Randomized Controlled Trials

May 182013
 
Taking Apixaban (Eliquis) after completing Coumadin prevents recurrent DVT/PE

Apixaban (Eliquis) Prevents Recurrent DVT-PE Long-Term People with unprovoked venous thromboembolic disease (pulmonary embolism or deep venous thrombosis, or DVT) are at high risk for recurrence, and current ACCP guidelines advise consideration of “indefinite” anticoagulation. Warfarin (Coumadin) is a wonder drug efficacy-wise, reducing the risk of pulmonary embolism and deep venous thrombosis by ~90%. However, [… read more]

May 122013
 
Allowing families to witness CPR had positive effects (RCT)

Families Allowed to Witness CPR Felt Better, Had Fewer Regrets Should family members be allowed, or even encouraged, to witness the health care team’s attempts to revive their family member with CPR after a cardiac arrest? In the interests of openness and transparency, many have argued “yes,” with the thought that witnessing the heroic efforts [… read more]

Apr 042013
 
Got sleep apnea? Climbing Everest? Pack your Diamox (RCT)

Acetazolamide Improved Obstructive Sleep Apnea at High Altitudes by Blair Westerly, MD Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is common, and so is travel to the mountains for work and play, therefore encounters with patients with OSA who travel to mountain destinations is not infrequent.  We all learn early in training that altitude affects oxygenation, and patients [… read more]

Mar 202013
 
Bactrim for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? Intriguing, but not yet (RCT)

Bactrim/Septra for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis? by Brett Ley, MD Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a fatal fibrotic lung disease that lacks proven, effective treatments. Many novel medications have been trialed and painfully failed. So I commend Ludmila Shulgina and colleagues for trying an old medication, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), with some preliminary evidence for potential benefit. What [… read more]

Mar 162013
 
High frequency oscillation ventilation fails as 1st-line treatment for ARDS (RCTs)

(image: Wikipedia) High-Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation (HFOV) for ARDS Two Randomized Trials: Early HFOV Doesn’t Help, May Harm High-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) has been proposed as a first-line therapy for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). By delivering 3-15 breaths per second of tiny tidal volumes (~70 mL), HFOV has appeal as the “ultimate” lung protective ventilator [… read more]

Mar 102013
 
Hope floats: Fecal transplants cure >90% of recurrent C. difficile (RCT)

Fecal Transplants Cure C. difficile Infections, When Drugs Can’t Antibiotics are what cause Clostridium difficile infection to emerge in the first place, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the usual treatment — more antibiotics — often fails. From 15-25% of patients with C. difficile are not permanently cured by their initial treatment with metronidazole, and among those [… read more]

Mar 062013
 
Diuretics beat ultrafiltration at treating congestive heart failure with acute renal failure (RCT)

Ultrafiltration No Better Than Diuresis for CHF Exacerbations by Blair Westerly, MD Cardiorenal syndrome — simultaneous heart failure and renal failure — is a frequently encountered problem in people with acute decompensated heart failure.  Treatment with diuretics for congestive heart failure exacerbations is standard care, but diuretics may at times worsen renal function. Venovenous ultrafiltration [… read more]

Mar 032013
 
"Trach collar" beats pressure support trials for long-term ventilator weaning (RCT)

“Trach Collar” Trials Beat Pressure Support for Long-Term Ventilator Weaning By Blair Westerly, MD Patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation linger in ICUs and long-term acute care hospitals for weeks, accounting for a significant portion of intensive care unit costs and often suffering serious complications while dependent on the ventilator. Despite this issue’s rising importance, the [… read more]

Feb 192013
 
Time to retire routine replacement of peripheral IVs

Time to Retire Routine Replacement of Peripheral IVs Study question:  Do peripheral I.V.s need to be changed every 72-96 hours per the CDCs recommendations or can they be changed as clinically indicated? How many times as a resident did you receive a call at 4 a.m., often at the very moment you were about to [… read more]

Feb 072013
 
Blood transfusion harmful in some patients with GI bleeds (RCT)

