The Subtleties of the SHOC-ED Trial: Don’t Just Read The Abstract! #FOAMed

So this was my comment to my friend Jon’s awesome discussion on the SHOC-ED Trial, which is certainly interesting.

Jon, great post as always! I do agree with most of it, but would have to caution readers about reading it with the filtered glasses that make people too often take home the message that they want to – usually the path of least resistance (or change). I think your main point and most critical one is that there is no protocol or recipe that should ever be applied to resuscitation, especially single-variable-based resuscitation (eg old school orders like CVP>12 lasix and <12 bolus), and substituting the IVC for CVP won’t help. And from a standpoint of volume-responsiveness, I totally agree, with the understanding that as the IVC gets more plethoric, the percentage of responsive patients will decrease, inevitably, but one cannot predict with certainty whether that one patient will or will not. However, the parallel change is that, as the IVC gets more plethoric, the volume tolerance is likely decreasing as well, so that your benefit to risk ratio is dropping. And of course you can’t recipe that just based on IVC, but should be looking at the site of pathology (eg lung, brain abcess, pancreatitis with ACS, etc…), physical exam, to determine your patient’s volume tolerance. Because we all know that most of that miraculous fluid will end up clogging the interstitium, with consequences ranging from cosmetic to fatal (though usually blamed on the patient being “so sick” in the first place, absolving the clinician from any wrongdoing). So comments like the one previous to mine, stating “give volume and see if the response occurs” are, in my mind, a poor approach. We know from studies that you cannot simply remove the fluid you gave and go back to the start with lasix (glycocalyx damage, etc), and we also know that much of the effect of said fluid administration dissipates in minutes to hours (I’m sure Jon can quote these studies off the top of his head!).

As we have discussed in the past, I think POCUS is much underused as a fluid stop point – most of its use is on the ‘let’s find a cool reason to give.’  I would argue that you should hardly ever give fluid to a full IVC (especially if markers of pathological congestion are present – portal vein pulsatility and all), unless you are dealing with temporarily improving tamponade or tension pneumo, because even if you are volume responsive, you are likely not volume tolerant. This also goes to the point that a single, initial POCUS exam will potentially not have the same impact as a whole POCUS-based management which will use it to reassess congestion status, cardiac function, etc.

Having said all this, the most important part of the SHOC-ED article is, in my mind, their discussion, which is full of all the important reasons why the final conclusion is not `we don’t need to do POCUS in shock,’ which is what I see happening (similarly to the TTM reaction), as they outline the cognitive fallacy of putting on trial a diagnostic tool whilst the therapeutics are not yet clearly established. Those only reading the abstract or conclusion will actually miss the important points of this study which the authors clearly explain.

In particular, the ‘rare’ instances of tamponade or aortic aneurysm or PE in their series would be diluted out by the sepsis, but for those patients, it would matter. As the authors state:

‘one might argue that even a single unanticipated emergency procedure would justify the use of POCUS in critically ill patients.

I would have to wholeheartedly agree.




H&R2019! Final Programme. Register Now! Montreal, May 22-24, 2019! #HR2019


Click here to register!

So many apologies for all those who expressed interest in the last few days, but we are finally operational!  Registration is open and we have said goodbye to the snail mail process. Fortunately, we are a lot more cutting edge in medicine than in non-medical technology.

We are really excited about this programme, and a lot of it comes from the energy and passion coming from the faculty, who are all really passionate about every topic we have come up with.

Scientific Programme

Wednesday May 22 – PreCongress courses


Full day Resuscitative TEE Course 

Full day Keynotable

Half day Hospitalist POCUS (PM)

Half day Critical Care Procedures (AM)

Half day Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for MDs (AM)

(for more details please see here)


Thursday May 23 – Day 1

0800-0820 – Respiratory failure on the wards – MALLEMAT

0820-0840 – Phenotyping Cardiac Arrest – SPIEGEL

0840-0900 – Help! my patient is bleeding! AJJAMADA

0900-0920 – Perioperative basics. KAUD

0920-0940 – Advanced POCUS-based management of CHF – ROLA

1020-1040 – Pharmacology Pearls – VINCENT

1040-1100 – Green Medicine: Can We Help Save the Planet? ZIGBY

1120-1140 – A Free Upgrade to your WBC: The NLR! FARKAS

Critical Care track

1240-1300 – pH-guided fluid resuscitation – FARKAS

1300-1320 – the Great EPI debate – SPIEGEL

1320-1340 – Revisiting CPR physiology: What do we know? – TERAN

1340-1400 – Cardiogenic Shock 2019 – OLUSANYA

1400-1420 – Late Breaker TBA – MALLEMAT

1420-1440 –  Intra-Arrest Hemodynamics: One Size Doesn’t Fit All – TERAN

Hospitalist track

1240-1310 EKG Pearls – MULLIE

1310-1330 Nutrition in the Hospitalized Patient – RUBINO

1330-1400 The Best Neuro Exam Ever! – TBA

1400-1420 Dermatology 101 – SKINNER

Workshops (1500-1700) 

