June 23, 2016

Background: 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.

June 15, 2016

Background: 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. 

April 25, 2016

Background: Many Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) are attributable to ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT). Both are said to be treatable presentations of OHCA, due to their responsiveness to defibrillation. VF and VT can persist or recur after defibrillation with an inverse relationship between the duration of OHCA, the recurrences of arrhythmias, and ultimately resuscitation outcomes. Amiodarone and lidocaine are both recommended by the advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) guidelines to help promote successful defibrillation in refractory ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia and to prevent recurrences. In previous randomized controlled trials patients receiving amiodarone vs placebo or lidocaine in OHCA were more likely to have return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and to survive to hospital admission. However the effects of amiodarone on survival to hospital discharge or neurologic outcome still remain uncertain. Should we be using anti-dysrhythmic drugs in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest?

April 18, 2016

So this is the third installation of Advice to the Graduating Resident. Again, many 3rd year residents will be graduating in just a few short months and taking on their first jobs as attending physicians. I was lucky enough to sit down with the amazing Victoria Brazil and pick her brain. She gave some valuable words of wisdom, which I will try and summarize in this post, but for the full advice, be sure to checkout the podcast.

April 13, 2016

Today, I gave a lecture on Hemophilia to our residents in San Antonio, TX.  Now this was a core content lecture that I have actually never given before. As I was preparing the lecture I realized that this is a diagnosis that comes up frequently enough that it is important to know about, but also so infrequently that I always have to look up the factor replacement options and calculations.  So instead of being our typical evidence based evaluation of literature, this post will serve as a reminder of the basics of hemophilia and what are the essential elements one needs to know to appropriately treat a patient with Hemophilia.