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 →

The POKER Trial: Go All in on Ketofol?

01 Aug
August 1, 2016

The POKER TrialBackground: Procedural sedation and analgesia is a frequently performed procedure in the emergency department to help facilitate care of patients in an effective manner. Our goal should be to minimize pain and anxiety while minimizing adverse effects. We have discussed the complications associated with procedural sedation and analgesia on REBEL EM before HERE.  Ketamine and Propofol are two agents commonly used for this and each agent has its own theoretical advantages and disadvantages. Due to this, it has been hypothesized that the combination of the two agents may result in fewer adverse events because of each agent counteracting the disadvantages of the other. Despite this, to date, no RCTs have really shown a reduction in adverse events with the combination of propofol and ketamine. Read more →

Predicting Fluid Responsiveness by Passive Leg Raise (PLR)

23 Jun
June 23, 2016

passive leg raiseBackground: The best way to resuscitate critically ill patients with fluids has been a hotly debated topic in the FOAMed and Critical Care worlds. Fluids are important to optimize stroke volume and distal tissue perfusion, however, the administration of excessive fluids for shock can increase a patient’s morbidity and mortality by causing volume overload, which may lead to tissue edema and subsequently inadequate blood flow to tissues [1]. Accurately predicting when, whom, and how much fluid to administer remains a very challenging clinical question as only half of critically ill patients increase their cardiac output in response to the administration of fluids (i.e. the patient is preload or fluid responsive) [1].

Clinical signs and pressure/volumetric static variables are unreliable predictors of fluid responsiveness [1]. Ventilator-induced dynamic variables such as stroke volume variation and pulse pressure variation, however, have been shown to be more accurate in predicating fluid responsiveness. These tests can only be applied when several criteria are present (e.g., sinus heart rate, mechanical ventilation with a tidal volume of 8-10cc/kg of ideal body weight).

Passive leg raise (PLR) is another method to assess preload responsiveness. PLR produces a temporary and reversible increase in ventricular preload through an increase in venous return from the lower extremities, which mimics fluid administration without actually having to give exogenous fluids. This sounds great in theory, but PLR requires a hemodynamic assessment to be made during the maneuver to determine if the patient is preload responsive or not. There are multiple techniques for assessing changes in stroke volume but the diagnostic performance of each method still remains unknown. The two most commonly described methods are changes in pulse pressure variation and variables of flow. Read more →

The PATCH Trial: Hold the Platelets in Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage?

15 Jun
June 15, 2016

PATCH TrialBackground: Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for 11 – 22% of strokes, half of all stroke deaths, and a significant amount of disability in many of the remaining survivors. Spontaneous, non-traumatic, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) accounts for 2/3 of hemorrhagic strokes; estimated at > 2 million ICHs each year. To date several studies have suggested that antiplatelet therapy use before ICH might worsen outcomes by increasing the risk of early ICH volume growth, due to platelet dysfunction, and pathophysiologically this makes sense. Platelet transfusion has been used therapeutically in many clinical settings for acute ICH, but there is a paucity of randomized trials investigating its effectiveness for reducing death or dependence.  Read more →

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE