Critical Care

Feb 112018
 
Vasopressors and Inotropes for Shock Syndromes: Review

Overview Vasopressors and inotropes are cornerstones in the management of shock syndromes. Understanding vasopressors’ receptor activity and resultant pharmacological response enables clinicians to select the ideal vasopressor(s) for a patient suffering from shock. The following table outlines common vasopressors/inotropes and their general receptor activity profiles.1,2 Drug Dose α1 ß1 ß2 DA V1 V2 cAMP Norepinephrine [… read more]

Jan 292018
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Venous Doppler & Volume Tolerance

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] With the birth of ‘fluid responsiveness’ physiology [1], there has been a slow and solemn drumbeat ushering the central venous pressure [CVP] up the squeaking planks of the hemodynamic gallows [2, 3].  Despite this, a few years ago I made a humble defense of the central venous pressure.  Importantly, I was [… read more]

Jan 232018
 
Conference: The Hospitalist & The Resuscitationist April 18-19

The Hospitalist & The Resuscitationist April 18-19, 2018 Two awesome days in Montreal where we focus on basics, but the right basics. The key points, the key pearls, and especially, the key physiological points in managing sick people. Day 1, pretty sick people. Day 2, really sick people. Do one day, do both, whatever fits [… read more]

Jan 202018
 
Prone positioning for severe ARDS advised by major societies

In case you missed it, major professional societies in critical care now strongly recommend prone positioning for patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), with a PaO2-to-FiO2 (P/F) ratio of ≤ 100. The recommendation marks a major shift in advised care for ARDS. Prone positioning improves ventilation-perfusion matching (transferring delivered oxygen into the bloodstream more [… read more]

Dec 262017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Visualizing Heart-Lung Interaction

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Upward, not northward.” -E. A. Abbott A pressure chamber within a pressure chamber; the heart within the thorax.  These are two pumps beating in-and-out of time, varying in physiology and pathophysiology between patients and within any one patient during the arc of an illness.  As such, when we inspect the [… read more]

Dec 182017
 
Esmolol in Sepsis: Microcirculatory Savior or Autoregulation Annihilator?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] Background If venous pressure were always the downstream pressure of an artery, then when flow is zero, the arterial pressure should equal the venous pressure.  For example, if one were to measure the coronary artery pressure and coronary sinus pressure at zero flow, their pressures should be equal.  Yet, this [… read more]

Dec 142017
 
Sedation interruptions were even more helpful in surgical patients

Most good medical intensive care units have incorporated interruptions in sedation (so-called ‘sedation vacations’) into standard care for patients receiving mechanical ventilation. Avoiding excessive sedation in general is believed to reduce prolonged mechanical ventilation in ICUs. However, there is surprisingly little data about effects of sedation (or over-sedation) on critically ill postoperative patients in the [… read more]

Dec 082017
 
Meropenem-vaborbactam (Vabomere), a new combination antibiotic + inhibitor, now available

Intensivists have another antibiotic combination to treat severe infections caused by gram-negative bacteria with the FDA’s approval of Vabomere (meropenem, combined with the beta-lactamase inhibitor called vaborbactam). FDA approved Vabomere only for the treatment of complicated urinary tract infections (such as pyelonephritis). However, licensed U.S. physicians routinely prescribe FDA-approved antibiotics “off-label” for other indications. Meropenem-vaborbactam [… read more]

Dec 022017
 
A Great Lecture on Applied Respiratory Physiology

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] -What is the world record for longest breath hold? -Why does the diagnosis of brain death require a rise in PaCO2 to at least 60 mmHg? -What minute ventilation can a human achieve? -What’s the difference between an elevated PaCO2 in someone who ‘won’t’ versus ‘can’t’ breathe? I’d like to [… read more]

Dec 012017
 
Should patients watch videos of CPR before code status decisions?

