Venous Hypertension: The Under-Appreciated Enemy Part 2: Discussion with Jon-Emile

So I posted about this a few weeks ago, and the discussion it brought up with Jon-Emile (www.heart-lung.org) turned out to be way better than the original post, and I just wanted to make sure everyone interested got to see it, so here we go (part 1 is here, for those who didn’t come across it: http://wp.me/p1avUV-bJ):

Jon-Emile

 

Jon-Emile: This is a great topic for review Philippe!

I have come across this problem, certainly on more than one occasion. I was first introduced to the idea of renal venous pressure and renal hemodynamics as a house-officer at Bellevue Hospital in New York. Dr. Jerome Lowenstein published work on this phenomenon as it pertained to ‘Minimal Change Syndrome.” He used to ‘wedge’ the renal vein and measure renal interstitial pressure in these patients and measured the response to diuresis. It was very enlightening and made me feel more comfortable given more diuretics in such patients. [Am J Med. 1981 Feb;70(2):227-33. Renal failure in minimal change nephrotic syndrome].

I am also glad that you bring up the cranial vault in this discussion, because I have often wondered if the encapsulated kidneys behave in a similar way. That is, as renal interstitial volume increases from edema, if there is some point on their compliance curve [like the cranium] where there is a very marked increase in renal interstitial pressure? I have found a few articles which loosely address this idea, but would be interested if anyone else knew of some. In such a situation, there would be a ‘vascular waterfall’ effect within the kidneys whereby the interstitial pressure supersedes the renal venous pressure [like West Zone II in the lungs]; then, renal blood flow would be driven by a gradient between MAP and renal interstitial pressure [not renal venous pressure]. I know of one paper that addresses this physiology in dogs, and finds the vascular ‘choke point’ to be in the renal venous system and not Bowman’s space.

What’s even more interesting, is that when renal interstitial pressure is elevated is that the kidney behaves in a sodium avid state [i.e. urine electrolytes will appear ‘pre-renal’] and this physiology has been known for at least a century!

Lancet. 1988 May 7;1(8593):1033-5. Raised venous pressure: a direct cause of renal sodium retention in oedema?

There is no good explanation as to why this occurs, but one I read is that the high renal interstitial pressure tends to collapse the afferent arteriole and the decrease in afferent arteriole trans-mural pressure which facilitates renin secretion [just like low blood pressure would]; but that would require a fairly high renal interstitial pressure unless the MAP was concomitantly low.

Again, what I must caution [and I’ve been personally wrong about this] is the reflex to give diuretics when seeing a ‘plump IVC’. When I was treating a woman with mild collagen-vascular-related pulmonary arterial hypertension, community-acquired pneumonia with a parapneumonic effusion and new acute renal failure, I assessed her IVC with ultrasound. It was plump an unvarying. I lobbied the nephrologist to try diruesis based on the aforementioned reasoning, but was very wrong. Her kidneys took a hit with lasix. What got her kidneys better was rehydration. In the end, what happened was her mild PAH raised her venous pressure and the hypoxemic vaso-constrction from her new pnuemonia only made that worse. Her right heart pressures, venous pressure and probably renal venous pressure were undoubtedly high. But I didn’t take into consideration her whole picture. She had a bad infection, had large insensible losses and had not been eating and drinking. She was hypovolemic, no doubt, despite her high right heart pressures. Fortunately, her pneumonia resolved and fluids brought her kidneys back to baseline.

Thanks again for another thought-provoking topic

 

Me: Great points as usual Jon, and your last one brings up a bit of a concern I have always had. To play devil’s advocate, one could argue that it may have been resolution of the pneumonia and its metabolic sequelae and possibly other treatment that resulted in improvement of her renal failure, rather than the fluid, no? Did her hypoxia resolution decrease PAP back to normal – with IVC dynamics restoring – and relief of renal congestion, and improvement “despite” fluid?

