In This Edition
Literature At A Glance
A guide to this month’s studies
- IDSA/ATS guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia
- Improved asthma with IL-13 antibody
- Rivaroxaban vs. warfarin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation
- Apixaban vs. warfarin for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation
- Ultrasonography more sensitive than chest radiograph for pneumothorax
- Current readmission risk models inadequate
- Optimal fluid volume for acute pancreatitis
- Low mortality in saddle pulmonary embolism
Triage Decisions for Patients with Severe Community-Acquired Pneumonia Should Be Based on IDSA/ATS Guidelines, Not Inflammatory Biomarkers
Clinical question: Can C-reactive protein levels (CRP), procalcitonin, TNF-alpha, and cytokine levels predict the need for intensive-care admission more accurately than IDSA/ATS guidelines in patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)?
Background: Inflammatory biomarkers, such as CRP and procalcitonin, have diagnostic and prognostic utility in patients with CAP. Whether these inflammatory biomarkers can help triage patients to the appropriate level of care is unknown.
Study design: Prospective case control study.
Setting: Two university hospitals in Spain.
Synopsis: The study included 685 patients with severe CAP who did not require mechanical ventilation or vasopressor support. Serum levels of CRP, procalcitonin, TNF-alpha, IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10, as well as Infectious Diseases Society of American/American Thoracic Society (IDSA/ATS) minor severity criteria data, were collected on admission. After controlling for age, comorbidities, and PSI risk class, serum levels of CRP and procalcitonin were found to be significantly higher in ICU patients compared with non-ICU patients. Despite this, these inflammatory biomarkers did not augment the IDSA/ATS guidelines, suggesting that patients who have three or more minor criteria be considered for ICU admission.
The study did suggest that patients with severe CAP and low levels of IL-6 and procalcitonin could potentially be managed safely outside of the ICU. However, hospitalists should be wary of applying the study results due to the small number of ICU patients in this study and the lack of real-time availability of these biomarkers at most institutions.
Bottom line: More studies of inflammatory biomarkers are needed before using them to determine the level of care required for patients with CAP. Until these data are available, physicians should use the IDSA/ATS guidelines to triage patients to the appropriate level of care.
Citation: Ramirez P, Ferrer M, Torres A, et al. Inflammatory biomarkers and prediction for intensive care unit admission pneumonia. Crit Care Med. 2011;39:2211-2217.
IL-13 Antibody Lebrikizumab Shows Promise as a New Therapy for Adults with Uncontrolled Asthma
Clinical question: Can lebrikizumab, an IL-13 antibody, improve asthma control in patients with uncontrolled asthma?
Background: Asthma is a complex disease, with varied patient response to treatment. Some patients have uncontrolled asthma despite inhaled glucocorticoids. It is postulated that IL-13 may account for this variability and that some patients with uncontrolled asthma are poorly controlled due to glucocorticoid resistance mediated by IL-13. Lebrikizumab is an IgG4 monoclonal antibody that binds to and inhibits the function of IL-13. This study was performed to see if this antibody would be effective in patients with uncontrolled asthma despite inhaled glucocorticoid therapy.
Study design: Randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: Multiple centers.
Synopsis: The study randomized 219 adult asthma patients who were inadequately controlled despite inhaled corticosteroids to a placebo or lebrikizumab. The primary outcome was improvement in prebronchodilator FEV1 from baseline. Secondary outcomes were exacerbations, use of rescue medications, and symptom scores. Patients were also stratified and analyzed based on surrogate markers for IL-13, which included serum IGE levels, eosinophil counts, and periostin levels.