BICAR-ICU: How Should this Study Affect Care in the ED?

10 Sep
September 10, 2018

During a busy resuscitation it behooves the ED resuscitationist to avoid ordering therapies that have no clear benefit to their patients. Our nurses are overburdened, and adding interventions ‘just to be safe’ or ‘because we always do it’ is a great way to overwhelm our nursing colleagues. Bicarb administration is a contentious issue and many clinicians consider its use to fall firmly into the no-benefit camp, even when used in the management of severe metabolic acidosis. There have been no studies to date evaluating clinical outcomes  with the use of  sodium bicarbonate infusion therapy for severe metabolic acidemia, until now.  This post is a review of the recently published BICAR-ICU trial Read more →

PRISMS Trial: Alteplase vs. Aspirin in Minor Stroke

06 Sep
September 6, 2018

Background: Despite serious concerns about the role of alteplase in the management of acute ischemic stroke including, but not limited to, significant conflicts of interest, unbalanced baseline patient characteristics, systematic devaluation of contrary data, lack of reproduced benefit and low fragility index, it remains standard care for patients presenting with symptoms of acute ischemic stroke within 3 (or 4.5 depending on system) hours of onset of symptoms. Though the NINDS studies only showed benefit in a specific subgroup of patients, subsequent work has endeavored to expand the target group in a classic example of indication creep. Patients with minor CVA (NIHSS < 5 without disabling features or, essentially mRS 0-1) represent one such subgroup in which alteplase is often not employed due mainly in part to the perception of minimal benefit with continued potential for harm (i.e. anaphylaxis, intracranial hemorrhage). Alteplase supporters argue that minor stroke patients should still get the drug as it not only may reduce symptoms but can also prevent deterioration. The evidence for this viewpoint is both extremely limited and of poor methodologic quality. Read more →

Classic Journal Review – Wells + Dimer to Rule Out PE

03 Sep
September 3, 2018

EM Journal Update: Safety of Using Wells’ Clinical Model With D-Dimer To Manage Patients In The ED With Suspected Pulmonary Embolism

Background: In the US, pulmonary embolism (PE) kills 100,000 people each year and over 360,000 new cases of PE are diagnosed each year (Horlander 2003). Currently, the gold standard for diagnosing PE is the computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA). Patients with PE present with varying symptoms, from anxiety and tachycardia, to shortness of breath and syncope. Thus, it is difficult to exclude this life-threatening diagnosis and thus far there is no validated method to exclude PE. Prior work from this group derived and validated Wells’ criteria for calculating clinical probability of PE, and using it to determine which patients should get serial ultrasonography, venography, or angiography after an equivocal ventilation perfusion (VQ) scan (Wells 1998). Now, this group examines how the D-dimer assay, together with Wells’ clinical model can help manage PE patients. Read more →

Edoxaban in Cancer-Associated VTE

30 Aug
August 30, 2018

Background: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) occurs frequently in patient with cancer. Treatment in this group entails a number of challenges including a higher rate of thrombosis recurrence and a higher risk of bleeding. Standard therapy at this time for both symptomatic and asymptomatic VTE is with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) based on results from the CLOT trial (Lee 2003). In non-cancer patients, new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) like  rivaroxaban have been shown to be effective in treatment without increasing bleeding events. The NOACs also add ease of use for the patient. Though these agents are frequently used in the treatment of cancer-associated VTE, there is a dearth of evidence supporting this practice. Read more →

Simplifying Mechanical Ventilation – Part 6 – Choosing Your Initial Settings

27 Aug
August 27, 2018

Choosing Your Initial Settings: I hope you now see what physiologies to consider when setting up the ventilator and your goals for each. If your patient doesn’t fit into one of these three categories, then I set up my ventilator as if I was managing a patient who has refractory hypoxemia to maintain a lung protective strategy even if they don’t think they have very significant lung disease. Maintaining a lung protective strategy with low tidal volume ventilation has been shown to decrease ventilator induced lung injury and minimize harm, even in patients without refractory hypoxemia and ARDS (1-2). Read more →