May 13, 2021

Background Information: Over one year into the pandemic many therapies to treat COVID-19 have targeted innumerable aspects of the virus. Most recently, the use of corticosteroids to treat the virus’ excessive inflammatory effects has become the front and center of therapy in patients requiring oxygen therapy.1 The RECOVERY trial showed a mortality benefit when using Dexamethasone in severe cases where oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation was required.2 Interestingly, compared to other corticosteroids, high doses of Methylprednisolone are actually the preferred agent for anti-inflammation in pulmonary diseases as it achieves a more direct effect on cell membrane associated proteins.3 The authors of the following paper sought to investigate the effectiveness of methylprednisolone compared to Dexamethasone in hypoxemic ICU patients with COVID-19.

April 5, 2021

Background Information:

The use of corticosteroids in patients with pneumonia secondary to COVID-19 has been a controversially hot topic, particularly early on in the pandemic. Prior evidence seen in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome have led some to argue against their use due to delayed viral clearance.1 More recent evidence related to SARS-Cov-2 has specifically shown reduced mortality and reduced need for mechanical ventilation with corticosteroids.2-4 More recently, the RECOVERY Trial showed an improvement in 28-day mortality among patients on oxygen therapy who received Dexamethasone.5 Little information exists in the literature about patients with moderate to severe disease who do not warrant ICU level of care but require hospital admission due to the extent of their illness. The authors of this study designed and conducted a pragmatic, partially randomized control trial to evaluate the possible benefit of methylprednisolone in hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

November 19, 2020

Background Information: Central venous catheterization is a common procedure performed in the ICU for the purposes of drug administration and resuscitation. The subclavian vein is the more preferred access site given its fixed puncture location, ease for nursing access and low incidence of infections.1 Landmark guided catheterization has a widely variable success rate and has been shown to increase the risk of complications such as hematoma formation and pneumothoraxes.2,3 The use of real-time ultrasound guidance has thus led to more central lines being placed in the internal jugular and femoral lines, however there is substantial debate regarding its use in subclavian vein catheterization.4,5 The authors of this study sought to compare the efficacy and safety of static ultrasound-guided puncture with traditional anatomic landmark guided subclavian vein puncture.

August 24, 2020

Background Information:

It is well documented throughout the literature that critically ill patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with acute kidney injury have a higher morbidity and mortality.1–4 Acute kidney injury may be complicated by acidosis, hyperkalemia and other major metabolic disorders and thus the initiation of renal replacement therapy (RRT) is generally considered beneficial in these patients.5 In patients without these complications, the timing of when to initiate RRT remains unclear and is frequently debated. There are three trials to know before getting to this one: ELAIN, IDEAL and AKIKI. The ELAIN trial was the only one of the three to show reduced 90-day mortality with early vs delayed initiation of RRT and was the smallest in sample size.6 The IDEAL trial concluded that early planned initiation of dialysis in stage V chronic kidney disease was not associated with improvement in survival or clinical outcomes.7 Lastly, the AKIKI trial found no significant difference with regard to mortality between an early and delayed strategy of RRT and actually saw an appreciable number of patients avert the need for RRT in a delayed strategy.8 The authors of the following study sought to investigate whether an accelerated strategy for RRT would result in lower risk of death from any cause at 90 days when compared to a standard strategy of RRT initiation.

May 28, 2020

Background Information:

Physicians have and continue to heavily contribute to the current opioid epidemic in the United States and Canada.1 Although much of the focus has been opioid prescriptions given to patients in the emergency department,2,3 not much attention has been paid to critically ill patients who survive to hospital discharge. The long-term sequelae of these opioids is concerningly overlooked especially when physicians utilize these medications as part of an “analgesia first” approach to sedating critically ill patients for the purposes of invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV).4 Previous observational studies in Canada found that approximately 85% of critically ill patients receiving IMV were exposed to opioids.1 Furthermore, the average daily opioid dosing for 2-7 days was 63 milligrams of morphine equivalent (MME), increasing to 106 MME per day for patients receiving IMV for greater than 7 days. The authors of this study performed a retrospective chart review of population-based data from Ontario Canada to investigate the frequency of new opioid initiation and persistent opioid use among critically ill patients who received mechanical ventilation. They compared this to patients who were hospitalized but not critically ill.
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