February 24, 2020

Background: Critical illness and ICU admission comes with significant consequences – not just from the primary pathology but also from the secondary effects of therapies that may be begun to correct the abnormal physiology. One of these consequences in ventilated patients is the development of stress ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to bleeding. Over two-thirds of patients admitted to the ICU will be prescribed some form of stress ulcer prophylaxis, often in the form of either a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) or a histamine-2 receptor blocker (H2RB)1. But which one is better? Are there any risks? The existing evidence of benefit of one over another is limited. Though one systematic review did show a benefit of PPIs, the reviewed data was limited2. Neither drug is without risk either. These include a potential for immunosuppression and increased risk of infections3. More evidence is needed – which is where the Proton Pump Inhibitors vs Histamine-2 Receptor Blockers for Ulcer Prophylaxis Treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (PEPTIC) randomized clinical trial comes in4.

January 20, 2020

Definition: Acute infection of the ascitic fluid in a patient with liver disease without another source of infection

Epidemiology: (Runyon 1988, Runyon 1988, Borzio 2001)

  • Incidence
    • 10-25% risk of at least one episode per year
    • 20% risk in those with ascites admitted to the hospital
  • Historically, mortality ~ 50%


  • Not completely understood
  • Increased portal systemic hypertension
    • Causes mucosal edema of the bowel wall
    • Increases transmural migration of enteric organisms into the ascitic fluid
  • Impaired phagocytic function in the liver
  • Impaired immunologic activity in ascitic fluid

REBEL Review 92: Identification & Treatment of Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis

Created December 26, 2019 | Abdominal and Gastroinstestinal | DOWNLOAD

November 27, 2019

Take Home Points   
  • End stage liver disease patients have fragile baseline physiology. Minor insults can have profound effects
  • Always start with the basics - large bore IV lines
  • SBP give 3rd generation cephalosporin + albumin in severe disease
  • Upper GI bleed give appropriate blood products + ceftriaxone

April 13, 2018

Recently I was asked to speak at the Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP) conference April 2018.  The particulars of this session were, five, 10 minute lectures on new indications for old drugs.  My topic was the use of octreotide and somatostatin for undifferentiated upper gastrointestinal bleeding.  This is a particular topic I have been getting more and more requests for, but didn’t really know the evidence behind why I was doing it.  Does it help my patients or just another expensive medication, that takes up an IV with no clear patient oriented outcome?