Critical Care

Apr 162019
 
More than 90% of sepsis deaths are unpreventable, study concludes

“Nihilist” is one of the harshest insults that can be lobbed at a physician. Even while one knows intellectually that every patient can’t be saved, it’s considered odious to openly acknowledge that actuarial reality. Accepting the truth that some patients will inevitably die despite our best efforts is seen by some as the threshold of [… read more]

Apr 142019
 
Titrating PEEP using esophageal pressures did not improve ARDS outcomes (EPVent-2)

In acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), using pleural pressure to adjust positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) has long been considered a cumbersome but theoretically ideal technique to optimize ventilator management. Using esophageal pressure as a surrogate for pleural pressure can allow one to calculate and minimize the transpulmonary pressure gradient, elevations in which are the putative [… read more]

Apr 142019
 
Overnight in-house intensivists don't clearly improve care: Review

A review of studies comparing 24/7 in-house intensivist physician coverage with less-intensive models (with no intensivist in the ICU overnight) found no clear or consistent benefits associated with in-house intensivist coverage. Authors informally reviewed about 50 previous studies and meta-analyses. They concluded that in-house intensivists overnight might reduce ICU length of stay by a few [… read more]

Apr 072019
 
Bag-mask ventilation during intubation in ICU prevents severe hypoxemia

A randomized trial confirmed what most intensivists have long believed and practiced: in the moments before endotracheal intubation, we should help patients achieve the highest arterial oxygen saturation possible, using bag-mask ventilation (BMV). This seems self evident — why wouldn’t we? Bag-mask ventilation can distend the stomach with air, potentially increasing the risk for vomiting [… read more]

Apr 072019
 
Early norepinephrine improved septic shock, prevented pulmonary edema

Guidelines advise physicians give large boluses of intravenous crystalloid infusions (two to three liters, generally) to patients with septic shock. Vasopressors are typically begun only if patients’ blood pressure remains low after fluid administration. A vocal minority of researchers have advised against delaying vasopressors in septic shock, arguing that norepinephrine, not intravenous fluid, is the [… read more]

Apr 072019
 
Andexanet works as antidote to apixaban, rivaroxaban, data show

by Nicole Lou, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today HONOLULU — Andexanet alfa (Andexxa), the reversal agent for anticoagulants in the factor Xa inhibitor class, worked for patients who developed acute major bleeding while on one of these agents, the full report of the ANNEXA-4 study confirmed. A bolus of the antidote saw median anti-factor Xa activity drop more [… read more]

Mar 312019
 
Intensive glucose management again fails to help -- this time, in stroke

Intensive insulin therapy to maintain blood glucose in the normal range has  immense intuitive appeal. Hyperglycemia is associated with bad outcomes in numerous conditions, and we have the tools at hand to rigorously control it. How could that not help people? Unfortunately, intensive insulin therapy doesn’t seem to help at all, and may harm patients. [… read more]

Mar 312019
 
Impella RP survival only 17% so far (not 73%), says FDA

The FDA is advising physicians that in post-approval data, 30-day survival rates with Abiomed’s Impella RP right ventricular assist device have been only 17%, compared to 73% in the RECOVER RIGHT study leading to the device’s approval in 2017. There were only 60 patients in the post-approval study, who had significantly worse clinical status at [… read more]

Mar 292019
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Driving Power & Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] The mechanical power applied to the lung is a risk factor for ventilator or ventilation-induced lung injury [VILI] [1-4].  But can the work done to the lung over time be homogenized into a single value?  Could different components of the power equation carry different VILI risk beyond their mathematical inequalities [… read more]

Mar 262019
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: The Mechanical Power & Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] A few years ago I was intrigued by a new concept in Ventilator-Induced Lung Injury [VILI] – the mechanical power.  I employed this paradigm, introduced by Gattinoni’s group, as an opening for the ‘ARDS Trilogy.’  Since then, I have also discussed this ‘ergotrauma’ in the context of helium-oxygen physiology and [… read more]

