Working out the Clinical Kinks in Venous Congestion: A Discussion w/Rory & Korbin. #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

It’s really exciting to be at the outer frontier, trying to figure out some new clinical areas. Now these have all been described, however the ability of clinicians to properly identify certain pathophysiological findings has been limited prior to POCUS. Following the trail being blazed by Dr. Andre Denault, we are also working on expanding the applications, particularly in resuscitation/deresuscitation and CHF/AKI. There are more questions than answers, but that’s exactly why it’s interesting.

So for those unfamiliar with the topic here is a small intro:

And for those following, here is the discussion:


Do expect more from us about this. Watch this space. It is practice changing.


Additional resources:

Here’s a link to the article referenced during the recording:

Andre and I discussing venous congestion

…if you dig around the blog in the past year there are a bunch more!


do share your thoughts!





CCUS Institute POCUS & Resuscitationist Mini-Fellowship: Evolution.


So over the last couple of years, the POCUS Mini-Fellowships have been slowly but steadily morphing into POCUS-Resus training.  With POCUS essentially critical in all aspects in resus, including venous congestion assessment, ventilation, diagnostics, it is a natural extension to blend the exchange into many of the other tools that we use, including discussions around fluids choices, pressor choices, monitoring using NIRS tissue oximetry, ETCO2, and overall resuscitation strategies.

Some structured workshops will include percutaneous pigtail insertion, vascular access phantom practice and both surgical and percutaneous surgical airway manikin practice, depending on participants’ choice.

We have recently expanded with the addition of Dr. Philippe St-Arnaud, ER and CC doc and EDE (Emergency Department Echography) Instructor extraordinaire, who will increase our availability – which had been fairly limited – apologies to those whom we could not accommodate due to scheduling reasons.

This is an excellent complement to an RLA (I’m part of that faculty) or ULA fellowship, to bring a real clinical experience into the mix.

Of course, if you are a canadian resident you can get a whole month of this for free by doing an ICU elective at Santa Cabrini Hospital (well, americans are also welcome but more hoops to jump thru!).

For more details and registration information see here.

And here is some of the most recent feedback from the fellows:


        This review is for the CCUS Institute Bedside Ultrasound (US) Mini-Fellowship. I was fortunate to do the mini-fellowship after the Hospitalist & Resuscitationist conference, and I was able to put into practice various techniques that we learned. Dr. Rola was a pleasure to work with and was well-versed with the latest US and free online access meducation (FOAM). The atmosphere was conducive to learning, and we picked up an ultrasound almost immediately and used it extensively through each day. We used various US machines and were able to get a good feel for all of them. My US experience before the mini-fellowship had been a two-day introductory course with healthy medical students as volunteers. At the mini-fellowship, being able to learn on actual critically ill patients was illuminating and helped cement what I had learned. We also went over relatively new bedside techniques such as point-of-care trans-cranial doppler (TCD) and optic nerve US (ONSD). Overall, the experience was well worth the 2800 mile trip, and I would enthusiastically recommend it to anyone that is interested in learning practical applications of US. – Dr. Pranay Parikh, Los Angeles, USA.

So join us for a few days of intense, real clinical learning.




Renovascular #POCUS: Technique with Korbin Haycock. #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

Korbin Haycock, ER doc extraordinaire.


So a few months ago I got to talking with Korbin about POCUS, fluids and resuscitation, only to find out this guy is doing all sorts of awesome stuff in his ED in sunny California.  Got to meet him at H&R2018 and he had even more tricks up his sleeve he was telling me about. He will definitely be back for H&R2019 on the faculty side of things.

In the meantime, let’s review renovascular ultrasound with him:

And here is our discussion that took place at TheRounds Backstage during #HR2018.

Interesting stuff. It isn’t always so easy to get a nice renal view in ICU patients, but with some perseverance you often can. I’ve been toying with it and tying it in with the hepatic and portal flow patterns, but I have to admit I had sort of dismissed renal resistive index based on what I could find in the literature, that is until I got to chat with Korbin, who made me see there are some interesting avenues, especially the example he states on seeing it improve with vasopressin use in shock patients, which correlates with some of the data out there suggesting decreased need for RRT and better outputs with vasopressin on board.

