UMEM Educational Pearls - Critical Care

Category: Critical Care

Title: A quick vasopressor review

Keywords: norepinephrine, dopamine, vasopressin, phenylephrine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/28/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-Norepinephrine: has both alpha-1 and beta-1 activity; stronger alpha than beta receptor agonist; increases MAP primarily through increase in SVR; dose 2-20mcg/minute -Phenylephrine: all alpha-1 activity; increases MAP through increase in SVR; initial dose 100-180 mcg/minute and titrate 40-60 mcg/min; primarily a 3rd line vasopressor -Vasopressin: a non-adrenergic vasoconstricting agent; activates vasopressin receptors; dose 0.01-0.04 Units/min; currently used as a second-line agent in the setting of sepsis; should not be used as the sole vasopressor medication due to gut and cardiac ischemia -Dopamine: activates dopaminergic receptors; at doses of 10-20 mcg/kg/min it has both alpha-1 and beta-1 activity; increases MAP primarily through increases in CO; stronger chronotropic agent than norepinephrine - will worsen existing tachycardia -Epinephrine: has potent beta-1 activity with moderate alpha-1 and beta-2 activity; at lower doses increases MAP through increase in CO; at higher doses increases MAP by increase in SVR; primarily used in anaphylactic shock; dose 1-20 mcg/min

Category: Critical Care

Title: Anaphylaxis - Epinephrine use

Keywords: anaphylaxis, epinephrine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/21/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-Epinephrine is the drug of choice for anaphylaxis -Several studies indicate that epi is underutilized in ED patients with anaphylaxis -Indications for epinephrine include bronchospasm, laryngeal edema (hoarseness, stridor, difficulty swallowing), hypotension, rapidly progressive reaction, and severe gastrointestinal symptoms (due to bowel edema) -The dose of epinephrine is 0.3 to 0.5 mL of 1:1000 IM -Pearl: IM injection into the lateral thigh (vastus lateralis) has been shown to produce considerably faster time to maximum drug concentration than subq injection or IM injection into the deltoid

Category: Critical Care

Title: Acalculous cholecystitis

Keywords: acalculous cholecystitis, HIDA, cholecystectomy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-Think about acalculous cholecystitis in the critically ill patient with fever, abdominal pain, and elevation of LFTs and bilirubin -Pathophys thought to be due to SIRS, biliary stasis, and ischemia -Abdominal pain is not always in the right upper quadrant -Patients have a high rate of complications - gangrene or perforation (40% to 60%) -Diagnostic studies: ultrasound (sens. 70%), HIDA (sens. 80% to 90%), CT (sens. 90%) -Consult surgery early because treatment of choice is surgical cholecystectomy; some can be treated with percutaneous cholecystostomy but this is up to your consultant

Category: Critical Care

Title: Post-intubation hypotension

Keywords: hypotension, pneumothorax, dynamic hyperinflation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/7/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-Post-intubation hypotension can occur in a substantial proportion of patients -Before attributing this to the effects of your sedative medications, you must think about pnemothorax, hyperinflation from overzealous bag-valve mask ventilation, and hypovolemia -Pneumothorax - auscultate the lungs and repeat the CXR -Hyperinflation - disconnect the patient from the ventilator and allow them to "deflate" -Hypovolemia - give a fluid bolus

Category: Critical Care

Title: Mechanical Ventilation "Knobology" - tidal volume

Keywords: mechanical ventilation, tidal volume, ideal body weight (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/31/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-When setting the ventilator, many of us use an initial tidal volume of 6 ml/kg -This number comes from ARDSnet data that demonstrated improved mortality with low tidal volumes in patients with ARDS/ALI -It is important to note that your calculation of 6 ml/kg is based upon IDEAL BODY WEIGHT (not total body weight) -For males: IBW = 50 kg + 2.3 kg for each inch over 5 feet. -For females: IBW = 45.5 kg + 2.3 kg for each inch over 5 feet.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Mechanical Ventilation "Knobology" - ventilation

