Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Happy Darwin and Lincoln Day 2019

 

Today we celebrate two 210th birthdays. Both stood up to right wing religious fanatics and were attacked for it. One was assassinated.

The first birthday boy is Abraham Lincoln, who might have been the most famous aggressively pro-civil rights, do gooder, Social Justice Warrior president – except that secession began before Lincoln even took office. The slave states were so afraid of what Lincoln might do that they didn’t even wait to find out. They didn’t use any valid legal means to try to win their case, but essentially stated, We’re leaving and we’re taking these parts of America, because we believe they belong to us and secession is 9/10ths of the law. We double dog dare you to enforce the law – and just to comply with the wording of the Constitution of the United States, we are going to open fire on the United States Army. The hurt themselves and the rest of America by promoting secessionists’ devotion to enslaving those not white and the secessionists’ adamant opposition to states’ rights. Yes, the secessionists’ claimed to be fighting for states’ rights, but liars lie.
 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.[1]

 

Ironically, those who seceded were Democrats, but the parties have flipped and the Republicans are now the anti-civil rights party.

The following statement is from Sen. Barry Goldwater, who was the 1964 Republican and Conservative candidate for president, but now would be rejected by the Conservatives and the Republicans.
 

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.[2]

 

Modern America has moved so far to the right, that Goldwater would probably be accused of being a socialist and a communist by various members of the right wing media. Sen. Goldwater also opposed government intrusion into the personal lives of LGBT people, because he was opposed to the big government that much of the right wing wants to use to force their lifestyle on everyone.

At that time, the right wing media being condemned by Sen. Goldwater was just beginning a resurgence. The ironically named Moral Majority was preaching its Christian sharia law to gather a lot of followers. Jerry Falwell, Sr. was their leader and Barry Goldwater condemned that earlier, less powerful, Falwell. His son, Jerry Falwell, Jr. seems to be able to tell our current president what to do, but a lot of people manipulate the president.
 

I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass.[3]

 

Since the Civil War, the propaganda machine of the secessionists has been more successful. They have been able to place statues of the traitors throughout the states they led in treason to show everyone that the secessionists still maintain power in spite of being defeated on the battlefield. Why don’t we have statues of Benedict Arnold?

We could celebrate Robert E. Lee for his opposition to secessionists after the war and for Lee’s unintentional(?) destruction of his cavalry at Gettysburg. Pickett’s Charge may have been the final straw for the Army Promoting Expansion of Slavery.

The second 210th birthday boy is Charles Darwin, who is remembered for explaining the diversity of life on Earth. Evolution explains the evidence showing the progression from the simplest life form to the current diversity of life – a diversity which appears to be decreasing due to our failure to value our children above our politics. Extinction is a part of that explanation. Extinction was once thought to be an argument against evolution, because it would violate God’s perfect plan, but eventually, extinction became undeniable, too. Oddly, people still deny biology. Evolution is so essential to biology, that Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote a paper titled, Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.[4]

It is interesting that the science denial that affects biology, Creationism, is promoted most aggressively in the same slave states Bible Belt that fought against the United States of America in favor of treating diversity as a justification for violence.

It was science that helped the liberal Christians to convince the rest of America that slavery is wrong – something that much of the often less Christian rest of world already understood.
 

Book that Changed America - cover 1
 

As I wrote in 2017:

Darwin provided scientific evidence for a common origin, which gave a scientific argument to those criticizing slavery. How is it moral to enslave other humans? Well, the Bible repeatedly endorses slavery and Jesus never criticized slavery. Jesus actually used slavery as an analogy for belief in God, with believers as slaves and the slave owners as God.

Contrariwise, those who focused on the good parts of the Bible and avoided the bad parts, used Darwin’s book as the basis for advocating for a more moral approach to our fellow humans. Those who read the Bible differently from the advocates of slavery saw that they were not along. Science also opposed the moral abyss of slavery.

Not to spoil the ending, but the abolitionists were not successful at reasoning with those in the Bible Belt to end slavery in America. We ended up with over 600,000 Americans dead over different interpretations of the Bible on how to treat humans.[5]

The anti-science of Young Earth Creationism, the most basic form of Creationism, is the belief that the particular version of the God of that sect of believers literally just poofed itself into existence, then created life in its current diversity and that mutation can never produce a beneficial outcome.

For some bizarre reason, this God has organs of evolution. A true only one of its kind creature would not be male, nor would it be female, but the plot holes are numerous and demonstrate the impossibility of the story, when promoted as accurate. What other creature(s) God need sexual organs for? How did this God evolve them? Most Christians seem to view the two contradictory Creation stories in Genesis (Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2) as metaphorical. How else do you defend something that dramatically changes when you turn to the next page? Hallucinogens? Hypoxia? Dementia? Metaphor – it is poetic, rather than literal. At least, that is the only reasonable approach.

Some Creationists take a shot at creating a middle approach. These not-so-literalists claim that microevolution is real, but macroevolution is impossible. These are real terms, but not the way the not-so-literalist Creationists use them.

These Creationists see that microevolution is undeniable, so they try to move the goalposts to try to protect their belief in Separate Creation.

Here is a further irony. These not-so-literalist Creationists claim that while they cannot deny that evolution happens on a small scale, they absolutely refuse to accept that it continues. Evolution is required to stop. Although they cannot provide any kind of evidence to support their claim and scientists provide plenty of evidence that evolution is not stopped, they continue to make this claim.

The irony gets even greater, because when you are dealing with apologists, the excuses will differ, thus the increasing disagreements among the dozens/hundreds/thousands of flavors of Creationism. Some of these micro yes, macro no Creationists claim that the restriction on evolution prevents the development of any new species, because they just can’t seem to understand that a lot of change can produce a dramatic difference. Other micro yes, macro no Creationists claim that this restriction prevents the evolution of any new genus. They claim that the story of the Ark saving 8 people from the murderous God of the Bible is the reason. This story is borrowed from the Babylonians, who taught the Israelites to write during the Babylonian captivity.[6]

Anyway, the story of the Ark mentions 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.[7] This is a justification for being able to put billions of creatures on one supposedly seaworthy vessel. Not everything had evolved at the time, some evolved after their kinds after they disembarked. Two contradictions attacked with one excuse. Brilliant!

Some of the not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new species, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.

Other not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new genus, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.

Still other not-so-literalist Creationists accept that evolution is possible, as long as it does not produce a new family, because that would be too much. They insist that there must be an artificial limit on evolution.
 


Taxonomic Rank, from Wikipedia page
 

No matter what they have to invoke, all flavors of Creationist insist that there is some sort of artificial limit on evolution. Some Creationists insist that all evolution is prevented, while others accept varying amounts of evolution, rather than try to reject the overwhelming evidence.

We flawed humans must be explained, but their ambiguous creator must just be believed in all of its million different interpretations, and with all of its impossible contradictions – and all of the other Gods are just made up by people.

Footnotes:

[1] Constitution
Article III, Section 3
The Legal Information Institute
Article III

[2] Barry Goldwater
Wikiquote
 

Said in November 1994, as quoted in John Dean, Conservatives Without Conscience (2006).

 

[3] Barry Goldwater
Wikiquote
 

Said in July 1981 in response to Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell’s opposition to the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court, of which Falwell had said, “Every good Christian should be concerned.” as quoted in Ed Magnuson, “The Brethren’s First Sister,” Time Magazine, (July 20, 1981).
According to John Dean, Goldwater actually suggested that good Christians ought to kick Falwell in the “nuts”, but the news media “changed the anatomical reference.”
Dean, John (2008). Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. Penguin Group. “I know because I was there when he said it.”(2006).

