EMS calls ahead with reports of an adult patient in respiratory distress. They are concerned the patient will need to be intubated on arrival. Recognizing the name, you pull up a previous chart and review the patient’s history. You realize this is their 10th presentation this year and on reviewing their most recent oncology note you note their oncologist has recommended they consider hospice due to end stage malignancy without further treatment options. The patient arrives, is in distress, and does not have capacity but can be temporized by NIPPV while decision making occurs. Their power of attorney comes to the hospital soon after but states they never got around to establishing an advanced directive. How should you approach this conversation?
Several drugs have been investigated in patients with ARDS, including epoprostenol, nitric oxide, statins, and methylprednisolone, but have not improved survival. Meduri et al. performed an RCT demonstrating that methylprednisolone was associated with a reduction in lung injury score and duration of mechanical ventilation. While not powered to evaluate mortality, this trial raised interest in the use of corticosteroid to mitigate inflammatory lung injury. The 2017 Guidelines from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM) recommend steroids for treatment of ARDS based on a meta-analysis of nine randomized controlled trials demonstrating reduction in markers of inflammation and duration of mechanical ventilation, although many of the trials had a small sample size and some were performed without lung protective ventilation. In March 2020, Villar et al. published the largest randomized control trial of corticosteroid therapy for moderate to severe ARDS investigating the impact of dexamethasone on survival and duration of mechanical ventilation.
You admitted a 72 year old male to the ICU for septic shock from community acquired pneumonia. He required intubation and mechanical ventilation for failure to improve oxygenation with NIPPV and encephalopathy. He received broad spectrum antibiotics and a 30 cc/kg crystalloid bolus. His MAP was persistently in the 50s despite adequate fluid resuscitation and based on your exam he does not appear hypovolemic. Norepinephrine is started and despite adequate MAP he is oliguric. His only medical history is he was a previous smoker with COPD, HTN, HLD but normal renal function with a Cr of 0.8 two months prior. His Cr on admission is 2.2 and a foley is placed and his UA shows granular casts. He is not acidotic and his electrolytes are normal.
You are concerned this patient is heading towards renal replacement therapy. He is adequately fluid resuscitated and has a MAP above 65 on a vasopressor but is still not making urine and has signs of ATN on urinalysis. Renal replacement therapy is an invasive procedure and has associated risks. If a patient has a chance to have renal recovery with a more conservative approach then this should be considered. You wonder if there is a diagnostic test which can be used to assess the potential for renal recovery.
A 34-year-old woman at 32 weeks gestation presents to the emergency department with cough, dyspnea and hypoxemia. She rapidly progresses to severe ARDS despite lung protective ventilation, paralysis and inhaled epoprostenol. P/F ratio is 99 mm Hg. Is prone positioning safe to perform in pregnant patients with severe ARDS? If so, are modifications necessary to offload the abdomen and monitor the fetus? A recently published review in Obstetrics and Gynecology discusses this important topic.
A 56 year old male comes to the ED via EMS after noting progressive dyspnea and fever. In the field, the EMS team notes the patient is hypoxic with an SPO2 of 85%. Despite the low oxygen saturation, he is only using minimal accessory muscles and he is alert and oriented. His chest X-ray shows a right lobar pneumonia and he is requiring 6LNC oxygen to maintain a saturation greater than 90%. You know there is significant guideline evidence to support the use of non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) for COPD and CHF exacerbations, but what about patients with other causes of hypoxia such as pneumonia?
A patient is brought in by ambulance in cardiac arrest. As is your practice, you start CPR and focus on bag valve mask ventilation (BVM) while the code gets started. The patient is resuscitated and eventually intubated as they were not conscious after return of spontaneous circulation. You wonder, if use of BVM is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia given that the airway isn’t defended as well compared to a cuffed endotracheal tube.
Lung protective ventilation limiting tidal volume and plateau pressure improves survival in ARDS. The application of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) further stabilizes the lung by preventing alveolar collapse during expiration, thereby reducing cyclic atelectasis. However, the optimal approach to PEEP titration to minimize ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) has not been delineated. The EPVent-1 trial
A 46 year old woman arrives at the ED with hives, hypotension, difficulty breathing, and stridor after eating dinner with her family. She is allergic to shrimp, and thought she had avoided it when she ordered from her favorite restaurant. However, shrimp dishes are on the menu and she wonders if there was cross contamination. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find her epinephrine auto-injector at home so her family drove her to the ED. Immediately recognizing anaphylaxis, you give her a dose of IM epinephrine and she improves within several minutes. After seeing she has stabilized, you wonder how long should she be observed and what the evidence is behind the use of antihistamine and glucocorticoid therapy.
We do not often give thought to the factors controlling our circadian rhythm. And yet the circadian system modulates many physiologic systems, including brain arousal, cardiovascular function, sympathetic tone, appetite, metabolism and immune system function. Similar to the sinoatrial node pacing the heart, the suprachiasmatic nucleus located in the hypothalamus serves as the central pacemaker for the circadian rhythm, directing sleep, motor activity, temperature and autonomic tone. Rhythmic release of melatonin from the pineal gland helps drive this central clock in addition to other circadian biomarkers, including cortisol and core body temperature. In healthy individuals, plasma melatonin concentrations typically measure 10-fold higher at night than during the daytime. How does critical illness affect circadian rhythm, specifically melatonin secretion?