If you’ve attended a SMACC conference or heard anything about them, you will be aware that it is the most exciting, inspiring, interesting, and educational critical care conference ever.
It is a non-profit venture dedicated to getting the best educators, clinicians, and researchers in intensive care, emergency medicine, prehospital/retrieval medicine and anaesthesia to share their knowledge, for free, through the medium of FOAM, embracing physicians, nurses, paramedics, and students.
You can access most of the content through podcasts after the event, but there is NOTHING like actually BEING THERE to experience the vibe.
And in 2015 it’s in Chicago. In the United States. It will be AMAZING.
You can’t look at the program without being blown away. Just look at the preconference workshops and you’ll become vertiginous trying to get your head around the the fact you can’t be in two places at once.
Why am I raving about this? What’s in it for me?
Like the other presenters I make no money from this – I dedicate my time, energy and passion for critical care and am so privileged to be a part of it. But as a do-everything-at-the-last-possible-minute emergency physician, registering for a conference is the kind of thing I’m often inclined to leave a few weeks until I can get round to it. But you CAN’T AFFORD to do that for SMACC Chicago. Not only will you waste money by missing the early registration discount, you might miss out completely: I anticipate registrations will be oversubscribed fast (this is the most anticipated conference EVER) and if you leave it too late you won’t be able to come and will be confined to the crowd who are forced to hear how great it was after the event from the people who were organised enough to actually get there.
So don’t miss out! You’ll feel like a muppet! Treat yourself to the best education at the best conference ever – pull your finger out now and register. And I’ll see you there.
An interesting case report by Dr Heidlebaugh and colleagues from the Department of Emergency Medicine at the William Beaumont Hospital describes a 72 year old marathon runner who arrested during cardiac catheterisation. It suggests a possible novel alternative to ECMO for cardiac arrest.
The patient became bradycardic then asystolic during catheterisation of his right coronary artery. High quality CPR was initiated and an Impella LV assist device was placed. This restored cardiac output which was followed by episodes of venticular fibrillation and then ROSC. His initial low ejection fraction of 15% recovered after targeted temperature management on ICU to 50% and he fully recovered neurologically.
This patient already had femoral arterial access for introduction of the Impella, since he was in a cath lab. He also had immediate CPR on arresting, and was an abnormally fit 72 year old. It remains to be seen whether this procedure can be applied to other patients in cardiac arrest. The authors state:
“..until ECLS is readily available, poor survival and neurological outcome after cardiac arrest might be avoided in many patients by the use of pLVAD to offload the LV and enhance perfusion. Furthermore, there may be a subset of patients, in whom the support that pLVAD offers is sufficient to optimize hemodynamic parameters and bridge to ROSC, thus reducing the need for ECLS.”
This video by Dr. I-Wen Wang from the Barnes-Jewish Hospital explains how the Impella is inserted and how it works.
Full Neurologic Recovery and Return of Spontaneous Circulation Following Prolonged Cardiac Arrest Facilitated by Percutaneous Left Ventricular Assist Device
Ther Hypothermia Temp Manag. 2014 Sep 3. [Epub ahead of print]
Sudden cardiac arrest is associated with high early mortality, which is largely related to postcardiac arrest syndrome characterized by an acute but often transient decrease in left ventricular (LV) function. The stunned LV provides poor cardiac output, which compounds the initial global insult from hypoperfusion. If employed early, an LV assist device (LVAD) may improve survival and neurologic outcome; however, traditional methods of augmenting LV function have significant drawbacks, limiting their usefulness in the periarrest period. Full cardiac support with cardiopulmonary bypass is not always readily available but is increasingly being studied as a tool to intensify resuscitation. There have been no controlled trials studying the early use of percutaneous LVADs (pLVADs) in pericardiac arrest patients or intra-arrest as a bridge to return of spontaneous circulation. This article presents a case study and discussion of a patient who arrested while undergoing an elective coronary angioplasty and suffered prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation. During resuscitation, treatment included placement of a pLVAD and initiation of therapeutic hypothermia. The patient made a rapid and full recovery.
Image is of M. Joshua Morris, a happy LVAD recipient (not the patient in the described study) who kindly alerted me to this article. Used with permission.
The second of three major trials assessing early goal directed therapy (EGDT) in sepsis – the Australasian ARISE Trial – has been published.
ARISE tested the hypothesis that EGDT, as compared with usual care, would decrease 90-day all-cause mortality among patients presenting to the emergency department with early septic shock in diverse health care settings.
There was no difference in all-cause mortality at 90 days between EGDT and standard care, in keeping with the results from ProCESS.
Why are the results so different from Rivers’ original EGDT study? The authors explain:
“although our results differ from those in the original trial, they are consistent with previous studies showing that bias in small, single-center trials may lead to inflated effect sizes”
This cautions us all against making major practice changes based on one single centre study. In critical care we’ve learned this before with subjects like tight glycaemic control and Activated Protein C. However I do believe that the things we know to be of benefit – early recognition, source control, antibiotics, and fluids – are effective in making ‘standard’ care “as good as” EGDT because of heightened awareness of the condition and its treatment, and Rivers’ initial study and the subsequent Surviving Sepsis Campaign Guidelines have played a major role in raising that awareness.
The ARISE study is appraised by Wessex’s The Bottom Line and discussed on the one and only EMCrit podcast.
The ARISE Investigators and the ANZICS Clinical Trials Group.
Goal-Directed Resuscitation for Patients with Early Septic Shock
N Engl J Med. 2014 Oct;:141001063014008.Full Text
Early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) has been endorsed in the guidelines of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign as a key strategy to decrease mortality among patients presenting to the emergency department with septic shock. However, its effectiveness is uncertain.
Methods In this trial conducted at 51 centers (mostly in Australia or New Zealand), we randomly assigned patients presenting to the emergency department with early septic shock to receive either EGDT or usual care. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality within 90 days after randomization.
Results Of the 1600 enrolled patients, 796 were assigned to the EGDT group and 804 to the usual-care group. Primary outcome data were available for more than 99% of the patients. Patients in the EGDT group received a larger mean (±SD) volume of intravenous fluids in the first 6 hours after randomization than did those in the usual-care group (1964±1415 ml vs. 1713±1401 ml) and were more likely to receive vasopressor infusions (66.6% vs. 57.8%), red-cell transfusions (13.6% vs. 7.0%), and dobutamine (15.4% vs. 2.6%) (P<0.001 for all comparisons). At 90 days after randomization, 147 deaths had occurred in the EGDT group and 150 had occurred in the usual-care group, for rates of death of 18.6% and 18.8%, respectively (absolute risk difference with EGDT vs. usual care, -0.3 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, -4.1 to 3.6; P=0.90). There was no significant difference in survival time, in-hospital mortality, duration of organ support, or length of hospital stay.
Conclusions In critically ill patients presenting to the emergency department with early septic shock, EGDT did not reduce all-cause mortality at 90 days.