 

A further irony is that there is nothing in the Bible that is even slightly critical of abortion, but the Bible thumpers lie about this. If you claim that Thou shalt not kill applies to abortion, you have to find someplace – any place where the Bible refers to abortion as killing. The Bible does not make that claim. The Christian sharia promoters make far more judgmental claims (judge not, lest ye be judged), because irony knows no bounds among fundamentalists.

The Bible states that life begins with the first breath. Genesis 2:7 and Job 33:4 and that a fetus is not a person Exodus 21:22. The Biblical literalists need to reinterpret the words to massage the meaning to be able to come up with something that allows them to claim their interpretation of their God agrees with them.

There is condemnation of divorce, by Jesus, but the religious right has chosen to vote for divorced leaders in order to get the political power that they want. Almost everything Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is a condemnation of the goals of the religious right in America today, but that is not the only place where Jesus condemns the religious right in America today.

Why do so many right wing Christians hate Jesus so much that they blaspheme Jesus?

If you want more information than provided above, read these:

The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal
February 18, 2012
Fred Clark
Article
 

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

 

and

The Not-So-Lofty Origins of the Evangelical Pro-Life Movement
February 5, 2013
Jonathan Dudley
Religion Dispatches
Article
 

Although evangelicals were mostly silent on abortion after Roe v. Wade, they were not silent on other political issues. Paul Weyrich, one of the evangelical right’s most influential founders, recalls that the movement initially emerged to defend racially segregated Christian schools from government intrusion:

 

Abortion was chosen as the rallying cry, because the religious right were losing ground defending segregation. Now abortion is the headline, while the religious right still work for segregation by more politically correct means.

[4] Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution
Theodosius Dobzhansky
The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973)
Article in PDF format
 

I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way.

 

Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.

 

[5] The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation
Randall Fuller

Read ‘The Book That Changed America’ for Darwin Day 2017
Sun, 12 Feb 2017
Rogue Medic
Article

and

Kirkus Review

and

January 24, 2017
Randy Dotinga
Christian Science Monitor
Review

[6] The Ark Before Noah: Decoding the Story of the Flood
Irving Finkel

Kirkus Review

and

How the ark changed shape
13 February, 2014
Will Gore
Catholic Herald
Article/Interview

Here is part of that interview with Irving Finkel from Catholic Herald:
 

We also discuss the negative reaction that his theories might provoke in some Christian quarters. He admits that those who tend towards a literalist reading of the Bible will never be persuaded of its links to the Babylonian era.

He hopes, though, that he is handling the topic sensitively. He is at pains to point out, for example, that, despite what some headlines have suggested, he is not claiming the Bible story to be wrong and that Noah’s Ark should be round. He has, he says, simply traced the origins of the story found in Genesis.

Finkel has resolved to make sure he maintains a sense of humour when dealing with critics. He’s obviously very content with the conclusions he has drawn. Behind that big beard it’s not hard to detect a smile as he says: “I can’t imagine somebody will find something that proves my ideas wrong, so if people reject them it doesn’t matter. People often reject things they don’t like and not necessarily on logical grounds. If I give a lecture and people throw vegetables, then so be it.”

 

Here is a video of a presentation by Irving Finkel.
 


 

[7] Genesis 8:19
King James Version
Verse at BibleHub in all versions

.

What Treatments May Be De-Emphasized by EM/EMS in 2019? Part II

 

I showed the problems with amiodarone for both live patients and dead patients in Part I. The higher the quality of the evidence, the less the evidence supports the use of amiodarone on humans.

Amiodarone is all sales pitch and no medical benefit, but Dr. Kudenchuk keeps trying to spin the results like an acupuncturist, when the evidence clearly does not support Dr. Kudenchuk’s claims.[1]
 

What else should be de-emphasized?

Obviously, adrenaline (epinephrine in non-Commonwealth countries) for cardiac arrest. As the quality of the epinephrine research has improved, the claims of supposed benefits have disappeared.[2], [3]

Now, the goalposts have shifted, again, and the claims are that some other dosing is safe and effective, even though the evidence to support these claims does not exist. This is alternative medicine. This is dishonest. This is experimenting on patients without any kind of ethical approval, or collection of data, or anything else that would accompany a true experiment. We are learning that we are very good at lying to ourselves, but we knew that.

Eventually, we may be claiming that we have not studied what happens when we stand on one leg while giving epinephrine.

How can we possibly stop using adrenaline if we have not proven that it doesn’t work when standing on one leg? How can we refuse to provide this one legged hope to patients?

We are sorry for what we did to your _______, but we consider justifying doing something harmful, based on low quality evidence and even lower quality excuses, to be more important than the outcomes of our patients. If we don’t throw in the kitchen sink, how can we claim that we did everything we could for to your _______?
 


Click on the image to make it larger.
I modified the original to add the outcomes reported by PARAMEDIC2. Severe neurological impairment is the wording from the conclusion, but that would not fit. If you think that harm is not an accurate synonym for impairment, you may be dangerous to patients.
Source of original – R.E.B.E.L. EM – Beyond ACLS: Cognitively Offloading During a Cardiac Arrest
 

If the next revision of ACLS/ILCOR (Advanced Cardiac Life Support/International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation) does not state that epinephrine/adrenaline should be limited to use in high quality research, it will be encouraging abuse of patients.

This is alternative medicine. This is not medicine.

The difference is that real medicine relies on valid evidence that it works, while alternative medicine relies on marketing strategies and misinformation.

Do you want to be treated by someone who can tell the difference between these approaches?

Medicine requires doing what is best for the patient.

Alternative medicine requires doing what makes the guru look best, so that the guru can keep making sales.

The doctors promoting this unethical approach do not appear to be ashamed of what they are doing, but they keep making excuses. We need to make it clear that their excuses are not ethical.

To all of the doctors claiming that a drip works. Demonstrate that you are ethical and competent. Show that what you are doing improves outcomes that matter to patients, in a high quality study, or stop.

If doctors won’t do that, maybe we should add DNA (Do Not Amio) and DNE (Do Not Epi) to our list of advance directives, for those who do not think that resuscitation to a come, where sepsis and aspiration pneumonia are what we aspire to.

Footnotes:

[1] Amiodarone, Lidocaine, or Placebo in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Kudenchuk PJ, Brown SP, Daya M, Rea T, Nichol G, Morrison LJ, Leroux B, Vaillancourt C, Wittwer L, Callaway CW, Christenson J, Egan D, Ornato JP, Weisfeldt ML, Stiell IG, Idris AH, Aufderheide TP, Dunford JV, Colella MR, Vilke GM, Brienza AM, Desvigne-Nickens P, Gray PC, Gray R, Seals N, Straight R, Dorian P; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Investigators.
N Engl J Med. 2016 May 5;374(18):1711-22. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1514204. Epub 2016 Apr 4.
PMID: 27043165

Free Full Text from NEJM.

CONCLUSIONS Overall, neither amiodarone nor lidocaine resulted in a significantly higher rate of survival or favorable neurologic outcome than the rate with placebo among patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to initial shock-refractory ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia.

 

Here are some comments from Dr. Kudenchuk, which contradict the conclusion of Dr. Kudenchuk’s study:
 

This trial shows that amiodarone and lidocaine offer hope for bringing patients back to life and into the hospital after cardiac arrest,” said principal study author Peter Kudenchuk, M.D.

