H&R2019 Lecture Series: Denault on POCUS and Delirium! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

So the pundits still try to claim the lack of evidence for the use of POCUS, bla, bla bla. Just wait till they get a load of this: POCUS in delirium? Master Andre Denault introduces us here to a completely new way of assessing a little known potential aetiology of acute delirium.


Here it is, certainly one of the most interesting and forward-thinking lectures of H&R2019:

Denault on POCUS and Delirium.




Don’t forget The Hospitalist & The Resuscitationist H&R2020 is happening May 20-22 and registration is open! Seating is limited…



Exploring the Pulmonary Vasculature with Korbin Haycock: RVOT Doppler. #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #POCUS

So some recent twitter discussions, particularly involving my friend Korbin (@khaycock2) and Lars (@LMSaxhaug) – whom I am trying to get on the podcast soon – were really fascinating in regards to RV and pulmonary hypertension assessment. So time to dig into this a little.
The basic POCUS RV assessment is RV:LV ratio and TAPSE, along with RV free wall thickness (should be below 5mm) and the D sign in parasternal SAX. This is a solid start to screen for significant RV dysfunction.
The next level should be to measure PAP using TR Vmax, in order to assess the degree of pulmonary hypertension. Thats pretty much where I’ve been at for the last few years and wasn’t sure there was really a lot more that was necessary from an acute care standpoint where your immediate questions are fluids/pressors/inotropes and some inhalational pulmonary dilators. I wasn’t convinced I needed more.
But of course Korbin and Lars are on another level, and started to talk about doing RVOT doppler and looking at TR Vmax to RVOT VTI ratios to estimate pulmonary vascular resistance. Is there any difference there? Is my PAP not enough? Well, turns out there may be some useful information there, so I will let Korbin do the talking, and my apologies for my dumb questions during this discussion!
So I will be toying with RVOT doppler and trying to see if this is something that warrants a place in acute care management. I suspect it may be something that may tip towards earlier inhaled vasodilator therapy, or else make not using them a more confident choice. I do like the waveform analysis. I think we generally overlook a lot of good info by focusing on numbers over morphology!
So far, images using the PS SAX view have been quite good:
Additionally, RVOT notching could be suggestive of an acute PE – makes sense (study link here!)
Here are a couple of excellent references:
So thanks to Korbin and Lars for forcing me to up my doppler game some more!
Formula Fun:
Tricuspid regurgitation pressure gradient for sPAP:
sPAP=4*(TRvelocity^2) + RAP or
mPAP=(sPAP)*0.61 + 1.9
Acceleration time equations for sPAP and mPAP:
sPAPlog= -0.004(AT) + 2.1
mPAP=90 – (0.62*AT)
Pulmonary Regurgitation pressure gradient:
mPAP=4*(Peak initial velocity^2) +RAP
dPAP=4*(End velocity^2) + RAP
dPAP-PCWP should be about <6mmHg or else PVR is likely, see PCWP equations below
PVR equation to screen for increased PVR, or if PVR < 3 WU:
PVR=10*(TRvelocity/RVOT VTI) + 0.16. TR velocity is in m/sec, if <2 WU, no increased PVR.  This equation is accurate up to 3 WU
PVR equations for increased PVR > 3 WU.  These equations less accurate if PVR < 3 WU:
PVR=5.19*(TRvelocity^2) – 0.4, or more simplified: 5 * (TRvelocity^2). Note that the 5 * (TRvelocity^2 is almost sPAP equation (4 * TRvelocity^2)=sPAP
PVR=sPAP/RVOT VTI if no RVOT notch present
PVR=(sPAP/RVOT VTI) + 3 if RVOT notch is present
PCWP equations (for detection of group 2 pHTN to elevated sPAP), as you know, this is a whole other area, and gets a quite a bit more complicated, but to summarize:
PCWP likely elevated if E/e’>15, unlikely if E/e'<8
In NSR, PCWP=1.24 * (E/lateral e’) + 1.9
In ST, PCWP=1.5 * (E/lateral e’) + 1.5
In atrial fibrillation averaged over 5 beats, PCWP=0.8 * (E/lateral e’) +6
Using color M-mode and propagation velocity: PCWP=5.27 * (E/Vp) + 4.6

The Andromeda-SHOCK study. A physiological breakdown with Rory Spiegel (@EMnerd). #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMer

So recently published was the Andromeda SHOCK trial (jama_hernndez_2019_oi_190001) in JAMA this month.

