January 10, 2019

Background: The mainstay of treatment for alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a symptom-triggered approach using benzodiazepines. Phenobarbital, however, is an interesting agent in this scenario for several reasons. It is famous for  it is long duration of action. IV Phenobarbital has an onset of action of over 15 – 20 minutes, a duration of action of 10 – 12 hours and a half-life of 53 – 118 hours in adults [5]. But phenobarbital has several other characteristics that make it attractive in the treatment of alcohol withdrawal. Importantly, it works on the GABA receptor differently than benzodiazepines. First, it increases the duration (not frequency) the chloride channel is open. Also, chronic alcohol abuse can alter the GABA receptor making it less sensitive to benzodiazepines not barbiturates. And finally, at very high doses, phenobarbital can open the chloride channel independent of the presence of GABA. The authors of this paper sought to compare a phenobarbital-adjunct versus benzodiazepine-only approach for the management of alcohol withdrawal syndrome in the ED.

December 3, 2018

Background: Use of tranexamic acid (TXA), an antifibronlytic medication,  has certainly become popular for numerous indications (i.e. trauma, uterine bleeding, epistaxis).  Patients with hemoptysis, frequently come through EDs, and as an ED healthcare provider, I am unable to provide the definitive therapies of bronchial artery embolization and bronchoscopy for these patients at many of the institutions in which I work.  And, of course, it’s not like I can just put my finger on the bleeder. There is no real effective medical therapy for hemoptysis, other than antibiotics for infection.  I often find myself helpless with these patients as all I can do is transfer them to larger institutions where definitive therapies can be done.  Well hold on…It turns out inhaled TXA may be an option to reduce bleeding in patients with hemoptysis.  Thus far the evidence for this has  only been from small case series.  There have been no prospective studies evaluating nebulized TXAs effectiveness as an inhaled treatment for hemoptysis.  I have certainly used this treatment for post-tonsillectomy bleeding and have at times used it for hemoptysis, with great success, but it would be nice to see some evidence to support this practice.

November 26, 2018

Background Information: Delirium is defined as an acute disorder of consciousness which can occur in up to 80% of mechanically ventilated ICU patients.1-5 This acute cognitive dysfunction is associated with prolonged hospital stay, increased mortality, longer periods of mechanical ventilation and long-term cognitive impairment compared to patients without delirium.4-8  Haloperidol, remains one of the most commonly used typical antipsychotics used to treat delirium internationally and within the United States.9,10 The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s recent guidelines do not suggest the use of Haloperidol in the prevention or treatment of delirium11 and understandably so as two randomized trials showed no reduction in duration of ICU delirium.5,12 Alternative therapies for delirium include atypical antipsychotics such as ziprasidone, however the literature shows conflicting evidence, with one study showing a benefit and another showing no effect.5,13 The authors of this study sought to examine the effects of these two treatments in a large multicenter, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial.      

November 19, 2018

Background: On October 24th, 2018, Roche, the maker of oseltamivir, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) for the treatment of acute, uncomplicated influenza in people 12 years of age and older. Historically, there have been two classes of influenza treatment, the M2 ion-channel inhibitors, and the neuraminidase inhibitors, however circulating influenza viruses have become largely resistant to M2 ion-channel inhibitors and the emergence of newer strains of influenza (H1N1) could threaten the utility of neuraminidase inhibitors as well. I have written previously about the Tamiflu Debacle and why this is a medication we should not prescribe to immunocompetent patients. In this post, we attempt to answer a different question: Is baloxavir approval another debacle or does it actually improve patient oriented outcomes?

November 8, 2018

Background: In the United States 424,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests occur per year with a 10.4% overall survival rate.1 Refractory Ventricular Fibrillation (RVF) is a complication of cardiac arrest and has varying definitions in the literature but is commonly defined as ventricular fibrillation that does not respond to, or resists, three or more defibrillation attempts.2,3Although the estimated incidence of refractory ventricular fibrillation is 0.5-0.6 per 100,000 of the population, some authors report that 10-25% of cardiac arrest cases could develop RVF or recurrent VF.3-5 Patients who experience RVF during their cardiac arrest have a mortality of up to 97%.6,7 Several case reports have shown success with excellent neurologic outcomes in terminating RVF using dual defibrillation after failure of traditional Advance Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) measures.8-12 It is important to note and distinguish that dual defibrillation can either be simultaneous or sequential depending on the duration of the defibrillation potential as well as the intershock interval between the two defibrillator shocks.9-13 The terms “sequential” and “simultaneous” are often used interchangably due to the lack of accurately measuring pulse intervals when performing dual defibrillation in the actual clinical environment. The authors of this review utilize the term dual sequential defibrillation (DSD). They present a case of RVF in a patient with cardiac arrest, on whom DSD was successful in reversion to sinus rhythm and provide a thorough review of similar cases in the literature.