 

This trial shows that amiodarone and lidocaine offer no hope for outcomes that matter to patients.
 

Importantly, there was a significant improvement in survival to hospital discharge with either drug when the cardiac arrest was bystander-witnessed.”

 

There is no truth to Dr. Kudenchuk’s claim. This is what the authors of the study actually wrote:
 

We observed an interaction of treatment with the witnessed status of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, which is often taken as a surrogate for early recognition of cardiac arrest, a short interval between the patient’s collapse from cardiac arrest and the initiation of treatment, and a greater likelihood of therapeutic responsiveness. Though prespecified, this subgroup analysis was performed in the context of an insignificant difference for the overall analysis, and the P value for heterogeneity in this subgroup analysis was not adjusted for the number of subgroup comparisons. Nonetheless, the suggestion that survival was improved by drug treatment in patients with witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, without evidence of harm in those with unwitnessed arrest, merits thoughtful consideration.

 

The best that can be stated about these drugs is that if the researchers used a large enough study, they might be able to find a statistically significant result – or the researchers may demonstrate that this was just another example of a statistically insignificant run of luck, which means nothing and is just as likely to have gone the other way.

A run of heads in a row, while flipping a coin is a reason to examine the coin for bias, but if no bias is found, it is expected to be just what is expected to happen in a large number of coin flips. A lack of understanding of coincidence leads to faulty conclusions.

The difference in outcomes, that Dr. Kudenchuk claims is significant, not statistically significant.

Does Dr. Kudenchuk not understand the way research works or does Dr. Kudenchuk have some unstated motive for distorting the results? It appears that the New England Journal of Medicine refused to publish the conclusion that Dr. Kudenchuk wanted, so Dr. Kudenchuk is using more gullible people to spread his misinformation.

Go ahead and read the full paper, which is available from NEJM here.

Also read Dr. Kudenchuk’s press release, which misrepresents the results of Dr. Kudenchuk’s study. You would think that Dr. Kudenchuk would know better.
 

Antiarrhythmic drugs found beneficial when used by EMS treating cardiac arrest
NHLBI NEWS|News Release
April 4, 2016, 9:00 AM EDT
Press Release
 

I have nothing to hide. I want you to look all of the evidence.
 

Dr. Kudenchuk is Misrepresenting ALPS as ‘Significant’
Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article
 

Amiodarone, Lidocaine, or Placebo in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
Mon, 04 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[2] Effect of adrenaline on survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial
Jacobs IG, Finn JC, Jelinek GA, Oxer HF, Thompson PL.
Resuscitation. 2011 Sep;82(9):1138-43. Epub 2011 Jul 2.
PMID: 21745533 [PubMed – in process]

Free Full Text PDF Download from semanticscholar.org
 

This study was designed as a multicentre trial involving five ambulance services in Australia and New Zealand and was accordingly powered to detect clinically important treatment effects. Despite having obtained approvals for the study from Institutional Ethics Committees, Crown Law and Guardianship Boards, the concerns of being involved in a trial in which the unproven “standard of care” was being withheld prevented four of the five ambulance services from participating.

 

In addition adverse press reports questioning the ethics of conducting this trial, which subsequently led to the involvement of politicians, further heightened these concerns. Despite the clearly demonstrated existence of clinical equipoise for adrenaline in cardiac arrest it remained impossible to change the decision not to participate.

 

The results do not show an improvement in the any outcome that matters to patients.
 

CONCLUSION: Patients receiving adrenaline during cardiac arrest had no statistically significant improvement in the primary outcome of survival to hospital discharge although there was a significantly improved likelihood of achieving ROSC.

 

[3] A Randomized Trial of Epinephrine in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Perkins GD, Ji C, Deakin CD, Quinn T, Nolan JP, Scomparin C, Regan S, Long J, Slowther A, Pocock H, Black JJM, Moore F, Fothergill RT, Rees N, O’Shea L, Docherty M, Gunson I, Han K, Charlton K, Finn J, Petrou S, Stallard N, Gates S, Lall R; PARAMEDIC2 Collaborators.
N Engl J Med. 2018 Jul 18. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1806842. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 30021076

Free Full Text from NEJM

It appears that the full text of PARAMEDIC2 is no longer available for free from NEJM, but there is the option of registering for 3 free papers a month (Register for 3 FREE subscriber-only articles each month.) in a red pop-up banner at the bottom of the page.

Once again, the results do not show an improvement in the any outcome that matters to patients.
 

CONCLUSIONS: In adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the use of epinephrine resulted in a significantly higher rate of 30-day survival than the use of placebo, but there was no significant between-group difference in the rate of a favorable neurologic outcome because more survivors had severe neurologic impairment in the epinephrine group.

 

.

What Treatments May Be De-Emphasized by EM/EMS in 2019? Part I

 

EM (Emergency Medicine) and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) have already started to eliminate/decrease use of a lot of our failed treatments, because people started to see through our excuses. Atropine for asystole stuck around for a long time, then just vanished.[1]. Calcium for cardiac arrest is also something that used to be standard of care, then we raised our standards.

We need to keep raising our standards, because our patients’ outcomes – their lives, their brains, their everything – depend on raising our standards.

We used to give antiarrhythmics to almost anyone with a cardiac complaint. Then there was CAST (The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial[2]). While CAST did not study lidocaine, it did study longer term use of antiarrhythmics. Lidocaine is too dangerous for long term use, so the results of CAST may be much worse for lidocaine. We thought that the increased deaths among patients with frequent PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) after having a heart attack was due to a problem with the conduction system. PVCs indicate a problem with conduction and antiarrhythmics cause the PVCs to go away.
 

Before receiving the antiarrhythmic (PVCs are circled in red).


 

After receiving the antiarrhythmic.


 

Problem solved.

Now the problem is, How do we get paid more? These drugs were the biggest selling drugs at the time. They making the drug companies a fortune. Whichever company made the drug that saved the most lives would make a lot more money then the others. Provide evidence that ______ saves more lives than all of the others.

The problem of the PVCs was solved, but the solution was killing many more patients than not giving drugs.

The result was not celebrated by the drug companies. The patients taking antiarrhythmics were dying at three times the rate of the patients taking placebos. A plausible physiological mechanism suggested the drugs would save lives, but that was based on an assumption that was not justified. This is the kind of reasoning that appeals to those who reject EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine). The evidence should convince these EBM opponents of the folly of relying on physiology and on a plausible explanation to justify not looking for the evidence that might expose their unreasonable assumptions. These otherwise reasonable people start making excuses for unreasonable assumptions, because they believe. They seem to need to convince others to join in and multiply their mistakes.[3]

The PVCs appear to have been just an indicator of an unhealthy heart.

Getting rid of the PVCs may have made the conduction in the heart less healthy.

Giving the drugs may have killed tens of thousands of patients.

Antiarrhythmic use decreased dramatically after the harm demonstrated in CAST, but some drug pushers are trying to get one of the worst antiarrhythmics (amiodarone, now in a new formula) to make a comeback, by creatively spinning research to claim results the research was never designed to evaluate.

