Critical Care

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]

Sep 282017
 
Use sepsis bundles, or you're breaking the (New York) law

In 2013, New York’s state government began regulating the care of sepsis. The state has since required its hospitals (and thus its doctors) to adhere to some version of a sepsis protocol that included a “bundle” to be delivered within 3 hours after sepsis recognition: blood cultures before antibiotics; lactate measurement; broad-spectrum antibiotics The Empire [… read more]

Sep 142017
 
ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: High Flow Oxygen Therapy

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] That high flow oxygen applied via nasal cannula lends itself to treating hypoxemic respiratory failure may be obvious.  With adequate heat and humidification, oxygen can be employed relatively comfortably at very high flow rates – upwards of 60 L/min – to the nares.  At such rates, the effort of the [… read more]

Sep 082017
 
Angiotensin II, a new vasopressor for septic shock, coming soon (probably)

Physicians may soon have another vasopressor to add to their toolkit in treating patients with septic shock and other vasodilatory shock. Angiotensin II infusions improved blood pressure in critically ill patients with vasodilatory shock who remained hypotensive on high doses of conventional vasopressors, in the phase III ATHOS-3 trial. Patients with hypotension despite catecholamine infusions [… read more]

Aug 302017
 
An Illustrated Guide to the Phases of ARDS: Implications for management

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] with illustrations by Carla M. Canepa MD “Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom: whoever writes about it merely respectfully and by rule leaves more than half of it behind.” -Montaigne Marking the 50 year anniversary of the first description of the adult respiratory distress syndrome – later [… read more]

Aug 202017
 
In ARDS, substandard ventilator care is the norm, not the exception

In acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), anyone with the keys to a ventilator knows low tidal volume ventilation (~6 mL/kg ideal body weight) is standard care. Low tidal volume ventilation can prevent or ameliorate ventilator-associated lung injury ; if early clinical trials represent current reality, one in 11 people with ARDS treated by low tidal volume ventilation could have their [… read more]