Review Articles

May 122012
 
Mechanical Ventilation in ARDS: Research Update

Mechanical Ventilation in ARDS: Overview Mechanical ventilation in ARDS is almost always required, as people with acute respiratory distress syndrome are by definition severely hypoxemic. Yet mechanical ventilation itself can further injure damaged lungs(so-called ventilator induced lung injury); minimizing any additional damage while maintaining adequate gas exchange (“compatible with life”) is the central goal of mechanical [… read more]

May 102012
 
How to bill for palliative care in the ICU ... legally

Reimbursement for Palliative Care in the ICU By Intensivists To an intensivist, providing palliative care often means having multiple time-consuming and emotionally challenging interactions with families struggling to cope with the impending loss of their loved one. The emotional content of these interactions can be strongly positive, negative, or somewhere in between, but frequently it’s [… read more]

Apr 212012
 
Pneumothorax in the ICU

Mechanisms of Pneumothorax in the Critically Ill Air can accumulate in the pleural space in three ways: Rupture of the visceral pleura allowing air to travel from alveoli to the pleural space (an “internal” pneumothorax, as from barotrauma from mechanical ventilation, or the rupture of a bulla or bleb); Entry of air from the atmosphere [… read more]

Mar 152012
 

Diaphragmatic dysfunction can result from nerve damage, primary muscle problems, or problems with the muscle’s interaction with the chest wall. The true incidence of diaphragmatic paralysis is unknown, since many patients are asymptomatic. Treatment for diaphragmatic dysfunction usually consists of watchful waiting, addressing underlying causes, with mechanical ventilation if respiratory failure develops. Causes of Diaphragmatic [… read more]

Mar 022012
 
Walk to wean: Early mobilization for ventilated patients (Review, CHEST)

Daily interruption of sedation (daily awakening or sedation holidays) works like a charm to get patients off the ventilator, faster. After proving that a decade or so ago, practice-changers John Kress and William Schweickert have turned their attention to early mobilization as the next intervention that could help mechanically ventilated patients escape the ventilator faster. [… read more]

Feb 062012
 

Januel et al report findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate the total incidence of acute symptomatic venous thromboembolism (symptomatic DVT or pulmonary embolism) among patients receiving proper thromboprophylaxis after hip or knee replacements. They came up with rates of 1.1% after knee replacements, and 0.5% after hip replacements. The rate of pulmonary [… read more]

Feb 052012
 
Systemic steroids for severe sepsis and septic shock (Review)

The benefits of corticosteroids as a treatment for severe sepsis and septic shock (if any) are unknown: Although adrenal suppression is common in sepsis, it is still unclear how to assess adrenal function, or whether it should be done at all. The sensitivity and specificity of the cosyntropin (ACTH) stimulation test are unknown, and its [… read more]

Jan 272012
 

C. difficile has always been a foul and disgusting adversary, but lately it’s becoming more formidable and deadly, according to Linda Bobo, Erik Dubberke and Marin Kollef. A few highlights of this excellent review: C.diff infections (CDI) have more than doubled since 2001, to > 340,000 discharges in 2008. Attributable mortality is 6-7%, but may [… read more]

Jan 212012
 
Omitting heparin prophylaxis in first 24 ICU hours associated with higher mortality (CHEST)

As you know, the risk for DVT and PE in the ICU are high. How high? Depends on how you count them. Asymptomatic, ultrasound-surveillance-detected DVTs have an incidence of 5-10% during the ICU stay (from the PROTECT trial and a 2005 series), even when patients receive proper thromboprophylaxis. The incidence is even higher (up to 80%) in trauma [… read more]

Jan 082012
 
Early tracheostomy doesn't improve outcomes ... much (Meta-analysis, CHEST)

[poll id=”3″] A 2005 meta-analysis of 5 studies (n=406) concluded that early tracheostomy reduced need for mechanical ventilation and ICU days. But then a 2006 randomized trial in trauma patients found no benefit to early trach, and an underpowered 2008 RCT also found no benefit. In a new meta-analysis and systematic review of 7 trials (n=1,044), Fei [… read more]

Jan 082012
 
Elderly critically ill who survive ICU rationing live well (CHEST)

Many argue that as a limited resource serving unlimited needs, medical care is “rationed” by definition, and ICU resources (being more limited and expensive) are simply more overtly rationed. For example, in France, ICU admission is often denied to the very elderly critically ill, explicitly because of their age (this happens in the U.K., too, probably). In the U.S., [… read more]