of the recent PLUS trial, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing balanced resuscitation fluid to 0.9% saline was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine Evidence.  This [… read more]

Mar 012022
Register for the 2022 Hospitalist and the Resuscitationist Conference: May 18-21 in Montreal

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] The tremendous, Hospitalist and the Resuscitationist [H & R] conference returns this May 18-21st in Montreal, Canada. I am humbled to participate this year and look forward especially since the conference was paused for 2021.  I am certain that Dr. Philippe Rola, who has been organizing this meeting since 2018, will [… read more]

Feb 282022
Balanced Fluid Resuscitation for the Critically-Ill: the PLUS study mirrors the BaSICS

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “The world wavered and quivered and threatened to burst into flames.” -Virginia Woolf  Background Intravenous fluid therapy is one of the most commonly-performed interventions in all of critical care medicine.  Numerous trials over the last 20 years have attempted to identify the ideal fluid for those in the intensive care unit, [… read more]

Jan 302022
Nirmatrelvir-Ritonavir for ‘Standard Risk’ COVID-19

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “… but prejudices, like odorous bodies, have a double existence, both solid and subtle – solid as the pyramids, subtle as the twentieth echo of an echo, or as the memory of hyacinths which once scented the darkness.” -Mary Ann Evans  Background As previously described, the SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitor [Mpro] [… read more]

Jan 292022
EPIC-HR Evaluates Nirmatrelvir-Ritonavir for COVID-19

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “When she smiles without her teeth in place she looks like a witch. But with them in her mouth she’s very pretty.” -Judy Blume  Basic Biology The SARS-CoV-2 genome encodes structural proteins [i.e., spike, envelope, membrane, nucleocapsid] and polyproteins [i.e., pp1a and pp1ab]. When the guts of SARS-CoV-2 spew into a [… read more]

Jan 052022
What Minimal Volume of Intravenous Fluid Challenges the Heart?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “I find real life challenging enough.  If I get to the dry cleaners without having a huge fight, that’s challenging enough.” -Fran Lebowitz  Background Quite recently, the BaSICS investigators evaluated the infusion rate of a fluid bolus on patient outcome.  As considered, however, contrast should be made between a fluid bolus, [… read more]

Jan 022022
COVID STEROID 2 Trial Investigates Dexamethasone 6 mg or 12 mg in COVID-19

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” -Julia Child  Background Early observational studies and the RECOVERY collaborative group initially demonstrated the benefit of corticosteroid therapy in oxygen-requiring, COVID-19-patients; additional randomized studies as well as a meta-analysis of these reports corroborated this. Yet the dosing of corticosteroids across the above studies was [… read more]

Dec 312021
Fact-Checking Buffalo Chest

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “It was after this realization that I began trying to find the ‘point’ of California, to locate some message in its history.” -Joan Didion  Background A few months ago, I found myself in one of my favourite places – the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.  Meandering through [… read more]

Nov 182021
PRINCIPLE Investigators Study Inhaled Budesonide for COVID-19

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “… Sartre tells us that man makes himself this lack of being in order that there might be being.” -Simone de Beauvoir  Background Like many early, proposed therapies for COVID-19, inhaled corticosteroids [ICS] had suggestive, conflicting evidence.  For example, in a very large observational investigation – the OpenSAFELY platform – patients with both [… read more]

Nov 112021
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Phenylephrine Pushes & Stroke Volume

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] About a decade ago, a handful of terrific reviews and investigations about phenylephrine – an alpha1 agonist – were published [1-3].  While this vasoactive medication might be thought only to ‘increase afterload,’ phenylephrine’s hemodynamic effects are knotty and noteworthy.  Therefore, this dedicated dispatch delineates the difficulties encountered when predicting the hemodynamics [… read more]

Oct 312021
The TOGETHER Trial Evaluates Fluvoxamine for COVID-19

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “In those years, truth was elusive – as was my own faith that I could recognize and contain it.” -Mary Oliver Previously, the very basic underpinnings of fluvoxamine as a pharmacological method to quell cytokine unruliness was outlined.  In brief, fluvoxamine is a sigma-1-receptor [S1R] agonist – an effect that opposes [… read more]

Sep 232021
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Geometry of Ejection Fraction

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] The left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] is a commonly-sought cardiac measure.  With the explosion of bedside ultrasound and automated methods to capture LVEF, the ejection fraction will grow in clinical prominence and affect decisions for the acutely-ill.  Asked the meaning of the LVEF, many clinicians might describe it as a ‘measure [… read more]

Sep 132021
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Pulse

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] The relative simplicity of extending one’s finger onto the tissue overlaying a major artery belies the complicated forces generating an arterial pulse.  Descriptions and physiological elucidations have been put forth across the decades, yet even today the machinations relating cardiac contraction to a waxing and waning arterial wall are a bit [… read more]

Sep 092021
Back to the BaSICS: does the infusion rate of a fluid bolus affect mortality?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “He walked away across the room, his cowboy boots echoing like pistol shots.” -Sylvia Plath Background Implicit in resuscitation is speed.  Throughout training we are zealously instructed that ‘time is tissue’ for all manners of compromised perfusion. We envision spendthrift mitochondria chewing through oxygen without regard to withering supply; as such, [… read more]

Sep 012021
Another 0.9% Saline versus Balanced Solution Trial: BaSICS released

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.” -Mary Oliver Background The use of ‘balanced’ intravenous fluids as compared to 0.9% saline – so-called ‘normal’ saline – has garnered much scientific interest in the last half-decade.  Propelling some of this curiosity is a newfound [… read more]

Jul 212021
Heat Exhaustion & Heatstroke – part 2

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “There are hills, rounded, blunt, burned, squeezed up out of chaos, chrome and vermilion painted, aspiring to the snow-line.” -Mary Austin With very basic introductions to heat transfer, the cardiovascular response to heat stress and the distinction between heat exhaustion and heatstroke, this final section addresses fundamental aspects of treating heat-related [… read more]

Jul 202021
Heat Exhaustion & Heatstroke – part 1

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Tell me, what is it you plan to do, with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver When carbon dioxide retention tickles intensivists’ neurons, clusters of adjacent synapses spark in deep sulci – discharging neural silos of respiratory physiology, alveolar ventilation, pH interpretation and the like. But like flash-bulbs against [… read more]

Jul 202021
Heat-Related Illness & Hemodynamics

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “I believe that the very process of looking can make a thing beautiful.” -David Hockney With the basics of temperature, heat and heat transfer described previously, this section turns to some select physiological aspects of heat-related illness. While this is clearly a very broad topic with multiple, intersecting avenues of discussion, [… read more]

Jul 192021
Heat-Related Illness & First Principles

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” -Richard Feynman Heat-related illness is a very common form of environmental injury. Like many insults, it may be modelled by ‘diathesis-stress.’ In other words, heat-related illness materializes at the cross-roads of inherent patient characteristics [e.g., [… read more]

Mar 312021
On Cytokines, Fluvoxamine and COVID-19 – Part 2

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Apocalypse is played out now on a personal scale; it is not in the sky above us, but in our bed.” -Mark Doty Introduction With a proposed pathway coupling pathogen-associated molecular patterns to the elaboration of pro-inflammatory cytokines, sketched lightly in part 1, this segment ties murine biomolecular theory to human [… read more]