Physicians and patients alike tend to avoid frank discussions about “code status” — whether a patient would want CPR or mechanical ventilation in the event of a cardiac or respiratory arrest. When doctors address code status at all, they tend to phrase the questions in such a way to cut off any thoughtful discussion: “If [… read more]

Nov 262017
 
Sepsis, Diastolic Dysfunction & Hypernatremia

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] with illustrations by Carla M Canepa MD “… And you may ask yourself … well, how did I get here? … And you may tell yourself … my God!  What have I done?” -David Byrne A 92 year old woman is transferred to the coronary care unit for treatment of pulmonary edema.  She [… read more]

Nov 192017
 
Should intensivists routinely perform bedside echos in suspected PE?

In pulmonary embolism (PE), right ventricular (RV) strain on transthoracic echocardiography increases the likelihood of shock and mortality. One study showed among patients with PE and normal blood pressure, 10% of those with RV strain on echocardiogram developed shock, and 5% died in hospital. Those without RV strain maintained their blood pressure and survived (but important [… read more]

Nov 112017
 
DIPSHIS in the ICU: An emerging phenomenon?

This would be a very informative case report (and it’s true and unexaggerated), but I anticipate staunch editorial resistance (even sans puns), so I’ll describe it here and have some fun with it. Background:  The author has anecdotally observed for many years that so-called “septic shock” follows rather than precedes intubation and sedation.  This raises [… read more]

Nov 112017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Venous Excess & the Myth of Venous Return

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] In the last few weeks I have been contacted by curious clinical physiologists craving my conceptions of ‘venous excess’ [1].  These words will address this model, concisely and – I pray – clearly. The Myth of Venous Return The roots of venous excess took hold within the fertile soil of [… read more]

Oct 252017
 
Empiric micafungin didn't save lives in ICU-acquired sepsis

The antifungal micafungin is often given empirically to patients in ICUs with sepsis who are also at high risk for invasive fungal infections. IDSA guidelines endorse the use of empiric antifungals for patients with unresolving ICU-acquired sepsis, but any benefits of this are unknown. A randomized trial published in JAMA sheds light on the practice. French [… read more]

Oct 202017
 
Pain Control and Sedation in Mechanically Ventilated Patients: Review

Treating Pain in Mechanically Ventilated Patients Adult patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) frequently experience pain, resulting from acute and chronic illness as well the positioning and interventions standard to ICU care.1,2 Besides being ethical and humane, adequately treating pain prevents agitation and delirium in mechanically ventilated patients. There are also many physiologic responses to [… read more]

Oct 192017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Fighter Pilots!

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] with illustrations by Carla M. Canepa MD Pilots of high-performance, tactical fighter jets each have continuous positive airway pressure [i.e. CPAP] masks as a part of their flight suit.  Strikingly, beyond the clinically-commonplace airway pressure of 5-15 cm of H2O, a fighter pilot may endure a mask-applied pressure of 90 [… read more]

Oct 132017
 
Don't give Kayexalate within 3 hours of other drugs, says FDA

The FDA is warning physicians not to provide other enterally-absorbed drugs within 3 hours before or after giving sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate, Concordia Pharmaceuticals) for hyperkalemia. In testing performed 59 years after its launch, it was discovered that Kayexalate can bind to many prescription drugs, potentially rendering them ineffective. For patients with gastroparesis or ileus, FDA [… read more]

Oct 122017
 
Age of transfused red cells had no effect on mortality (TRANSFUSE)

U.S. medical centers vary widely in the average shelf life of the blood in their blood banks. Trauma and high-volume surgical centers receive the oldest blood from the Red Cross, on the premise that they’ll be likely to transfuse it. All blood banks tend to dispense the oldest units first. This reduces waste of donated [… read more]

Sep 292017
 
State-of-the-ART Trial: Do Recruitment Maneuvers & Higher PEEP Raise Mortality?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “To believe in medicine would be the height of folly, if not to believe in it were not a greater folly still.” -Proust A 32 year old man with no past medical history save for a BMI of 51 is admitted with severe acute pancreatitis following a large intake of [… read more]