UMEM Educational Pearls - Critical Care

Category: Critical Care

Title: Hemodialysis Catheters

Keywords: hemodialysis catheters (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/2/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Hemodialysis Catheters

Two weeks ago, we had a PEA arrest of a patient receiving HD.  A significant delay occurred in administering fluids and medications as a result of "no iv access".  Don't forget that in these situations you can use the hemodialysis catheter.

  • Typically these are double-lumen catheters in the IJ or femoral vein; one lumen carries blood to the HD machine and the other returns it to the patient
  • Importantly, each lumen is equivalent in diameter to an introducer catheter (8 French) - permitting rapid flow
  • Fluids and medications can be rapidly given through these catheters in code situations

Category: Critical Care

Title: SRMI ???

Keywords: stress related mucosal injury, histamine antagonists, proton pump inhibitors, sucralfate (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/25/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Stress Related Mucosal Injury (SRMI)

  • As the length of stay for many of our critically ill patients continues to rise, it is important to think about some preventative therapies
  • SRMI is the term used to describe gastric mucosal erosions that occur in the critically ill
  • SRMI can be demonstrated in 75 - 100% of critically ill patients within 24 hours and can cause clinically apparent bleeding in up to 25%
  • Independent risk factors for SRMI include mechanical ventilation, coagulopathy, and a prior history of gastritis or peptic ulcer disease
  • Additional risk factors in our ED patient population include sepsis, hypotensive states, severe head injury, multisystem trauma, and renal failure
  • Typically an H2 antagonist is provided (i.e. ranitidine or famotidine).  Currently there is no evidence of superiority of PPIs over H2 antagonists in preventing SRMI
  • Pearl:  the best agent to give is probably sucralfate - there is a slightly higher incidence of bleeding compared to ranitidine; however, ranitidine is associated with a much higher incidence of nosocomial pneumonia.  The risk and mortality associated with nosocomial pneumonia in these patients outweighs the minimal risk of major hemorrhage associated with SRMI

Category: Critical Care

Title: Dopamine

Keywords: dopamine, hemodynamic medication, vasopressors (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/18/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Dopamine in the ED

  • Recall that dopamine is an endogenous catecholamine that is a precursor for norepinephrine synthesis
  • Despite the popularity of norepinephrine, dopamine is still used by many EPs in the setting of septic shock
  • Dopamine produces progressive alpha-receptor stimulation at doses > 10 mcg/kg/min
  • Tachyarrhythmias (namely sinus tachycardia) is the predominant adverse effect
  • When selecting a vasopressor agent, be sure to check the HR.  If the patient is already tachycardic, the addition of dopamine will only worsen the tachycardia
  • Additional important adverse effects are increased intraocular pressure and delayed gastric emptying

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Seizures and the Critically Ill

Keywords: seizure, metabolic (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/11/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Seizures in the Critically Ill

  • Seizures are a common complication in medical and surgical patients commonly arising from coexisting conditions associated with critical illness
  • Most seizures in the critically ill are generalized convulsions rather than focal
  • The majority of seizures occur in patients without a pre-existing history of seizure disorder
  • Common causes of seizures in the critically ill include sepsis, cardiovascular disease, metabolic abnormalities, medications, and drug intoxication/withdrawal
  • Metabolic abnormalities account for 30 -35% of causes
  • The most common metabolic abnormalities include hyponatremia, hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, uremia, and hypoglycemia
  • Be sure to check these labs in ICU patients with a seizure

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Auto-PEEP

Keywords: auto-peep, mechanical ventilation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/4/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Auto-PEEP in the non-COPD patient

  • In previous pearls we have discussed the concept of auto-peep in patients with expiratory flow limitation (asthma and COPD)
  • Unexpected auto-peep can also occur in up to 35% of patients without asthma or COPD
  • In these patients, auto-PEEP typically occurs with high minute ventilations (> 20 L/min) with shortened exhalation times or if exhalation is blocked (blocked ETT, exhalation valve, or PEEP valve)
  • Recall that auto-PEEP increases the work of breathing, worsens gas exchange, and can cause hemodynamic compromise 
  • Treatment of auto-PEEP can be as follows:
    • Change ventilator settings
      • increase expiratory time
      • decrease respiratory rate
      • decrease tidal volume
    • Reduce ventilatory demand
      • reduce anxiety, pain, fever with sedatives
    • Reduce flow resistance
      • large-bore ETT
      • frequent suctioning
    • Apply external PEEP