I have a feeling there is relevance to this in acute care, and that the next couple of years will reveal some usefulness. The glitch had always been in not knowing what the baseline RRI is, and that it can be abnormal in chronic RF. There are, however, many patients who were perfectly well previously and where the assumption that their baseline is normal is probably safe.

Love to hear comments from anyone using this!





POCUS & Venous Congestion – A Clinical Case Discussion with Rory Spiegel (@EMnerd_), #FOAMed, #FOAMus, #FOAMcc

Hi, so as a follow up to our earlier discussion, which can be found here, Rory and I discuss a recent case he had, which I think exemplifies well many of the clinical conundrums that are seen in fluid resuscitation, one being the general resistance of many to diurese patients who are still in shock on vasopressors, instead preferring to (hopefully) wait until shock resolution to de-resuscitate. But sometimes, it is exactly what they need, as some of this congestion may be, in fact, a cause of shock…

Here you go:

Love to hear opinions, so feel free to reach out.


For those who may be interested at learning some of these POCUS skills, check out H&R2018 (#Hres2018)!





H&R2018: Final Program! Only a few spots left!

Do you take care of sick patients?  If so, you’ll be liking these two days.

Jon-Emile Kenny, Rory Spiegel, Josh Farkas and Andre Denault in the same, small auditorium. It’s a treat.

So here is the schedule for both days, including the workshops, which at this point are almost filled. We’re quite excited as it has really come along well, and all the speakers are amped to teach and learn, which is the point of this whole thing.


Due to fire code, space is limited so register now! And honestly, the workshops are almost full, but if there is sufficient demand, we might add one or two, so don’t be shy. Someone even asked for a Neuro-POCUS workshop. A couple more inquiries and we’ll do it!

Download the brochure and registration form here: H&R2018 – Brochure-Participants


Thanks and see you in Montreal in April!


The Scientific & Organizing Committee

The Hospitalist & The Resuscitationist. Montreal, April 18th & 19th, 2018. #Hres2018

So for this winter, we’ve put together a little gem of a conference which will be a mix of hospitalist and critical care medicine, both with a dash of POCUS for good measure. Our focus here will be short, to the point, highly relevant and highly physiological talks on key topics, in short, 15 minute talks.

What are we going to talk about?

Day 1: The Hospitalist


Day 2: The Resuscitationist



You can figure there will also be late-breakers, “ask the crowd” talks and more.

Workshops? Sure:

Yup. You can ask for a workshop. Enough similar requests will probably make it happen. A few have already asked for Neuro-POCUS, so that is a likely addition.


So, who will be talking?  The lineup already includes Andre Denault, Josh Farkas (@Pulmcrit), Jon-Emile Kenny (@heart_lung), Rory Spiegel (@EMnerd), Hussein Fadlallah, Peter Barriga, Daniel Kaud, Davide Maggio, Michael Palumbo, William Beaubien-Souligny, and a few more to confirm. And who knows who might do an impromptu drop-in…


The short answer is yes. Of course, it does depend on what you do. If you are a hospitalist, involved in critical care or acute care of any kinds, you will find something here for you. Totally awesome for IM residents/FM residents planning on doing some hospital medicine or ICU coverage. Who will get the most bang for his or her buck here? Real docs training or working in the trenches. This isn’t a cutting edge research conference, but a cutting edge clinical application conference.


Oh yes, and the CME, of course:


This will be a small, fun conference. Space is purposely limited, for an intimate feel and to encourage discussion between peers. No need for these exclusive “meet-the-professor lunch” or anything like that: that’s what the whole event is like!


Registration is open! Print, fill, write a cheque and send the form below:


If you’re crazy busy, or have any questions, feel free to email or tweet (@ThinkingCC) to reserve a spot! 