To me, fluid administration must – at least transiently – increase CO to have any effect on the perfusion side. To do so, my understanding is that it has to go from right to left. Because of the pericardium and interdependence, if RAP exceeds LVEDP, we will start to impair LV preload, which sets up the vicious cycle of a shrinking LV and growing RV. If we can’s increase our RT heart output, obviously our LV CO headed to the kidneys can’t increase either. Hence the assumption would have to be that somehow this additional fluid can – by increasing RV preload (without increasing RV size and further impinging LV?) – help overcome elevated PAP and increase right to left flow. To me, hard to believe without a pericardiectomy (on a short time frame, naturally). Hence I struggle with understanding how a really plump IVC with little variation (if significant pleural pressure variation is occurring) can really still need fluid.

I’d really, really like to get your comments on this. I’ve had a number of conversations about this with people – some of them pretty bright – but none satisfying. Am hoping you can point out my flawed thinking.

 

Jon-Emile: Philippe, you ask very good questions. Your first point is quite valid. I think we have a bias of assigning meaning to a particular intervention because we think that particular intervention will work. For the patient I treated, we administered multiple drugs [oxygen, antibiotics, bronchodilators, we may have even given a dose of steroids] and yet I assign meaning to the fluids given. I think in all patients with complex hemodynamics that there are multiple co-varying interventions that all [hopefully] push the patient in the right direction – making it quite hard to grant significance to one in particular. Yet in the patient I treated, the timing with respect to creatinine change and urine output made it very hard to argue in favor of diuresis. We were checking her creatinine fairly regularly as she was in step-down and we were concerned about the trajectory of her illness. With lasix, her creatinine jumped abruptly on the following chemistry while with fluids, creatinine dropped and her urine output really picked up.

Which brings me to Ulrich’s point. It is well-taken and I hope to have a pulmccm post on this shortly. While the CVP does not have any correlation with volume status or volume responsiveness as you point out, the physiology of the CVP can help explain confusing echocardiographic findings.

All a plump, unvarying IVC with spontaneous inspiration means [if you believe the Guyton, or Magder approach] is that the IVC transmural pressure is remaining on the flat portion of its compliance curve during inspiration.

http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/cc11824.pdf

In other words, the IVC is at such high volume [on the flat portion] that lowering its transmural pressure [lowering the CVP, raising the intra-abdominal pressure or both] does not cause it to shrink in volume.

The question then becomes why is the IVC in this state? And a great analysis to this question is to consider the determinants of great vein volume [which really is a question of great vein/right atrial pressure or the CVP – which is related to volume by compliance].

There are two primary processes which will raise great vein volume and these flow from the Guyton Diagram 1. excessive venous return 2. poor cardiac function or a combination thereof [its really just inflow versus outflow]. Volume status plays one part of venous return, so certainly, if someone is hugely fluid overloaded, their venous return will be enhanced and this will favour a high great vein volume and high great vein pressure, BUT this will be mediated by cardiac function because if the heart can eject the large venous return it is receiving, then the great vein pressure and volume won’t change or may be low. Conversely, if cardiac function is poor, a patient could have a low venous return [e.g. be hypovolemic or euvolemic] and still have a high great vein volume and pressure – simply, because the heart can’t expel from the thorax what little venous return it receives. Importantly, poor cardiac function can mean almost anything [valve dysfunction, tachycardia with arrhythmia, high afterload, poor contractility, etc.].

To me, the above is the true value of thinking about Guyton and the CVP, so when I approach a patient, I try to think about what their venous return curve looks like [by a clinical exam] and I use a TTE to actually see what their heart function looks like [and to me this is the true power of ICU TTE]. The above also explains why CVP simply cannot be a marker of volume status.

In the patient I was treating, her history and physical really suggested poor venous return [she was clearly with a pneumonia, hadn’t been eating and was euvolemic to dry on examination] yet her great vein volume was high on TTE which meant that her cardiac function was most likely poor [on the Guyton Diagram her low venous return curve would be intersecting a very low, flattened cardiac function curve such that shifts with intra-thoracic pressure would not change right heart pressure at all].

