Critical Care Updates: Resuscitation Sequence Intubation – Hypotension Kills (Part 1 of 3)

26 Sep
September 26, 2016

Resuscitation Sequence Intubation - Hypotension Kills

This blog post is the first part of a series of 3, on a recent lecture I was asked to give  on Critical Care Updates: Resuscitation Sequence Intubation. This talk was mostly derived from a podcast by Scott Weingart (Twitter: @EMCrit) where he talked about the physiologic killers during preintubation and perintubation. In this podcast, Scott mentions the HOp killers: Hypotension, Hypoxemia, and Metabolic Acidosis (pH) as the physiologic causes of pre-intubation/peri-intubation morbidity and mortality. Taking care of these critically ill patients that require intubation can be a high stress situation, with little room for error.  In part one of this series we will discuss some useful strategies at the bedside to help us reduce pre-intubation/peri-intubation hypotension.
Read more →

Beyond ACLS: Cognitively Offloading During a Cardiac Arrest

22 Sep
September 22, 2016

Beyond ACLSToday I am giving a talk at the 25th National Emergency Medicine Symposium by Kaiser Permanente in Maui, HI.  The focus of this talk was on how to cognitively offload our minds as we are running a resuscitation. ACLS provides us with a framework in treating adult victims of Cardiac Arrest (CA) or other cardiopulmonary emergencies. This helps get providers who don’t commonly deal with CA, to improve things, such as the quality of CPR, minimizing interruptions during CPR for pulse checks, and the timing/dosing of epinephrine. Emergency Medicine (EM) and the prehospital world are different than many environments in medicine. We get minimal information at the time of patient arrival while at the same time the disease process that is taking place has not quite defined itself.  We are constantly expected to acutely manage and resuscitate anyone who comes in our doors 24-7-365, many times without crucial information. Our job therefore should be to ensure coronary and cerebral perfusion are at their highest quality, but also simultaneously putting the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out why our patient is in CA. It can be very difficult to do both and many times we sacrifice one for the other. It is therefore important to cognitively offload ourselves during the resuscitation of our patients in CA and focus our attention on why they are in CA. As a disclosure for this lecture I did state that some of the recommendations made have evidence to support them and others are more theoretical and certainly up for discussion. Read more →

September 2016 REBEL Cast: Refractory Ventricular Fibrillation

05 Sep
September 5, 2016

Refractory Ventricular FibrillationBackground: Welcome back to the September 2016 REBEL Cast. We are back with another episode and I am super excited about this episode because we are going to talk about two papers just published in the Resuscitation Journal on management of refractory ventricular fibrillation. It is a well known fact that the cornerstones for survival from Out-Of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) have always been early, high quality CPR and early defibrillation in patients with shockable rhythms (i.e. Ventricular Fibrillation/Ventricular Tachycardia). Some patients with shockable rhythms may be refractory to standard defibrillation therapy (i.e. refractory VF). Even more frustrating, there is truly a dearth of data on what to do with these patients. One strategy that has been reported more and more in the literature is double sequential defibrillation (DSD).

Another issue in cardiac arrest patients is we frequently give boluses of 1mg epinephrine every 3 – 5 minutes as is outlined in the ACLS guidelines.  When patients have minimal cardiac output, the buildup of catecholamines may potentially cause refractory ventricular fibrillation (RVF).  This could be due to an increase myocardial oxygen consumption causing an increase in myocardial ischemia, and ultimately more difficulty in successful defibrillation.  But maybe by blocking the beta-adrenergic receptors in the myocardium, we can block the beta effects of the catecholamines and potentially increase the chances of successful sustained ROSC.

Read more →

Upcoming Conferences Presented By The Teaching Institute

02 Sep
September 2, 2016

The Teaching Institute LogoThis year has been an exciting year for us at The Teaching Institute (TTI).  We have had some great medical education conferences at some pretty amazing places, including Cape Town, South Africa and Melbourne, Australia.  The rest of 2016 and 2017 promise to be just as exciting if not more so.  TTI is dedicated to helping others learn how to be better educators and committed to creativity and innovation.  Our motto is simple: better educators equals better patient care. If you haven’t been able to participate in any of our courses, it’s not too late.  You can still sign up for several of our courses that are coming up. Read more →

The Fragility Index: Assessing Usefulness of Randomized Clinical Trials

22 Aug
August 22, 2016

Fragility IndexBackground: In the pyramid of evidence based medicine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered to be one of the most reliable study designs when evaluating the cause and effect of treatment modalities. When evaluating randomized controlled trials, we often look for statistical significance of a study to determine if a treatment has an effect.  Statistical significance means that the result of a study is unlikely to occur by chance alone.  The value assigned to a statistically significant result is typically a p-value less than 0.05. Read more →