Not having learned from the evidence, even though he has been the lead author on some of it, Dr. Peter Kudenchuk has been claiming that in EMS witnessed arrests, there was a significant improvement, even though his own published results contradict this claim. Here is what the results actually state:
 

Though prespecified, this subgroup analysis was performed in the context of an insignificant difference for the overall analysis, and the P value for heterogeneity in this subgroup analysis was not adjusted for the number of subgroup comparisons. Nonetheless, the suggestion that survival was improved by drug treatment in patients with witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, without evidence of harm in those with unwitnessed arrest, merits thoughtful consideration.[4]

 

Amiodarone has also been shown to be horrible for patients with ventricular tachycardia with a pulse. Amiodarone is so ineffective, that the rate of severe side effects is greater than the rate of improved outcomes. Amiodarone is more likely to make your patient’s medical condition much worse, but it is still considered to be the standard of care and amiodarone is still in EMS protocols.[5]

Maybe amiodarone can produce better results if it is used for execution by lethal injection.

I am expecting that there will be more failed treatments removed from our standards of care.

We need to raise our standards to improve outcomes, not lower our standards to make us look better than we are.

Continued in Part II. I will add Part III and others at some point and provide the links here.

Footnotes:

[1] Why Did We Remove Atropine From ACLS?
Rogue Medic

Part I
Sun, 13 Oct 2013

Part II
Wed, 16 Oct 2013

[2] Mortality and morbidity in patients receiving encainide, flecainide, or placebo. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial.
Echt DS, Liebson PR, Mitchell LB, Peters RW, Obias-Manno D, Barker AH, Arensberg D, Baker A, Friedman L, Greene HL, et al.
N Engl J Med. 1991 Mar 21;324(12):781-8.
PMID: 1900101 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from NEJM.
 

CONCLUSIONS. There was an excess of deaths due to arrhythmia and deaths due to shock after acute recurrent myocardial infarction in patients treated with encainide or flecainide. Nonlethal events, however, were equally distributed between the active-drug and placebo groups. The mechanisms underlying the excess mortality during treatment with encainide or flecainide remain unknown.

[3] Why US EMS will never get to sit at the adult table – The Appeal to Authority
Sun, 04 May 2014
Rogue Medic
Article

Since Mike cites the original parachute study, as if it is not satire, it is amusing to point out that there is a new Parachute Study! Read Dr. Radecki’s description of this satirical poke at those who do not understand research in the satire issue of the BMJ, which they put out every Christmas as sort of a British IgNobel.

Don’t Bother With the Parachute!
Emergency Medicine Literature of Note
Dr. Ryan Radecki
December 21, 2018
Article
 

Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial.
Yeh RW, Valsdottir LR, Yeh MW, Shen C, Kramer DB, Strom JB, Secemsky EA, Healy JL, Domeier RM, Kazi DS, Nallamothu BK; PARACHUTE Investigators.
BMJ. 2018 Dec 13;363:k5094. doi: 10.1136/bmj.k5094. Erratum in: BMJ. 2018 Dec 18;363:k5343.
PMID: 30545967

Free Full Text from BMJ.

[4] Amiodarone, Lidocaine, or Placebo in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Kudenchuk PJ, Brown SP, Daya M, Rea T, Nichol G, Morrison LJ, Leroux B, Vaillancourt C, Wittwer L, Callaway CW, Christenson J, Egan D, Ornato JP, Weisfeldt ML, Stiell IG, Idris AH, Aufderheide TP, Dunford JV, Colella MR, Vilke GM, Brienza AM, Desvigne-Nickens P, Gray PC, Gray R, Seals N, Straight R, Dorian P; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Investigators.
N Engl J Med. 2016 May 5;374(18):1711-22. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1514204. Epub 2016 Apr 4.
PMID: 27043165

Free Full Text from NEJM.

CONCLUSIONS Overall, neither amiodarone nor lidocaine resulted in a significantly higher rate of survival or favorable neurologic outcome than the rate with placebo among patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest due to initial shock-refractory ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia.

 

Dr. Kudenchuk is Misrepresenting ALPS as ‘Significant’
Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article
 

Amiodarone, Lidocaine, or Placebo in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
Mon, 04 Apr 2016
Rogue Medic
Article

[5] The PROCAMIO Trial – IV Procainamide vs IV Amiodarone for the Acute Treatment of Stable Wide Complex Tachycardia
Rogue Medic
Wed, 17 Aug 2016
Article
 

Randomized comparison of intravenous procainamide vs. intravenous amiodarone for the acute treatment of tolerated wide QRS tachycardia: the PROCAMIO study.
Ortiz M, Martín A, Arribas F, Coll-Vinent B, Del Arco C, Peinado R, Almendral J; PROCAMIO Study Investigators.
Eur Heart J. 2016 Jun 28. pii: ehw230. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 27354046

Free Full Text from European Heart Journal.
 

Amiodarone or procainamide for the termination of sustained stable ventricular tachycardia: an historical multicenter comparison.
Marill KA, deSouza IS, Nishijima DK, Senecal EL, Setnik GS, Stair TO, Ruskin JN, Ellinor PT.
Acad Emerg Med. 2010 Mar;17(3):297-306.
PMID: 20370763 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text from Academic Emergency Medicine.
 

Amiodarone is poorly effective for the acute termination of ventricular tachycardia.
Marill KA, deSouza IS, Nishijima DK, Stair TO, Setnik GS, Ruskin JN.
Ann Emerg Med. 2006 Mar;47(3):217-24. Epub 2005 Nov 21.
PMID: 16492484 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 

Intravenous amiodarone for the pharmacological termination of haemodynamically-tolerated sustained ventricular tachycardia: is bolus dose amiodarone an appropriate first-line treatment?
Tomlinson DR, Cherian P, Betts TR, Bashir Y.
Emerg Med J. 2008 Jan;25(1):15-8.
PMID: 18156531 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
 

Effects of intravenous amiodarone on ventricular refractoriness, intraventricular conduction, and ventricular tachycardia induction.
Kułakowski P, Karczmarewicz S, Karpiński G, Soszyńska M, Ceremuzyński L.
Europace. 2000 Jul;2(3):207-15.
PMID: 11227590 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text PDF + HTML from Europace
 

Adenosine for wide-complex tachycardia – diagnostic?
Thu, 23 Aug 2012
Rogue Medic
Article
 

Low doses of intravenous epinephrine for refractory sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia.
Bonny A, De Sisti A, Márquez MF, Megbemado R, Hidden-Lucet F, Fontaine G.
World J Cardiol. 2012 Oct 26;4(10):296-301. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v4.i10.296.
PMID: 23110246 [PubMed]

Free Full Text from PubMed Central.

.

The Grinch Who Stole Reality

 

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons epi.

It came without tags amio.

It came without packages oxygen, boxes tubes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

Maybe Christmas living, he thought…doesn’t come from a store drug.

Maybe Christmas living, perhaps…means a little bit more!

 

With apologies to Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) for the modification of his parable.

There are important differences between the minimal criteria for life and the criteria for a meaningful life. Many of us don’t like to think about that, because many of us don’t like thinking. Thinking can be hard. Making excuses for not thinking – priceless (at least, as long as you don’t think about it).

We have been focusing on the least honest way of reporting outcomes – a pulse – Oooh!, or maybe even 30 days of a pulse – Oood-Ahhh! After all, reality does not support continuing to do what we have been doing. If we admit that we have been causing harm, then we may have to take responsibility for our actions.

We do not want to take responsibility for our actions. We were only following orders.

Doctors, PAs (Physician Assistants), NPs (Nurse Practitioners), nurses, paramedics, EMTs, techs, . . . do not want to take responsibility for what we get paid for. Accountability is for people who think – not for us.

We have blamed science/evidence for requiring that we confront reality. As explained by Dr. Seuss, we want simple answers that do not require understanding. Give us algorithms to mindlessly follow. Give us mnemonics.