Blood Transfusion: Deadly for GI Bleeds? You read the headline right: in a randomized trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, liberal blood transfusions (to a hemoglobin of 9 g/dL) seemed to harm people with acute upper gastrointestinal bleeding, as compared to transfusing when hemoglobin fell below 7 g/dL. People with mild to moderate [… read more]

Jan 312013
 
Etomidate associated with increased mortality in sepsis: meta-analysis

Etomidate: Unsafe for Intubation in Patients with Sepsis? by Blair Westerly, MD Etomidate is commonly used for rapid sequence intubation; however, even after one dose, it has been associated with adrenal axis suppression in critically ill patients. Though both adrenal insufficiency and increased mortality in sepsis have been associated with etomidate, the relationship of the [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
Sedation vacations don't improve outcomes in large trial (RCT)

Do “Sedation Vacations” Really Speed Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation? Daily interruptions of sedation (“sedation holiday” or “sedation vacation”) became the standard of critical care for weaning from mechanical ventilation in ICUs around the world after J.P. Kress et al’s landmark 2000 New England Journal of Medicine paper showing daily sedation interruptions freed ~64 patients from ventilators [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
Intensive glucose control probably kills, says NICE-SUGAR post-hoc

Intensive glucose control in critically ill patients — keeping glucose below 120 with a continuous insulin drip — was all the rage for a few years in the early 2000s after it was shown to improve survival in surgery patients, and then seemed to do the same in non-surgical, critically ill MICU patients who were [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
PANTHER-IPF negative, stopped early for harm from steroids, Imuran in IPF (RCT)

(image: Wikipedia) As we reported a few months ago, the PANTHER-IPF trial was stopped early for safety, when it became clear that the combination of prednisone and azathioprine was hurting people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Ganesh Raghu (U-Washington), Kevin Anstrom (Duke), Talmadge King (UCSF) et al report the final results in the May 24 New [… read more]

Jan 062013
 
Precedex as good as Versed or Propofol, but with cardiovascular effects (RCT)

Precedex Takes Step Toward FDA Indication for Longer-Term Use Precedex (dexmedetomidine) only has existing FDA indications for short-term sedation (< 24 hours) in both mechanically ventilated and non-intubated patients. That short leash is because of dexmedetomidine’s tendency to produce  hypotension and bradycardia, and has limited Precedex’s approved uses mainly to elective surgeries and other invasive procedures. Many intensivists use Precedex off-label for critically [… read more]

Jan 042013
 
Azithromycin reduces exacerbations in non-CF bronchiectasis (RCT)

Azithromycin for non-CF Bronchiectasis Bronchiectasis — the permanently dilated, tortuous bronchi that can result after previous lung infections — is a frustrating problem for pulmonologists to treat, but not nearly as frustrating as it can be for patients to live with. People with bronchiectasis are plagued by chronic coughing, and many experience a steady decline [… read more]

Jan 032013
 
Inhaled corticosteroids stunt growth of America's youth by a half-inch

Daily Inhaled Steroids Stunt Kids’ Growth, Study Shows If you’re a half-inch shy of six feet, the next time you’re getting your jump shot blocked by your non-asthmatic friend, you can blame the inhaled corticosteroids your Mom made you take as a kid. Studies have consistently showed children’s height slows down for a few years [… read more]

Jan 032013
 
At treating asthma, patients may be as good as their doctors (BASALT trial)

Consensus guidelines advise that patients with regular symptoms of asthma should take inhaled corticosteroids every day, and when they’re having poor asthma control, they should tell their doctor, who can increase the steroid dose or add other “step-up” therapies. But asthma symptoms vary daily and can worsen at any time. And it can be hard [… read more]

Jan 022013
 
Adding tiotropium (Spiriva) helped some with uncontrolled asthma (RCT)

Spiriva (Tiotropium) for Uncontrolled Asthma Most people with asthma can achieve good control with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA). Some people living with asthma, though, experience persistent symptoms despite maximum doses of these inhaled medications. Fairly or not, LABAs have also been sullied with an FDA black-box warning for worsening bronchospasm in a [… 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]