Leading Insights

Leading Insights
  • By Stephen A. Trevick, MD, Northwest Neurology, IL  The emotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt throughout society for months and years to come.  This impact will come in many guises and patterns throughout medicine and certainly in the acute care of neurocritical care patients.  Resources will continue to be limited and healthcare providers may be reassigned between specialties and units.  Our neurological patients will have concerns, often justifiably, that their care is suffering. Each human being has a hierarchy of needs.  It is ...

  • By Lucie Pelunkova, MSc, Critical Care Nursing, Nurse Educational Specialist, Neurologic Critical Care Unit, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Nouran Salem, PharmD, BCCCP, MBA, Critical Care Pharmacotherapy Specialist, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Seby John, MD, Consultant Neurologist, Vascular Neurology and Neurointerventional Surgery, Neurological Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; Fadi Hamed, MD, Consultant Intensivist, Section Head, Medical and Surgical Critical Care Unit, Critical Care Institute, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; and Jamil R. Dibu, MD, Consultant ...

  • By Yingying Su, MD, PhD The 11th National Conference of Neurocritical Care Committee of the Chinese Society of Neurology (NCC/CSN) was held on Aug. 23-29 2020. We would like to thank Prof. Jose, the director of Neurocritical Care, and Prof. Gene and Brophy, the former director of Neurocritical Care, for their emails and videos to wish the conference a success. May the COVID-19 epidemic end soon, and the neurointensivists of Neurocritical Care Society (NCS) around the world will meet again.  The whole conference was held online for the first time. ...

  • By Thomas D. Bernier, PharmD; and Michael Schontz, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) accounts for 5% of all strokes, and due to a multitude of complications, patients are at exceptional risk of mortality and morbidity. 1 The incidence of aSAH is geographically diverse varying between 2 and 16.5 per 100,000 hospitalized adults globally. 2 Patients are at risk of multifactorial mortality and morbidity in aSAH, as patients can experience rebleeding, hydrocephalus, seizures, infections and notably delayed cerebral ischemia ...

  • By Ahmad Abdussalam, MD, MRCP UK, neuro intensivist, UCNS Certified; Dana Bakdach, BSC, PharmD, clinical pharmacist; Sundus Sardar, MBBS, medical resident; Nadir Kharma, pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine; Ali Ait Hssain, MD, DESAR, ECMO consultant; Adel Royce Mangodato, senior RN; and Ashraf Molokhia, MD, consultant intensivist and anesthetist In Qatar, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Feb. 27, 2020. While the global death toll continues to climb, Qatar stands out with a low mortality rate of 0.14%, and 150 deaths to date. 1 ...

  • By Padmaraj Duvvuri, MD; Editor Lauren Koffman, DO, MS Over the past two years, there has been an ongoing effort to establish a Midwest Chapter within the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). I have tried to become an active member of the chapter and will be speaking at the upcoming inaugural conference on Aug. 29, 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic I believe most of us have developed a renewed sense of comradery amongst all specialties and support staff. Now more than ever, we should work together to facilitate education across various aspects ...

  • By Anthony Jaworski, PharmD, BCCCP  A reported 6% of new onset seizures and 9% of status epilepticus cases are attributed to drug neurotoxicity. 1,2   Over the years, there has been a decline in cases of seizures from cocaine, theophylline and tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) toxicity. There are increasing reports of seizures from newer antidepressants, such as bupropion in the United States and citalopram in Switzerland. In Iran and Australia, the trend in tramadol poisonings are increasing, and seizure is a common complication.  In developing countries, ...

  • By Brian R. Schuler, PharmD, senior pharmacist;   Kaylee K. Marino, PharmD, BCCCP, BCPS, clinical pharmacy specialist; and   Michael Reznik, MD As pharmacists and clinicians working in the neurosciences intensive care unit (ICU), we understand the importance of agitation and delirium management and acknowledge the lack of evidence related specifically to the neurocritical care population. Although we do use propofol and antipsychotic medications in many cases, and prefer quetiapine or olanzapine because of less potent antidopaminergic effects, ...

