October 31, 2016

Background: The most recent surviving sepsis campaign recommends the use of hydrocortisone in patients with refractory septic shock (i.e. vasopressor dependent).  However, the use of hydrocortisone in severe sepsis without shock still remains a very controversial topic. Recommendations for hydrocortisone are mostly based on 2 randomized clinical trials (i.e. Annane et al [2] and CORTICUS [3]), but subsequent meta-analyses had more mixed results.  Shock reversal was consistently improved irrespective of disease severity; however, mortality outcomes were not as consistent.  Therefore, it has been hypothesized that early hydrocortisone administration could prevent shock by attenuating patient’s inflammatory response.

October 10, 2016

Every few years we get updates in the guidelines based on new evidence. Guidelines give us a framework to work with in the treatment of disease processes, such as pneumonia. The last Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) guidelines update on the treatment of pneumonia came from 2005, but recently, the new 2016 guidelines were just published. This was a massive 51 page summary that starts off by saying:

“It is important to realize that guidelines cannot always account for individual variation among patients.  They are not intended to supplant physician judgment with respect to particular patients or special clinical situations.  IDSA considers adherence to these guidelines to be VOLUNTARY, with the ultimate determination regarding their application to be made by the physician in the light of each patient’s individual circumstances.”

April 11, 2016

Background: Irrigation after incision and drainage (I&D) of an abscess in the ED is considered by some sources to be standard care but local practice varies considerably. There are no randomized controlled trials to date that look at the potential benefits of this procedure. Irrigation increases the time required for the procedure and increases pain experienced by the patient.

March 10, 2016

Background: It is well documented that the number of visits to the ED for abscesses is on the rise in the US, with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) being the most common cause of purulent skin and soft-tissue infections. The primary treatment for cutaneous abscesses is incision and drainage (I&D). The prescription of antibiotics after this procedure is not straightforward. On one hand there is increased cost and possibly increased side effects, but on the other hand maybe antibiotics will increase eradication and improve treatment. What is known is that I&D alone will result in resolution in >80% of cases. So this begs the question, should we be empirically prescribing Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole for uncomplicated skin abscesses after I&D?

February 24, 2016

Background: Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) is something that has been beat into the heads of medical students, residents, fellows, and all physicians in general. However, the derivation of SIRS occurred in 1991, where the focus was on the then-prevailing inflammatory response of the host immune system. In 2001, a task force recognized the limitations of these definitions but did not really offer alternatives due to a lack of supporting evidence. What we have been left with is the definitions of sepsis being largely unchanged for more than 2 decades, until now. Enter Sepsis 3.0.