Critical Care

Nov 262018
 
Hydrocortisone, Ascorbic Acid and Thiamine (HAT) Therapy in Sepsis: A Question & Answer with Dr. Paul Marik

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] with illustrations by Carla M Canepa MD [@_carlemd_] “I’ve never known any trouble than an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.” -Schopenhauer The last few decades have infamously boasted numerous failed therapies for sepsis and septic shock.  Because sepsis represents an explosive and chaotic cacophony of pro and anti-inflammatory mediators – treatments which [… read more]

Nov 112018
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: Volutrauma or Barotrauma?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] In a recent and excellent open-access review, Gattinoni, Quintel and Marini ask which is worse, volutrauma or atelectrauma [1]?  This concise review is an absolute must-read and forms the fabric from which this short article assembles.  Last spring – in Montreal – I was asked a few questions about volutrauma [… read more]

Nov 102018
 
Oral Anticoagulants in the ICU: Clinical Review

Oral Anticoagulants in the ICU: A summary of the evidence for efficacy in atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism, and unique clinical cases Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are recommended as the preferred treatment for venous thromboembolism (VTE) and as a first-line option for stroke prevention in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), but warfarin may be preferred in certain [… read more]

Nov 102018
 
Intubation or bag-mask ventilation: Outcomes similar for cardiac arrest patients

Well-done bag-mask ventilation can produce adequate gas exchange for the vast majority of cardiac arrest patients, but does not provide a secure airway and is physically taxing. Patients in cardiac arrest undergoing CPR tend to immediately receive bag-mask ventilation, which is often interrupted to perform endotracheal intubation. To facilitate intubation, chest compressions may also be [… read more]

Oct 302018
 
Point of Care Ultrasound Unhelpful in Undifferentiated Hypotension? The SHOC-ED trial & the 'Tale of the Eighth Mare'

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] with illustrations by Carla M Canepa MD [@_carlemd_] “History does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” -Mark Twain Case An 89 year old man with a 100 pack-year smoking history is admitted with weakness and inability to take anything by mouth.  He was discharged 2 months prior after a treatment [… read more]

Oct 232018
 
Antipsychotics don't help in ICU delirium: MIND-USA

Neither typical antipsychotics (haloperidol) or newer antipsychotics (ziprasidone) were effective in treating delirium in critically ill patients, in a major randomized trial. The results call into question widely used pharmacologic treatments for ICU delirium. Authors enrolled 1,183 adult patients at medical or surgical ICUs at 16 U.S. medical centers who developed delirium while critically ill [… read more]

Oct 162018
 
Near Apneic Ventilation & Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: close the lungs & keep them closed?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Once had a love and it was a gas …” -Blondie Case A 56 year old professor returns from a hiking trip in the ‘Four Corners’ area of New Mexico.  She was previously well and decided to rent a secluded desert cabin whilst writing a novel on the ethical obligations [… read more]

Oct 042018
 
Targeting normal oxygen saturation associated with death: meta-analysis

A new meta-analysis adds to the evidence that liberal use of supplemental oxygen may be harmful in acutely ill, hospitalized patients. Authors performed a meta-analysis of 25 randomized trials of acutely ill patients (total n ~ 16,000) treated with strategies of either “low” or “high” supplemental oxygenation. Although the cutoffs varied between studies, patients receiving [… read more]

Sep 282018
 
2018 IDSA Guidelines for Clostridium Difficile Infection: fecal transplant gets its moment in the sun

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] with illustrations by Carla M Canepa MD [@_carlemd_] “My reputation’s never been worse, so …” -Taylor Swift Case A 54 year old woman with lupus nephritis – treated with mycophenolate mofetil and prednisone – is admitted with pancytopenia and worsening confusion.  She was recently discharged after receiving levofloxacin and clindamycin [… read more]

Sep 132018
 
ECMO fails as first-line treatment for ARDS. Or did it?