But why was her heart function poor? Why could her right heart not eject what little inflow it was receiving? It was probably a combination of things. The pneumonia probably increased right heart afterload which caused some TR, she was tachycardic so wasn’t getting optimal filling time, she was septic with perhaps some underlying cardiomyopathy, perhaps her diastolic blood pressure was lower than normal [she was an elderly lady with likely stiff arteries] and she wasn’t perfusing her right coronary artery well and was suffering from relative ishcemia] it’s certainly is a lot of hand-waving, but all taken together perhaps plausible.

The antibiotics improved her lung function as did the bronchodilators which lowered pulmonary vascular resistance which improved right heart forward flow, maybe the inhaled beta-agonists increased her contractility, maybe the oxygen also lowered her pulmonary vascular resistance, maybe the steroids sensitized her to catechols and this raised her blood pressure and coronary perfusion pressure which improved her right heart function, but also maybe the fluids? Empirically, and in retrospect, venodilating her with lasix probably really lowered her venous return and this crashed what little cardiac reserve she had. It was improving her venous return with fluids that helped.

Sorry if this post is getting too long …

In terms of ventricular interdependence [an excellent, under-appreciated point in the ICU] I think that you have to be very careful extrapolating whether or not this effect is present from an IVC examination. In a classic paper [that caused much consternation at the time] Pinsky found that right atrial pressure was completely uncoupled from right ventricular end-diastolic volume [why the CVP is a poor indicator of volume responsiveness]. Her is a recent review of that paper by Pinsky himself.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24760121

The take home is that while right atrial volume and pressure [and by corollary great vein volume and pressure] can be high, this may not translate to a right ventricle near its elastic limit. Pinsky offers no good explanation as to why this is, but postulates that it may have to do with the complex RV geometry and how this changes during diastole. So until there is a widely accepted means of assessing RV filling with TTE [like an Ea ratio] which could pick up a restricted filling pattern, this is really hard to call on echo. As you are aware, you could look for a flattened septum or D sign during diastole, but I’m not sure how well that sign predicts a patient’s response to a fluid challenge – it certainly screams caution.

This Pinsky paper also highlights a potential disconnect between the physiology proximal to the tricuspid valve and the physiology below it which is also part of my general reluctance to use IVC volume change as a marker of fluid responsiveness, just as I have total reluctance to use CVP [or its change with respiration] as a marker of fluid responsiveness.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time it comes down to ‘guess and check’ – give fluids or give lasix and see what happens. This is why I firmly believe that determining volume status and volume responsiveness are the hands-down hardest party of ICU medicine.

If you’re still reading, I hope this helps.

One more point. I don’t think I gave a full explanation to one of your questions. Please bear with me as this is exceptionally hard to explain with words [indeed why I made heart-lung.org].

The venous return and cardiac function curves are essentially inverse of each other [that is lowering right atrial pressure increases venous inflow but decreases cardiac outflow] so they approximate the letter X [venous return is the \ and cardiac function is the / & the point at which the two lines intersect make up the CVP and defines cardiac output].

If you consider the patient I described, If we assume her venous return is low [because she is venodilated from sepsis and hypovolemic from low PO] then the venous return curve [\] is shifted leftwards. If we assume her cardiac function is poor the cardiac function curve slope [/] is shifted down and to the right.

When she takes a breath in, the lowering of intrathoracic pressure pulls the cardiac function curve leftwards [lowers its pressure relative to venous return] while the increase in in abdominal pressure with diaphragm decent tends to temporarily increase venous return by decreasing abdominal venous capacitance. This effect shifts the venous return curve in a rightward manner.

If the patient’s venous return curve initially intersects the ascending portion of the cardiac function curve [i.e. she is truly volume responsive] BUT, the intersection is very near the plateau of the cardiac function curve [i.e. the portion of the cardiac function curve that will render the patient non-volume responsive and also favour unvarying respiratory change in right atrial pressure/volume with inspiration], THEN with inspiration it is possible to see the intersection of the two curves on the flat portion of the cardiac function curve [as the cardiac function curve is pulled leftwards and the venous return curve is pushed rightwards], even though she does have some cardiac preload reserve. This would be an example of impaired specificity of IVC volume change with spontaneous inspiratory effort as a predictor of volume unresponsiveness [i.e. a false positive for a plump IVC predicting the lack of fluid responsiveness].

