Author Archive for: Swami

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 →

Forget the PediaLyte and Just use Dilute Apple Juice in Mild Gastroenteritis

02 Jun
June 2, 2016

Dilute Apple JuiceBACKGROUND: Every year in the United States there are an estimated 178.8 million episodes of acute gastroenteritis resulting in 473,832 hospitalizations.  Most of the evidence surrounding oral rehydration centers around Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) studies in low-income countries where children suffer from more extensive gastrointestinal losses.  Theoretically, electrolyte maintenance solutions are recommended in order to prevent increasing diarrheal losses through the osmotic diuresis that can occur with glucose-rich drinks like juice.  However, these electrolyte maintenance solutions can cost up to $10 for a 1-liter bottle and are unpalatable to some children.  Refusal to drink often results in the need for IV hydration and can potentially result in disease progression and hospitalization.  This study attempted to look at whether a dilute apple juice solution or preferred fluids was equal to, if not superior to oral hydration with an electrolyte maintenance solution. Read more →

The ENCHANTED Trial: Is Low-Dose the Right Dose for Intravenous tPA in Acute Ischemic Stroke?

26 May
May 26, 2016

The ENCHANTED TrialBackground: Despite continued debate on the efficacy of alteplase (tPA), it currently remains one of the major interventions directed at patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke. The current standard dose of the drug is 0.9 mg/kg given over 1 hour. It is unclear whether lower doses would be equally effective in increasing good neurologic outcomes after stroke while simultaneously decreasing the rate of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH); the most serious side effect. Evidence showing that lower doses of tPA are non-inferior to standard-dose tPA could lead to a shift in treatment.  Read more →

Succinylcholine vs Rocuronium for RSI in Traumatic Brain Injury

21 Apr
April 21, 2016

Succinylcholine vs Rocuronium v2Background: Airway management is a critical part of the management of patients presenting with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Emergency Physicians (EPs) have no ability to change the primary injury once it has occurred and so our focus is on preventing secondary brain injury. Hypoxemia and hypercarbia are major contributors to morbidity and mortality and management must focus on preventing them. Patients with TBI and depressed mental status frequently require definitive airway management in order to avoid these secondary insults. Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) with serial administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent (NMBA) and an induction agent is common practice. The most commonly used NMBAs are the depolarizing agent succinylcholine and the non-depolarizing agent rocuronium. There are strong proponents arguing for the dominance of one agent over the other based on qualities of the drugs but scant data investigating the question has led to clinical equipoise. Read more →

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