Keywords: mechanical ventilation, pCO2, tidal volume, pH (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/24/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-Remember that oxgenation is affected by changes in PEEP and/or FiO2 -For changes needed in ventilation (pH and pCO2), you alter the respiratory rate (RR) and/or tidal volume (TV) -Changes in RR produce a greater effect on pH and pCO2 than changes in TV -Focus more on maintaining a pH between 7.3 - 7.4, rather than on returning pCO2 to normal

Category: Critical Care

Title: Mechanical Ventilation "Knobology" - respiratory failure

Keywords: mechanical ventilation, assist control, SIMV, pressure support (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/17/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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-One of the most common reasons for intubation/mechanical ventilation in the ED is patient fatigue -Essentially, patients are unable to keep up with the work of breathing -Patient work of breathing can be significant in CPAP, SIMV, and Pressure Support modes of mechanical ventilation -Avoid these as initial modes if your patient has respiratory fatigue

Category: Critical Care

Title: Pearl of the Day - Critical Care

Keywords: PEEP, oxygenation, ventilator (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/10/2007) (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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Mechanical Ventilation "Knobology" - Oxygenation -FiO2 and PEEP are used to improve oxygenation in the ventilated patient -Immediately following intubation, start with an FiO2 of 100% -Increase PEEP by 2-3 cm H2O every 10-15 minutes to achieve the desired saturation -As you titrate PEEP, have respiratory therapy provide you with plateau pressures (maintain Pplat < 30) Mike

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: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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: Critical Care

Title: Pacer Cordis

Keywords: Pacer, Cordis, transvenous (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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: 8/11/2020)
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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)

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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: 8/11/2020)
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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:

Keywords: Botulism, IVDA (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/2/2019 by Robert Brown, MD (Emailed: 8/11/2020)
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Takeaways

Don’t miss the injecting drug users with botulism!

Wound botulism presents as descending paralysis when Clostridium botulinum spores germinate in anaerobic necrotic tissue. There have been hundreds of cases in the last decade, but it is poorly reported outside of California.

Black tar heroin and subcutaneous injection (“skin popping”) carry the highest risk, but other injected drugs and other types of drug use suffice. C botulinum spores are viable unless cooked at or above 85°C for 5 minutes or longer and this is not achieved when cooking drugs. 

Early administration of botulism anti-toxin (BAT) not only saves lives but can prevent paralysis and mechanical ventilation. An outbreak of 9 cases between September 2017 and April 2018 cost roughly $2.3 million, in part because patients didn’t present on average until 48 hours after symptom onset and it took an additional 2-4 days before the true cause of their respiratory depression and lethargy were understood. One patient died.

PEARL: talk to your injecting drug users about the symptoms of botulism: muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, loss of facial expression, descending paralysis, and difficulty breathing. Consider botulism early in your patients who inject drugs but who do not respond to naloxone or who exhibit prolonged symptoms. Testing at the health department is performed with mouse antibodies to Botulism Neurotoxin (BoNT) combined with the patient’s serum.

 

 

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Category: Critical Care

Title:

Keywords: Right Ventricle, RV Size (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/5/2019 by Kim Boswell, MD (Emailed: 8/11/2020)
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Rapid Assessment of the RV on Bedside Echo

There are several causes of acute RV dysfunction resulting in a patient presenting to the ER with unstable hemodynamics. Some of these include acute cor pulmonale, acute right sided myocardial infarction and acute submassive or massive pulmonary embolism. While bedside assessment of the LV function is often performed by the ED physician, simultaneous evaluation of the RV can provide crucial information that can help guide therapeutic decisions to prevent worsening of the patient’s clinical condition. A rough guideline to determine RV size and function is below using the apical 4 chamber view.

Normal RV size :            <2/3 the size of the LV

Mildly enlarged RV :       >2/3 the size of the LV, but not equal in size

Moderately enlarged RV:  RV size = LV size

Severely enlarged RV:      RV size > LV size

Patients who are found to have RV dilation should be given fluids in a judicious fashion as the RV is not tolerant of fluid overload. Early diagnosis of the cause of acute RV failure should be sought to guide definitive therapy, but early institution of inotropic support should be considered. Frequent reassessments of biventricular function during resuscitation should be performed.

 

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