Age-adjusted D-dimer to rule out PE: coming of age?

Put a CT scanner in every U.S. emergency department, add the non-specific signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism, stir in its potential lethality and morbidity, and line up a few thousand lawyers on the sidelines ready to capitalize on any missed diagnoses, and it’s no wonder that the use of CT-angiograms to rule out pulmonary embolism has risen 11-fold [... read more]

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Medicare bucks advisers, will pay for lung cancer screening

Ignoring its advisory panel, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that annual low-dose CT lung cancer screening for high-risk individuals will be covered by Medicare. However, CMS applied restrictions that will limit access to screening, avoiding the chaotic free-for-all would have resulted from an unrestricted approval. Medicare will pay for one lung cancer screening CT per [... read more]

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ICU Physiology in 1000 Words: In Defense of the Central Venous Pressure

In Defense of the Central Venous Pressure Jon-Emile S. Kenny M.D. In the waning days of my fellowship I received a hemoptysis consult in the cardiac care unit. Sifting through CT scans, I overheard two house-officers giving sign-out for the evening. When reviewing the clinical data, one of the residents referred to the central venous pressure [... read more]

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Life after sepsis protocols: What now? (You decide.)

2014 has been a rough year for advocates of sepsis protocols. First, the long-awaited ProCESS trial did not show any benefit from use of the original early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) protocol used in the single-center 2001 trial by Rivers et al that, despite criticism, became the standard of care for the following decade. Patients cared for in the 2 non-EGDT arms [... read more]

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Safe to stop inhaled steroids in COPD (and start more expensive drugs)?

Olodaterol People with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) often have persistent dyspnea or exacerbations despite the use of a single controller inhaler. (Controller inhalers for COPD most often include combination inhaled corticosteroid/long-acting beta agonists like Advair, Dulera and Symbicort [ICS/LABAs] and the long-acting anticholinergic agent Spiriva/tiotropium). These patients often take both a combination ICS/LABA and Spiriva, so-called [... read more]

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FDA approves pirfenidone (Esbriet) and nintedanib (Ofev) for IPF

The U.S. FDA approved the first two drugs proven to slow progression of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF): pirfenidone (Esbriet by Roche, which bought Intermune) and nintedanib (Ofev by Boehringer Ingelheim) on Wednesday October 15. Both drugs will offer new hope for patients, and new pain to the insurance companies and the government who pay for them. Pirfenidone [... read more]

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