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Ventilator Therapy in ED Patients with ARDS

Keywords: PEEP, mechanical ventilation, ARDS (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/28/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Ventilator Therapy for ED Patients with ARDS

  • As we manage critically ill patients for longer periods of time, it is likely that many of us will manage patients who develop ARDS
  • Current mortality for patients with ARDS ranges from 30-40%
  • ED treatment for patients with ARDS includes treating the inciting event, supportive critical care, and ventilator management
  • Current ventilator management in patients with ARDS includes:
    • avoiding alveolar overdistention (tidal volumes of 6 ml/kg)
    • maintaining FiO2 < 60% (mitigates oxygen toxicitty)
    • PEEP to prevent alveolar derecruitment (levels of 10-15 cm H2O)
    • permissive hypercapnea

Category: Critical Care

Title: Influenza and the Critically Ill

Keywords: influenza, zanamivir, oseltamivir (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/21/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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 Influenza and the Critically Ill

  • It is that time of year again to be vigilant for cases of influenza
  • Influenza is not benign and causes > 40,000 deaths per year and is the 7th leading cause of death in the US
  • In the critically ill, the most severe disease occurs in patients > 65 and those with underlying cardiopulmonary disease
  • Critically ill patients with influenza can present with fever, cough, bilateral interstitial infiltrates, hypoxemia, and leukopenia
  • Other serious complications include myocarditis, encephalitis, and Reye syndrome
  • Amantadine and rimantadine should no longer be used, as the resistance has risen to > 90% in some populations
  • Oseltamivir (PO) and zanamivir (powder/inhalation) are the approved neuraminidase inhibitors; both decrease the severity and duration of illness; should be given as early as possible, preferably within 36 hours

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Tension Gastrothorax?

Keywords: gastrothorax, pneumothorax (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/8/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Tension gastrothorax?

  • Tension gastrothorax is a life threatening condition characterized by herniation of the stomach through a defect in the diaphragm with compression of the mediastinal contents
  • Although many cases occur in pediatric patients (secondary to congenital defects), adults with a history of diaphragmatic injury are at risk (also patients with a type III or IV hiatal hernia)
  • The clinical presentation is the same as a tension pneumothorax - hypotension, tachycardia, hypoxia, JVD, and decreased breath sounds
  • CXR appearance can be very similar to tension pneumothorax, however, the treatment is substantially different
  • Needle decompression and tube thoracostomy are contraindicated, as this may cause visceral perforation
  • The treatment of choice is NGT (or OGT) decompression followed by surgical repair

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Insulin use in the critically ill

Keywords: insulin, hyperglycemia, critically ill (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/30/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Subcutaneous Insulin in the Critically Ill

  • Although intensive insulin therapy in the critically ill remains controversial and a matter of much debate, hyperglycemia is common in the critically ill ED patient
  • Hyperglycemia is associated with worse outcomes in this patient population
  • When treating hyperglycemia in the critically ill ED patient, use caution with subcutaneous insulin
  • Absoprtion of insulin administered subcutaneously is slow, erratic, and highly variable often due to poor perfusion, hypotension, and/or vasopressor therapy
  • In these patients, IV insulin is a better route of administration and leads to more reliable control of hyperglycemia
  • Recall that the onset of action of insulin given IV is 10 - 30 minutes, with a duration of action of about 1 hour

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Acute Intestinal Distress Syndrome

Keywords: AIDS, intraabdominal hypertension, abdominal compartment syndrome (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/23/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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AIDS: coming to a critically ill patient in your ED

  • Acute intestinal distress syndrome (AIDS) is a recently coined term used in the continuum of intraabdominal hypertension (IAH) to abdominal compartment syndrome (ACS)
  • In previous pearls we have discussed the importance of IAH in the critically ill and how to measure intraabdominal pressure (IAP)
  • Recall that IAH is defined as a sustained elevation of IAP > 12 mmHg
  • The focus of attention is shifting to "secondary ACS" - it is highly prevalent in the critically ill and is independently associated with increased mortality
  • Sepsis is a cause of secondary ACS and is the most likely condition we will encounter in our critically ill patient population
  • Current recommendations suggest that IAP be measured daily in patients at risk for IAH (i.e. the septic ED patient)

