Saturday, July 29, 2017

Computerized physician order entry: a negative factor in physician productivity and morale



Abstract:

Objectives: To examine the impact of clerical support personnel for physician order entry on physician satisfaction, productivity, timeliness with electronic health record (EHR) documentation, and physician attitudes.

Methods: All seven part-time physicians at an academic general internal medicine practice were included in this quasi-experimental (single group, pre- and postintervention) mixed-methods study. One full-time clerical support staff member was trained and hired to enter physician orders in the EHR and conduct previsit planning. Physician satisfaction, productivity, timeliness with EHR documentation, and physician attitudes toward the intervention were measured.

Results: Four months after the intervention, physicians reported improvements in overall quality of life (good quality, 71%–100%), personal balance (43%–71%), and burnout (weekly, 43%–14%; callousness, 14%–0%). Matched for quarter, productivity increased: work relative value unit (wRVU) per session increased by 20.5% (before, April–June 2014; after, April–June 2015; range −9.2% to 27.5%). Physicians reported feeling more supported, more focused on patient care, and less stressed and fatigued after the intervention.

Conclusions: This study supports the use of physician order entry clerical personnel as a simple, cost-effective intervention to improve the work lives of primary care physicians.

This would represent going back to what we had before meaningful use, not a new intervention.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A recent review of the latest Surviving Sepsis guidelines suggests that we go back to early goal directed therapy


Low value systems update: CPOE based insulin order sets didn’t help with glycemic control


Systematic review of non invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) in acute exacerbation of COPD with hypercapnic respiratory failure



Main results

We included in the review 17 randomised controlled trials involving 1264 participants. Available data indicate that mean age at recruitment was 66.8 years (range 57.7 to 70.5 years) and that most participants (65%) were male. Most studies (12/17) were at risk of performance bias, and for most (14/17), the risk of detection bias was uncertain. These risks may have affected subjective patient-reported outcome measures (e.g. dyspnoea) and secondary review outcomes, respectively.

Use of NIV decreased the risk of mortality by 46% (risk ratio (RR) 0.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38 to 0.76; N = 12 studies; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 12, 95% CI 9 to 23) and decreased the risk of needing endotracheal intubation by 65% (RR 0.36, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.46; N = 17 studies; NNTB 5, 95% CI 5 to 6). We graded both outcomes as 'moderate' quality owing to uncertainty regarding risk of bias for several studies. Inspection of the funnel plot related to need for endotracheal intubation raised the possibility of some publication bias pertaining to this outcome. NIV use was also associated with reduced length of hospital stay (mean difference (MD) -3.39 days, 95% CI -5.93 to -0.85; N = 10 studies), reduced incidence of complications (unrelated to NIV) (RR 0.26, 95% CI 0.13 to 0.53; N = 2 studies), and improvement in pH (MD 0.05, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.07; N = 8 studies) and in partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) (MD 7.47 mmHg, 95% CI 0.78 to 14.16 mmHg; N = 8 studies) at one hour. A trend towards improvement in PaCO2 was observed, but this finding was not statistically significant (MD -4.62 mmHg, 95% CI -11.05 to 1.80 mmHg; N = 8 studies). Post hoc analysis revealed that this lack of benefit was due to the fact that data from two studies at high risk of bias showed baseline imbalance for this outcome (worse in the NIV group than in the usual care group). Sensitivity analysis revealed that exclusion of these two studies resulted in a statistically significant positive effect of NIV on PaCO2. Treatment intolerance was significantly greater in the NIV group than in the usual care group (risk difference (RD) 0.11, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.17; N = 6 studies). Results of analysis showed a non-significant trend towards reduction in dyspnoea with NIV compared with usual care (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.16, 95% CI -0.34 to 0.02; N = 4 studies). Subgroup analyses revealed no significant between-group differences.

Authors' conclusions

Data from good quality randomised controlled trials show that NIV is beneficial as a first-line intervention in conjunction with usual care for reducing the likelihood of mortality and endotracheal intubation in patients admitted with acute hypercapnic respiratory failure secondary to an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The magnitude of benefit for these outcomes appears similar for patients with acidosis of a mild (pH 7.30 to 7.35) versus a more severe nature (pH less than 7.30), and when NIV is applied within the intensive care unit (ICU) or ward setting.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Normalization of testosterone levels following replacement therapy associated with a decreased incidence of atrial fibrillation


Abnormal p wave axis is a risk factor for stroke



Conclusions—aPWA is independently associated with ischemic stroke. This association seems to be stronger for cardioembolic strokes. Collectively, our findings suggest that alterations in atrial electric activation may predispose to cardiac thromboembolism independent of atrial fibrillation.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Disclosing conflicts of interest to patients


Here is another article from JAMA’s theme issue on COI.