Euglycemic DKA: It’s not a Myth

18 Aug
August 18, 2016

Euglycemic DKABackground: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is traditionally defined as a triad of hyperglycemia (>250mg/dL), anion gap acidosis, and increased plasma ketones. There is another entity that providers must be aware of known as euglycemic DKA (euDKA), which is essentially DKA without the hyperglycemia (Serum glucose <200 mg/dL). Euglycemic DKA is a rare entity that mostly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, but can possibly occur in type 2 diabetes as well. The exact mechanism of euDKA is not entirely known, but has been associated with partial treatment of diabetes, carbohydrate food restriction, alcohol intake, and inhibition of gluconeogenesis. euDKA, can also be associated with sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor medications.  These medications first came onto the market in 2013 and are FDA approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, however many physicians use them off-label for type I diabetes due to their ability to improve average glucose levels, reduce glycemic variability without increasing hypoglycemia, and finally promote weight loss. Read more →

REBELCast: The PROCAMIO Trial – IV Procainamide vs IV Amiodarone for the Acute Treatment of Stable Wide Complex Tachycardia

15 Aug
August 15, 2016

The PROCAMIO TrialBackground: In the ACLS guidelines stable Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) can be treated with either IV amiodarone or IV procainamide, as the drugs of choice. This has been given a class II recommendation, but there has not been a controlled prospective trial to base the use of one drug over the other in the clinical setting. Despite both medications having a class II recommendation, both clinically and anecdotally it appears that amiodarone is the preferred agent in clinical practice. Read more →

Single Dose Dexamethasone or 5 Days of Prednisone in Adult Asthmatics?

11 Aug
August 11, 2016

Single Dose DexamethasoneBackground: Acute asthma presentations account for more than 2.1 million Emergency Department (ED) visits annually. In the US, 8.4% of the population is affected by the disease. Current guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend a minimum of 5 days of oral prednisone to treat moderate to severe asthma exacerbations (NHLBI Guidelines 2007). Oral and parenteral dexamethasone have similar bioavailability, with a duration of action of 72 hours. There has been promising data on dexamethasone for acute asthma from the pediatric literature, as well as a 2-dose regimen in adults. However, due to the strong association with low patient adherence and poor outcomes, a single dose of a long acting oral medication in the ED may help prevent relapse of symptoms. Read more →

Macrolide Antibiotics, Prolonged QTc, and Ventricular Dysrhythmias

08 Aug
August 8, 2016

Macrolide AntibioticsBackground: When it comes to treating community acquired respiratory tract infections, macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin, clarithromycin, and erythromycin) are a common choice of agent. In 2010, 57.4 million macrolide prescriptions were written in the U.S. with azithromycin being the most commonly prescribed individual antibiotic agent overall with ~51.5 million prescriptions (Hicks 2013).

With more and more patients being prescribed macrolide antibiotics, an increasing amount of research has been put forth dealing with the safety concerns regarding these medications; specifically the thought that azithromycin use can lead to fatal ventricular arrhythmias. In addition to case reports a 2012 observational study published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted an association between  azithromycin use and higher rate of both cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality (Ray 2012). This prompted the US Food and Drug Administration to issue warnings about the use of azithromycin and potential QT-interval prolongation and fatal ventricular dysrhythmias.

However, recent studies suggest that these concerns and warnings may not be accurate. A retrospective cohort study comparing older patients hospitalized with pneumonia that were treated with azithromycin to those who received other guideline appropriate antibiotics actually showed a lower risk of 90-day mortality in the azithromycin group. Further, there was no significant difference between the 2 groups in regards to risk of arrhythmia, heart failure or any cardiac event. (Mortensen 2014). Read more →

Intensive Blood Pressure Control Doesn’t Benefit Patients with Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage (ATACH-2)

04 Aug
August 4, 2016

ATACH-2Background: Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for only 11-22% of all strokes but up to 50% of all stroke mortality. Additionally, there is significant disability associated with the disease in survivors. Much of our attention in the Emergency Department (ED) is guided towards preventing expansion of bleeding and secondary injury after the initial insult. Physiologically, controlling blood pressure has always appeared to be a reasonable goal as it may decrease hematoma expansion and thus mortality. However, there is little high-quality evidence to guide clinicians in determining what the goal blood pressure should be and whether there’s truly a patient centered benefit to aggressive blood pressure management. The recently published INTERACT-2 trial demonstrated no benefit for death or disability for aggressive blood pressure control when started within 6 hours of symptom onset (though the authors touted benefits seen only after ordinal analysis) but some critics have argued that treatment should be started earlier. Read more →

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE