December 9, 2019

You are working at a Level 1 Trauma Center; a 35-year-old female arrives via EMS from the scene of a motor vehicle accident. She was an unrestrained passenger, ejected 50 feet. She was hypotensive and hypoxic on scene with concern for head injury with a GCS of 7. She is clearly in shock on arrival with weak pulses, clammy skin, and a BP of 80/50mmHg, HR 140, sats 85%.  She is intubated, a chest tube is placed on the left (with improvement in O2 sats to 95%), and a pelvic binder is placed for suspected pelvic fracture. eFast demonstrates free fluid in the pelvis. Massive Transfusion Protocol (MTP) has been activated appropriately, and despite rapid delivery of 4 units Packed Red Blood Cells (PRBCs), 2 units of Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) and 1 pack of Platelets, she remains hypotensive, with presumed hemorrhagic shock. The patient is destined for the OR, but you ask yourself, in traumatic hemorrhagic shock, is there a role for vasoactive agents?

December 5, 2019

Background: Saline (0.9% sodium chloride) has historically been one of the most common intravenous fluids administered in critically ill adults.  However, the supraphysiologic chloride concentration can cause hyperchloremia, metabolic acidosis, renal vasoconstriction and alter immune function.  There is nothing normal about normal saline. Balanced crystalloids (i.e. lactated Ringer’s solution, Plasma-Lyte A, etc) contain electrolyte compositions that are closer to physiologic levels.  Recently, the Isotonic Solutions and Major Adverse Renal Events Trial (SMART) [2] compared balanced crystalloids to saline among critically ill adults and found that balanced crystalloids decreased the composite outcome of death, new renal replacement therapy, or persistent renal dysfunction (This composite outcome was primarily driven by mortality benefit).  Interestingly, in the subgroup analyses of septic patients, balanced crystalloids seemed to have its biggest benefit in MAKE30 compared to saline.

November 25, 2019

Background: In 2016, Paul Marik published a study in Chest [2] demonstrating a decrease in hospital mortality of 32% for sepsis patients treated with vitamin C, thiamine and hydrocortisone.  The Marik protocol(as it has come to be known), entails IV vitamin C 1.5g q6hr for 4d + IV hydrocortisone 50mg q6hr for 7d + IV thiamine 200mg q12hr x4d. The authors’ hypothesis was that vitamin C, hydrocortisone, and thiamine have synergistic effects that reverse vasoplegic shock and potentially limit the duration of vasopressor treatment resulting in a reduction in organ and limb ischemia from vasopressors themselves.  Although the results of the study are promising, it is important to remember that this was only a hypothesis generating study.  We have been waiting for a randomized clinical trial to recreate the results of this study and finally we have our first of many… CITRIS-ALI. This randomized trial looks to see if high-dose vitamin C could reduce organ failure and biomarkers of inflammation and vascular injury in patients with sepsis and ARDS.

November 21, 2019

Background: The IOTA trial, was a systematic review and meta-analysis of 25 RCTs enrolling 16,000 patients with sepsis, critical illness, stroke, trauma, MI, cardiac arrest, and/or emergency surgery. In this review it was found that liberal use of O2 resulted in a higher in-hospital and 30d mortality with NNH of 143 and 125 respectively compared to conservative O2 therapy.  Since supplemental oxygen is commonly used in the critically ill, it is important to establish parameters for oxygen supplementation, especially in patients undergoing mechanical ventilation where there is no good data regarding strategies for oxygen administration.

November 18, 2019

Background Information: Therapeutic hypothermia is the use of targeted temperature management to reduce neurologic sequelae resulting from the severe ischemia-reperfusion injury that occurs during cardiac arrest primarily from shockable rhythms.1 Although a mainstay treatment in the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) guidelines, its use has been widely debated as beneficial in improving neurologic outcomes in post-cardiac arrest patients with non-shockable rhythms.2-7 Recent studies have also questioned the exact temperature at which patients should be cooled.8 The authors of this study sought to assess whether moderate therapeutic hypothermia, compared with targeted normothermia would improve neurologic outcomes in post-cardiac arrest patients who had a non-shockable rhythm.