I address this physiology in chapter 6 parts C and D and chapter 8 part F.

 

Me: Very, very interesting. I think this discussion, as many, show how medicine is not a “hard science” but remains a “pseudo-science”, inherent to the fact that we are blending physics, chemistry, biology and cannot really apply simple principles of flow and pressures when dealing with elastic, muscular systems lined with microscopic coating whose compliance and resistance change from moment to moment and thru effect of neural and hormonal influence. There are simply too many unmeasurable variables to come up with single guidelines and rules.

I think, as you say, that there remains a need for some degree of trial and error, that we are hopefully narrowing with the appropriate application of technology and proper data integration.

I’ll percolate all this and see how I can tweak my mental model!

Thanks a lot Jon-Emile!

Philippe

 

 

please visit Jon-Emile at http://www.heart-lung.org

Heart-Lung

 

 

cheers!

…and don’t forget to register for CCUS 2015 at http://www.ccusinstitute.org!!!

Philippe

The IVC: Short vs Long Axis…Be The Judge! #FOAMed, #FOAMus, #FOAMcc

So yesterday had a case that really brought out this issue. One of my ICU patients didn’t have a great urine output, so instead of playing a guessing game looking at urea, creatinine, ins & outs, etc, etc (hopefully no one is thinking CVP…), I did what any self-respecting bedside sonographer would and went for a direct look.

Here is what his IVC in standard long axis looked like:

So…it looks like its about 20mm, and not a whole lot of variation seen. Hmm, maybe he’s on the “fuller” side.  Some may even consider that he wouldn’t be volume-responsive.

Before we go on, lets just have a brief physiological review. What we are looking for when assessing IVC is an idea of its volumetric change with respiratory swings. So ideally we should be obtaining a 3D volume measurement, but maybe the traditional 2 point diameter may suffice, assuming that the IVC is a near perfect cylinder. Assuming?

I’ve mentioned this in a previous IVC post (http://wp.me/p1avUV-8E).

So let’s get back to yesterday’s patient. Short axis:

Yes, the IVC is that tall, skinny sliver that collapses completely with (gentle) inspiration. Still think that this patient is in the full side?  Maybe not. Gave him some fluid and the urine output picked up.

 

Bottom Line?

This is why I think much of the IVC literature is imperfect. Unfortunately the appealing idea of standardizing IVC assessment to a single two-point measurement is inherently flawed, due once again to individual patient variation. It would be great to see all those studies re-done with a global IVC assessment strategy. In the end, it isn’t any more time-consuming – just like the Simpson’s disks vs eyeballing.

Cheers!

Oh yeah, again, if you are an acute care doc, and you like the cutting edge, donate forget to register for CCUS 2015, Montreal, may 1-3!  www.ccusinstitute.org!

Philippe

A Bedside Ultrasound Case & Poll: All Infiltrates are not created Equal: A Follow Up! #FOAMed #FOAMcc #FOAMus

Ok so so far, the votes show the following:

CHF 52%

PE 26%

Pneumonia 21%

So, as most of you had figured out, the fever and white count turned out to be fairly insignificant.  I started diuretics on him and stopped IV fluids (in truth, he spent a few hours still receiving IV NS at 100cc/hr as it sadly slipped by me – I know… NS to add insult to injury).  I also stopped antibiotics to the alarm of some, but keep in mind we have a lot of c.difficile in our institution, and I did not believe the had CHF AND a significant pneumonia (that would go against Occam’s razor…). He was not septic, and another discrepancy that led me away from the diagnosis of pneumonia is that a patient with significant bilateral infiltrates due to pneumonia is sick: toxic, dyspneic, fulfills Scott’s LLS score of 1 (Looks Like Shit – range 0 to 1).