Negative cost incentives as COIs have received relative little attention in the past but are dealt with in this piece:

Physicians and hospitals can also participate in financial agreements in which they generate more revenue if less health care or less expensive medications or devices are used…

..considerable evidence suggests that these financial relationships may exert unconscious influences on physician behavior, particularly when the cost of care, rather than patient clinical outcomes, is involved.

That is a real concern and should present a huge problem to those among our leadership who advocate for the “new professionalism” under which the doctor is to simultaneously advocate for the patient and the population. That puts the individual clinician right in the middle of the conflict which, when disclosed (and disclose we must in this age of transparency) has the potential to undermine trust.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Capillary leak syndrome


From a recent review:

In various human diseases, an increase in capillary permeability to proteins leads to the loss of protein-rich fluid from the intravascular to the interstitial space. Although sepsis is the disease most commonly associated with this phenomenon, many other diseases can lead to a "sepsis-like" syndrome with manifestations of diffuse pitting edema, exudative serous cavity effusions, noncardiogenic pulmonary edema, hypotension, and, in some cases, hypovolemic shock with multiple-organ failure. The term capillary leak syndrome has been used to describe this constellation of disease manifestations associated with an increased capillary permeability to proteins. Diseases other than sepsis that can result in capillary leak syndrome include the idiopathic systemic capillary leak syndrome or Clarkson's disease, engraftment syndrome, differentiation syndrome, the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, viral hemorrhagic fevers, autoimmune diseases, snakebite envenomation, and ricin poisoning. Drugs including some interleukins, some monoclonal antibodies, and gemcitabine can also cause capillary leak syndrome. Acute kidney injury is commonly seen in all of these diseases. In addition to hypotension, cytokines are likely to be important in the pathophysiology of acute kidney injury in capillary leak syndrome. Fluid management is a critical part of the treatment of capillary leak syndrome; hypovolemia and hypotension can cause organ injury, whereas capillary leakage of administered fluid can worsen organ edema leading to progressive organ injury. The purpose of this article is to discuss the diseases other than sepsis that produce capillary leak and review their collective pathophysiology and treatment.

Background here.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Heavy cannabis use: bad for bone health




The effects of cannabinoids on bone mass and bone turnover in humans are unknown.

Using a cross-sectional study design we found that heavy cannabis use is associated with low body mass index, high bone turnover, low bone density, and an increased risk of fracture.

Heavy cannabis use has a detrimental effect on bone health by a direct effect on the skeleton and an indirect effect mediated by low body mass index.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Babesiosis at Stony Brook University Hospital





Background

Babesiosis is a potentially life-threatening, tick-borne infection endemic in New York. The purpose of this study was to review recent trends in babesiosis management and outcomes focusing on patients, who were treated with combination of azithromycin and atovaquone.

Methods

A retrospective chart review of patients seen at Stony Brook University Hospital between 2008 and 2014 with peripheral blood smears positive for Babesia was performed. Clinical and epidemiological information was recorded and analyzed.
Results

62 patients had confirmed babesiosis (presence of parasitemia). Forty six patients (74%) were treated exclusively with combination of azithromycin and atovaquone; 40 (87%) of these patients were hospitalized, 11 (28%) were admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), 1 (2%) died. Majority of patients presented febrile with median temperature 38.5 °C. Median peak parasitemia among all patients was 1.3%, and median parasitemia among patients admitted to ICU was 5.0%. Six patients (15%) required exchange transfusion. Majority of patients (98%) improved and were discharged from hospital or clinic.

Conclusion

Symptomatic babesiosis is still rare even in endemic regions. Recommended treatment regimen is well tolerated and effective. Compared to historical controls we observed a lower overall mortality.




