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December 2009 Briefing - Critical Care

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in Critical Care for December 2009. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Discharge Planning Measures May Not Cut Readmissions

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitals that collate and make publicly available discharge planning data do not necessarily have lower readmission rates than those that do not collate the data, according to a study in the Dec. 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Telemedicine Technology in Intensive Care Units Evaluated

TUESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The use of telemedicine (tele) technology to remotely monitor multiple intensive care units (ICUs) at different hospital locations is unlikely associated with improvements in patient mortality rates, complications and length of hospital stay, according to an observational study published in the Dec. 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Statins Found to Be Beneficial in Congestive Heart Failure

MONDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with heart failure, statins are safe, improve left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and decrease the risk of hospitalization for worsening heart failure, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Air Pollution Linked to Pneumonia in the Elderly

MONDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) In the elderly, exposure to high levels of air pollution is associated with a higher risk of being hospitalized with pneumonia, according to a study in the Jan. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Higher Surgery Risks in Elderly Demand Special Attention

FRIDAY, Dec. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Common and emergency surgery carries elevated risks of mortality and complications in the elderly, and clinicians should counsel patients on these risks and make every effort to mitigate them, according to a pair of studies in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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2009 H1N1 Took High Toll on Pregnant Women, Children

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- The 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic took a high toll on pregnant or recently-pregnant women and on children, according to a pair of studies from California and Argentina published online Dec. 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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H1N1 Flu Waning, but Many Vaccine Doses Unused

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Although the number of cases of people infected with H1N1 influenza continues to decline and the vaccine supply is now plentiful, not enough people have been inoculated, a top U.S. health official said during a Dec. 22 press briefing held by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Thromboembolism Uncommon After Sling Surgery in Women

TUESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of thromboembolism following an isolated sling procedure for stress urinary incontinence in women is low, but the rate is higher when prolapse repair is also performed, according to research published in the December issue of Urology.

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Severe H1N1 Infection Linked to Elevated Cytokine Levels

TUESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalized patients with severe novel H1N1 virus (nvH1N1) infection at 10 Spanish hospitals had high levels of the Th17 and Th1 cytokines, indicating either a robust immune response to the infection or an over-response similar to that found in autoimmune diseases, according to research published online Dec. 11 in Critical Care.

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Pelvic Fracture May Increase Trauma Patients' Risk of Death

MONDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In trauma patients, pelvic fracture is significantly associated with death, but its effect should be considered in relation to other variables, according to a study in the Dec. 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

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Antidepressants Not Found to Increase Heart Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Postmenopausal women taking antidepressants, whether they are tricyclic medications or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are not at increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to their counterparts not taking the drugs, but there is a modestly higher risk of mortality and stroke, according to a study in the Dec. 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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Sudden Loss of Kidney Function May Up Risk of Death

FRIDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with a sudden loss of kidney function have a higher death rate after being discharged from the hospital even if their kidney function returned to normal, according to a study published online Dec. 17 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

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Most Stroke Survivors Take an Antithrombotic Agent

THURSDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A large proportion of stroke survivors used antithrombotic agents during a recent period, according to research published in the January issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Stroke Education Program Improves Student Knowledge

THURSDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- A stroke education program for middle-school students in a largely Hispanic population, which has a higher incidence of stroke than other groups, improves knowledge of stroke signs and treatment, according to a study published online in Health Promotion Practice.

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Smoking Status Predicts Long-Term Survival After First AMI

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who quit smoking before or after a first heart attack significantly improve their odds of long-term survival, and smokers who reduce their consumption after a heart attack also have a modest survival benefit, according to a study in the Dec. 15/22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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Contraindications to Beta Blockers Linked to Deaths

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Contraindications to early beta-blocker use become more common with increasing age and are associated with a higher risk of hospital death in patients with acute coronary syndromes, according to a study in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Spiritual Care Often Benefits Terminally Ill Cancer Patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In terminally ill cancer patients, adequate spiritual support is associated with an increased usage of hospice care and an improved quality of life, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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Post-Myocardial Infarction Bleeding Risk Examined

MONDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- For patients receiving antithrombotic drugs post heart attack, the risk of hospitalization for bleeding increases as the number of drugs increases, according to a study in the Dec. 12 issue of The Lancet.

