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. 

March 15, 2018

Background: Approximately 80% of strokes are ischemic in origin leading to significant morbidity and mortality worldwide.  In ischemic stroke, there is usually a core infarct and an ischemic penumbra.  The penumbra is the area that we try to salvage with reperfusion therapy. Currently, systematic intravenous alteplase administered within 4.5hrs after symptom onset is the mainstay of therapy, however many question its risk/benefit ratio in ischemic stroke. 4.5 hours is a narrow therapeutic time window and many contraindications such as recent surgery, coagulation abnormalities, and history of intracranial hemorrhage inhibit many patients from receiving systemic thrombolysis.  There have been many studies evaluating endovascular therapy in the management of ischemic stroke published in the past few years.  This post will serve as a review of those studies.

August 7, 2017

Background: It has been common practice in trauma to place patients in cervical collars and on long backboards (LBBs) to achieve spinal immobilization. LBBs are used to help prevent spinal movement and facilitate extrication of patients. Cervical collars (C-Collars) are used to help prevent movement of the cervical spine and often are combined with lateral head blocks and straps. The theory behind this is that spine immobilization prevents secondary spinal cord injury during extrication, transport, and evaluation of trauma patients by minimizing movement.  Most of this information has been passed on from historical teachings, like the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses, and not from scientific research. To date there has been no high-quality evidence that use of spinal immobilization improves patient outcomes. In this post, we will review the evidence associated with spinal immobilization in trauma patients.