Workshops will have an open format where you can attend as many or as few as you would like, and spend as much time as you choose. This will enable you to focus on the areas you want to gain the most from:

Basic Hospitalist POCUS (IVC, lungs, heart, renovascular and GI, US-guided venous access),

Pharmacology Cases 

EKG Cases 

Nuts & Bolts: Troubleshooting Thoracic Drainage

Mid-Line Catheter Insertion  

KENNY’s Cardio-Pulmonary Physiology Workshop 

SPIEGEL’s The Art of the Bougie – Airway Workshop 


Meet the Faculty cocktail! 1900 – Location TBA


Friday May 24 – Day 2

0800-0820 Metabolic Resuscitation: is is for real? FARKAS

0820-0840 Acid-Base in 3 Parts – SPIEGEL

0840-0900 Late-Breaker TBA

0900-0920 Gut POCUS – BAKER

0920-0940 Diastology for Intensivists – CHEN

1020-1040 The Art of the Bougie – SPIEGEL

1040-1100 Renal Doppler in Acute Care. HAYCOCK

1100-1120  The IVC don’t Lie: Ask the Right Question! KENNY

1120-1140 Blood Pressure: a Closer Look. MAGDER

Trauma track

1240-1300 Permissive Hypotension: Permissive Death?  NEMETH

1300-1320 Thoracic Trauma – HAYCOCK

1320-1340 Massive transfusion – MALLEMAT

1340-1400 To REBOA or Not To REBOA – HAYCOCK

1400-1440 Traumatic Cardiac Arrest: How To Avoid Killing the Dead! NEMETH

Critical Care Track

1240-1300 Inhalation Therapy for acute RV Failure – DENAULT

1300-1320 Advanced Doppler for the Intensivist – KENNY

1320-1340 Pmsa: Is There a Clinical Use? OLUSANYA

1340-1400 Got ROSC! Now What? TERAN

1400-1420 – Insights on Delirium Using POCUS – DENAULT

Workshops (1500-1700)

Advanced POCUS (venous, shock, advanced CHF, GI, neuroPOCUS)

TERAN’s Intro to Resus TEE


Intro to ECMO


KENNY’s Advanced Physiology Workshop


Register here!

contact us at with any questions!

The Resus Tracks 06: Farkas (@Pulmcrit) on Shock Perfusion and Infrared Tech! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

So I had the chance to catch my friend Josh today, and, as always, he had some unique insights to contribute.


I really like the IR idea from the standpoint of objectivity and reproducibility. At first it sounded like a fancy (and fun, of course) way to check skin temperature as I routinely do, but the ability to objectify from doc to doc could be really interesting. Will get on that with my colleagues in my unit. We’ll see what we can come up with in the next months!


Love to hear from some others trying to tweak and optimize their resus!





Shock Macro and Micro-circulation: Piecing things together. (Part 1) #FOAMed, #FOAMcc


So I have really, really enjoyed the discussions I had with these bright people on shock circulation:

Segun Olusanya (@iceman_ex) Resus Track 2

Rory Spiegel (@EMnerd) Resus Track 3

Korbin Haycock (tell him to get on twitter) Resus Track 4

Jon Emile (@heart-lung)  Resus Track 5


Some take home points so far:

I think that more questions than answers truthfully came out of this, and that is really the best part. But lets see what the common agreed upon thoughts were:

a. the relationship between the MAP and tissue perfusion it quite complex, and definitely not linear. So scrap that idea that more MAP is more perfusion. Could be more, same, or less…

b. you can definitely over-vasoconstrict with vasopressors such that a increasing MAP, at some point, can decrease tissue perfusion. Clinically, we have all seen this.

c. no matter what you are doing theorizing about physiology and resuscitation, THE MOST IMPORTANT IS TO CONTROL THE SOURCE!


Some of the interesting possibilities:

a. Korbin sometimes sees decreasing renal resistive indices with resuscitation, particularly with the addition of vasopressin.

b. the Pmsa – can this be used to assess our stressed volume and affect our fluid/vasopressor balance?

c. trending the end-diastolic velocity as a surrogate for the Pcc and trending the effect of hemodynamic interventions on tissue perfusion.