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Management of atrial fibrillation in the elderly


The elderly are under represented in clinical trials. This review summarizes the available evidence for the management of AF in the elderly. The conclusions of this evidence synthesis are in line with current AF recommendations in general:

Stroke prophylaxis


Elderly adults with AF are at greater risk than those without AF of stroke without anticoagulation and greater risk of bleeding with anticoagulation, posing a therapeutic challenge

Studies assessing the net clinical benefit of anticoagulation (which weighs the risk of ischemic stroke against the risk of major bleeding) demonstrate a significant benefit of anticoagulation in most elderly adults

Recently available direct oral anticoagulants may tip the balance further in favor of anticoagulation by reducing the rate of major bleeding, in particular intracranial hemorrhage

Evidence to support antiplatelet therapy for AF stroke prophylaxis is relatively weak, and in general, antiplatelet agents should have a limited role

In elderly adults who are unable to undergo long-term anticoagulation, percutaneous left atrial appendage occlusion devices may provide a reasonable alternative, although data are still emerging in this area


Symptom management


As a routine strategy, there is no benefit of rhythm control (using anti-arrhythmic drugs, cardioversion, or both) over rate control with AV nodal blocking agents

In individuals treated using rate control, a lenient strategy (target resting heart rate less than 110 bpm) is as effective for symptom control as strict rate control (target resting heart rate less than 80)

Individuals who cannot tolerate rate-slowing agents or those with tachycardia–bradycardia syndrome may benefit from pacemaker implantation plus AV nodal blocking drugs or ablation of the AV node

AF catheter ablation may be beneficial in appropriately selected elderly adults with inadequately controlled symptoms on medical therapy, although data on outcomes of ablation in elderly adults are limited


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Homocysteine, B12 levels, folic acid levels and various categories of CAD


Elevated homocysteine, low B12 and low folate levels are risk factors for CAD. It remains to be seen whether treatment with these vitamins reduces cardiovascular events in patients identified with abnormal levels.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

What’s the best BP target in non-diabetic patients with CKD to reduce progression?


Best practice advisories in the EMR


Asthma COPD overlap syndrome: clarifying the confusion


Here are key points from a recent article on this subject:

1) A patient with asthma may develop non-fully reversible airflow obstruction but this is not COPD, not even ACO; it is obstructive asthma.

2) A patient with asthma who smokes may also develop non-fully reversible airflow obstruction, which differs from obstructive asthma and from “pure” COPD. This is the most frequent type of patient with ACO.

3) Some patients who smoke and develop COPD may have a genetic Th2 background (even in the absence of a previous history of asthma) and can be identified by high eosinophil counts in peripheral blood. These individuals could be included under the umbrella term of ACO.

4) A patient with COPD and a positive bronchodilator test (greater than 200 mL and >12% FEV1 change) has reversible COPD but is not an asthmatic, or even ACO.

5) A patient with COPD and a very positive bronchodilator test (greater than 400 mL FEV1 change) is more likely to have some features of asthma and could also be classified as ACO.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Comparative effectiveness research in action: enoxaparin versus fondaparinux for acute coronary syndrome




Results

Seven studies with a total number of 9618 patients (mainly composed of non-ST elevated myocardial infarction/NSTEMI) were included. This analysis showed mortality to be similarly observed between enoxaparin and fondaparinux with OR: 1.05, 95% CI: 0.67–1.63; P = 0.84. Myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke were also not significantly different throughout different follow up periods. However, minor, major and total bleeding were significantly lower with fondaparinux (OR: 0.40, 95% CI: 0.27–0.58; P = 0.00001), (OR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.32–0.66; P = 0.0001) and (OR: 0.47, 95% CI: 0.37–0.60; P = 0.00001) respectively during the 10-day follow up period. Even during a follow up period of 30 days or a midterm follow up, major and minor bleeding still significantly favored fondaparinux in comparison to enoxaparin.

Conclusion

In patients who were treated for ACS, fondaparinux might be a better choice when compared to enoxaparin in terms of short to midterm bleeding events. This result was mainly applicable to patients with NSTEMI. However, due to a limited number of patients analyzed, further larger randomized trials should be able to confirm this hypothesis.


The reduced bleeding risk likely has to do with dosing, as I once explained here:

It would appear that the improved outcome was driven by a reduction in bleeding with fondaparinux. I think this relates to the fact that for acute coronary syndrome fondaparinux is administered in the same dose as is used for VTE prophylaxis rather than in a full therapeutic anticoagulation dose.

