April 15, 2019

Background:Tracheal intubation is a common procedure performed on critically ill patients. In these patients, there is a high risk of life-threatening complications associated with the procedure, with severe hypoxemia being one of the more common. Development of severe hypoxemia, in turn, increases the risk of post-intubation cardiac arrest. Therefore, optimal preoxygenation is an essential part of tracheal intubation to help stave off subsequent complications.

Both NIV and HFNC can provide a higher fraction of inspired oxygen than standard oxygen therapies.  HFNC can provide continuous oxygen up to 70L/min via nasal prongs with the potential advantage of remaining in place for apneic oxygenation. NIV can also provide high flow oxygen but must be removed during the apneic phase of intubation.  To date there has not been a study comparing NIV vs HFNC to reduce the incidence of severe hypoxemia during intubation until now; the FLORALI-2 trial.

April 11, 2019

The shiny new toy in stroke treatment is endovascular therapy.  There have now been 12 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on endovascular stroke therapy (EST), with eight of the last nine showing positive results – stunningly positive.  This flood of positive trials has led to new guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA)that extend the treatment window potentially as far out as 24 hours after last known well, and has spawned a movement to completely overhaul how we deliver care for patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). With all of the enthusiasm for EST, it is important to review the evolution of this new approach, to review and critique the evidence, and to evaluate what this means in clinical practice.

April 8, 2019

Screen-Shot-2019-03-19-at-5.32.30-AM.pngBackground: Multiple guidelines recommend tramadol or NSAIDs as 1stline treatment for patients with osteoarthritis (OA).  Tramadol is viewed as a weak opioid because it binds to the mu receptor at a significantly lower affinity than morphine.It also inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine.  Tramadol is converted in the liver via CYP2D6 which can cause some issues.  The big issue is that CYP2D6 activity varies among patients and this is important because you don’t know how much opiate the patient is actually receiving (i.e. the same dose of tramadol will have widely different effects from patient to patient).  Not only is tramadol potentially not giving pain relief, but patients often return to the ED for common side effects of tramadol including nausea/vomiting, dizziness, constipation, etc. Because of it’s multiple mechanisms of action, potential drug-drug interactions, and lowering of the seizure threshold, the safety of tramadol has been brought to question.

April 4, 2019

Background: Computed tomography (CT) scans using IV contrast agents are one of the most common imaging modalities used in the emergency department (ED). The reason for this is no secret. CT scans with IV contrast offer a large amount of information on patients when limited information is available, they are diagnostic of many conditions with good performance characteristics, and they are often requested by consultants.   Many patients get suboptimal studies without IV contrast due to fear of contrast induced nephropathy (CIN). However, more recent studies suggest that with the use of iso- and low-osmolar contrast agents (almost universally used today) this concern is unwarranted.  Most studies on this topic have focused on unselected populations, and not focused on patient groups at higher risk for AKI, including those with sepsis.

April 3, 2019

Take Home Points on Non-Inferiority Studies

  • Non-inferiority studies should be done when a new treatment (or diagnostic modality) requires less resources (cost or time), is easier for the patient or has a lower side-effect profile.
  • Non-inferiority study design largely negates the protections against bias added by blinding and randomization.
  • Non-inferiority studies can be used to manipulate clinicians when a superiority study would be more appropriate.