We have been giving epinephrine (adrenaline in Commonwealth countries) for over half a century with no evidence of safety or improvement in the outcome that matters most.

Why?

We haven’t wanted to know.

The first study to look at the effect of placebo vs. epinephrine on neurological survival was cut short – with only a tiny fraction of what would be needed to produce any kind of statistically useful information, except for some of the true believers, who made the same kinds of mistakes that have been made for other discarded treatments – treatments discarded due to failure to work, discarded due to harm, or discarded due to both.

Don’t study this. Just believe. Belief makes us feel good. Attack science for encouraging understanding.
 

This study was designed as a multicentre trial involving five ambulance services in Australia and New Zealand and was accordingly powered to detect clinically important treatment effects. Despite having obtained approvals for the study from Institutional Ethics Committees, Crown Law and Guardianship Boards, the concerns of being involved in a trial in which the unproven “standard of care” was being withheld prevented four of the five ambulance services from participating.[1]

 

In addition adverse press reports questioning the ethics of conducting this trial, which subsequently led to the involvement of politicians, further heightened these concerns. Despite the clearly demonstrated existence of clinical equipoise for adrenaline in cardiac arrest it remained impossible to change the decision not to participate.[1]

 

What was the conclusion produced by the Jacobs study?
 

CONCLUSION: Patients receiving adrenaline during cardiac arrest had no statistically significant improvement in the primary outcome of survival to hospital discharge although there was a significantly improved likelihood of achieving ROSC.[1]

 

As the homeopaths put their spin on studies that do not really support their claims, people who do not understand science put similar spin on the results of this. For example, if you take a Bayesian approach[2], but distort it to mean that you give extra weight to everything that supports your belief and take away credit from everything else, you can claim that this is an example of science proving that epinephrine works.

Another way of doing this is to claim that you don’t give the 1 mg dose of epinephrine, therefore the study does not apply to your patients. After all, you are just engaging in a poorly documented, unapproved study, which allows you to think of the survivors as examples of the drug working and make excuses for the rest. Of course, if you don’t give the 1 mg dose of epinephrine, is there any evidence that your treatment is safe or effective? No.

Rather than insisting that this method of dosing patients be studied, in order to determine if it really is safe or if it really is effective at anything other than getting a pulse in a brain-dead body, claim to be ahead of the science.

Why find out what is really best for the patients, when there are so many ways of declaring victory and running away?

In 2018, we had the results of the next study of placebo vs. adrenaline (epinephrine in non-Commonwealth countries, but only Commonwealth countries have bothered to do the research). The conclusion was the same as the conclusion for the only previous study.
 

CONCLUSIONS: In adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the use of epinephrine resulted in a significantly higher rate of 30-day survival than the use of placebo, but there was no significant between-group difference in the rate of a favorable neurologic outcome because more survivors had severe neurologic impairment in the epinephrine group.[3]

 

Has anyone else stated that the use of epinephrine should be limited to controlled trials?

Not that I know of.

Everyone else seems to be claiming that giving smaller boluses of epinephrine. or giving titrated infusions of epinephrine is different. Some claim that it is nihilism to refuse to believe in their slightly different treatment – at least until there is undeniable evidence of lack of benefit, or undeniable evidence of harm, or both.

Requiring evidence of benefit, before using a treatment on a patient is being reasonable.

Using inadequately studied treatments on people when they are at their most vulnerable is not good medicine.

A doctor’s oath to Apollo does not include a requirement to perpetuate dogma, but medicine is only slowly starting to focus on what is best for patients, rather than what is best for appearances.

Dr. Ryan Jacobsen addressed a similar dogma, when he got rid of the long spine board in the system where he was medical director. His description of the evidence applies to epinephrine (bolus, mini-bolus, infusion, patch, inhaler, down the tube, oral, whatever) –

Other than historical dogma and institutional EMS medical culture we can find no evidence-based reason to continue to use the Long Spine board epinephrine as it currently exists in practice today.[4]

I changed EMS to medical and the Long Spine board to epinephrine.

We have good evidence that if your loved one is a laboratory pig, rat, dog, . . . we can kill them and get them back neurologically intact with epinephrine – and with other treatments that have been discarded because they do not have the same effect on humans as on lab animals.

Let us treat your loved ones like the lab animals we think they are.

Don’t use EBM (Evidence-Based Medicine), because belief is more important than reality.

The world is a comedy to those that think; a tragedy to those that feel. – Horace Walpole.

Keep thinking. Keep demanding evidence. After the nonsense being preached by the believers is exposed, we can improve the outcomes for our patients, because medicine is about doing what is best for the patient, and not about protecting the dogma.

Footnotes:

[1] Effect of adrenaline on survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial
Jacobs IG, Finn JC, Jelinek GA, Oxer HF, Thompson PL.
Resuscitation. 2011 Sep;82(9):1138-43. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2011.06.029. Epub 2011 Jul 2.
PMID: 21745533

Free Full Text PDF Download from semanticscholar.org

[2] Bayesian inference
Wikipedia
Article

[3] A Randomized Trial of Epinephrine in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Perkins GD, Ji C, Deakin CD, Quinn T, Nolan JP, Scomparin C, Regan S, Long J, Slowther A, Pocock H, Black JJM, Moore F, Fothergill RT, Rees N, O’Shea L, Docherty M, Gunson I, Han K, Charlton K, Finn J, Petrou S, Stallard N, Gates S, Lall R; PARAMEDIC2 Collaborators.
N Engl J Med. 2018 Aug 23;379(8):711-721. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1806842. Epub 2018 Jul 18.
PMID: 30021076

[4] Johnson County EMS System Spinal Restriction Protocol 2014
Ryan C. Jacobsen MD, EMT-P, Johnson County EMS System Medical Director
Jacob Ruthsrom MD, Deputy EMS Medical Director
Theodore Barnett MD, Chair, Johnson County Medical Society EMS Physicians Committee
Johnson County EMS System Spinal Restriction Protocol 2014 in PDF format.

.

Vaccines are probably the safest and most effective medical intervention available, so why do anti-vaxers lie about them

 

Why does anyone lie?

Anti-vaxers lie for the same reason as other people – for personal benefit.

Many anti-vaxers claim that there is an international conspiracy of doctors and researchers, as if all of the doctors and researchers, or even the pediatric doctors and researchers, in the world could agree on much of anything. When you realize how ridiculously large this conspiracy would be, how much a doctor or researcher would gain from providing valid information to expose such a conspiracy, and how aggressively law enforcement would punish those behind such a conspiracy, you understand the use of ridiculous is appropriate as a description of the conspiracy theory.

This is just another example of some people thinking they know more than everyone else, based on a lack of understanding. This feeds the over-inflated egos of anti-vaxers.

The smallpox vaccine has saved hundreds of millions of lives. Anti-vaxers opposed the smallpox vaccine and delayed the eradication of smallpox. Anti-vaxers helped smallpox kill people..

Our children are no longer vaccinated against smallpox, because smallpox has been wiped out by vaccines. Millions of children’s lives, and adult lives, are saved every year by the smallpox vaccine, without even giving it to children, because enough people rejected the lies of anti-vaxers.

Vaccines continue to save millions of lives every year, in spite of opposition by anti-vaxers.

There is plenty of research showing that vaccines are effective and safe, but to give the single clearest example of the benefit of vaccines, look at the following paper from JAMA. The Journal of the American Medical Association is one of the most respected medical publications in the world. Use any search engine to find a list of the most respected medical journals and you will find JAMA near the top.