And, depending on the patient’s body weight, that ACS dose could amount to half, one third or even a quarter the VTE treatment dose. This usage for ACS, while validated in clinical trials, remains off label in the US. This indication based difference in dosing for fondaparinux is similar to that with unfractionated heparin where the ACS dose is lower than the VTE treatment dose. Though enoxaparin is used in the same dose for VTE and ACS treatment, for all we know it might be effective for ACS at a lower dose but as far as I know it has not been studied in that manner.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Babesiosis review


Post marketing withdrawal of weight loss drugs




Background

We identified anti-obesity medications withdrawn since 1950 because of adverse drug reactions after regulatory approval, and examined the evidence used to support such withdrawals, investigated the mechanisms of the adverse reactions, and explored the trends over time.

Methods

We conducted searches in PubMed, the World Health Organization database of drugs, the websites of drug regulatory authorities, and selected full texts, and we hand searched references in retrieved documents. We included anti-obesity medications that were withdrawn between 1950 and December 2015 and assessed the levels of evidence used for making withdrawal decisions using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine criteria.

Results

We identified 25 anti-obesity medications withdrawn between 1964 and 2009; 23 of these were centrally acting, via monoamine neurotransmitters. Case reports were cited as evidence for withdrawal in 80% of instances. Psychiatric disturbances, cardiotoxicity (mainly attributable to re-uptake inhibitors), and drug abuse or dependence (mainly attributable to neurotransmitter releasing agents) together accounted for 83% of withdrawals. Deaths were reportedly associated with seven products (28%). In almost half of the cases, the withdrawals occurred within 2 years of the first report of an adverse reaction.

Conclusions

Most of the drugs that affect monoamine neurotransmitters licensed for the treatment of obesity over the past 65 years have been withdrawn because of adverse reactions. The reasons for withdrawal raise concerns about the wisdom of using pharmacological agents that target monoamine neurotransmitters in managing obesity. Greater transparency in the assessment of harms from anti-obesity medications is therefore warranted.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Language obfuscation: adminspeak


LOL.

The coming microbial apocalypse: resistance patterns in Mexico 2005-2012




Background

The Tigecycline Evaluation and Surveillance Trial (T.E.S.T) is a global antimicrobial surveillance study of both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms. This report presents data on antimicrobial susceptibility among organisms collected in Mexico between 2005 and 2012 as part of T.E.S.T., and compares rates between 2005–2007 and 2008–2012.

Method

Each center in Mexico submitted at least 200 isolates per collection year; including 65 gram-positive isolates and 135 gram-negative isolates. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined using Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) broth microdilution methodology and antimicrobial susceptibility was established using the 2013 CLSI-approved breakpoints. For tigecycline US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) breakpoints were applied. Isolates of E. coli and K. pneumoniae with a MIC for ceftriaxone of less than 1 mg/L were screened for ESBL production using the phenotypic confirmatory disk test according to CLSI guidelines.

Results

The rates of some key resistant phenotypes changed during this study: vancomycin resistance among Enterococcus faecium decreased from 28.6 % in 2005–2007 to 19.1 % in 2008–2012, while β-lactamase production among Haemophilus influenzae decreased from 37.6 to 18.9 %. Conversely, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus increased from 38.1 to 47.9 %, meropenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp. increased from 17.7 to 33.0 % and multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter spp. increased from 25.6 to 49.7 %. The prevalence of other resistant pathogens was stable over the study period, including extended-spectrum β-lactamase-positive Escherichia coli (39.0 %) and Klebsiella pneumoniae (25.0 %). The activity of tigecycline was maintained across the study years with MIC90s of less than or equal to 2 mg/L against Enterococcus spp., S. aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Enterobacter spp., E. coli, K. pneumoniae, Klebsiella oxytoca, Serratia marcescens, H. influenzae, and Acinetobacter spp. All gram-positive organisms were susceptible to tigecycline and susceptibility among gram-negatives ranged from 95.0 % for K. pneumoniae to 99.7 % for E. coli.

Conclusion

Antimicrobial resistance continues to be high in Mexico. Tigecycline was active against gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, including resistant phenotypes, collected during the study.

The picture was mixed, with some resistance rates increasing, others decreasing and a broad range of susceptibility to tigecycline.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Antibiotic stewardship and the coming microbial apocalypse: cognitive factors driving overuse




Is this a “tragedy of the commons?” This is not a conflict between the needs of the individual patient and the good of the commons. There are potential harms to the individual patient from excessive use. From the article:


Our chief moral duty as clinicians is to our individual patients, in defense of physicians who seem to disregard the commons. However, clinicians and patients may be underestimating the individual harms and overestimating the benefits of antibiotics. Although the effects of antibiotics on the host's microbiota are often invisible, evidence that the impact is more deleterious than previously suspected is accumulating (8). Such findings may eventually change our attitude toward individual antibiotic risk to a greater degree than the threat of resistant infections alone. Using antibiotics only when needed is in the best interest of our patients as well as our communities.