  • By Telmo E. Fernandez-Cadena, Intensive Care, Guyaquil, Ecuador; Manuel Jibaja, director, Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Eugenio Espejo, Quito, Ecuador; Nelson Maldonado, MD, Neurocritical Care, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ); Miguel Andrade, MD Perspectives from Guayaquil, Ecuador On Feb. 29, 2020, the first case of SARS-CoV-2 in Ecuador was announced in Guayaquil. What we saw as a distant problem in Wuhan and New York had finally arrived. A city hospital was enabled with 24 intensive care beds for COVID-19, and the opening of ...

  • By Pravin George, DO, assistant professor of Neurology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of Medicine; staff, Neurointensive Care,   Cerebrovascular Center, Cleveland Clinic More than three months ago, New York City experienced the largest reported metropolitan surge of COVID-19 patients in the entire country, possibly in the entire world. In the blink of an eye, every NYC hospital census took an unprecedented upswing, and ICU teams were all swamped with a single, common, unknown adversary. At several hospitals, no longer was there a division between ...

  • Do you have questions regarding your professional life? Is there a conundrum at work that requires an outside perspective? The Trainee Section and Women in Neurocritical Care (WINCC) Section have teamed up to publish a column in Currents to serve your professional advice needs. Submit question s to winccmentorship@gmail.com, and we will get them answered by a seasoned advisor.   We believe in lifelong learning and mentorship, and this column along with our mentorship programs are tools for your professional success. Christa O’Hana S. Nobleza, ...

  • By Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC, FCCP, professor of Anesthesiology, Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Rochester; and Thomas J. Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, executive director of the American Association of Respiratory Care The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic has brought to light the importance of proper mechanical ventilation strategy in that the majority of patients succumb with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).  Even prior to this viral pandemic, ARDS had a high mortality of approximately between 36-52% per 100,000 ...

  • Stories of Hope: Myra

    Blog Entry

    Stefanie P. Cappucci, MD Neurology Resident Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Corey R. Fehnel, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Neurology Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Harvard Medical School Section Editor: Michael Reznik, MD Assistant Professor of Neurology & Neurosurgery Brown University/Alpert Medical School       “A year ago, I was thrilled to survive…and looked forward to what the future would bring. I would have never imagined a year from that day I would be getting ready to go to ...

  • By Mary Presciutti, NP, CCRN, CNRN, Mount Sinai Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery Weeks before deployment, my fellow advanced care providers (APP) and I were told that our New York City hospital was in the process of rearranging healthcare personnel to meet the impending surge of patients with COVID-19. Like most of us, I was filled with anxiety and many questions:  How will things be? What will our path be moving forward? Two weeks later, I received my schedule and learned that I had been assigned to the COVID-ICU. Prior to my current position ...

  • Taking a Closer Look into Neurocritical Care Mechanical Ventilation During the COVID19 Pandemic and the Use of Anesthesia Machines in the Neuro ICU By Shaun Golden, MSN, RN; and Sarah Beth Thomas, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN, SCRN Since the beginning of the COVID-19 global pandemic, ventilators have been at the forefront of public discourse. Discussions on social media, stories in various news outlets and even sound bites offered by prominent politicians in Washington and beyond have made ventilators a new buzzword for the American public.  ...

  • By Francisco Gomez, MD 1 ; Alyssa B. Polotti, PharmD, BCCCP 1 ; and Fawaz Al-Mufti, MD 2   1 Deparment of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania 1 Department of Neurology, Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School 2 Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Westchester Medical Center at New York Medical College   The authors have no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to the topics discussed in this column. This article may discuss non-FDA approved devices and “off-label” uses. The NCS and Currents do not ...

  • By Jeong-Ho Hong, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, Keimyung University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea Recently, I was working as a neurointensivist at one of the hub-hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, Daegu Dongsan Hospital (branch hospital) and one of tertiary hospitals, Keimyung Univerisity Dongsan Hospital (main hospital), in Daegu, South Korea. Daegu is the center of South Korea’s expanding COVID-19 outbreak. Government-designated Hub-hospital for Only COVID-19 Patients vs. General Tertiary Hospital: A Neurointensivist’s Point of ...