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Intraabdominal Hypertension

Keywords: intraabdominal pressure, intraabdominal hypertension, bladder pressure (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/8/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Intraabdominal Hypertension and the Critically Ill

  • Intraabdominal hypertension (IAH) is increasingly recognized in a wide variety of critically ill patients and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality
  • Normal intraabdominal pressure (IAP) is 5 - 7 mm Hg
  • IAH is defined as the sustained elevation in IAP of at least 12 mm Hg
  • Physical exam is inaccurate in detecting IAP with sensitivities of 40-60%
  • The most common method of measuring IAP is intravesicular (bladder)
  • Importantly, IAP should be measured at end-expiration after ensuring that abdominal muscle contractions are absent, with the patient in the supine position, and with the transducer zeroed in the midaxillary line at the level of the iliac crest

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Bicarbonate for lactic acidosis from shock?

Keywords: sodium bicarbonate, lactic acidosis, hypoperfusion, shock (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/3/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Bicarbonate for severe lactic acidosis from shock?

  • In critically ill patients, one of the most common causes of acidosis is hypoperfusion induced lactic acidosis
  • Importantly, the source of lactic acid during hypoperfusion/shock is intracellular, and the intracellular compartment is not readily accessible to extracellular bicarb
  • Exogenous bicarbonate will certainly raise extracellular pH but does not readily correct intracellular acidosis
  • This increase in pH is transient and typically lasts approximately 30 minutes
  • In studies to date, exogenous bicarbonate did raise pH, serum bicarbonate concentrations, and PaCO2 but importantly did not improve cardiac output, mean arterial pressure, or sensitization to catecholamines
  • Take Home Point: Based on available literature, there is no utility to giving bicarbonate in hypoperfusion induced lactic acidosis when the pH is > 7.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Vasopressor extravasation

Keywords: norepinephrine, epinephrine, epinephrine, dopamine, phentolamine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/26/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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 Phentolamine for vasopressor extravasation

I was recently informed of a case from an another institution in which a patient was started on a vasopressor medication via a peripheral IV while attempts at central access where attempted.  The patient unfortunately suffered permanent extremity ischemia due to significant extravasation of the vasopressor medication into the soft tissue.

  • Phentolamine is reportedly the antidote for vasopressor extravasation into the skin and soft tissues (the evidence is not robust and limited primarily to case reports and animal data)
  • Phentolamine is a non-specific alpha-blocking agent that inhibits vasoconstriction and theoretically improves blood flow through the affected area
  • Take 5-15 mg of phentolamine and mix in 10 mL of normal saline - inject this into the affected area as soon as possible
  • Give the patient concurrent IVFs in the event of some systemic absorption

 


Category: Critical Care

Title: PEEP in nonhypoxemic respiratory failure

Keywords: PEEP, respiratory failure, ventilator associated pneumonia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/19/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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PEEP in Nonhypoxemic Respiratory Failure

  • Patients with ALI/ARDS typically receive PEEP to improve oxygenation
  • Patients without ALI/ARDS, however, receive PEEP less frequently (some recent reports indicate that < 50% of these patients receive PEEP)
  • A recent study by Spanish investigators found that the use of PEEP (5 - 8 cm H20) in nonhypoxemic patients decreased the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia and decreased the number of patients who developed hypoxemia
  • Interestingly, no differences were found in hospital mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation, or ICU LOS
  • Take Home Point: In nonhyoxemic intubated patients, the addition of 5-8 cm H20 of PEEP is a reasonable practice and may be beneficial in preventing VAP (pending further study)

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Pressure Regulated Volume Control

Keywords: PRVC, pressure control, volume control, ventilator-induced lung injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/12/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Pressure Regulated Volume Control (PRVC)