Look at the decrease in the rates of illness and the rates of death for each vaccine-preventable illness after the introduction of the vaccine for that illness. Click on the image for a larger, easier to read version.
 


 

Table 1. Historical Comparison of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases With Vaccines Licensed or Recommended Before 1980: Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, Poliomyelitis, Rubella, Smallpox, Tetanusa [1]

 

This information has been simplified for those not comfortable with scientific research (I do not know the source of the image, it was not part of the paper in JAMA):
 


 

As you can see, these diseases are almost never a problem in America, where vaccination rates are still pretty high, although anti-vaxers are causing more and more outbreaks of diseases we had not seen in decades.

Some anti-vaxers will claim that the vaccines didn’t get rid of these diseases. These anti-vaxers claim that improved sanitation, improved hygiene, and improved diet got rid of these diseases. While these improvements are helpful, here is why that is just another anti-vax lie.

We have outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illnesses in America, when the rate of vaccination drops, even though sanitation, hygiene, and diet did not deteriorate. Yes, many of our diets are getting worse, but that is not what is causing outbreaks of whooping cough, measles, and other vaccine-preventable illnesses.

The rates of illness and death only have a dramatic change for each of the vaccine-preventable illnesses after the introduction of each vaccine. If sanitation, hygiene, and diet were the reasons, the illnesses would all start to go away at the same time, although not necessarily at the same rate. If that were the case, the decreases in these diseases could easily be shown to be due to improvements in sanitation, hygiene, and diet, but that is not the case.

Anti-vaxers cannot explain that, but anti-vaxers are not reasonable.
 

Why has the polio vaccine been so effective in India, when India has widespread problems with sanitation, hygiene, and diet?

Here is what the authors wrote:
 

India, a vastly diverse country with a 27 million birth cohort, undertook the largest vaccination drive against WPV (Wild Polio Virus) in the world. With high population density, poor civic infrastructure, poor sanitation, an almost nonexistent public health system, rampant malnutrition and diarrhea, difficult-to-reach locales, high population mobility, and extremely high force of WPV transmission in few states,3 the interruption of WPV transmission was extremely difficult and demanding. The interplay of these challenging factors provided a perfect milieu for the WPV to circulate, and the prospect of achieving zero-polio status seemed insurmountable.[2]

 

India completed a full 5 years as a “polio-free nation” on January 13, 2016.1 It was a remarkable feat considering the odds against achieving this status. [2]

Anti-vaxers will make excuses, but this clearly exposes the anti-vax lie that disease elimination being due to improved sanitation, hygiene, and diet, rather than due to vaccines.
 

The reason smallpox vaccine is no longer given to children, is the worldwide eradication of smallpox by vaccination.

Anti-vaers delayed the worldwide eradication of smallpox.

Anti-vaxers have prevented the worldwide eradication of polio.

Anti-vaxers continue to try to protect polio from eradication.

Children would no longer need polio vaccination, if it weren’t for anti-vaxers.

If you don’t like giving the polio vaccine to your child, blame the anti-vaxers.

Footnotes:

[1] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group.
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

You can also read the full text of the article for free at JAMA at the link below, if you want to understand more of the details that the anti-vaxers don’t want you to understand.

Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States

[2] Polio Eradication in India: The Lessons Learned.
Thacker N, Vashishtha VM, Thacker D.
Pediatrics. 2016 Oct;138(4). pii: e20160461. Epub 2016 Sep 2. Review. No abstract available.
PMID: 27590898

You can also read the full text of the article for free at Pediatrics at the link below, if you want to understand more of the details that the anti-vaxers don’t want you to understand. Pediatrics is one of the most respected pediatric medical publications in the world. Use any search engine to find what pediatric medical journals are the most respected and you will find Pediatrics near the top.

Polio Eradication in India: The Lessons Learned

.

Are We Killing Patients With Parochialism?

 
The variation in approaches to resuscitation in EMS is tremendous.

Many excuses center around the need for local people to be able to claim that they know something that the evidence does not show, although they consistently fail to provide valid evidence for these claims. This local knowledge appears to be intuitive – they just know it, but cannot provide anything to support their feelings.

The latest research can be interpreted in many different ways, but it definitely does not support the claims of the advocates of parochialism.
 

Results We identified 43 656 patients with OHCA treated by 112 EMS agencies. At EMS agency level, we observed large variations in survival to hospital discharge (range, 0%-28.9%; unadjusted MOR, 1.43 [95% CI, 1.34-1.54]), return of spontaneous circulation on emergency department arrival (range, 9.0%-57.1%; unadjusted MOR, 1.53 [95% CI, 1.43-1.65]), and favorable functional outcome (range, 0%-20.4%; unadjusted MOR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.40-1.73]).[1]

 

MOR = Median Odds Ratio – how many times more likely is something to happen.

What is most commonly measured is what matters the least – ROSC (Return Of Spontaneous Circulation). Did we get a pulse back, for even the briefest period of time, regardless of outcomes that matter.

What matters? Does the person wake up and have the ability to function as they did before the cardiac arrest.

Those who justify focusing on ROSC claim that, If we don’t get a pulse back, nothing else matters, but that is the kind of excuse used by frauds. How we get a pulse back does matter. The evidence makes that conclusion irrefutable, but there will always be those who do not accept that they are causing harm. They will make excuses for the harm they are causing. Getting ROSC helps them to feel that they are not causing harm. ROSC encourages us to give drugs like epinephrine, which have been demonstrated to not improve any survival that matters.

The means of obtaining ROSC can be compared to the means of doing anything that requires finesse. Sure, it feels good to try to force something. Sure, you can claim that forcing something is the most direct way to accomplish the goal.

Can the advocates of focusing on ROSC produce any valid evidence that their approach leads to improvements in outcomes that matter? No. The evidence contradicts their claims. The evidence has caused us to eliminate many of their treatments – treatments they claimed had to work because of physiology. As it turns out, they were wrong. They were wrong about their treatments and wrong about their understanding of physiology.

If you want to win money, bet that any new treatment will not improve outcomes that matter.
 

This variation persisted despite adjustment for patient-level and EMS agency–level factors known to be associated with outcomes (adjusted MOR for survival 1.56 [95% CI 1.44-1.73]; adjusted MOR for return of spontaneous circulation at emergency department arrival, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.41-1.62]; adjusted MOR for functionally favorable survival, 1.53 [95% CI, 1.37-1.78]).[1]

 

Is presence of a pulse upon arrival at the emergency department an important outcome? Only for billing purposes. The presence of a pulse justifies providing more, and more expensive, treatments. Is the presence of a pulse upon arrival at the emergency department a goal worth trying for? As with ROSC, only if it does not cause us to harm patients to obtain this goal, which is just something that is documented, because it is a point of transfer of patient care.
 

After restricting analysis to those who survived more than 60 minutes after hospital arrival and including hospital treatment characteristics, the variation persisted (adjusted MOR for survival, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.36-1.69]; adjusted MOR for functionally favorable survival, 1.34 [95% CI, 1.20-1.59]).[1]

 

There is a lot of variability.

What did they find?
 


 

Most of the people in EMS, who claim to be doing what is best for their patients, are making things worse.
 

69% means that there are two EMS agencies producing bad outcomes for every EMS agency producing good outcomes.

Correction – The text crossed out is not accurate. I should have thought that through a bit better before I posted it. My caption for Table 1 is accurate. However, what I should have written afterward is –

The worse half of EMS agencies are only producing half as many good outcomes as the better half of EMS agencies.

