Critical Care

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 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
 

Medications are often stopped during transfers of care. Bell et al analyzed administrative-level data for almost 400,000 hospitalizations in Ontario, Canada, as well as 90-day follow-up outpatient prescription data. They conclude that medications were likely to be discontinued after discharge from the hospital or ICU, “potentially unintentionally.” Five medication classes were analyzed (inhalers, anticoagulant/antiplatelets, acid-suppressors, thyroxine [… read more]

Dec 222011
 

Neither a large 2009 multicenter study nor a 2011 meta-analysis showed any clinical benefit from the use of ICU telemedicine. Lilly et al report the results of a large single-center study in which they progressively implemented ICU telemedicine among 6,290 patients in 7 ICUs (a stepped-wedge design), with non-telemedicine groups acting as controls at each [… read more]

Dec 182011
 

Dumas et al prospectively observed 1145 consecutive victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who survived to admission in France between 2000 and 2009. Among VT/VF patients, 65% got therapeutic hypothermia, while 60% of PEA/asystole patients did, with higher proportions receiving hypothermia later in the study period (86 and 73% respectively) . Most people in the PEA/asystole [… read more]

Dec 182011
 

For one year, Dallas et al prospectively followed 2,060 intubated MICU/SICU patients at Barnes-Jewish, and concluded that 83 (4%) developed VAP and 28 (1.4%) got VAT, which was defined as fever and 100,000 CFUs in tracheal secretions, without an infiltrate. By their reckoning, a third of VATs progressed to VAPs. Pathogens (mainly MDR bacteria) overlapped. [… read more]

Dec 182011
 
It's official -- Someone's being too negative

ICU Prognosis is Easy, Except When It’s Not How accurate are predictions of mortality by ICU team members? For 560 consecutive patients admitted to a single MICU at the University of Chicago, the authors polled the patient’s attending, fellow, resident, and nurse privately each day, asking simply: “Will this patient survive to discharge?” They collected [… read more]

Dec 182011
 

In a well-intentioned performance improvement initiative, Daniel Kett and the IMPACT-HAP team prospectively observed 303 patients at risk for MDR pneumonia at four academic hospitals. Surprisingly, more of those who got appropriate antibiotics died (34%) than those treated off-ATS/IDSA guidelines (20%), with Kaplan-Meier-modeled 28-day survival of 65% vs. 79%, p=0.0044. The authors were concerned enough [… read more]

Dec 182011
 

In the longest longitudinal study of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) yet, Herridge et al followed 109 young survivors of severe ARDS (medians: age 44; Lung Injury Score 3.7 out of 4) in Canada for 5 years, enrolling 1998-2001. Twelve died in the first year. At 5 years, the survivors remained below their pre-ARDS exercise tolerance; they [… read more]

Dec 182011
 

Dalteparin is a low-molecular weight heparin that, unlike enoxaparin, is safe for people with renal failure. Among 3,746 ICU patients in 6 countries, followed until hospital discharge, there was no difference in the rate of proximal deep venous thrombosis (5.1% vs 5.8%, 1′ endpoint) between once-daily dalteparin and twice-daily UFH, as detected by twice-weekly ultrasounds. [… read more]

Dec 102011
 

Severe sepsis has had a 35-45% mortality rate in clinical trials. Gagan Kumar et al use national observational data to suggest that while population rates of severe sepsis are increasing, survival has likely improved, with mortality falling from 39% to 27%, 2000-2007. However, most of the new survivors are not going home, but rather to [… read more]

Nov 252011
 

According to compelling new data, you can win the genetic lottery and live healthy all your life, and you’ll still be more likely to die from your first heart attack than the diabetic guy in the next bed who keeps going outside to smoke to relieve his chest pain. But you’ll at least have had more time [… read more]

Nov 242011
 

Even my neighbor’s cat knows that giving high-concentration oxygen to people with COPD and acute hypercapneic respiratory failure can cause them to hypoventilate further, causing life-threatening respiratory failure. (And he’s not even a very smart cat.) Perrin, Beasley et al asked, does a similar mechanism operate in severe asthma exacerbations? They randomized 106 patients presenting [… read more]

Nov 112011
 

Obesity may impose extra burdens on critical care staff (think turning, transport, intubation and central line placement), but reviews suggest people with “ordinary” obesity (BMI 30-39) with have the same mortality from critical illness as overweight or healthy-weight people. In fact, obese people may have a survival advantage, despite possible longer durations of mechanical ventilation and ICU stays. But what about extreme obesity (BMI > [… read more]

Nov 092011
 

Duke’s Momen Wahidi and other luminaries bring you a consensus statement on use of peri-procedure medications during bronchoscopy. I’m assuming you’ve done a few already, so here are some highlights (with slight liberties in paraphrasing): Use topical anesthesia as well as moderate sedation in all patients, unless there are contraindications or you practice at a secret CIA prison. [… read more]

Nov 062011
 

Doctors are generally lousy at predicting death in terminally ill patients, and in ICU patients with indeterminate outcomes. Mortality prediction models have proliferated to improve our performance, but in the critical care literature, have mostly shown high predictive accuracy only at the tail ends of probability (high probability of survival or death). Siontis et al (led [… read more]

Nov 062011
 

Thanks to defibrillators, burly-armed EMTs, speedier cardiac revascularization, and induced hypothermia, the mortality rates after ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation have improved markedly for both in- and out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. But mortality rates after PEA and asystole remain stubbornly steady, seemingly resistant to any of the above interventions. Background: People suffering cardiac arrest in an ICU have the advantage [… read more]