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Emergency Medical Minute


Aug 24, 2019

Author: Dave Saintsing

Educational Pearls:

  • Poor sleep is an independent risk factor for development of health problems such as type 2 diabetes.  A 2019 study, randomized participants to 3 groups: 9 hours of sleep, 5 hours of sleep with weekend catch-up sleep, and 5 hours of sleep without catch-up sleep.  In the sleep deprived (5 hour) groups, there was significantly more insulin resistance, calorie intake, and weight gain regardless of catch-up sleep. 
  • Tramadol is prescribed 25 million times a year in the USA, usually to avoid prescribing traditional opiates such as Percocet or Oxycodone. Tramadol has complex pharmacology in that is is both an SNRI and mu-opiate agonist after metabolism in the liver. The pharmacogenetics of this vary greatly between people. Many people have rapid metabolism that will lead to increased opiate effects. Other medications interfere with metabolism (such as SSRI’s). A recent study demonstrated increased risk of hypoglycemia in diabetics taking Tramadol. Use caution when prescribing this drug. 
  • Sepsis resuscitation has traditionally been gauged by following lactate levels on the  presumption that lactate is an adequate marker of organ perfusion. Unfortunately, lactate levels are often elevated by medications and other health conditions such as kidney or liver disease, making lactate an often ineffective biomarker for perfusion. The Andromeda-Shock trial compared using capillary refill to lactate as guides for resuscitation with the primary endpoint of reducing 28-day mortality.  The capillary refill group had a 9% absolute risk reduction in mortality, but this did not reach statistical significance. However, capillary refill can be used as another data point while resuscitating your septic patients. 
  • When should you start pressors for patients in septic shock? A 2019 study compared routine resuscitation (30cc/kg fluid bolus) to initiation of norepinephrine with the first 30cc/kg crystalloid. They found that the early pressor group had significantly more “shock control” (MAP>65) at 6 hours, compared to the control group. While there was a trend towards less mortality in the early pressor group, it was not statistically significant. Keep an eye out for more studies in this area! 
  • A recent study in JAMA found that 88% of deaths from sepsis were unavoidable, due to severe chronic comorbidities. Remember that patients will still die from septic shock despite your best efforts and knowledge of the newest literature. 



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Fournier J, Azoulay L, Yin H, Montastruc J, Suissa S. Tramadol Use and the Risk of Hospitalization for Hypoglycemia in Patients With Noncancer Pain. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(2):186–193. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6512

Hernández G, Ospina-Tascón GA, Damiani LP, et al. Effect of a Resuscitation Strategy Targeting Peripheral Perfusion Status vs Serum Lactate Levels on 28-Day Mortality Among Patients With Septic Shock: The ANDROMEDA-SHOCK Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. Published online February 17, 2019321(7):654–664. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.0071


Permpikul C, Tongyoo S, Viarasilpa T, Trainarongsakul T, Chakorn T, Udompanturak S. Early Use of Norepinephrine in Septic Shock Resuscitation (CENSER). A Randomized Trial. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019 May 1;199(9):1097-1105. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201806-1034OC.


Rhee C, Jones TM, Hamad Y, et al. Prevalence, Underlying Causes, and Preventability of Sepsis-Associated Mortality in US Acute Care Hospitals. JAMA Netw Open. Published online February 15, 20192(2):e187571. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7571


Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

From CarePoint PA Academy, 2019