January 7, 2019

Background: Stress related gastrointestinal mucosal damage is a commonly encountered problem in the critically ill patients admitted to the intensive care unit. The incidence ranges from 0.6-7% and is decreasing partly due to aggressive resuscitation strategies and focus on early enteral feeding1. Damage to the mucosal integrity occurs in conditions associated with increased inflammation and reduced mucosal perfusion 2. Despite its decreasing incidence, stress related GI bleed remains a major challenge for the intensivist with many studies showing increase in mortality and ICU length of stay in these patients3. Stress ulcer prophylaxis is recommended for critically ill patients at risk for GI bleed; the major risk factors include need for prolonged mechanical ventilation, coagulopathy, hepatic and renal failure. There is high quality evidence supporting the use of H2 receptor antagonists (H2RA) and proton pump inhibitors (PPI) in these patients. Many international surveys show that PPIs are currently preferred for acid suppression4. Though many randomized controlled trials support the use of PPI over other acid suppressants, there is clearly no recommendation regarding benefits of one group over the other. Alhazzani et al5recently published a network meta-analysis of 57 trials enrolling over 7000 patients that showed moderate quality evidence that PPIs are more effective than H2 blockers, sucralfate or placebo in preventing clinically significant GI bleed though there is a possible increase in risk for pneumonia with similar mortality. Another meta-analysis by Alshamsi et al showed that PPIs were more effective than H2RAs in reducing the risk of clinically important GI bleeding and overt GI bleeding without a significant increase in risk for pneumonia, mortality and ICU length of stay6 Furthermore, there is growing concern that acid suppression predisposes patients to increased risk for nosocomial infections like pneumonia and Clostridium difficile as well as cardiovascular events. This was demonstrated in a few randomized clinical trials as well as a few observational studies7,8. The authors of the current study aimed to evaluate the benefits and adverse events associated with the use of pantoprazole for stress ulcer prophylaxis in patients at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding9

October 15, 2018

If you mainly treat adults or both adults and children like me, then you have probably heard the (very annoying) quote, “kids are not just small adults”, and so I won’t say it again. Well, I guess I just did, but at least I wont stop at this quote, but attempt to explain how kids are not small adults, and how this may impact their care in the emergency department and the intensive care unit. Nearly all organ systems of young children are immature and developing throughout childhood and on into adulthood, including the cardiovascular system. Without a basic understanding of the key physiologic differences, the emergency and intensive care physicians will be ill equipped to care for the critical ill child. To understand how kids with shock present differently than adults, it’s important to discuss a few basic differences regarding intravascular volume and cardiovascular system in children especially neonates and infants (1-24 months of age). Also remember shock is defined the exact same way as it would be in adults even though the presentation and underlying physiology may differ. Shock is simply a state where tissue/organ blood flow is inadequate to meet tissue/organ metabolic demands.

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).

August 23, 2018

The use of heated and humidified high flow nasal cannula has become increasing popular in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory failure through all age groups.  In part 1 we summarized how High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC) works.  In part 2, we will discuss the main indications for its use in adult and pediatric patients.

August 20, 2018

The use of heated and humidified high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) has become increasingly popular in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory failure through all age groups.  I first started using it as a pediatric intensive care fellow, but had little knowledge of how it actually worked.  I noticed a few years after using it successfully in children, mainly with severe bronchiolitis, that we began to use it in the adult intensive care unit as well.  It seems over the past several years many studies have come out reviewing the mechanisms of action as well as its use in a variety of conditions.  In this part we will summarize how it works and for part 2 we will discuss the main indications for its use in adult and pediatric patients.