According to the editorial, adoption of best practice in the area of overusage is slower than in many other areas of medicine. Why? More from the article:


Long-standing habits are hard to break. Analogous to birth cohort effects, training cohorts may exhibit stable similarities in social practice norms, which are affected by cultural attitudes toward antibiotic benefits versus harms, patient–clinician communication, or perceived expectations, and may result in different thresholds for antibiotic use. Learned practices that are shared, especially between attending physicians and trainees, resist change even when there is no evidence to support the practice. However, physicians are also influenced by their contemporary social networks—the system and social context within which they practice, including the attitudes and behaviors of their surrounding colleagues (10). These networks can be a powerful motivator for change.


Putting it together, accurate weighing of the true risks and benefits of antibiotic prescribing will help to make prudent use more justifiable on a rational level. However, physicians also need to feel that judicious prescribing is the right thing to do on an emotional or intuitive level, which often requires social cues and accountability. Interventions must also be designed with the reality of time pressure in mind, and caution must be taken with procedures that require an expenditure of time or cognitive resources. The correlation in Silverman and coworkers' study between high patient volume and antibiotic prescribing is consistent with the notion that physicians seeing patients with acute respiratory infections are practicing under extremely busy circumstances, which often require rapid decision making and intuition as opposed to deliberate, rational thought.


The last sentence points to a major barrier in the pursuit of evidence based medicine.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Marathon running might be bad for your kidneys


In this study 82% got some degree of AKI most of whom had microscopic changes of tubular injury. It did not closely correlate with rhabdo.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Where will artificial intelligence take us?


According to Bob Wachter it’ll be well on its way to taking over the diagnostic role of the clinician, and in as little as 5 years:

In about 5 years, Dr Wachter predicted, a physician will be able to dictate a patient note into a computer, and the computer — using artificial intelligence — will review the chart and the literature and offer a likely diagnosis or care path.

I don’t believe it. The simplest and most formulaic attempt at this, computer interpretation of ECGs, has gotten us nowhere in over 40 years.

But no doubt there will be efforts to implement this sort of thing, thus furthering the epidemic of misdiagnosis.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The coming microbial apocalypse---who’s at fault?



...we would be remiss not to mention the biggest driver of multidrug resistant organisms on a massive scale: antibiotic use in our livestock and crops. Both ID pharmacists and ID physicians know that this culprit is causing far more harm than prolonged antibiotic usage in hospitals.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

ADD medicines may help prevent MVAs



Design, Setting, and Participants For this study, a US national cohort of patients with ADHD (n = 2 319 450) was identified from commercial health insurance claims between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2014, and followed up for emergency department visits for MVCs. The study used within-individual analyses to compare the risk of MVCs during months in which patients received ADHD medication with the risk of MVCs during months in which they did not receive ADHD medication.

Exposures Dispensed prescription of ADHD medications.

Main Outcomes and Measures Emergency department visits for MVCs.

Results Among 2 319 450 patients identified with ADHD, the mean (SD) age was 32.5 (12.8) years, and 51.7% were female. In the within-individual analyses, male patients with ADHD had a 38% (odds ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.56-0.67) lower risk of MVCs in months when receiving ADHD medication compared with months when not receiving medication, and female patients had a 42% (odds ratio, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.53-0.62) lower risk of MVCs in months when receiving ADHD medication. Similar reductions were found across all age groups, across multiple sensitivity analyses, and when considering the long-term association between ADHD medication use and MVCs. Estimates of the population-attributable fraction suggested that up to 22.1% of the MVCs in patients with ADHD could have been avoided if they had received medication during the entire follow-up.

Conclusions and Relevance Among patients with ADHD, rates of MVCs were lower during periods when they received ADHD medication. Considering the high prevalence of ADHD and its association with MVCs, these findings warrant attention to this prevalent and preventable cause of mortality and morbidity.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thiamine deficiency and heart failure: evidence for an association is mounting


From the green journal:

Diuretic therapy is a cornerstone in the management of heart failure. Most studies assessing body thiamine status have reported variable degrees of thiamine deficiency in patients with heart failure, particularly those treated chronically with high doses of furosemide. Thiamine deficiency in patients with heart failure seems predominantly to be due to increased urine volume and urinary flow rate. There is also evidence that furosemide may directly inhibit thiamine uptake at the cellular level. Limited data suggest that thiamine supplementation is capable of increasing left ventricular ejection fraction and improving functional capacity in patients with heart failure and a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction who were treated with diuretics (predominantly furosemide). Therefore, it may be reasonable to provide such patients with thiamine supplementation during heart failure exacerbations.

