Patient Care

Update in Hospital Medicine 2015


Kathleen Finn, MD, FHM and Jeffrey Greenwald, MD, SFHM engaged the audience with their playful banter while reviewing medical literature of clinical significance for the hospitalist in Update in Hospital Medicine. The studies presented were high-quality, practical and addressed questions that arise in our day-to-day practice. A wide variety of topics were addressed and key points are summarized below.

Key takeaways

  • In the PARADIGM-HF study, Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (ARB) + Neprilysin Inhibitor decreased cardiovascular mortality and reduced CHF hospitalization by 20% when compared to Enalapril alone in heart failure patients. The combination drug is an alternative choice to ACE inhibitors. FDA approval is forthcoming.
  • Is the risk of contrast-induced nephrotoxicity really as great as we have come to believe? Review of propensity matched studies suggests that AKI, 30 day need for emergent hemodi
    alysis and death are unrelated to contrast. If CT with contrast makes a difference to the patient, consider using it if GFR>30 ml/min.
  • SAGES trial and Project Recovery developed a delirium screening method in hospitalized patients. The CAM (Confusion Assessment Method) scoring system assesses delirium severity in elderly patients (70+). Hospital and post-hospital outcomes in delirious vs. non-delirious patients showed that the more severe the delirium, the longer the patient stayed in the hospital. Further, the rate of new SNF placement and 90 day mortality was higher in the delirious group. The CAM score correlates with prognosis in medical patients. Addressing long-term goals of care in this patient population may be warranted.
  • A randomized placebo-controlled trail looked at the preventive effects of Ramelteon (melatonin receptor agonist) on delirium. Ramelteon 8mg was given to patients at 9pm for 7 days (or d/c). Although this was a small and short study, Ramelteon appears to reduce incident delirium in medical and non-intubated ICU patients.
  • The HELP randomized clinical trial compared Lactulose vs. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) electrolyte solution for treatment of overt hepatic encephalopathy. Patients received either PEG (4L in 4 hours) or Lactulose (20-30g 3+doses/24hrs). Primary outcome was an improvement in HESA (Hepatic Encephalopathy Scoring Algorithm ) score by 1 at 24 hours. HESA score improved and patients had a shorter length of stay in the PEG group. In addition, patients requested PEG at discharge because it tasted better.
  • A retrospective study looked at Nonselective beta blockers (NSBB) in patients with Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis (SBP). It suggests that the use of NSBB after SBP onset increases the risk of AKI, Hepatorenal Syndrome and mortality by 58%. NSBB appear beneficial before SBP onset suggesting that as cirrhosis becomes more severe, NSBB may not be effective.
  • A retrospective cohort trial (Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium) assessed hospital performance of VTE prophylaxis. The rate of clinically evident, confirmed VTE was measured. There was no difference in VTE occurrence during hospitalization, 90 day VTE rates and PE vs. DVT rates. No clear benefit was evident from VTE prophylaxis for medical patients. This could indicate the need to risk stratify patients’ VTE risk.
  • Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) were compared with Vitamin K antagonists (VKA) for treatment of acute VTE in a meta-analysis reviewed by the speakers. Death, safety and bleeding were assessed. DOACs seem to work as well as VKAs for VTE. They also had a better safety profile. In cancer patients, DOACs vs. LMWH study is still needed. In patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), DOACs prevent AF-associated strokes better than VKAs. They also reduce hemorrhagic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage.
    In the elderly (75 or older) patient, DOACs are as safe as VKAs and LMWH for AF and VTE treatment.
  • Randomized control trails compared once weekly Dalbavancin or single-dose Oritavancin vs. daily conventional therapy for acute bacterial skin infections (cellulitis, major abscess, wound infection, 75cm² erythema). Outcomes measured were cessation of spread of erythema and no fever X3 readings in 48-72 hours. Dalbavancin once weekly was non-inferior to Vancomycin in safety profile and outcome measures. Direct cost of Dalbavancin was higher although patients on this drug had shorter length of stays which is cost effective. FDA approved for skin infections.
  • The presence of family during CPR decreased PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms in family members. Outcomes were similar when participants were assesses at 90 days and 1 year. While this study was conducted in an out of hospital setting, it may be worthwhile to assess if it is applicable to patients who code in the hospital.

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