  • PRVC is a mode of mechanical ventilation that combines both volume and pressure control modes
  • The main advantage to PRVC is that the tidal volume / minute ventilation is guaranteed while controlling airway pressures, thereby reducing the risk of ventilator induced lung injury
  • In PRVC, the ventilator delivers a pressure-controlled breath, but tidal volume is the key setting
  • The ventilator will automatically adjust inspiratory pressures until the desired TV is achieved
  • When using PRVC you need to set: target TV, RR, peak pressure alarm, inspiratory time, FiO2, and PEEP

Category: Critical Care

Title: DOPE

Keywords: post-intubation hypoxia, pneumothorax, mechanical ventilation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/5/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Post-intubation deterioration?  Remember DOPE

  • The pneumonic DOPE can help you remember the most common causes of post-intubation hypoxia or deterioration
  • Displacement: check the endotracheal tube for displacement (right mainstem) or dislodgement
  • Obstruction: check the ETT for obstruction (mucous plug, kink in ventilator tubing)
  • Pneumothorax - get an xray
  • Equipment failure(unusual): disconnect patient from the ventilator and bag manually

Category: Critical Care

Title: Plateau Pressure

Keywords: acute lung injury, alveolar overdistention, plateau pressure (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/29/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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The Importance of Plateau Pressure

  • Alveolar overdistention is a precursor to the development of acute lung injury (ALI)
  • Plateau pressure is a measurement of alveolar overdistention, and is the pressure equilibration between the airways and the alveoli
  • Plateau pressure is measured by using an inspiratory hold (for at least 3 seconds) at the end of inspiration
  • Based on available data, you want to maintain the plateau pressure < 30 cm H2O
  • Remember that patients should be heavily sedated to obtain this measurement - any patient-ventilator asynchrony may provide inaccurate information

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Asthma and Mechanical Ventilation

Keywords: asthma, mechanical ventilation, hyperinflation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/22/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Mechanical Ventilation in Asthma

  • Approximately 25,000 asthmatics are intubated each year
  • Mismanaged mechanical ventilation in asthma carries significant morbidity and mortality
  • One of the primary goals of ventilating the asthmatic is to allow for lung deflation
  • The most effective way to allow for lung deflation, and reduce hyperinflation, is to reduce minute ventilation (TV x RR)
  • Initial tidal volume settings should be 6 ml/kg of predicted body weight; if plateau pressures are > 30 cm H2O tidal volume should be decreased to 4 - 5 ml/kg
  • Reduced respiratory rates will also allow longer exhalation times; initial recommended rates are 6 - 8 breaths per minute
  • If plateau pressures are still high despite lowering tidal volume and respiratory rate, you can then shorten the inspiratory time to allow for longer exhalation

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Noninvasive Ventilation Pearls

Keywords: noninvasive ventilation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/15/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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 Noninvasive Ventilation Pearls

  • Multiple studies support the use of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) in acute exacerbations of COPD, acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema, and immunocompromised patients (organ transplant) with hypoxic respiratory failure.
  • The timing of NPPV initiation is important.  NPPV should be started as soon as possible, as delays increase the likelihood of intubation
  • The best predictor of success is a favorable response to NPPV within the first 1 to 2 hours
    • reduction in respiratory rate
    • improvement in pH
    • improved oxygenation
    • reduction in PaCO2
  • Also crucial to NPPV success is a well fitting interface (mask)
  • Although patients report greater comfort with nasal masks, they also permit more air leakage through the mouth and have been associated with a higher rate of initial intolerance in the acute setting.
  • For acute applications of NPPV in the ED, a full face mask is preferred 

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Redefining Hypotension

Keywords: hypotension, trauma, elderly (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/7/2008 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2008) (Updated: 8/21/2019)
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Hypotension begins at 110 mmHg?

  • Many of us use the historical SBP cut-off point of 90 mmHg or less to identify hypotension and shock
  • Importantly, there is no data to support this arbitrary value
  • Particularly in older patients, hypotension, hypoperfusion, and increased mortality may begin sooner than previously realized
  • In this study of over 80,000 patients from the National Trauma Data Bank, a SBP < 110 mmHg was found to be more clinically relevant for identifying hypotension and hypoperfusion
  • Take Home Point: strongly consider raising your threshold for identifying hypotension and initiating resuscitation, especially in the older trauma patient.

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