September 5, 2020

Background: Over the past few years, corticosteroids have gained traction in the treatment of patients with ARDS and septic shock.  Trials such as APROCCHSS and ADRENAL have shown that the use of corticosteroids is associated with more rapid resolution of shock, weaning from mechanical ventilation in septic shock, and, potentially lower mortality. The RECOVERY trial, the largest RCT to date on the use of corticosteroids in COVID-19, showed treatment with dexamethasone (6mg/d for 10 days)  had an absolute mortality reduction of 11% in patients receiving mechanical ventilation   (IMV) (NNT = 9), 3.5% decreased mortality in patients requiring O2 but not IMV (NNT = 29) and an overall mortality reduction 3% (NNT = 3) compared to usual care alone.  However, there was a signal toward harm (not statistically significant) in patients not receiving respiratory support. In the September 2020 issue of JAMA, there were 3 RCTs (REMAP-CAP, CoDEX, & CAPE COVID) assessing corticosteroid therapy in critically ill patients with COVID-19, as well as a prospective meta-analysis. All 3 RCTs halted enrollment in June 2020 after the RECOVERY trial press release.  The prospective meta-analysis from the WHO Rapid Evidence Appraisal for COVID-19 Therapies (REACT) working group pooled data from 7 trials (RECOVERY, REMAP-CAP, CoDEX, CAPE COVID, and 3 additional trials) with roughly 1700 patients. In this post we will review the REMAP-CAP, CoDEX, and CAPE COVID trials, as well as the prospective meta-analysis.

September 3, 2020

Background: The risk of a subsequent ischemic stroke in the first few months after an acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack is approximately 5 to 10%. In these patients Aspirin has been used to prevent secondary ischemia, and trials have shown a reduced risk thereof when the P2Y12 receptor blocking antiplatelet agent Clopidogrel is added. Clopidogrel, however, requires hepatic conversion to its active form through a pathway that is inefficient in 25% of white and 60% of Asian patients and efficacy is uncertain in these patients. Not dependent on metabolic activation is the direct-acting ticagrelor with similar P2Y12 receptor blocking effect. While a trial of ticagrelor alone did not show benefit over aspirin; in their sub-group analysis of patients who had received aspirin within 7 days before randomization, treatment with ticagrelor may have reduced the risk of major vascular events. This finding suggested that the effect of aspirin received before entry into the trial might have persisted for several days after treatment and that the combination of ticagrelor and aspirin may prevent subsequent strokes.

September 2, 2020

Take Home Points
  • Focus on resuscitating well by focusing on the basics
  • Recognize Massive GIB (MGIB) with a thorough exam of the patient and vital signs (Shock index >0.7 is ABNORMAL and signals impending shock)
  • Obtain large bore PIV access and prioritize transfusion over crystalloids for MGIB
  • Get consultants on board early
  • Give adjunctive medications that impact mortality (ie A 3rd generation cephalosporin in patients with variceal bleeding or a history of cirrhosis)

August 31, 2020

Case Presentation: A 4-year-old previously healthy Hispanic female presented to the ED with a diffuse rash and facial swelling, concerning for an apparent allergic reaction. She was rushed into the treatment area for evaluation of possible anaphylaxis and respiratory assessment. She was tachycardic with a heart rate in the 130s, tachypneic, and borderline hypotensive for her age. Initial exam was negative for wheezing or stridor, but she had edema to the face and neck with a red raised rash covering her face. Epinephrine, Benadryl, and Solumedrol were ordered STAT given concern for airway compromise secondary to a severe anaphylactic reaction.

August 27, 2020

The Coronaviridae family and its genera coronaviruses have been implicated as having neurotropic and neuroinvasive capabilities in human hosts (Bohmwald 2018). They have been associated with the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms, seizure activity, encephalomyelitis, acute flaccid paralysis, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as well as cerebrovascular disease (Bohmwald 2018, St Jean 2004). Recently, there has been a growing body of evidence supporting the association of SARS-CoV2 with neurological abnormalities. A systematic review looking at the incidence of secondary neurological disease in patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV2 found rates to vary from 6-36.4% (Herman 2020). At the time of this submission, there have been ten reports of acute transverse myelitis (ATM) attributed to SARS-CoV2, and others are currently being submitted or are in pre-print at this time (See infographic below). ATM has a varied presentation and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality that necessitates increased awareness and vigilance on the part of the clinician. This has become especially important in light of a possible causal link of ATM to SARS-CoV2 with emerging cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we review the salient features of infectious ATM (both para-infectious and post-infectious) to increase recognition of this disease entity.