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Lower Speed Limit Reduces Casualties in London

FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In London, the introduction of 20 mph speed zones has significantly reduced road injuries and deaths, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in BMJ.

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Treatment After Stenting Affects Thrombosis Risk

FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with drug-eluting stents, 24 months of treatment with aspirin and clopidogrel is associated with a lower risk of very late thrombosis than a shorter treatment regimen, according to a study in the Nov. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

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Airways Compared in Smoking, Nonsmoking Asthma Patients

FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers with asthma have significantly greater epithelial changes in their airways than asthma patients who have quit smoking or have never smoked, according to a study in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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CDC: 15 Percent of Americans Have Had H1N1 Flu

FRIDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- H1N1 has sickened nearly 50 million Americans -- which is one in six people -- and killed almost 10,000, mostly children and young adults, a federal health official said in a Dec. 10 press briefing.

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Patients Often Lack Knowledge of Their Own Medications

THURSDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Patients routinely under-report, or even over-report, their outpatient and inpatient medications, and should be included in hospital medication management to improve safety, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

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Pandemic Flu Could Lead to Shortages in Blood Supply

THURSDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Preparation for an influenza pandemic should include evaluating how the event could affect a nation's blood supply, since shortages could have potentially fatal outcomes, according to research published online Dec. 9 in Transfusion.

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Most Early Cases of H1N1 Across China Were Mild

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Most cases of H1N1 influenza seen in China during the early summer were mild, and initiating oseltamivir within 48 hours of symptom onset could reduce the duration of viral shedding, according to research published online Dec. 9 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Treatment May Reverse Sickle Cell Disease in Adults

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A treatment regimen that includes stem cell transplantation can lead to stable grafts and reversal of disease in adults with sickle cell disease, according to a study in the Dec. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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FDA Issues Recommendations to Prevent Excess CT Radiation

TUESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Following news that 206 patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles were overexposed to radiation during computed tomography (CT) perfusion imaging over an 18-month period, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued interim recommendations to help prevent similar incidents.

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Issue a Voluntary Report to the FDA's MedWatch

Low X-Ray Radiation Exposure Found in Neonates

FRIDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Among a group of very low-birth-weight infants treated in a neonatal intensive care unit, radiation exposure from conventional radiographs was low compared to yearly natural background radiation, according to research published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

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Community-Associated Superbug Poses Threat

THURSDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections have nearly doubled in the last decade and are adding to the problem of hospital-associated MRSA, according to a study in the December issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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More Preterm Births in Lower Socioeconomic Areas

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- English women living in areas of reduced socioeconomic status are more likely to give birth prematurely compared to their higher-status counterparts, but survival rates and neonatal care are similar across different socioeconomic groups, indicating equity of access to neonatal health services, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in BMJ.

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Hospital Report Cards Seldom Lead to Improved Cardiac Care

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Issuing public report cards on hospitals did not result in significant improvements in cardiac care, according to a Canadian study in the Dec. 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study was released early online to coincide with its presentation at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, held from Nov. 14 to 18 in Orlando, Fla.

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H1N1 Influenza Rates Drop in Many States

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- H1N1 influenza rates are declining across the United States, but many experts say there will probably be another surge this winter, a federal health official announced Dec. 2.

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Study Looks at Worldwide Prevalence of ICU Infections

TUESDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Over half of the patients in intensive care units (ICUs) had some kind of infection in a one day snapshot of ICU infection around the world, according to a study in the Dec. 2 Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Women Researchers Lag Behind Men in Grant Awards

TUESDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Female physicians with a proven interest in research are less likely to receive prestigious research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) than are male physicians, according to a study in the Dec. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Physician's Briefing
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