Mar 172019
 
Proton pump inhibitors did not improve outcomes in ICUs (SUP-ICU trial)

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are widely prescribed to mechanically ventilated patients to prevent gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. The evidence for their use is not strong; individual randomized trials have not shown a clear benefit over histamine blockers, but when many trials were pooled into meta-analyses, PPIs do appear to be superior. The Surviving Sepsis Guidelines have [… read more]

Mar 142019
 
Register for The Hospitalist and the Resuscitationist (Montreal, May 23-24)

(From Dr. Philippe Rola) Join us for a couple of days of awesome learning in an awesome city! Back, bigger and better for its second iteration, this multispecialty cross-training exercise brings you the cutting and bleeding edge of acute care management of the sick patient, from the ED to the wards or the ICU. Combining [… read more]

Mar 102019
 
ICU stethoscopes are covered in bacteria, and you're cleaning yours wrong

Stethoscopes have always been an obvious suspect in the transmission of infections to patients by health care professionals. They’re carried room to room, come in contact with each patient, and are almost never disinfected between patient contacts. Testing has shown just what one would expect: stethoscopes are often contaminated with bacteria. One of the latest [… read more]

Mar 082019
 
How should we relate to "unreasonable" families in the ICU?

Most families have never suffered through a loved one experiencing prolonged critical illness and respiratory failure (defined as ventilator dependence for weeks, usually with a tracheostomy). But each year, more do. An estimated 400,000 people currently live with chronic critical illness in long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs) and other facilities — a population that has [… read more]

Feb 232019
 
Should We Stop Trending Lactate in Septic Shock?  ANDROMEDA-SHOCK Published

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “The truth is balance, but the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.” -Susan Sontag Case A 49 year old man presents with two days of hemoptysis, right-sided pleuritic chest pain and a few hours of ‘confusion’ according to his teammate in a pick-up hockey league.  One [… read more]

Feb 172019
 
Echocardiography Does Not Correlate with Volume Status says CoDE-MiN Study

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” -Margaret Atwood Case An 86 year old woman presents with two days of decreased intake by mouth and 3 days of melena and vomiting.  She is followed closely by her internist and cardiologist for hypertension, severe mitral regurgitation, pulmonary venous hypertension and right ventricular dysfunction with co-morbid [… read more]

Feb 172019
 
FDA warns of aortic dissection with fluoroquinolones

After a review of reported adverse events, the U.S. FDA is warning physicians that fluoroquinolone antibiotics may increase the occurrence of aortic dissections, resulting in aortic rupture and death. FDA used unusually direct language in advising, “Fluoroquinolones should not be used in patients at increased risk unless there are no other treatment options available.” Patients [… read more]

Feb 172019
 
Cricoid pressure no help during endotracheal intubation in large trial

Pressing fingers against the cricoid cartilage (the Sellick maneuver) during rapid sequence intubation compresses the esophagus beneath the firmer trachea. It has long been espoused that this prevents aspiration (emesis or reflux of gastric contents into the supraglottic space and airway, obscuring the operator’s view and harming the patient). The Sellick maneuver is believed to [… read more]

Feb 082019
 
Former Vanderbilt nurse arrested, charged with homicide for medication error

Tennessee law enforcement agents announced they had arrested and charged a nurse with reckless homicide and patient abuse for a fatal medication error she allegedly committed while working at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in December 2017. The charges allege that the nurse intended to provide an ordered dose of midazolam (Versed) to an anxious patient [… read more]

Feb 082019
 
Decontaminating patients did not reduce bloodstream infections

A large proportion of patients who remain in ICUs for more than a few days develop hospital-acquired infections, including bloodstream infections. Indwelling urinary or venous catheters, gut translocation, aspiration and impaired host defenses can all be causative. Bloodstream infection incidence has been reduced over time, but remains persistently ineradicable. One enticing method of prevention has been [… read more]