Within a few hours and perhaps a negative balance of a liter or so, he feels much better. Here is his IVC at that point:

36 hours later, his CXR is clear and he is off O2.

Angiogram turns out normal – as anticipated – EKG only ever had some vague non-specific ST abnormalities. He likely had a viral cardiomyopathy – some ancillary tests still pending (HIV, etc), but is to be discharged soon.

For those who voted pneumonia, certainly initially it could not be ruled out, only the clinical evolution made it highly unlikely as a significant player.

For those who felt this represented pulmonary embolism, remember that the primary hemodynamic mechanism will be right heart failure, hence the RV would most likely be as large, and potentially larger depending on the severity of the embolism. Again, this cannot be ruled out by bedside ultrasound, it can only be ruled out as a main cause of respiratory failure. Also note that the chest xray is generally normal, or may show the peripheral wedge shaped infarct (Hampton’s hump). Bilateral infiltrates would not be the rule. But it’s always a good thing to keep it in mind!

Bottom Line?

I think this case illustrates well the limitations of physical examination, and although more commonly, pneumonias (especially in the elderly) get digressed because they “had crackles,” sometimes, patients we might not expect may have CHF.

From the moment one notes a large, plethoric IVC, one should anticipate downstream pathology of some kind (overzealous iatrogenic fluid overload being the exception), whether tamponade, pulmonary embolism, LV failure, pulmonary hypertension, but something.

Hence, in this case, bedside ultrasound proved invaluable. After all, he was recieving less-than-optimal therapy for CHF: fluids and antibiotics… This may be a case that would have proceeded to “ARDS”, and although I don’t doubt that at some point along the line, an echo would have been done, the delay may have had consequences. In our center, no one gets into the ICU without at the very least a cardiopulmonary bedside ultrasound. It is done routinely, not only for specific indications – the real indication is having a patient in front of you.

Please don’t forget, if this is up your alley, don’t miss CCUS 2015: Way Beyond EGDT and ACLS!!!  #CCUS2015

cheers!

Philippe

 

Jon Emile says:

Great case, great windows and images. I agree with your management totally. I do recall once, however, having a patient admitted for heart failure following a bedside TTE performed by a great resident, unfortunately [and in retrospect] the patient likely had a septic cardiomyopathy. The patient felt great with diuresis, but then his BP crashed as the sepsis took hold.

Recall the classic paper by Parrillo NEJM 1993 who looked at the left ventricle during the acute phase of septic shock and found LVEDV to LVESV values of 225 ml to 150 mL. The EF was in the low 30s. During the recovery phase, LVEDV to LVESV was 150 to 75 mL and EF of 50%. He noted that dilation of the left ventricle seemed to confer a mortality benefit, & that this may be a compensatory response to maintain stroke volume. This may be more striking in young patients as yours. When I first read your case a mycoplasma peri-myocarditis came to mind [I treated a case of this as a resident in the Manhattan VA]. The classic finding in this disease being bullous myringitis.

Thanks for the awesome echo videos!

 

Great point Jon!  Septic cardiomyopathy – which is very common – is definitely something to keep in mind. Indeed the LV dilation noted by Parillo would be a sensical adaptation to limited contractility. I remember seeing a particularly impressive case in a young woman with significant dilation and an EF in the 15-20% range, with incredibly rapid recovery to the 40’s and 50’s  by a day later. I’ve yet to see septic cardiomyopathy happen, however, in a patient who isn’t that sick, i.e. no pressors, no acidosis, etc…

Great point about mycoplasma, which was brought up by our ID consultant at first, but who also agreed he wasn’t that sick and agreed to stop once noting the CXR had cleared with diuresis.

 

Thanks for reading!

A Bedside Ultrasound Case & Poll: All Infiltrates Are Not Created Equal. #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

So I get an early morning call from a really good ER guy informing me of a likely ICU admission: a young guy (30’s) with a bilateral pneumonia and fever whom he suspected might get worse before he got better. He’s given him some fluids and started ceftriaxone and azithromycin. Sounds good to me. Sold. I tell him I’ll come take a look as soon as I roll into work (we do home call).

