Jan 022013
 
PET scans often inaccurate; may deny curative surgery for lung cancer

The use of positron emission tomography — better known as PET scans — has grown dramatically over the past 15 years, thanks to their seemingly magical ability to identify foci of undetected metastatic cancer. But PET scans’ perceived high accuracy in diagnosing metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) — a published 94% sensitivity and 83% [… read more]

Jan 012013
 
Should lactate clearance replace ScvO2 in sepsis protocols?

It started with a friendly pro/con debate in the December 2011 Chest, about whether lactate clearance or mixed venous oxygen saturation is a better “goal” for early goal-directed therapy in severe sepsis and septic shock. It ended with Alan Jones reviving rumors and innuendo that have swirled around Emanuel Rivers’s 2001 sepsis trial, and by extension his entire body [… read more]

Jan 012013
 
Hydroxyethyl starch fries kidneys in another large trial (RCT)

Hydroxyethyl Starch (Voluven) Causes Kidney Failure In Large Trial Hydroxyethyl starch (HES) was already wearing a scarlet letter as an potentially dangerous volume resuscitation agent for patients in shock, after evidence emerged this year that hydroxyethyl starch kills people with severe sepsis. Now, another huge, convincing trial shows that hydroxyethyl starch (Voluven) damages kidneys and [… read more]

Dec 312012
 
In ARDS, women and short people get higher, potentially deadly tidal volumes

In most areas of life, it helps to be tall, and needing treatment for ARDS further proves the rule. Tall people are less likely to get harmful lung-distending tidal volumes during mechanical ventilation, simply by virtue of having bigger lungs. It’s bad enough that we intensivists might discriminate against the under-six-feet crowd (of which I [… read more]

Dec 302012
 
Bad news for IP guys? Incidental mediastinal lymphadenopathy may not need routine biopsy

(image: Wikipedia) With increasing use of chest CT, incidental mediastinal lymphadenopathy seems to be frequently discovered and subsequently biopsied using EBUS. The “if it’s enlarged, stick a needle in it” mantra is challenged by a paper by Stigt et al. 83 people (age ~59) with at least one incidentally discovered mediastinal lymph node > 1 [… read more]

Dec 302012
 
Meet the New ARDS: Expert panel announces new definition, severity classes

(image: Wikipedia) An expert panel announced a new definition and severity classfication system for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that aims to simplify the diagnosis and better prognosticate outcomes from the life-threatening pulmonary illness. The proposed “Berlin definition of ARDS” predicted mortality ever-so-slightly better than the existing ARDS criteria (created at the 1994 American-European Consensus [… read more]

Dec 302012
 
Azithromycin associated with cardiovascular death

(image: Rxhealthdrugs.com) People taking 5 days of azithromycin had a very small absolute increased risk of death, especially due to cardiovascular causes, compared to people taking amoxicillin, in a retrospective cohort review by Wayne Ray, Katherine Murray, and C. Michael Stein published in the May 17 New England Journal of Medicine. Erythromycin and clarithromycin (the other [… read more]

Dec 292012
 
Xigris' epitaph: "I Never Worked a Day in My Life" (PROWESS-SHOCK)

Recombinant human activated protein C or dotrecogin alfa — better known as Xigris, by Eli Lilly — seemed a godsend when it was first approved for treatment of severe sepsis in 2001. Xigris’ FDA approval (despite an evenly split 10-10 vote) was based solely on the Eli Lilly-funded PROWESS study, a phase 3 randomized trial [… read more]

Dec 292012
 
Xarelto (rivaroxaban) gets FDA indication for DVT and PE; no heparin bridging needed

Xarelto (rivaroxaban): New FDA Indication for DVT, PE The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Bayer’s Xarelto (rivaroxaban) for a new indication for treating deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), and for long-term prophylaxis of recurrent DVT and PE. Xarelto already had FDA approval for prevention of DVTs and PEs after knee or [… read more]

Dec 292012
 
Oral rivaroxaban (Xarelto) noninferior to warfarin for PE (RCT)