Download the brochure here:

H&R2018 Brochure – Participants




The H&R 2018 Scientific & Organizing Committee:

Dr. Philippe St-Arnaud – ER and Critical Care doc, POCUS instructor and constantly pushing the clinical envelope.

Dr. Carola Zambrana – our Hospitalist on the panel, constantly seeking excellence in care and working on bringing POCUS to the wards.

Dr. Mario Rizzi – our friendly neighborhood respirologist and educator.

Dr. Philippe Rola – Critical Care doc, long time POCUS aficionado and instructor, working at bringing POCUS into the everyday physical exam.


Fluid Stop Points! More POCUS goodness from Korbin Haycock. #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

I am really enjoying this exchange, and I think it is in the true spirit of #FOAMed to foster these discussions, as we have the opportunity to combine and fine tune our understanding of a topic from several really bright people’s view and experience. 


Jon-Emile, excellent points and insight. I should clarify a couple of my comments. To be specific, by “renal vein flow” I am referring to intra-renal venous flow. Apologies for my imprecision! Thanks for pointing that out.

Yes, a lot of these renal and portal Doppler patterns are surrogates of CVP. But I don’t think any of us would use CVP in isolation these days to make any decision what-so-ever on whether fluids were indicated in our patient.

Also, to clarify, I am not using intra-renal venous flow or renal resistive index as measures of non-fluid responsiveness. Rather, I use these measures as a stop point for attempting to solve the patient’s hemodynamic dysfunction with crystalloid regardless of whether or not my straight leg test tells me the patient is still fluid responsive.

And that is a key re-iteration to me. It is important to set these stop points and not only look at whether the cardiac output can be maximized. This has been tried. And failed. Let’s remember that sepsis is not inherently a disease of low flow. It isn’t cardiogenic or hypovolemic shock at the core.

My rationale for the strategy of using intra-renal Doppler, E/e’, and Lung US (now, I can include portal vein pulsatility) as a stop point for IVF administration is that I think the patient is best served to avoid iatrogenic edema of the upstream organs, primarily the lungs and the kidneys. These are the two organs (maybe you could put the endothelium in this category as well–glycocalyx being a whole other can of worms!) most easily damaged by the chase for optimizing every bit of fluid responsiveness. We have good evidence that getting wet lungs and swollen, congested kidneys is a bad thing, and we have these tools to hopefully warn us when we are pushing things too far.

Absolutely. And the whole glycocalyx is something to keep in mind, even if only to me mindful to disrupt it as little as possible.

Of course renal resistive index, intra-renal venous flow, portal vein pulsativity, and whatever else you like will have limitations and confounders. As long as you understand what can cause abnormalities with these tools, you can make an educated guess as to what’s going on. If our creatinine is off and our RRI is high, but intra-renal venous flow and portal vein flow is normal, perhaps the RRI is caused by something other than renal congestion, like ATN. If the portal vein is pulsatile, but the Doppler patterns of the hepatic vein, kidney and the heart look ok, maybe something else is wrong with the liver. But, if all our modalities are in agreement and pointing to congestion, we should perhaps believe that it’s congestion and stop the fluids. 

That is an awesome approach to integrating RRI. I’ve been toying with it for the last couple of days, and much thanks to Korbin, I think that the limitations of RRI can be overcome by using the rest of our clinical and POCUS data.

It isn’t a hard technique, though in some patients getting a good signal can be tricky.

I think that the kidney, being an encapsulated organ, and the fact that much of our crystalloid ends up as interstitial edema, the kidney will develop sub-optimal flow patterns before CVP would cause congestion. The same is true regarding the lung, except that it’s just related to increased pulmonary permeability due to inflammation. Regardless, the idea is to save organs, and the earlier you can detect the problem, the sonner you can stop battering the more delicate organs with fluid.

As I think we have all mentioned, you really have to look at the whole picture, and put it together to tell the story of what is wrong, so we can logically and thoughtfully treat our patients.

I really appreciate this discussion. Thanks!



Thanks to Andre, Jon and Korbin for making this very educative for all!





ps don’t miss the POCUS Workshops on venous assessment at  !!!