May 13, 2019

Background: Post-ROSC care is a multifaceted endeavor that includes targeted temperature management (TTM), vital-organ support, and treatment of the underlying cause of arrest. One of the most common causes of cardiac arrest is acute coronary syndrome.  Current European and American guidelines recommend immediate coronary angiography with PCI in patients who present with cardiac arrest due to STEMI. However, in patients with cardiac arrest who do not have STEMI, the role of immediate coronary angiography is still up for debate.  The ACC/AHA published a statement in July of 2015 (Covered on REBEL EM) that proposed an algorithm to stratify cardiac arrest patients who are comatose on presentation for emergent coronary angiography and possible PCI. 

April 25, 2019

Background: Although the debate over balanced (i.e. lactated ringers, PlasmaLyte) vs unbalanced (i.e. 0.9% saline) crystalloids has not been settled, fluid resuscitation continues to be a fundamental therapy given to critically ill patients.  0.9% saline is one of the most common fluids given in resuscitation of patients but the high chloride content may contribute to the development of acute kidney injury (AKI) [1]. Alternatives to 0.9% saline include crystalloids with electrolyte compositions that are more balanced and resemble that of plasma (i.e. Lactated Ringer’s Plasma-Lyte, etc). Theoretically use of more balanced crystalloids would result in less potential side effects when compared to 0.9% saline. The crux of the matter is does fluid choice affect any patient-oriented outcomes?

March 25, 2019

Background: TXA is a synthetic lysine derivative that binds with the lysine site on plasminogen and inhibits fibrinolysis.  TXA is not a new drug. Studies from the late 1960s and early 1970s have shown reduced bleeding and need for transfusions in many surgical and medical settings.  Fast forward to today and we are finding all kinds of uses for TXA other than trauma including post-partum hemorrhage, epistaxis, hemoptysis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and many more.

August 20, 2018

The use of heated and humidified high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) has become increasingly popular in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory failure through all age groups.  I first started using it as a pediatric intensive care fellow, but had little knowledge of how it actually worked.  I noticed a few years after using it successfully in children, mainly with severe bronchiolitis, that we began to use it in the adult intensive care unit as well.  It seems over the past several years many studies have come out reviewing the mechanisms of action as well as its use in a variety of conditions.  In this part we will summarize how it works and for part 2 we will discuss the main indications for its use in adult and pediatric patients.

July 20, 2018

Background: Epinephrine(adrenaline) has been used in advanced life support in cardiac arrest since the early 1960s. Despite the routine recommendation for its use, evidence to support administration is less than ideal.  Although it is clear from multiple observational studies that epinephrine improves return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and short-term survival, most evidence suggests an absence of improvements in survival with good neurologic outcomes.  In cardiac arrest we want to take advantage of the alpha effects of epinephrine, including peripheral vasoconstriction, and therefore increasing aortic diastolic pressure, which in turn helps augment coronary and cerebral blood flow.  On the other hand, we want to avoid the potentially detrimental beta effects including dysrhythmias, decreased microcirculation, and increased myocardial oxygen demand all of which increase the chances of recurrent cardiac arrest and decreased neurologic recovery.  The only two interventions in cardiac arrest that have shown improve survival with good neurologic outcomes continue to be high-quality CPR and early defibrillation. The debate over the utility of epinephrine in OHCA has been ongoing for several years now and many providers have been awaiting the results of the PARAMEDIC-2 trial that was just published in the NEJM 2018.