We are bad at resuscitation and those doing the most resuscitating are doing the least good.

Why do so many of us refuse to improve our standards?

What is more important than the outcomes for our patients?
 

Why are we so overwhelmingly bad at resuscitation?
 

What are the authors’ conclusions?
 

This study has implications for improvement of OHCA management. First, the analysis indicates that the highest-performing EMS agencies had more layperson interventions and more EMS personnel on scene.[1]

 

They do not conclude that we need more doctors, more nurses, or more paramedics responding to cardiac arrest.
 

Second, our findings justify further efforts to identify potentially modifiable factors that may explain this residual variation in outcomes and could be targets of public health interventions.[1]

 

We need to figure out what we are doing, because the people telling us that they know that we need intubation are lying.

We need to figure out what we are doing, because the people telling us that they know that we need epinephrine are lying.

We need to figure out what we are doing, because the people telling us that they know that we need amiodarone are lying.

We need to figure out what we are doing, because the people telling us that they know that we need ________ are lying.

How dare I call them liars?

Let them produce valid evidence that the interventions they claim are necessary actually do improve outcomes that matter.

Have them stop making excuses and start producing results.

I dare them.

The only time we have made significant improvements in outcomes have been when we emphasized chest compressions, especially bystander chest compressions, and when we emphasized bystander defibrillation.

It is time to start requiring evidence of benefit for everything we do to patients.

Our patients are too important to be subjected to witchcraft, based on opinions and an absence of research.

There is plenty of valid evidence that using only chest compressions improves outcomes.
 

Cardiocerebral resuscitation improves survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Kellum MJ, Kennedy KW, Ewy GA.
Am J Med. 2006 Apr;119(4):335-40.
PMID: 16564776 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Cardiocerebral resuscitation improves neurologically intact survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Kellum MJ, Kennedy KW, Barney R, Keilhauer FA, Bellino M, Zuercher M, Ewy GA.
Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Sep;52(3):244-52. Epub 2008 Mar 28.
PMID: 18374452 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Minimally interrupted cardiac resuscitation by emergency medical services for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Bobrow BJ, Clark LL, Ewy GA, Chikani V, Sanders AB, Berg RA, Richman PB, Kern KB.
JAMA. 2008 Mar 12;299(10):1158-65.
PMID: 18334691 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text at JAMA

Passive oxygen insufflation is superior to bag-valve-mask ventilation for witnessed ventricular fibrillation out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Bobrow BJ, Ewy GA, Clark L, Chikani V, Berg RA, Sanders AB, Vadeboncoeur TF, Hilwig RW, Kern KB.
Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Nov;54(5):656-662.e1. Epub 2009 Aug 6.
PMID: 19660833 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

And more.

 

It is not ethical to insist on giving treatments to patients in the absence of valid evidence of benefit to the patient. We need to begin to improve our ethics.
 

Also to be posted on ResearchBlogging.org when they relaunch the site.

Footnotes:

[1] Variation in Survival After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Between Emergency Medical Services Agencies.
Okubo M, Schmicker RH, Wallace DJ, Idris AH, Nichol G, Austin MA, Grunau B, Wittwer LK, Richmond N, Morrison LJ, Kurz MC, Cheskes S, Kudenchuk PJ, Zive DM, Aufderheide TP, Wang HE, Herren H, Vaillancourt C, Davis DP, Vilke GM, Scheuermeyer FX, Weisfeldt ML, Elmer J, Colella R, Callaway CW; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Investigators.
JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Sep 26. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2018.3037. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 30267053

Free Full Text from JAMA Cardiology

.

Why are we still intubating, when there is no evidence of benefit and we refuse to practice this “skill”?

 
Also to be posted on ResearchBlogging.org when they relaunch the site.

The results are in from two studies comparing intubation with laryngeal airways. There continues to be no good reason to intubate cardiac arrest patients. There is no apparent benefit and the focus on this rarely used, and almost never practiced, procedure seems to be more for the feelings of the people providing treatment, than for the patients.
 

Patients with a short duration of cardiac arrest and who receive bystander resuscitation, defibrillation, or both, are considerably more likely to survive and are also less likely to require advanced airway management.22 This problem of confounding by indication is an important limitation of many large observational studies that show an association between advanced airway management and poor outcome in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.23 This study found that 21.1% (360/1704) of patients who did not receive advanced airway management achieved a good outcome compared with 3.3% (251/7576) of patients who received advanced airway management.[1]

 

In other words, we are the least skilled, are the least experienced, and we have the least amount of practice, but we are attempting to perform a difficult airway skill under the least favorable conditions. Ironically, we claim to be doing what is best for the patient. We are corrupt, incompetent, or both.

We also do not have good evidence that any kind of active ventilation is indicated for cardiac arrest, unless the cardiac arrest is due to respiratory conditions. Passive ventilation, which is the result of high quality chest compressions, appears to produce better outcomes (several studies are listed at the end).

We need to stop considering our harmful interventions to be the standard and withholding harmful treatments to be the intervention. We are using interventions that have well known and serious adverse effects. This attempt to defend the status quo, at the expense of honesty, has not been beneficial to patients.
 

The ETI success rate of 51% observed in this trial is lower than the 90% success rate reported in a meta-analysis.29 The reasons for this discordance are unclear. Prior reports of higher success rates may be susceptible to publication bias.[2]

 

Is that intubation success rate lower than you claim for your organization? Prove it.
 

Another possibility is that some medical directors encourage early rescue SGA use to avoid multiple unsuccessful intubation attempts and to minimize chest compression interruptions.5 Few of the study EMS agencies had protocols limiting the number of allowed intubation attempts, so the ETI success rate was not the result of practice constraints.[2]

 

Is there any reason to interrupt chest compressions, which do improve outcomes that matter, to make it easier to intubate, which does not improve any outcomes that matter? No.
 

While the ETI proficiency of study clinicians might be questioned, the trial included a diverse range of EMS agencies and likely reflects current practice.[2]

 

This is the state of the art of intubation in the real world of American EMS. Making excuses shows that we are corrupt, incompetent, or both.
 


I no longer have the link, but I think that this image came from Rescue Digest a decade ago.
 

These results contrast with prior studies of OHCA airway management. Observational studies have reported higher survival with ETI than SGA, but they were nonrandomized, included a range of SGA types, and did not adjust for the timing of the airway intervention.9,10,31-34 [2]

 

We should start doing what is best for our patients.

We should not continue to defend resuscitation theater – putting on a harmful show to make ourselves feel good.

What would a competent anesthesiologist use in the prehospital setting? Something that offers a benefit to the patient.

There is also an editorial analyzing these two studies.[3]

It is time to start requiring evidence of benefit for everything we do to patients.

Our patients are too important to be subjected to witchcraft, based on opinions and an absence of research.

There is plenty of valid evidence that using only chest compressions improves outcomes.
 