  • Cardiac Arrest and Cooling Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) has an incidence of about 110.8 per 100,000 in all ages, while in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) has an estimated incidence of about 292,000 cases per year in the United States.   In view of the recent HYPERION trial, finding for the effectiveness of targeted temperature management (TTM) in non-shockable rhythm arrest, TTM is again at the forefront of discussion and remains the standard of care for acute management of all unresponsive post-cardiac arrest patients. Several modalities ...

  • Yingying Su COVID-19: Difficulties and Countermeasures in the Prevention and Control of Neuro ICU Infection and Medical Quality Control in China By Yingying Su From February to March 2020, the epidemic of COVID-19 peaked in China. The situations for neuro ICU were as follows: In addition to some medical staff sent to the designated hospital or ward of COVID-19 to combat the epidemic, most of them were still on duty at their local neuro ICU, routinely guarding against the outbreak of COVID-19, taking responsibility of quality and safety in the ...

  • By Alexis Steinberg, MD; Matthew R. Leach, MD; Angela Hays Shapshak, MD; and Lori Shutter, MD The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the practice of critical care, and neurocritical care has not been immune to these changes.  As ICUs across the country experience a swell in COVID-positive patients, neurointensivists have been called upon to practice outside their normal scope, dealing with increased patient volumes and greater proportions of general critical care patients, despite ongoing acute neurologic emergencies.  We interviewed attending ...

  • By Stephen Trevick, MD  I am writing from Chicago on March 20. I feel this is important to share as the COVID-19 pandemic is developing so rapidly that some concerns that I discuss here may be less relevant by the time you read this. There is an incredible amount of uncertainty in the pathophysiology, epidemiology and social impact of this disease. The eyes of the world are on healthcare providers now, and we have all become leaders of our communities. We will be called upon not only to provide medical care and information, but, ideally, to help guide ...

  • Blog Entry

    The ongoing pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is unprecedented in scale, with devastating effects seen in the economic and social spheres of society. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, after the number of cases outside of China skyrocketed 13-fold since late February.  The micro-organism causative of COVID-19 infection is a β-Coronavirus, an enveloped positive sense single-stranded RNA virus, which shares the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1) and ...

  • By Alberto Hernandez, MD, PhD, DESA, Director, Anaesthesia & ICU, Grupo Policlinica, Ibiza, Spain; and Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC. Director, Critical Care Medicine, Professor Anesthesia, Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Rochester, New York, US.   These days, there are multiple papers emerging daily about COVID-19 management, protocols, guidelines, etc. Many research protocols are in play, but c urrent management of COVID-19 still remains supportive .   We were intially told the virus would only seriously affect older ...

  • Blog Entry

    By Lauren Koffman DO, MS Months ago, I had plans for a weekend trip with a friend, and despite my multiple reassurances, she cancelled. She had family and friends in China and had deep concerns about the COVID-19 situation evolving. She would tell me about the horrific scenes unfolding as hospitals were overwhelmed and under prepared.  Thinking back two or three months ago, the virus and its casualties on another continent felt like an isolated health crisis. Now, not much time has passed, and COVID-19 is here.  While we as intensivists are ...

  • By Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC As an individual who studies the effect of technology on the practice of medicine, one of the most amazing aspects of this terrible pandemic is how the medical community around the world has joined together as one to share protocols, guidelines and disaster plans with each other. I have a broad network of colleagues in both trauma critical care and neurocritical care, and it’s been outstanding how rapidly we all joined together via e-mail, WhatsApp forums, Zoom conferences and others to share our patient care ...

  • Blog Entry

    By Peter J. Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC  As neurocritical care providers, we are confronted with an increased number of individuals who are on blood thinners who are involved in falls during the winter months.  Many will become neurocritical care patients with major subdural hematomas (SDH). Admissions for traumatic SDH increased 154% from 17,328 in 1993 to 43,996 in 2006.  The mortality associated with acute subdural hematomas has been reported to range from 36-79%, with many survivors not regaining previous levels of functioning, especially after ...

