November 27, 2019

Take Home Points   
  • End stage liver disease patients have fragile baseline physiology. Minor insults can have profound effects
  • Always start with the basics - large bore IV lines
  • SBP give 3rd generation cephalosporin + albumin in severe disease
  • Upper GI bleed give appropriate blood products + ceftriaxone

November 11, 2019

Background: Peri-intubation cardiovascular collapse (shock, cardiac arrest or death) is an all too common complication of airway management in critically ill patients seen in up to 25% of patients (Jaber 2010, Umobong 2018). The causes for collapse are numerous and include acidosis, pulmonary hypertension, vasodilation, iatrogenic (medications used in intubation) and hypovolemia. Administration of fluids may help to mitigate the hemodynamic effects of intubation, particularly if decreased venous return is an issue, but this approach is untested.

November 7, 2019

Background: Despite minimal high-quality supporting evidence (Seymour 2017, Liu 2017, Ferrer 2014, Sterling 2015), regulatory bodies have pushed for benchmark times for administration of antibiotics in patients with sepsis. While most clinicians would agree that in patients with septic shock antibiotics should be given as quickly as possible, the same does not hold true for those patients with less severe infections. In the US, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) currently mandates that antibiotics be started in patients within 3 hours of onset of new organ dysfunction in patients with systemic inflammatory response syndrome and documented infection. The Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) has even more extreme recommendations stating that antibiotics should be started within 1 hour from triage in septic patients (Levy 2018). Based on prior experience with arbitrary time to antibiotic administration (see community acquired pneumonia), such draconian recommendations are likely to increase inappropriate use of antibiotics, distract clinicians from more important tasks and have minimal effect on patient outcomes. This is likely why the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) declined endorsement of the SSC guidelines. The ridiculous nature of these recommendations has been discussed elsewhere.

Even if the recommendation had some merit, it’s important to ask whether it’s even possible to implement. None of those on the SSC committee work in emergency departments and their understanding of the logistical challenges of such a policy is limited.

October 31, 2019

Take Home Points  
  • Stress cardiomyopathy looks like ACS/STEMI, with patient presenting with chest pain, dyspnea or maybe syncope. It looks like ACS and should be treated as such until you prove to yourself it’s not.
  • Classic patient is an older woman with chest pain or syncope after a stressful event.
  • Bedside echo will show left ventricular dysfunction with one of a variety of patterns of wall motion abnormality. The most common is apical, but there are also variant patterns including mid-ventricular, basal, focal and global.
  • Watch for QTc prolongation as this could precipitate an arrhythmia. Be sure to stop all QT prolonging meds and replete magnesium
  • Consider the differential in the patient who has cardiogenic shock because the treatment differs. Avoid catecholamines and if you need inotropic support use dobutamine or dopamine. Look for evidence of left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction, as this should be treated like a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with beta blockers rather than inotropes.