The vitamin C cocktail for severe sepsis and septic shock


I know I’m a little late with this. Here’s the paper published in Chest. Form the paper:

Methods

In this retrospective before-after clinical study, we compared the outcome and clinical course of consecutive septic patients treated with intravenous vitamin C, hydrocortisone and thiamine during a 7-month period (treatment group) compared to a control group treated in our ICU during the preceding 7 months. The primary outcome was hospital survival. A propensity score was generated to adjust the primary outcome.

Findings

There were 47 patients in both treatment and control groups with no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups. The hospital mortality was 8.5% (4 of 47) in the treatment group compared to 40.4% (19 of 47) in the control group (p less than 0.001). The propensity adjusted odds of mortality in the patients treated with the vitamin C protocol was 0.13 (95% CI 0.04-0.48, p=002). The SOFA score decreased in all patients in the treatment group with none developing progressive organ failure. Vasopressors were weaned off all patients in the treatment group, a mean of 18.3 ± 9.8 hours after starting treatment with vitamin C protocol. The mean duration of vasopressor use was 54.9 ± 28.4 hours in the control group (p less than 0.001).

Conclusion

Our results suggest that the early use of intravenous vitamin C, together with corticosteroids and thiamine may prove to be effective in preventing progressive organ dysfunction including acute kidney injury and reducing the mortality of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. Additional studies are required to confirm these preliminary findings.

A post at the Skeptics’ Guide to EM has a nice discussion and critical appraisal, and several notables from the FOAM community weighed in. The participants were unanimous in saying that this study is only hypothesis generating and should not change practice at the moment.

The problems with this study are obvious. Issues that concerned me in particular were:

1) There were three interventions. If the effect is true, which one(s) worked?
2) It seems too good to be true.
3) What are we to make of the 40.4% mortality in the control group?

Some would ask why not just give it to septic patients, since it is harmless, right? Others would counter that you could say the same thing about homeopathy. But wait, homeopathy has no plausible mechanism of action. Vitamin C does. Several, in fact.

It’s interesting that the folks at East Virginia don’t feel there is equipoise for a randomized controlled trial. As experience accumulates I expect to see more and more low level evidence published, from that institution and elsewhere. If that experience repeatedly and consistently points toward a therapeutic effect, especially a very large one as suggested in this study, then we may never feel there’s equipoise and it will gradually become accepted into sepsis care. More likely we’ll see results that are not so good, leading eventually to a randomized trial. My bottom line today is that, while it would be difficult to fault someone for incorporating this into sepsis care, the Marik study should be considered hypothesis generating only, in need of further study, and not a mandate for practice change.


ACP puts out its own guideline for hypertension in the elderly




In short, the target is systolic below 150, and consider below 140 if high cardiovascular risk is present.


As to the choice of pharmacologic agents they don’t write anything in stone:


Effective pharmacologic options include antihypertensive medications, such as thiazide-type diuretics (adverse effects include electrolyte disturbances, gastrointestinal discomfort, rashes and other allergic reactions, sexual dysfunction in men, photosensitivity reactions, and orthostatic hypotension), ACEIs (adverse effects include cough and hyperkalemia), ARBs (adverse effects include dizziness, cough, and hyperkalemia), calcium-channel blockers (adverse effects include dizziness, headache, edema, and constipation), and β-blockers (adverse effects include fatigue and sexual dysfunction).

Ace those board exams


Pain is not a vital sign


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Troponin: what the hospitalist needs to know


Here is a review in JACC. There is an audio file which nicely summarizes the article.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Travelers diarrhea


From a BMJ review:



Enterotoxic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is the most common cause of acute travellers’ diarrhoea globally



Chronic (greater than 14 days) diarrhoea is less likely to be caused by bacterial pathogens



Prophylactic antibiotic use is only recommended for patients vulnerable to severe sequelae after a short period of diarrhoea, such as those with ileostomies or immune suppression



A short course (1-3 days) of antibiotics taken at the onset of travellers’ diarrhoea reduces the duration of the illness from 3 days to 1.5 days