That Fallible IVC

A 58 year old man with ethanol-related cirrhosis is admitted to the floor with anuria and a rising creatinine.  Over the day, serial ultrasounds of his interior vena cava [IVC] consistently reveal that it is diminutive and collapsing.  He receives many liters of crystalloid without much change in his urine output.  In the middle of [... read more]

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Review: Lactate & Sepsis

On this snowy, Stockholm Sunday, I look out from my quarters on the Mälardrottningen across the still, icy waters and I think about a cirrhotic patient for whom I recently cared.  She presented with significant dyspnea as she had stopped taking her diuretics.  Instead, she was using excessive doses of her friend’s albuterol inhaler to treat [... read more]

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Overdiagnosis of pulmonary embolism on CT-angiogram by radiologists may be widespread

Contrasted CT-angiography of the chest, often called a "PE protocol CT," has dramatically improved the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism. When used in conjunction with validated clinical decision tools like modified Wells criteria, CT-angiography is highly sensitive (good at detecting PE when it's there and ruling it out when it's not) and specific (generating few false-positive [... read more]

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Limited cancer screening seems appropriate after unprovoked PE

Cancers can cause pulmonary embolism, and an unprovoked PE may signal an undiscovered cancer lurking in the body. In older studies, as many as 1 in 10 patients with unprovoked PE were diagnosed with cancer within a year. (The current terminology is that a PE is provoked if associated with a known cancer or another provoking factor, but [... read more]

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Idarucizumab works as antidote for dabigatran-induced bleeding

New oral anticoagulants like dabigatran, apixaban and rivaroxaban have advantages over warfarin: not requiring regular monitoring for efficacy; faster onset of action; shorter half-lives. Unlike warfarin, they've had the significant disadvantage of having no proven antidote for the bleeding that inevitably occurs when any anticoagulant is given to thousands of people. [lawsuits] Boehringer Ingelheim, makers [... read more]

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Are central lines really needed for vasopressor infusions?

image: Wikipedia There’s only one sure way to prevent complications from a central line: don’t place one. Like many invasive interventions, central venous catheters’ indications have been called into question in recent years. Monitoring of central venous pressure and central venous oxygen saturation via central IV access — once considered essential to good care of severe [... read more]

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