Definitely interesting stuff, and have to commend the authors on a complex resuscitation strategy that had some real-world flexibility built in in terms of later generalizability and applicability for real-world cases. However there are some fundamentals I have concerns about. Let’s see what Rory thinks:

Yeah. I think the bottom line of opening resuscitationists’ eyes to NOT apply monosynaptic reflexes of giving fluids to elevated lactate is good. In that sense, definitely a step forward.

However, the insistence on maximizing CO under the illusion of optimizing perfusion remains problematic and leads to a congested state unless only a small or perhaps moderate amount of fluid is required to achieve non-volume responsiveness. I think it’s important to realize that the most rapid correction of hemodynamics is a surrogate marker and has not been definitively associated with survival across the board (eg the FEAST study and others), and it’s only proven clinical impact may be on health care workers’ level of anxiety.

Tune in soon for some other smart docs’ take on this!






oh yes and don’t forget The Hospitalist & The Resuscitationist 2019:


Is POCUS the new PAC??? A Chat with Jon-Emile Kenny (@heart_lung) #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

So here is what Jon tweeted a couple weeks ago:

Yikes! Does that spell doom for POCUS???

So clearly we had to get to the bottom of this statement…So a google hangout was in order.


Part 1 my intro:

and Part 2 our discussion:


So the bottom line is that we agree that there is a risk that POCUS may partly head the way of the PAC, or at least be challenged in a similar fashion. Hopefully the wiser physicians will see the inherently flawed logic that would push the field in that direction. Alternately, we could all get our minds and efforts together and try to do a triangulation of data to really pinpoint hemodynamics.

Love to hear comments!

For more of Jon’s physiology awesomeness, visit http://www.heart-lung.org.






PS for cutting-edge and bleeding edge discussions, including Jon-Emile and a lot more, don’t miss H&R2019 this may in Montreal…

Volume status, CHAISE study and other silly questions. #FOAMed, #FOAMcc, #FOAMer

So I just finished reading the CHAISE study, which compared Parm as a surrogate for Pmsf as a surrogate for “volume status.”

It is a really cool study for anyone who loves physiology, which I definitely do, and there may be some interesting elements that can be clinically used.

But let’s first set the record straight. I do not believe that “volume status” is a medical and especially not a scientific term. It is a vague reference to intravascular fluid and can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, making it essentially useless. There is such a thing as the status of your flight (on time, delayed, cancelled), your reservation (confirmed, cancelled), your postal delivery (returned, delivered, in-transit), etc.  But there are no such clear strata for “volume status.”

So what are the true scientific terms that can be measured? Blood volume. So if we had a bedside radiolabelled substance test that could give us our true blood volume, that could give us a real measure of “volume status.”

On the other hand, that would be of marginal use clinically, in all likelihood.

Why? Because there are only three questions that the savvy clinician is trying to answer, in order of importance:

1. Does my patient need fluid?

2. Is my patient volume tolerant?

3. Is my patient volume responsive?

The answer to the first question is mysterious, outside of the obvious extremes, and in my opinion, anyone who feels they can clearly answer correctly is deluding themselves.

The answer to the second question is complex and multi-factorial and includes echographic findings (venous congestion/hypertension, B lines, effusions, ascites) as well as physical examination findings (tight abdomen, edema) and clinical findings (respiratory failure, intracranial pathology) and more. But this is a critical one, because if the answer is no, then you need some really compelling evidence to even consider trying to answer the third question.

The answer to the third question is, outside of the extremes, a bit of a quagmire of assessments and technology with generally poor evidence, particularly in terms of duration of effect. The most fearsome aspect of this third question is that it is usually the first question asked instead of the last, and thus has the side effect of creating volume-responsiveness terminators who, 500cc shot after 500cc shot end up satisfied that they have blasted responsiveness into oblivion.

But that’s probably bad news for the patient, that they have now pushed into venous congestion or salt-water drowning. Unless, of course, they just look for volume-responsiveness in the same way that bird-watchers do, for the sake of scientific satisfaction, and do no more than look, or maybe snap a picture at most.

So sure, echocardiographic parameters for volume status should be under fire, as all other parameters should. The authors in this paper themselves state two critical assumptions in the Parm/msf logic:

(1) that the fluid stay intravascular in the 10 minutes (ok, I’ll buy that)


(2) that the compliance is linear (nope, I don’t buy that, especially not in sick patients on vasopressors – as opposed to the normal cardiopulmonary and hemodynamic patients this study was done on).