An hour or so later I head to the ED and see a him, in bed at 30 degrees or so with nasal prongs, maybe a little tachypneic but certainly not in severe distress and not particularly toxic. The nurse informs me that his temperature was apparently 40 degrees. The CXR (I’ll try to put it up soon) shows bilateral infiltrates, more predominant in the lower two thirds of the lung fields. WBC is 14, lactate 2.3.

So this guy had been short of breath for about 2 weeks, having some cough and localized left sided pain associated with movement, cough and pressure. The cough was non-productive.  As I was getting this history (yup, generally bedside ultrasound is simultaneous with history-taking for me), this is what I see:

(parasternal long axis)

(parasternal short axis)

(right lower costal margin)

(you can see this in most of the lung fields)

He has no past medical history or notable family history, drinks occasional wine, has not traveled of late and works as an electrician. He is active and played soccer – the last time a few weeks ago. He came to the ED for dyspnea, but had still been able to go up several flights of stairs, albeit with more dyspnea than he normally would have.

 

 

 

check back tomorrow and let’s see what happens!

 

cheers!

 

Philippe

Bedside Ultrasound Case Debate Part 2: To lyse or not to lyse… #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

If you haven’t read Part 1, get the story and the cool clips here first:  http://wp.me/p1avUV-ce

 

So the polls are in!  So far at least, 58% of you would blast away with full dose lytics, 26% with MOPETT-style half-dose, 10% content with heparin, and 5% would go for a PA catheter directed lysis.

So 90% would lyse this patient.  I’m glad to hear that, because in my opinion, more patients should be lysed than I see being done around me.

What did I do?  I went for the half-dose lytics, with an excellent result. Within a few hours she was much less dyspneic, BP was up to 110-120 systolic, and though RV dysfunction persisted, it was mostly resolved by the next day.  I think it is important to note that I had a long chat with her, explaining the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage, which I quoted as being less than 2%.  She opted for thrombolysis with the idea of averting cardiopulmonary limitation given her active lifestyle.

I think the physiological rationale for half-dose lytics is good, since, unlike when used for arterial lysis (coronary or cerebral) the entire dose will pass through the lungs. One could argue that the clot burden is larger,  but the resolution seen in MOPETT and in the dozen or so cases I’ve lysed (no intracerebral bleeds yet), rapid resolution of RV dysfunction supports a sufficient response.  I’ve yet to give – but am ready and willing – a “rescue” top-up 2nd half dose if the first hasn’t worked.

I think the other important point in this case is the importance of bedside ultrasound in the assessment of all shock patients. Although I have no doubt whatsoever that my competent colleague would have come to the diagnosis of PE, it may have been minutes to hours later, possibly after having to begin pressors for a lack of response to fluids.  I won’t hypothesize what might have happened in that time. Maybe nothing, maybe not.

She went home a few days later.

This is why the blind administration of fluid resuscitation is a growing pet peeve of mine.  Two litres in sepsis? Ok, probably, but not every shock is sepsis…  I think that in 2014, going on 2015, with virtually all ERs and ICUs equipped with an ultrasound, there is no place for the empiric bolus. It takes all of 5 seconds to look at an IVC, and another 15 to get an idea of cardiac function in most patients. Like a famous corporation says:

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 10.31.18 PM

Opinions, rants and rotten tomatoes welcome!

cheers

 

Philippe

 

Bedside Ultrasound Case Debate Part 1: A Poll ! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

So I’m walking to the ED to reassess a COPD’er that was on BiPAP, and one of the ED docs sees me in passing and says – “I might have a case for you, she’s on her 3rd litre and still a bit hypotensive…I’ll let you know.”  So I re-route and decide to take a look right away, because I’m never fond of shock NYD.

So here is this woman in her 50’s, BP is 93/67, RR 22 and moderately dyspneic. She has been increasingly so for a few days without infectious symptoms. The X-ray is clear and her labs unremarkable aside from a lactate at 3.3 mmol/l.  She is moderately overweight but quite active. Non=smoker without any cardiorespiratory known illness and on no medications.

