Lightning rounds #17: Reading chest x-rays

Brandon and Bryan share their approaches to the chest x-ray in the ICU. Plus: Bryan’s an FCCM!

Here’s the Radiology Masterclass.

Episode 48: Undifferentiated hypotension

Brandon walks Bryan through a case of new, unexplained hypotension in the ICU, with a focus on approaching shock, the use of POCUS, and risk stratifying unexplained problems.

Takeaway lessons

  1. Sudden changes in vital signs or other status are often due to precipitating factors, such as iatrogenic stimuli, whereas more gradual changes are often due to evolution of the underlying diseases. This is not always reliable.
  2. Sudden changes can also be due to monitoring artifacts, such as inaccurate telemetry, problematic arterial lines, etc.
  3. Failing arterial lines are usually damped (reduced amplitude), causing depressed systolic pressures and raised diastolics, but the MAP still tends to still be reliable.
  4. Hypotension with a narrower pulse pressure is somewhat more suggestive of hypovolemia than vasodilation. This is not always reliable.
  5. Point-of-care ultrasound is probably the single best tool for assessing unexplained hypotension, mainly because it can (within a few seconds) rule out most of the life-threatening, specifically treatable causes, such as cardiac tamponade, PE, cardiogenic shock, major hemorrhage, and tension pneumothorax. Distributive shock (e.g. from sepsis), while among the most common causes of hypotension in the ICU, is a diagnosis of exclusion.
  6. A fluid bolus used diagnostically should be given fast, and all the faster if you’re not giving very much volume. Use a pressure bag and don’t leave the room.
  7. One of the hardest acts of judgment in a clinician is to recognize whether a new finding is a “big deal” or not.

TIRBO #11: Mastering wire guidance

Advanced techniques for manipulating the guidewire during non-fluoroscopic bedside procedures such as central line placement.

Lightning rounds #16: How we do case-based teaching

Brandon and Bryan talk about how they assemble, implement, and leverage case-based learning, from this podcast to simulation to oral scenarios to internal visualization.

Episode 47: ICU triage with Eddy Gutierrez

Discussing ICU triage, risk stratification, and patient disposition with intensivist Eddy Joe Gutierrez (@eddyjoemd) of the Saving Lives Podcast.

For 20% off the upcoming Resuscitative TEE courses (through July 23, 2022), listen to the show for a promo code for CCS listeners!

Takeaway lessons

  1. When a patient has borderline indications for requiring the ICU, generally, in the real world, they should go to the ICU. More often than not, “downtriage” results in a later, inevitable, yet delayed upgrade to the ICU.
  2. Sometimes, borderline patients may need the ICU just to complete the workup and prove that they don’t need the ICU. This is annoying but inevitable; such patients can’t languish for a 12-hour evaluation in the ED no matter how much we might want them to. The ED needs to flow, and there’s no better diagnostic tool than time.
  3. A good practical rule for which pulmonary emboli require the ICU are those that will, or may, require an intervention other than systemic anticoagulation. Examples include systemic thrombolysis, catheter-directed thrombolytics, thrombectomy, etc.
  4. In theory, patients with a downward trajectory can remain outside the ICU until they reach the point where they require critical care, then can be upgraded. This can work as long as their deterioration is controlled and not precipitous, i.e. there’s time to safely recognize their status and move them to higher care when the time comes. But this is often not easy to know.
  5. The location of care can influence care in non-obvious ways. For instance, a septic patient may receive excessive harmful IV fluid boluses as providers attempt to avoid an upgrade to the ICU to administer vasopressors.
  6. Bed availability has no relation to patient disposition, other than the fact that patients forced to board outside the unit will probably, inevitably receive worse care.
  7. The readiness to transfer a patient from the ICU is usually higher than the threshold for accepting them initially. This isn’t a fallacy. It’s due to the fact that the former has had a period of observation, whereas the latter has not yet demonstrated their trajectory.
  8. When a sending provider (e.g. in the ED, floor, or an outside hospital) thinks a patient needs the ICU, and you don’t think so, they usually should win. A patient may not need the ICU, but if they can’t stay where they are, uptriage is the safety net.
  9. Ultimately, safe triage is usually a process, not a snapshot, and patients may need to move more than once. Smooth and safe transfers of care usually comes down to details and knowledge of your specific institution, and navigating it well requires good communication. Teams that can’t talk to each other inevitably lead to deficiencies in care.
  10. Making certain triage determinations by policy, committee, or guideline can help counteract the natural tendency (at least in the US) to always overtriage due to concern about personal provider risk.
  11. Try to limit your second-guessing about other people’s triage decisions made in retrospect. It’s a lot easier after the fact.

Lightning rounds #15: Night shifts

Bryan and Brand talk about night shifts, how to handle them, managing the disruption of your circadian rhythm, and more.

For 20% off the upcoming Resuscitative TEE courses (through July 23, 2022), listen to the show for a promo code for CCS listeners!

TIRBO #8: What does skin really tell you about hemodynamics?

The relationship between skin warmth and color, cardiac output, and systemic vascular resistance.

For 20% off the upcoming Resuscitative TEE courses (through July 23, 2022), listen to the show for a promo code for CCS listeners!