  • By Erika Bassett, PA-C and Alexis Steinberg, MD  When graduating from a nurse practitioner or physician assistant program, an advance practice provider (APP) can launch themselves into a broad range of specialties and subspecialties.  So why enter the world of neurology, and specifically, why neurocritical care?  Throughout the years, we have seen APPs come and go in our neurological ICUs (NICU). Some enter neurocritical care, learn the nuances of neurological patients, but ultimately leave and transition themselves into a different subspecialty. ...

  • Opinion: Challenges with OPOs

    Blog Entry

    By Wade Smith, MD, PhD, FNCC I have practiced neurocritical care since 1994. As a fellow in 1993, I engaged in the first case of donation after cardiac death (DCD) in California. This experience, coupled with prior ethics consultation experience as a resident, initiated a career-long interest in organ donation. However, I have had several struggles with the organ procurement process throughout my career, and I am writing this article to ask if others have had similar or dissimilar experiences. A few years ago, I was taking call for ethics when ...

  • By Kristi Tucker, MD   Trainees are taught how to communicate with patients and how to behave professionally during patient interactions, but sadly there is much less emphasis placed on effective communication with medical colleagues.  In residency programs, there is little, if any, formal instruction and most of the learning comes from observation.  However, mastery of these skills is an important part of providing consultation services.  Also, notably, two of the six Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) core competencies ...

  • Stories of Hope: Kertisha

    Blog Entry

    To most, Sunday, April 7, 2019, does not stir up strong emotions or even spark a distant memory. The most popular tweet of the day was “Keep your emotions off the internet” from NFL player JuJu Smith-Schuster; Old Town Road by Lil Nas X jumped 14 spots to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100; front page news introduced Candida auris to the public; and in just 24 hours, the Virginia Cavaliers would face the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the NCAA college basketball national championship game. But that day was a big one for Kertisha “Tisha” Brabson and her battle ...

  • By Brittny Medenwald, PharmD, with acknowledgements to Katleen Chester, PharmD, BCCCP, BCGP and Sunita Dergalust, PharmD, BCPS At 19 years old, my best friend was involved a motorcycle crash. Her severe TBI caused her to stay in the neurocritical care (NCC) unit for 13 days. That experience started my path toward practicing in NCC. As a first-year pharmacy resident, I had a strong desire to be back in the NCC unit. I chose my rotations hoping to manage NCC patients. I was disheartened that despite rotating through various adult and pediatric critical ...

  • By Jens Nee 1 , Erich Schmutzhard 2 , Raimund Helbok 3   Medical Department, Divison of Nephrology and Intensive Care Medicine - Circulatory Arrest Center, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Department of Neurology, Neurocritical Care, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria. Department of Neurology, Neurocritical Care, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.  The first Berlin Circulatory Arrest Symposium took place in November 2019. The goal of this symposium ...

  • By Lauren Koffman, DO and Starane Shepherd, MD Through a partnership with the Rush University Global Health Department, a local nonprofit organization, Community Empowerment and the Feltrex Foundation, Lauren Koffman and Starane Shepherd were welcomed back to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic for the second time in August 2019. In 2018, they were the keynote speakers at two events and conducted a half-day workshop for residents, but this year there was a different format. It was an action-packed day in Santo Domingo, with the day starting off ...

  • Stories of Hope: Christopher

    Blog Entry

    There was a trail of blood around the house that led to the basement. He recalls pacing back and forth, trying to take care of a wound. He had blacked out at some point, but he remembers his dog vigorously licking him to get up and answer the door.   Christopher’s memory and speech still aren’t what they used to be, but they’ve been steadily getting better. He turned 21 years old in 2019, and the year has been one of recovery and rebirth. He continues to make constant progress, and he hopes that someday soon he may yet return to his electrician’s ...