Cardiocerebral resuscitation improves survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Kellum MJ, Kennedy KW, Ewy GA.
Am J Med. 2006 Apr;119(4):335-40.
PMID: 16564776 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Cardiocerebral resuscitation improves neurologically intact survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Kellum MJ, Kennedy KW, Barney R, Keilhauer FA, Bellino M, Zuercher M, Ewy GA.
Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Sep;52(3):244-52. Epub 2008 Mar 28.
PMID: 18374452 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Minimally interrupted cardiac resuscitation by emergency medical services for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Bobrow BJ, Clark LL, Ewy GA, Chikani V, Sanders AB, Berg RA, Richman PB, Kern KB.
JAMA. 2008 Mar 12;299(10):1158-65.
PMID: 18334691 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Free Full Text at JAMA

Passive oxygen insufflation is superior to bag-valve-mask ventilation for witnessed ventricular fibrillation out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Bobrow BJ, Ewy GA, Clark L, Chikani V, Berg RA, Sanders AB, Vadeboncoeur TF, Hilwig RW, Kern KB.
Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Nov;54(5):656-662.e1. Epub 2009 Aug 6.
PMID: 19660833 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

And more.

 

It is not ethical to insist on giving treatments to patients in the absence of valid evidence of benefit to the patient. We need to begin to improve our ethics.

Also read/listen to these articles/podcasts released after I published this (I do not know the date of the Resus Room podcast) –

The Great Prehospital Airway Debate
August 31, 2018
Emergency Medicine Literature of Note
by Ryan Radecki
Article
 

EM Nerd-The Case of the Needless Imperative
August 31, 2018
EMNerd (EMCrit)
by Rory Spiegel
Article
 

Intubation or supraglottic airway in cardiac arrest; AIRWAYS-2
The Resus Room
Podcast with Simon Laing, Rob Fenwick, and James Yates with guest Professor Jonathan Benger, lead author of AIRWAYS-2.
Podcast, images, and notes
 

Footnotes:

[1] Effect of a Strategy of a Supraglottic Airway Device vs Tracheal Intubation During Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest on Functional Outcome: The AIRWAYS-2 Randomized Clinical Trial
Jonathan R. Benger, MD1; Kim Kirby, MRes1,2; Sarah Black, DClinRes2; et al Stephen J. Brett, MD3; Madeleine Clout, BSc4; Michelle J. Lazaroo, MSc4; Jerry P. Nolan, MBChB5,6; Barnaby C. Reeves, DPhil4; Maria Robinson, MOst2; Lauren J. Scott, MSc4,7; Helena Smartt, PhD4; Adrian South, BSc (Hons)2; Elizabeth A. Stokes, DPhil8; Jodi Taylor, PhD4,5; Matthew Thomas, MBChB9; Sarah Voss, PhD1; Sarah Wordsworth, PhD8; Chris A. Rogers, PhD4
August 28, 2018
JAMA. 2018;320(8):779-791.
doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11597

Abstract from JAMA.

[2] Effect of a Strategy of Initial Laryngeal Tube Insertion vs Endotracheal Intubation on 72-Hour Survival in Adults With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Henry E. Wang, MD, MS1,2; Robert H. Schmicker, MS3; Mohamud R. Daya, MD, MS4; et al Shannon W. Stephens, EMT-P2; Ahamed H. Idris, MD5; Jestin N. Carlson, MD, MS6,7; M. Riccardo Colella, DO, MPH8; Heather Herren, MPH, RN3; Matthew Hansen, MD, MCR4; Neal J. Richmond, MD9,10; Juan Carlos J. Puyana, BA7; Tom P. Aufderheide, MD, MS8; Randal E. Gray, MEd, NREMT-P2; Pamela C. Gray, NREMT-P2; Mike Verkest, AAS, EMT-P11; Pamela C. Owens5; Ashley M. Brienza, BS7; Kenneth J. Sternig, MS-EHS, BSN, NRP12; Susanne J. May, PhD3; George R. Sopko, MD, MPH13; Myron L. Weisfeldt, MD14; Graham Nichol, MD, MPH15
August 28, 2018
JAMA. 2018;320(8):769-778.
doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7044

Free Full Text from JAMA.

[3] Pragmatic Airway Management in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest
Lars W. Andersen, MD, MPH, PhD1; Asger Granfeldt, MD, PhD, DMSc2
August 28, 2018
JAMA. 2018;320(8):761-763. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.10824

Abstract from JAMA.

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A Randomized Trial of Epinephrine in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest – Part I

 
Also to be posted on ResearchBlogging.org when they relaunch the site.

The results are in from the only completed Adrenaline (Epinephrine in non-Commonwealth countries) vs. Placebo for Cardiac Arrest study.
 


 

Even I overestimated the possibility of benefit of epinephrine.

I had hoped that there would be some evidence to help identify patients who might benefit from epinephrine, but that is not the case.

PARAMEDIC2 (Prehospital Assessment of the Role of Adrenaline: Measuring the Effectiveness of Drug Administration in Cardiac Arrest) compared adrenaline (epinephrine) with placebo in a “randomized, double-blind trial involving 8014 patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest”.

More people survived for at least 30 days with epinephrine, which is entirely expected. There has not been any controversy about whether giving epinephrine produces pulses more often than not giving epinephrine. As with amiodarone (Nexterone and Pacerone), the question has been whether we are just filling the ICUs and nursing home beds with comatose patients.
 

There was no statistical evidence of a modification in treatment effect by such factors as the patient’s age, whether the cardiac arrest was witnessed, whether CPR was performed by a bystander, initial cardiac rhythm, or response time or time to trial-agent administration (Fig. S7 in the Supplementary Appendix). [1]

 

The secondary outcome is what everyone has been much more interested in – what are the neurological outcomes with adrenaline vs. without adrenaline?

The best outcome was no detectable neurological impairment.
 

the benefits of epinephrine that were identified in our trial are small, since they would result in 1 extra survivor for every 112 patients treated. This number is less than the minimal clinically important difference that has been defined in previous studies.29,30 Among the survivors, almost twice the number in the epinephrine group as in the placebo group had severe neurologic impairment.

Our work with patients and the public before starting the trial (as summarized in the Supplementary Appendix) identified survival with a favorable neurologic outcome to be a higher priority than survival alone. [1]

 


Click on the image to make it larger.
 

Are there some patients who will do better with epinephrine than without?

Maybe (I would have written probably, before these results), but we still do not know how to identify those patients.

Is titrating tiny amounts of epinephrine, to observe for response, reasonable? What response would we be looking for? Wat do we do if we observe that response? We have been using epinephrine for over half a century and we still don’t know when to use it, how much to use, or how to identify the patients who might benefit.

I will write more about these results later

We now have evidence that, as with amiodarone, we should only be using epinephrine as part of well controlled trials.

Also see –

How Bad is Epinephrine (Adrenaline) for Cardiac Arrest, According to the PARAMEDIC2 Study?

Footnotes:

[1] A Randomized Trial of Epinephrine in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Perkins GD, Ji C, Deakin CD, Quinn T, Nolan JP, Scomparin C, Regan S, Long J, Slowther A, Pocock H, Black JJM, Moore F, Fothergill RT, Rees N, O’Shea L, Docherty M, Gunson I, Han K, Charlton K, Finn J, Petrou S, Stallard N, Gates S, Lall R; PARAMEDIC2 Collaborators.
N Engl J Med. 2018 Jul 18. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1806842. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 30021076

Free Full Text from NEJM

All supplementary material is also available at the end of the article at the NEJM site in PDF format –

Protocol

Supplementary Appendix

Disclosure Forms

There is also an editorial, which I have not yet read, by Clifton W. Callaway, M.D., Ph.D., and Michael W. Donnino, M.D. –

Testing Epinephrine for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Callaway CW, Donnino MW.
N Engl J Med. 2018 Jul 18. doi: 10.1056/NEJMe1808255. [Epub ahead of print] No abstract available.
PMID: 30021078

Free Full Text from NEJM

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