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an accepted salvage therapy for severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after conventional mechanical ventilation with low tidal volumes, neuromuscular blockade and prone positioning have failed. ECMO has been proposed as the ultimate lung protection strategy for ARDS, because it bypasses the lungs entirely. So why shouldn’t it be first-line [… read more]

Sep 132018
 
New MRI technology could predict outcome after cardiac arrest

Brain damage with severe cognitive and functional impairment are common after cardiac arrest, but far from universal. Even after thorough testing, most comatose patients receive an indeterminate neurologic prognosis post-arrest. Physicians faced with this uncertainty have a difficult task in counseling family members trying to make decisions to maximize their loved one’s chances for recovery [… read more]

Sep 082018
 
High Flow Oxygen in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: improved work of breathing or respiratory effort?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “WANTED: Somebody to go back in time with me.  This is not a joke …” -John Silveira Case A 78 year old man with known moderate-to-severe emphysema is extubated in the ICU; he was initially admitted with hypercapneic respiratory failure secondary to influenza pneumonia and pulmonary edema from the medical [… read more]

Aug 032018
 
Scheduled nebulization with acetylcysteine didn't help ventilated patients

by Salynn Boyles, Contributing Writer, MedPage Today Regular nebulization proved to be no more effective than nebulization on demand in a randomized trial involving critically ill patients receiving invasive ventilation, researchers reported. Among ICU patients expected to need invasive ventilation for at least 24 hours, scheduled nebulization four times a day involving acetylcysteine with salbutamol did not [… read more]

Jul 252018
 
FDA approves new hyperkalemia drug Lokelma

The FDA approved oral sodium zirconium cyclosilicate (ZS-9), to be marketed as Lokelma, for the treatment of hyperkalemia. The drug seems to work better than sodium polystyrene sulfonate (Kayexalate), reducing serum potassium levels within an hour and restoring normal levels after about 2 hours in most patients. The drug was tested against placebo (not Kayexalate) [… read more]

Jul 232018
 
Sodium Bicarbonate Administration in Severe Metabolic Acidemia: the BICAR-ICU Trial

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “What is REAL?” -Velveteen Rabbit A 42 year old woman with poorly-controlled type II diabetes is admitted with a severe soft tissue infection of her left lower extremity.  She is hypotensive with altered sensorium and she is noted to have a rapidly progressing border of deep, crimson erythema and edema [… read more]

Jul 202018
 
Prophylactic Precedex prevented delirium in ICU patients

Quick Take: This small (n=100), two-center, industry-funded (Hospira) study showed a remarkable 80% prevention rate of ICU delirium (compared to 20% with placebo) with patients given dexmedetomidine prophylactically during their ICU stay. Although associated with poor outcomes in critically ill patients, delirium is not known to be an independent predictor of those outcomes. This small [… read more]

Jul 192018
 
Prophylactic haloperidol did not prevent delirium in the ICU: REDUCE trial

Delirium occurs in a large proportion of critically ill patients, and ICU patients who get delirious tend to have longer hospital stays and higher mortality. However, it has never been shown that delirium independently increases the risk for poor outcomes, or is just a fellow traveler with severe illness, i.e., a signal of more severe [… read more]

Jul 082018
 
Hospitalists Are the New Intensivists

Intensivists may get all the credit, but over 37,000 hospitalists provide much of the care for ICU patients in the U.S. According to a recent survey, they often do it without the presence or availability of intensivists for consultation or support, especially outside urban centers. The internists aren’t happy about it, feeling uncomfortable, unsupported and [… read more]

Jun 242018
 
FDA Warns of Pneumothorax, Death Associated With High-Tech Nasogastric Tubes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned health care teams about the risk of pneumothorax caused by certain enteral feeding tubes that use technology to guide their insertion, also called enteral access systems (EAS). It issued a safety communication stating, Most reports indicate these pulmonary events required urgent intervention, including needle decompression or chest [… read more]