(image: InPharm) Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) was noninferior to standard treatment (heparin and warfarin) in preventing recurrent VTE in patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE), in the large EINSTEIN-PE randomized trial published in the April 5 New England Journal of Medicine. A once-daily oral factor Xa inhibitor that has already been demonstrated to be noninferior for treatment [… read more]

Dec 292012
 
An aspirin a day keeps recurrent DVT and PE away (RCT)

(image: Rex Parker) Among people with unprovoked deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), 1 in 5 will experience another DVT or PE within 2 years after stopping anticoagulation with warfarin (Coumadin). For this reason, the ACCP’s recommendations for treatment of unprovoked proximal DVT or PE suggest consideration of an “indefinite” period of anticoagulation [… read more]

Dec 282012
 
ACCP, ATS only weakly recommend lung cancer CT screening, warn of harms

The American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) has issued its long-awaited recommendations on lung cancer screening with chest CT — and far from a ringing endorsement of screening, they are conservative and subdued, emphasizing the potential risks of an uncontrolled approach to lung cancer screening in the general population. The American Society of Clinical Oncology [… read more]

Dec 282012
 
American Lung Association recommends CT screening for lung cancer

The American Lung Association has become the largest advisory body to recommend lung cancer screening for high-risk people, advising nearly all people aged 55-74 with a 30+ pack-year smoking history (the entry criteria for the National Lung Screening Trial, or NLST) to undergo low-dose CT scanning to detect early lung cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network, [… read more]

Dec 272012
 
Surviving Sepsis Guidelines Updated: Preview from SCCM Meeting

More: Surviving Sepsis Guidelines Review / Update The Surviving Sepsis Campaign is a collaboration between the U.S. Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, and the International Sepsis Forum, whose recommendations on the management of sepsis are considered widely. At the 2012 SCCM meeting, the Surviving Sepsis committee revealed [… read more]

Dec 262012
 
New IPF staging and prognosis model announced

(image: Wikipedia) Access the online GAP Score Calculator for IPF Although idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) has a poor prognosis — a median survival of only 3 years — there is wide heterogeneity among individual patients. Some have a precipitous decline and die within months of diagnosis; others live for a decade or longer, with little [… read more]

Dec 262012
 
Pleural catheters equal to pleurodesis for dyspnea relief from malignant effusions (TIME2)

(image: Wikipedia) In the TIME2 randomized trial published in the June 13 2012 JAMA, indwelling pleural catheters and talc pleurodesis were equivalent at reducing dyspnea over the 6 weeks following the procedure among 106 patients with malignant pleural effusions. Most patients receiving pleural catheters required no hospital stays, and overall had fewer repeat procedures than those [… read more]

Dec 252012
 
Go back to bed; overnight intensivists don't reduce mortality

We intensivists are a scarce and valuable commodity — just ask us, we’ll tell you. It’s been consistently shown, for example, that involved intensivists in an ICU during the day correlates with improved mortality and efficiencies in care. Now that’s something we can all cheer (ourselves) about. Many intensivists also like to sleep, and may [… read more]

Dec 242012
 
Hydroxyethyl starches kill people with severe sepsis; use crystalloid instead (RCT)

Colloids are believed to be more effective expanders of plasma volume than crystalloids, making them a tempting therapy to use for patients in septic shock and other causes of hemodynamic instability. Problem is, some colloid solutions seem to kill people. The VISEP Trial using hydroxyethyl starch 200 kDa/0.5 demonstrated that this high molecular weight HES [… read more]

Dec 242012
 
Let's be honest: quitting smoking usually does make you fatter

There’s no use in sugar-coating the truth: Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, and smoking prevents weight gain. Not wanting to gain weight is a common reason why body-obsessed teenage girls say they smoke–and as far as we know, they’re “right:” teens who smoke gain slightly less weight than teens who don’t. It’s also long been believed [… read more]

Dec 232012
 
Blood banks recommend restrictive transfusions in ward patients

The American Association of Blood Blanks (AABB) announced upcoming new guidelines in the March online Annals of Internal Medicine, recommending against transfusion for adults and children with stable illness and hemoglobin levels above 7-8 g/dL. They made it a 1A recommendation (strong recommendation with high quality evidence). Jeffrey Carson et al reviewed literature from 1950 to 2011 and [… read more]