ECMO for Respiratory Failure

ECMO for Respiratory Failure

A 40 year old lady was admitted under the medical team with pneumonia. She was normally well with no history of respiratory illnesses. On day two of her hospital admission she became more hypoxic necessitating continuous-positive-airway-pressure. Her condition rapidly worsened and her chest x-ray showed diffuse bilateral infiltrates. An echocardiogram demonstrated normal systolic function. She was intubated and ventilated. Despite sedation, ARDSnet ventilation, paralysis and then proning her, she remained severely hypoxaemic. A therapeutic bronchoscopy was performed prior to proning but did not improve her condition.

Should she be referred for consideration of ECMO and was is this evidence to support it’s use?

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Hypertriglyceridaemia Induced Acute Pancreatitis

Hypertriglyceridaemia Induced Acute Pancreatitis

A young man is admitted to the surgical unit with several months of worsening abdominal pain. It has become much more severe over the last 24 hours. A CT scan shows evidence of acute pancreatitis with no gallstones or biliary duct dilatation.. He is normally well with no history of alcohol excess. His triglyceride level is elevated at 83.7mmol/L and a diagnosis of hypertriglyceridaemia induced acute pancreatitis is made. 

What is hypertriglyceridaemia induced acute pancreatitis and how is it treated?

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A patient underwent a laparotomy due to bowel perforation with peritonitis and septic shock and required ventilation for several days. He was sedated with midazolam and fentanyl. After extubation he became agitated overnight, pulled out his invasive monitoring lines and was attempting to climb out of bed.

How should his acute confusional state be managed?Read More »

Diagnosing Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia

Diagnosing Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia

A 65 year old woman developed a left lower lobe hospital acquired pneumonia following a elective laparoscopic procedure for which she was ventilated for 4 days. Twenty four hours post extubation, she developed hypoxic respiratory failure with bilateral patchy shadowing on chest X-ray. She was reintubated and subsequently grew Pseudomonas aeruginosa from tracheal aspirate.

How do we diagnose Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP)?Read More »

Pentoxifylline in Alcoholic Hepatitis

Pentoxifylline in Alcoholic Hepatitis

A 28 year old male presented to the Emergency Department with an upper gastrointestinal bleed. This was managed  with resuscitation and endoscopic diathermy and adrenaline injection This was his first presentation to secondary care with complications from his significant alcohol intake. He reported drinking at least 50 units of alcohol per week. Ultrasound examination demonstrated an enlarged liver with changes consistent with steatosis. On day 3 of his admission, he became tachycardic, tachypnoeic and increasingly lethargic. Examination revealed jaundice, bi-basal lung crepitations and mild confusion. Investigation confirmed an acute hepatitis by blood chemistry and repeat ultrasound. In the absence of any other cause, a diagnosis of acute alcoholic hepatitis was considered.

In patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis, does pentoxifylline reduce mortality?Read More »

Statins for Subarachnoid Haemorrhage

Statins for Subarachnoid Haemorrhage

A 63 yr old woman collapsed at home and was brought into ED with a GCS of 3/15. She was a known hypertensive and hypercholesterolaemic. CT scan revealed a Fisher grade 3 subarachnoid haemorrhage. A ruptured middle cerebral artery was secured 24 hours later. She extubated on day 3 with a GCS of 13, but dropped her GCS to 10 on day 5 and was treated for vasospasm, which included continuing the nimodipine and simvastatin from her admission.

What is the evidence for ‘statins’ for the prevention of Vasospasm in Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Haemorrhage?Read More »

Massive Pulmonary Embolism

Massive Pulmonary Embolism

A 48 year old lady was admitted to critical care whilst suffering from sepsis secondary to severe cellulitis of her leg. She was obese with a BMI of 38 and was managed with insulin and oral anti-hyperglycaemics for type 2 diabetes mellitus. A doppler scan was unable to exclude a DVT. She had a further deterioration 30 hours later. Her sinus tachycardia accelerated to 130 bpm, along with a drop in blood pressure to 100/40. Arterial blood gas demonstrated an increasing A-a gradient as his FiO2 increased. Although such changes can occur in sepsis, the acute onset led to concerns regarding venous thromboembolism and pulmonary emboli.

What are the options for prevention of venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism?
Transfusion in Sepsis

Transfusion in Sepsis

A 85 year old man presented with acute bowel obstruction. He had a history of hypertension and diverticulitis disease, but was active for his age. He was not known to have coronary or any other vascular pathology. At laparotomy, a large diverticulitis abscess was identified. When this was manipulated, he developed an SVT with a ventricular rate of 210 bpm which progressed to VT. He received 1 mg adrenaline and 2 minutes CPR in total, with no electrical shocks. At this point perfusion and pressure returned. Surgery was expedited and simplified. He remained intubated and ventilated on ITU post-operatively. ECG demonstrated global t-wave inversion. He required noradrenaline and adrenaline to maintain blood pressure. During the initial 48 hours, his haemoglobin (Hb) fell from 11.9 g/dl to 8.1 g/dl, raising the suggestion of packed red cell (PRC) transfusion.

What is the most appropriate threshold to transfuse packed red cells in critically ill patients?Read More »

Tranexamic Acid in Trauma

Tranexamic Acid in Trauma

A 19 year old man experienced a head on collision as the driver of a car. He suffered significant lower limb open fractures, pelvic fractures, lung injuries and a small subarachnoid bleed. Initial management was performed in ED and included oxygen, IV access and fluid, lower limb and spine immobilisation, and analgesia. He underwent a trauma series CT scan, which identified the various injuries given above. At no point was his level of consciousness a concern, and he maintained his own patent airway throughout. He did not show signs of haemodynamic instability or evidence of life threatening haemorrhage. Tranexamic acid (TXA) was not given.

What is the evidence for using tranexamic acid in trauma?

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