The threshold at which postoperative red blood cell transfusion is warranted for patients with cardiac disease remains controversial. While the hazards associated with transfusions are well known to the modern-day intensivist, some have proposed that transfusions improve functional recovery for elderly surgical patients, and prevent cardiovascular events.  Jeffrey Carson, MD, and the Functional Outcomes in […]

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is one of the costliest and most common preventable causes of death in the intensive care unit (ICU). In this month’s issue of Chest, Kwok Ho and colleagues utilized data from 134 ICUs in Australia and New Zealand to assess the association between omission of early thromboprophylaxis (>24 hours) after ICU admission […]

New-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) is a recognized complication of severe sepsis and may be associated with adverse outcomes such as stroke or death. In this month’s issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Walkey et al investigated the association of severe sepsis and new-onset AF with the adverse outcomes of in-hospital mortality and […]

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Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) poses a significant patient safety threat for intensive care unit (ICU) patients and has an attributable mortality rate that may exceed 50%.  In the November issue of Lancet Infectious Diseases, Sonia Labeau, MD, and colleagues from Ghent University, Belgium, conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether oral care with chlorhexidine […]

Supraphysiological concentrations of sodium and chloride are present in routinely used intravenous fluids.  It is widely understood that the use of 0.9% saline and other chloride-rich solutions in critically ill patients causes metabolic acidosis, decreases the strong ion difference, and may lead to worse outcomes.  In this month’s issue of Critical Care Medicine, Nor’azim Yunos […]

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