UMEM Educational Pearls - By Mike Winters

Category: Critical Care

Title: Fungal Infections

Keywords: Fungal, Infection, antifungal (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Fungal Infections * Fungal isolates are an increasingly common source of bloodstream infections in critically ill patients * Mortality ranges from 20% to 60% in some series * 50% are non-albicans species (C.glabrata, C.parapsilosis, C.tropicalis, and C. krusei) * Risk factors include ventilated patients, TPN, high APACHE scores, abdominal surgery, and prolonged ICU stays * Think of fungal infections in the septic patient with hypothermia and bradycardia * Newer antifungal agents such as voriconazole and caspofungin have improved efficacy against n

Category: Critical Care

Title: Critical Illness Neuromyopathy (CINM)

Keywords: Neuropathy, steroids, sepsis, neuromuscular (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Critical Illness Neuromyopathy (CINM) * CINM is the most common peripheral neuromuscular disorder encountered in the ICU * CINM may contribute to delayed weaning and prolonged ventilation * Risk factors for CINM include SIRS/MODS, sepsis, and hyperglycemia (corticosteroid use still controversial) * Current mainstay of management is directed at prevention * EM take home point -> Judicious use of medications associated with the development of CINM (aminoglycosides, neuromuscular blocking agents) Reference: De Jonghe B, Lacherade JC, Durand MC, et al. Critical illness neuromuscular syndromes. Crit Care Clin 2007;23:55-69. (compliments of Dr. Winters)

Category: Cardiology

Title: Cyanide toxicity

Keywords: Cyanide, itroprusside, hypotension (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Be alert for cyanide toxicity when using sodium nitroprusside * Toxicity from sodium nitroprusside can be seen in as little as 2-4 hours with rates > 4.0 mcg/kg/min * Patients with hepatic and renal dysfunction are at greatest risk * Clinical signs of toxicity include altered mental status (agitation, restlessness), tachycardia, ventricular arrhythmias, and eventually hypotension * The classic anion-gap metabolic acidosis is a pre-terminal event - do not wait for this to develop to raise suspicion of toxicity! Reference: Marcucci L, ed. Avoiding common ICU errors. Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:148-9.

Category: Airway Management

Title: Plateau Pressure

Keywords: Plateau, Peak, Pressure, airway (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Use plateau pressure, rather than peak inspiratory pressure, as a means of assessing the risk of barotrauma * One mechanism (of many) by which mechanical ventilation can induce acute lung injury in patients with ARDS is overdistention of the alveoli * 2 common parameters used to assess airway pressures are plateau pressure (Pplat) and peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) * Pplat approximates small airway and alveolar pressures more closely than PIP * ARDSnet trial demonstrated a reduction in the number of ventilator days and mortality when Pplat was maintained < 30 cm H2O. References: 1. ARDS Network. Ventilation with lower tidal volumes as compared with traditional tidal volumes for acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. NEJM 2000;342:1301-8. 2. Marcucci L, ed. Avoiding common ICU errors. Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:275-6.

Category: Airway Management

Title: Venous Air Embolism

Keywords: Air, Embolism, Catheter (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Recognize the signs of venous air embolism when inserting a central venous catheter * Although rare, a feared complications of CVC insertion is venous air embolism (VAE) * Conditions that increase the risk of VAE are detachment of catheter connections, failure to occlude the needle hub during insertion, hypovolemia, and upright positioning of the patient * Clinically, VAE presents with acute dyspnea, cough, chest pain, altered mental status, tachypnea, tachycardia, and/or hypotension * Treatment includes placing the patient in a left lateral decubitus position, reverse Trendelenburg, and providing 100% oxygen via NRB * Also consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy * Aspiration of air, as recommended in some textbooks, is rarely successful Reference: Mirski MA. Lele AV. Fitzsimmons L. Toung TJ. Diagnosis and treatment of vascular air embolism. Anesthesiology 2007;106(1):164-77.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Pacer Cordis

Keywords: Pacer, Cordis, transvenous (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Make sure the Cordis is the right size when floating a pacing wire * At some point in your career, you may need to "float" a transvenous pacing wire * When inserting the wire, you need to make sure you have the right size Cordis * In general, a pacing wire should be inserted through a 6F Cordis (0.198 mm) * Many introducer kits have a 7.5F Cordis (0.2475mm) that is used for insertion of a PAC * Blood loss, infection, and air embolism are risks that can occur when the Cordis catheter used is too large Reference: 1. Marcucci L, ed. Avoiding common ICU errors. Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:275-6.

