Infectious Disease and Sepsis

Apr 192018
 
Checking procalcitonin in the ICU saves lives? Maybe

Procalcitonin (PCT) levels can be useful (although limited) in deciding whether and when to start, de-escalate, and stop antibiotic therapy in patients with suspected infection. Physicians’ use of procalcitonin in antibiotic decisions has exploded since the FDA approval of a PCT assay whose manufacturer provides specific (albeit oversimplified) cut-off values at which to consider infection [… read more]

Apr 042018
 
Are balanced crystalloids better than saline? SMART Talk with Dr. Michael Pinksy

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “Each time new experiments are observed to agree with the predictions, the theory survives and our confidence in it is increased; but if ever new observation is found to disagree, we have to abandon or modify the theory.” — Stephen Hawking A 47 year old man with fever, right upper [… read more]

Mar 142018
 
FDA warns clarithromycin could cause death in patients with heart disease

The U.S. FDA is warning physicians against prescribing the antibiotic clarithromycin to patients with coronary artery disease. In long-term follow up of a randomized controlled trial, there was an unexpectedly higher rate of death in patients who received a two-week treatment course of clarithromycin, compared to placebo. FDA has added a new warning to clarithromycin’s [… read more]

Mar 092018
 
Does Piperacillin-Tazobactam Cause Renal Failure?

The combination of the antibiotics piperacillin-tazobactam and vancomycin is so often used as empirical antibiotic coverage for severe infections in hospitalized patients that it’s been dubbed “Vosyn.” Vancomycin’s nephrotoxicity is well-known, requiring close monitoring of serum levels; pip-tazo has been seen to prolong increased creatinine levels (without significant known direct nephrotoxicity).  Reports have surfaced in [… read more]

Mar 082018
 
Hydrocortisone plus fludrocortisone improved survival from septic shock (APROCCHSS trial)

Patients with septic shock who received hydrocortisone and fludrocortisone together had improved survival compared to patients receiving placebo, according to a large randomized trial (APROCCHSS) published in the New England Journal of Medicine. From 2008-2015, investigators enrolled 1,241 patients in France with septic shock for less than 24 hours to receive either hydrocortisone 50 mg [… read more]

Mar 022018
 
Corticosteroids do help in sepsis: ADRENAL trial

Stress-dose corticosteroids appear safe and generally beneficial in patients with septic shock undergoing mechanical ventilation, without improving survival. That’s the takeaway from the ADRENAL trial recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Investigators (led by the famed ANZICS collaborative) randomized 3,800 patients with septic shock requiring mechanical ventilation in 69 medical-surgical ICUs around the [… read more]

Feb 222018
 
The Great Lactate Debate Part 2: can we ‘myth-bust’ the strong ion approach?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” -Oscar Wilde In part 1, the crux of this ‘Great Lactate Debate’ was distilled into the unclear origin of the proton in the setting of ‘lactic acidosis.’  Is the [H+] secondary to biochemical work and ATP hydrolysis or is the proton from [… read more]

Feb 192018
 
The Great Lactate Debate Part 1: should we be counting protons or strong ions?

Jon-Emile S. Kenny MD [@heart_lung] “….  She was here on earth to grasp the meaning of its wild enchantment and to call each thing by its right name …” -Boris Pasternak Background Over the last half-decade, there has been a distinct shift in the approach to lactate elevation.  The long-held belief that elevated serum lactate [… read more]

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]

Dec 222017
 
FDA Approves Angiotensin-II for Septic Shock

The FDA approved angiotensin-II (Giapreza) as a new intravenous vasopressor for septic shock and other forms of distributive shock. The first new FDA-approved vasopressor in decades, angiotensin-II could significantly change the management of severe septic shock. FDA based its expedited approval (under priority review) on the ATHOS-3 trial enrolling 321 patients with shock refractory to [… 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 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]

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 012017
 
Doctors aren't complying with the CMS sepsis quality measure

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2015 performance measure for the treatment of sepsis — called SEP-1 or the Severe Sepsis/Septic Shock Early Management Bundle, physicians responded with general befuddlement: the measure demanded they follow such unusual practices as giving 3-liter boluses of saline to anuric, hypertensive, hypoxemic patients with [… 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 082017
 
In sepsis, aggressive fluid resuscitation was harmful in randomized trial

In the U.S., the federal government strongly encourages physicians to give most patients with sepsis aggressive crystalloid fluid boluses (~2-3 liters), without regard to a patient’s individual condition.  In a randomized trial in JAMA, a similar standardized approach to aggressive fluid resuscitation in Africa appeared to cause the deaths of a significant proportion of patients [… 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 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 242017
 
Procalcitonin Testing in Suspected Infection: Review

Procalcitonin Test: Overview Procalcitonin (PCT) is the precursor of the hormone calcitonin and is mainly produced by the thyroid. Procalcitonin is a so-called acute phase reactant, rising in response to tissue inflammation and injury. Outside the thyroid, PCT is secreted by the lungs, intestines and other tissues in increasing amounts in response to bacterial endotoxin [… read more]