Essentially, what should be under fire is the obsession with a measurable variable to assess intravascular volume. Too many factors in play, and the answer is useless clinically anyway.

On the other hand, this study is fascinating in terms of what might be done using dynamic Parm… Maybe individualizing pressor response, unstressed volume recruit-ability?  I’ll let @iceman_ex tell us about that at H&R2019!

So what is important is stop points. And reverse points. And yes, these can be looked at using POCUS, and also CVP, and CVP tracings. And yes, there is good data that venous hypertension is a bad state. And this is what you should be looking at, to make sure you have not pushed your patient into a universally pathological state of non-volume-responsiveness.



So Kylie (@kyliebaker888) had some comments and questions:

Hi Philippe, I just had to read the article after your blog. Most is a bit above my head (yeah right Kylie)– but I am perplexed by three things that I did understand -perhaps you can help me with….
1. Is P(arm) a useful measure? – it went up in 19 patients and down in 8 patients after a 500ml bolus yet they claim it went up (after statistical repeated measures or something)..if P(arm) is confounded by something else – I think they suggest sympathetic tone – shouldn’t we sort that before we start using P(arm) as a reference test.

I don’t think we can consider it to be a reference at all. I think it is an interesting physiological measure and that it might have some application in phenotyping vascular tone/compliance and possibly helping in vasopressor fine tuning. In my opinion for fluids it adds little to what we have.

2. What do you think of their IVC measure – 0.5cm below junction with RA?

As I do for all IVC diameter measures, I think it is inherently mathematically flawed to try to assess a volume using a diameter. Eyeball the whole IVC. A recent study finally looked at this. 3D IVC assessment and (of course) found it better.

3. What do you think of the fact that E changed, but e prime and E/e prime didn’t….That seems like there may not be enough precision in some of those measurements.

I agree.

I also have another savvy-clinician question to add to yours
Q4: Is my patient leaking?



#POCUS IVC Pitfall Twitter Poll & Discussion. #FOAMed, #FOAMer, #FOAMcc

So I ran a couple of twitter polls sets the other day. Here is the first:

(if you want the twitter videos see here)



and part 2:

And to sum it up:

So I just wanted to illustrate something I keep bringing up, essentially that the entire IVC literature based on the AP diameter measurement is physiologically and mathematically flawed. I think the poll and images above clearly support this: given a short axis view, clinicians clearly have a different opinion (and possibly intervention!) than using only a long axis view.

My take, as I’ve said and will keep saying, is that there is a lot of info in IVC POCUS, and the one I am LEAST concerned with is volume responsiveness, which sadly seems to be everyone’s only focus nowadays when it comes to the IVC.

But here’s some food for thought, some of my clinical applications in 5 seconds of scanning:

initial shock patient: big fixed IVC -> no fluids, hurry and find the downstream problem and correct!

resp failure patient: small IVC -> it’s not a massive PE, keep looking for the cause don’t send for a STAT CT angio!

AKI patient: big IVC look at venous doppler and call for lasix, stop the fluids and albumin that were being mistakenly given!

AKI or shock patient & small IVC: sure , start with some fluids and reassess soon (that means hours not the next day)


etc..etc.. there’s more, and “fluid responsiveness” is only in extremes and fairly low on the list for me!






ps if you like physiology, and a physiologico-clinical approach, don’t miss H&R2019!

Discussing “ARDS” (and of course fluid management and #POCUS) with @iceman_ex! #FOAMed, #FOAMcc

So sparked by some recent twitter discussions where we were talking about ARDS in a somewhat controversial fashion, I thought it may be worth expanding a bit on the topic.

Essentially my stand is that ARDS is largely an iatrogenic disease mediated by (1) overeager fluid resuscitation of various disease states that fundamentally do not require large amounts of fluids despite commonly held beliefs (sepsis, pancreatitis, etc…) and (2) the absence of frequently used “stop points” of fluid resuscitation with instead a misguided focus on detecting (and intervening upon) volume responsiveness.

In our ICU, true “ARDS” (eg not generated by salt water drowning) is a rarity. Maybe one or two a year, usually a massive primary pulmonary insult.

Anyhow, here, Segun and I discuss this:


Ognjen Gajic refers to this article in our discussion.


So it seems clear that there is much to discuss. We didn’t even really get into the juice of the stop points. Stay tuned!


oh yes… so if these controversial, cutting- and bleeding-edge topics, don’t neglect joining us at H&R2019. Segun and many others will be there!