January 27, 2020

Background: The combination of vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine in sepsis has been a topic of hot debate in the past couple years.  There is a hypothetical pathophysiological basis to make an argument for the use of this combination of medications, but as with anything it is important to ensure there are no untoward effects either. In Dr. Marik’s before and after study [1] we saw some pretty amazing results showing that treatment reduced hospital mortality  by 31.9% (Treatment Group 8.5% vs Control Group 40.4%). Too good to be true?  Well in short, YES…the major issues with this study were it was not a randomized controlled trial, had a small sample size, was a single center study, and had significant selection bias.  Well we finally have our first randomized controlled trial evaluating the “metabolic cocktail” in a general population of septic shock adult patients.

January 2, 2020

Background: Traditionally, vasopressors have been given through central venous catheters (CVCs) in the critically ill.However, the time it takes to place a CVC is time a patient could potentially remain hypotensive. Early initiation of vasopressors may be associated with reduced mortality by increasing end-organ perfusion. Therefore, there has been a growing trend to use vasopressors through peripheral IVs (PIVs).  Running pressors through a peripheral IV has a couple of important benefits including faster time to pressor initiation and no need for invasive procedures (i.e. CVC). There islittle evidence to support the safety of this practice other than one systematic review which included case reports and small case series. Now we have two more papers that evaluate this very question…are peripheral pressors safe?

August 19, 2019

Background: Antibiotics are one of the cornerstones of therapy in the treatment of sepsis/septic shock, however according to the Surviving Sepsis Campaign (SSC) guidelines, time to antibiotics is a core measure, though there is weak evidence in support of this.  Most of the evidence supporting this is based off retrospective studies that showed delays in the administration of antibiotics after the development of septic shock is associated with an increase in mortality of almost 7.6% per hour [3]. The major issues with retrospective studies are that they are uncontrolled, chart quality may be inaccurate, baseline status of patients may be unbalanced and thus allow selection bias that can affect the results. Although, prospective observational studies have failed to consistently show an association between early antibiotics and mortality benefit, the guidelines still recommend early antibiotic administration within an hour of sepsis recognition.

June 3, 2019

Background: Despite the lack of replication of the NINDS & ECASS-3 trials, guidelines recommend the use of tPA in the ≤4.5hr window after the onset of symptoms of acute ischemic stroke [2]. These recommendations used non-contrast computed tomography (NCHCT) for the selection of patients.  More recent endovascular studies have shown that perfusion-based imaging can show potential viable brain tissue beyond the 4.5 hour mark in patients with large vessel occlusions and result in good neurologic outcomes.  This advance has prompted investigators to look at perfusion-based technology to identify a larger cohort of patients without large vessel occlusion that may be candidates for systemic thrombolysis.  One of the big fears in stroke management is the concept of indication creep: finding more uses for a medication or product without strong evidence to support its use. The bigger question is, does this increase in use help the company’s bottom line or the patient? It is no wonder physicians are skeptical of industry sponsored trials, as we sometimes question the motives behind the study.  Now we have another industry sponsored trial: EXTEND. In this trial.

May 27, 2019

Background: In 2000, the U.S. achieved the elimination of measles, defined as the absence of sustained transmission of the virus for more than 12 months [3,7]. Unfortunately, this success was short lived.  According to the CDC, 555 cases of measles have already been confirmed from Jan 1st – April 11th, 2019 [3]. This resurgence in measles is frustrating as it has a safe and highly effective vaccine, and it has no animal reservoir to maintain circulation.  Failure to get vaccinated unfortunately stems from misconceptions about vaccine safety (i.e. the now-debunked claim connecting vaccination to autism [4,5]), poor health education, lack of access to health care, and complacency.  This is now a global epidemic as disease does not respect borders.