This stuff is fascinating, as we have essentially no bedside ability to track and measure perfusion at the tissue level. This is definitely a space to watch, and we’ll be digging further into this topic.


Jon-Emile added a really good clinical breakdown:

I think one way to think of it is by an example. Imagine 3 patient’s MAPs are 55 mmHg. You start or increase the norepi dose. You could have three different responses as you interrogate the renal artery with quantitative Doppler:

patient 1: MAP increases to 65 mmHg, and renal artery end-diastolic velocity drops from 30 cm/s to 15 cm/s
patient 2: MAP increases to 65 mmHg and renal artery end-diastolic velocity remains unchanged.
patient 3: MAP increases to 65 mmHg and renal artery EDV rises from 10 cm/s to 25 cm/s

in the first situation, you are probably raising the critical closing pressure [i know i kept saying collapse in the recording] relative to the MAP. the pressure gradient falls and therefore velocity falls at end diastole. one would also expect flow to fall in this case, if you did VTI and calculated area of renal artery. in this situation you are raising arteriolar pressure, but primarily by constriction of downstream vessels and perfusion may be impaired. ***the effects on GFR are complicated and would depend on relative afferent versus efferent constriction***

in the second situation, you have raised MAP, and probably not changed the closing pressure because the velocity at the end of diastole is the same. if you look at figure 2 in the paper linked to above, you can see that increasing *flow* to the arterioles will increase MAP relative to the Pcc [closing pressure]. the increase in flow raises the volume of the arteriole which [as a function of arteriolar compliance] increases the pressure without changing the downstream resistance. increasing flow could be from beta-effects on the heart, or increased venous return from NE effects on the venous side activating the starling mechanism. another mechanism to increase flow and therefore arteriolar pressure relative to the closing pressure is the provision of IV fluids.

in the third situation, MAP rises, and EDV rises which suggests that the closing pressure has also fallen – thus the gradient from MAP to closing pressure rises throughout the cycle. how might this happen? its possible that raising the MAP decreases stimulus for renin release in afferent arteriole, less renin leads to less angiotensin and less efferent constriction. thus, paradoxically, the closing pressure falls with NE! another possibility is opening shunts between afferent and efferent arterioles [per Bellomo]. as above ***the effects on GFR are complicated and would depend on relative afferent versus efferent resistance changes***


This is really, really interesting stuff. So in theory, the MAP-Pcc gradient would be proportional to flow, so if we can estimate the direction of this gradient in response to our interventions, we may be able to decrease iatrogenism. I’ll have to discuss with Jon and Korbin which arterial level we should be ideally interrogating…

More to come, and next up will be Josh Farkas (@Pulmcrit), and I’m sure anyone following this discussion is looking forward to what he has to say. I know I am.




The Resus Tracks 05: Kenny (@heart_lung) Tackles Shock Perfusion! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMus

So finally got around to corralling Physiology Jedi Master Jon-Emile Kenny for a chat, which is always a tremendous learning opportunity. And this time was no different. Jon breaks down some of the mysteries around arteriolo-capillary coupling and shock flow, and brings up some really interesting potential uses of the critical collapse pressure of small arterioles, and hints at how we may be able to use some POCUS techniques to clinically assess tissue perfusion.

Here you go:

Please leave comments and questions!

The article we refer in the beginning to is here:

MAP in sepsis review

And the article on critical closing pressure in the neurocirculation that Jon refers to is here:

CrCP Brain




The Resus Tracks 04: Shock Circulation & Renal Perfusion with Korbin Haycock. #FOAMed, #FOAMer, #FOAMus


So I got to have a chat with ER doc extraordinaire Korbin Haycock today, reasserting my belief that tissue perfusion is not proportional to blood pressure.  I am again including the article discussed, and here is the graph in question:

Here is our talk:

And the paper – which is definitely worth a read, as it clearly supports individualizing therapy!

MAP in sepsis review


cheers and please jump into the discussion!



The Resus Tracks 03 – Shock Circulation with @EMnerd! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMer

Here we go!


Discussing with Rory is always awesome, because he manages to distill things to the most important stuff. In this one he basically says sure Phil, it’s fun to think up all kinds of semi-theoretico-imaginary hemodynamic stuff, but you gotta make sure you control the source!



Love to hear comments and criticisms!




Here is the open access paper I was talking about, graph on page 2.

MAP in sepsis review