Category: Critical Care

Title: TRALI - Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury

Keywords: Transfusion, Lung, Injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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TRALI - Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury * TRALI has now emerged as the primary cause of transfusion-associated mortality, surpassing infectious complications and ABO mismatch * TRALI is defined as new ALI in a patient receiving, or having just received (within the past 6 hours), a blood product transfusion * All plasma-containing products have been implicated (FFP and platelets are the top offenders) * Clinically, patients present with dyspnea, tachypnea, and hypoxia * CXR findings are consistent with noncardiogenic pulmonary edema * There is no unique treatment for TRALI; most patients have resolution within 96 hours * AVOID diuretics as these patients are often volume depleted Reference: 1. Looney MR. Newly recognized causes of acute lung injury: transfusion of blood products, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and avian influenza. Clin Chest Med 2006;27:591-600.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Critical care of patients with HIV/AIDS - Lactic Acidosis

Keywords: HIV, Lactic, Acidosis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Critical care of patients with HIV/AIDS - Lactic Acidosis * Lactic acidosis can be a life-threatening complication of HAART - mortality as high as 77% * It can occur with any of the nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (most common are didanosine and stavudine) * Common presenting symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, myalgias, and elevation of transaminases * In patients with these symptoms check a lactate -> a value > 5 mmol/L is considered life-threatening * Treatment is supportive care with removal of the offending medication * In anecdotal reports, L-carnitine, thiamine, and riboflavin may reverse toxicity Reference: Morris A, Masur H, Huang L. Current issues in the critical care of the human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient. Crit Care Med 2006;34:42-9.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Serial lactate Levels

Keywords: Lactate, Sepsis, Infection (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Obtain serial lactate levels in ED patients with infection * Elevated serum lactate is associated with an increased risk of death in critically ill patients with infection * An initial lactate level > 4.0 mmol/l is significant and, in some series, is associated with a mortality of approximately 40% * Obtain serial venous lactate measurements every 3-4 hours * If serial levels remain > 4 mmol/l, or rise, be more aggressive with resuscitation Reference: Trzeciak S, et al. Serum lactate as a predictor of mortality in patients with infection. Inten Care Med 2007;33:970-7.


Category: Critical Care

Title: Start antibiotics ASAP in patients with septic shock

Keywords: Antiobiotics, Sepsis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Start antibiotics ASAP in patients with septic shock * For patients with septic shock, start antibiotics within the first hour * For each additional hour that antibiotics are delayed, survival decreases by 7%-8%! * Once you address the ABC's, obtain appropriate cultures, and hang the antimicrobials * Make sure you are providing effective antimicrobials (take a look at the patient's history to see if they have resistant bugs) Reference: Kumar A, et al. Duration of hypotension before initiation of effective antimicrobial therapy is the critical determinant of survival in septic shock. Crit Care Med 2006;34:1589-96.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Intubated Patients HOB Recommendations

Keywords: Intubation, ventilation, VAP, bed (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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In the absence of contraindications, keep the head of the bed elevated 30 degrees for intubated patients * Mechanical ventilation places patients at risk for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) * ICU mortality for VAP ranges from 30% to 70% * Elevating the head of the bed has been shown to decrease the frequency of VAP Reference: Dodek P, Keenan S, Cook D, et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia. Ann Intern Med 2004;141:305-13.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Life- or Limb-saving Escharotomy

Keywords: Escharotomy, burn, ischemia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Life- or Limb-saving Escharotomy * At some point in your career you may have to perform an emergent escharotomy to safe a life or limb * Deep thickness circumferential chest burns act like a straight jacket and impair respiration * Circumferential limb burns act like a tourniquet and impairs both venous output and arterial input resulting in ischemia * Limb escharotomy should be performed as soon as pulses diminish - do not wait for them to disappear * The picture illustrates the incision lines for escharotomy (note the bold lines highlight the importance of going across any involved joint)

Attachments

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Subclavian central venous access

Keywords: Venous, catheter, subclavian (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Subclavian central venous access * Many consider the subclavian to be the preferred route for central venous access * Approximately 5-6% of subclavian's are associated with misdirection of the catheter tip into the internal jugular * Directing the J-tip of the guidewire caudally significantly reduces the incidence of malpositioning Reference: Tripathi M, et al. Direction of the J-Tip of the guidewire, in seldinger technique, is a significant risk factor in misplacement of subclavian vein catheters: a randomized, controlled study. Anesth Analg 2005;100:21-4.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Oxygenation goals

Posted: 3/11/2009 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 8/17/2022) (Updated: 8/17/2022)
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Oxygenation goals

  • In recent pearls we have talked about 'lung protective' ventilation strategies to reduce volutrauma, barotrauma, and oxygen toxicity.
  • Using 'lung protective' strategies, such as low tidal volumes, results in higher levels of CO2 and a lower pH.  These are tolerated in favor of lower and safer alveolar pressures.
  • In addition to higher pCO2 values and lower pH, oxygenation goals are slightly lower than conventional teaching.
  • In these patients, you want to maintain SpO2 > 88% and PaO2 > 55 mm Hg.