Here is what we see on ultrasound-enchanced physical examination:

So, what do you see?

In the first clip, we see a large, dilated IVC with little variation – despite the dyspnea, making it a more significant finding – according to the Effort-Variation Index (http://wp.me/p1avUV-9k).   This automatically implies there will be some pathology (unless iatrogenically very volume loaded) to be found downstream.

In the second clip, you have a hyperdynamic and underfilled LV and a dilated, poorly contractile RV.  In the absence of cardiopulmonary disease and in an active patient, this is highly suggestive of an acute process, namely pulmonary embolism.

On further questioning she had done a new yoga stretching class as a possible endothelial-damaging process.

So what did I do? Get a STAT angioscan:

 

What would you do next?

 

I’ll tell you what I did tomorrow, and hopefully have some good bloody arguments!

 

PS for awesome talks by amazing speakers, don’t forget to register for CCUS 2015!!! For more info: http://wp.me/p1avUV-aU and register at www.ccusinstitute.org!

 

cheers

 

Philippe

 

Limited EGDT in Zambia Study: Salt Water Drowning Syndrome… #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

So in this month’s issue of Critical Care Medicine, an interesting article was published, where investigators took a (necessarily) simplified version of EGDT to Zambia and applied it to septic patients. It turned out they had to stop it early due to an excessive number of cases of respiratory failure in the treatment group.  The difference was – you guessed it – they got “aggressive” volume resuscitation – up to 4l in the first 6 hours – guided by JVP assessment, and blood and dopamine if needed.

Simplified_Severe_Sepsis_Protocol___A_Randomized.1

The amounts received by 6, 24 and 72h were 2.9, 3.9 and 5.6 l for the treatment group vs 1.6, 3.0 and 4.3 l.

Now lets keep in mind that the patients, for the most part, did not have access to critical care, so the limited resources for ventilatory support made stopping the trial a bit early the only reasonable thing to do. Mortality in the treatment group was 64% and control 60%. High numbers, but this is explained in part by the prevalence of HIV (80%) and TB (37% of the HIV positive patients), so this data can’t necessarily be extrapolated to all populations, but to me, this is physiological support for the concept that aggressive fluid resuscitation – as I have stated in prior posts/podcasts – is most dangerous in those patients where the septic source – presumably “leaky” is ill-equipped to handle extra-physiological fluid.  In these patients, as Myburgh states in a sepsis talk, “noradrenaline is the fluid of choice,” and although perhaps a bit tongue in cheek, this certainly speaks to my beliefs of resuscitating to euvolemia rather than to the lack of volume responsiveness (http://intensivecarenetwork.com/myburgh-john-beta-blockers-and-sepsis/).

Additionally, these patients were not hypotensive, and lactate was not available – local limitations of medical system. Hence the definition of severe sepsis triggering aggressive fluid resuscitation was based  on SIRS type criteria, rather than some form of volume assessment.

 

Bottom line?

Be cautious in aggressive fluid administration in pulmonary sepsis. What, I really dislike when people say “be careful” or “be cautious,” because let’s face it, that doesn’t really mean anything, does it?  It doesn’t tell you what to actually do… We are frontline clinicians, so I’ll say to limit fluid resuscitation in pulmonary sepsis.  2 litres up front?  Probably ok so long as I have a varying, mid-size IVC (maybe 10-15mm – arbitrary and chronic pulmonary disease and hypertension have to be factored in) and a decent heart, but I don’t want to get to the point of no longer being fluid-responsive. Rather, go to pressors a bit earlier, perhaps, and no need for ongoing “maintenance” fluids at 100-150 cc’s an hour – remember that 80% of this wonderful therapy ends up where we don’t want it to.

 

cheers!

 

Philippe

PS for awesome talks by amazing speakers, don’t forget to register for CCUS 2015!!! For more info: http://wp.me/p1avUV-aU and register at http://www.ccusinstitute.org