D-dimer testing to determine the duration of anticoagulation therapy

Palareti G, Cosmi B, Legnani C, et al.; DULCIS Investigators. D-dimer to guide the duration of anticoagulation in patients with venous thromboembolism: a management study. Blood. 2014 Jul 10;124(2):196-203.

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The optimal duration of anticoagulation in patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) is uncertain. We investigated whether persistently negative D-dimers in patients with vein recanalization or stable thrombotic burden can identify subjects at low recurrence risk. Outpatients with a first VTE (unprovoked or associated with weak risk factors) were eligible after at least 3 months (12 in those with residual thrombosis) of anticoagulation. They received serial D-dimer measurements using commercial assays with predefined age/sex-specific cutoffs and were followed for up to 2 years. Of 1010 patients, anticoagulation was stopped in 528 (52.3%) with persistently negative D-dimer who subsequently experienced 25 recurrences (3.0% pt-y; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0-4.4%). Of the remaining 482 patients, 373 resumed anticoagulation and 109 refused it. Recurrent VTE developed in 15 patients (8.8% pt-y; 95% CI, 5.0-14.1) of the latter group and in 4 of the former (0.7% pt-y; 95% CI, 0.2-1.7; hazard ratio = 2.92; 95% CI, 1.87-9.72; P = .0006). Major bleeding occurred in 14 patients (2.3% pt-y; 95% CI, 1.3-3.9) who resumed anticoagulation. Serial D-dimer measurement is suitable in clinical practice for the identification of VTE patients in whom anticoagulation can be safely discontinued. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00954395.

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Smoking and pancreatic disease

Yadav D, Hawes RH, Brand RE, et al. Alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and the risk of recurrent acute and chronic pancreatitis. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jun 8; 169(11):1035-45.

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Chronic pancreatitis_smoking

Figure 3. Distribution of self-reported smoking status (A) and amount (B) stratified by drinking categories. All proportions are based on effective numbers, and never smokers account for the proportions not reflected in the graphs. C indicates control group; CP, chronic pancreatitis group; RAP, recurrent acute pancreatitis group.

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The use of risk stratification tools for perioperative and postoperative morbidity and mortality

Havens JM, Columbus AB, Seshadri AJ, et al. Risk stratification tools in emergency general surgery. Trauma Surg Acute Care Open. 2018 Apr 29;3(1):e000160.

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The use of risk stratification tools (RST) aids in clinical triage, decision making and quality assessment in a wide variety of medical fields. Although emergency general surgery (EGS) is characterized by a comorbid, physiologically acute patient population with disparately high rates of perioperative morbidity and mortality, few RST have been explicitly examined in this setting. We examined the available RST with the intent of identifying a tool that comprehensively reflects an EGS patients perioperative risk for death or complication.

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Consensus guidelines for the management of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas

This week’s discussion included information about the utility of the Fukuoka criteria.

Srinivasan N, et al. Systematic review of the clinical utility and validity of the Sendai and Fukuoka Consensus Guidelines for the management of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas.HPB (Oxford). 2018 Jun;20(6):497-504.

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RESULTS: Ten studies evaluating the FCG, 8 evaluating the SCG and 4 evaluating both guidelines were included. In 14 studies evaluating the FCG, out of a total of 2498 neoplasms, 849 were malignant and 1649 were benign neoplasms. Pooled analysis showed that 751 of 1801 (42%) FCG+ve neoplasms were malignant and 599 neoplasms of 697 (86%) FCG-ve neoplasms were benign. PPV of the high risk and worrisome risk groups were 465/986 (47%) and 239/520 (46%) respectively. In 12 studies evaluating the SCG, 1234 neoplasms were analyzed of which 388 (31%) were malignant and 846 (69%) were benign. Pooled analysis demonstrated that 265 of 802 (33%) SCG+ve neoplasms were malignant and 238 of 266 SCG-ve (90%) neoplasms were benign.

CONCLUSION: The FCG had a higher positive predictive value (PPV) compared to the SCG. However, the negative predictive value (NPV) of the FCG was slightly lower than that of the SCG. Malignant and even invasive IPMN may be missed according to both guidelines.

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An algorithm for preoperative cardiac risk assessment

One discussion last week involved cardiac arrest in the setting of hernia repair. The reference below was highlighted in the chief resident’s presentation.

Reference: Rafiq A, Skylar E, Bella JN. Cardiac evaluation and monitoring of patients undergoing noncardiac surgeryHealth Services Insight. 2017 Feb 20; 9: 1178632916686074. doi: 10.1177/1178632916686074.

Summary: Cardiovascular complications in the perioperative period are one of the most common events leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Although such events are very small in number, they are associated with a high mortality rate making it essential for physicians to understand the importance of perioperative cardiovascular risk assessment and evaluation. Its involves a detailed process of history taking, patient’s medical profile, medications being used, functional status of the patient, and knowledge about the surgical procedure and its inherent risks.

That being said, this review by Rafiq et al (2017) aims to provide a concise but comprehensive analysis on all such aspects of perioperative cardiovascular risk assessment for noncardiac surgeries and provide a basic methodology toward such assessment and decision making.

The ideal approach toward perioperative cardiac risk assessment requires a multidisciplinary team or a dedicated perioperative team of physicians. This leads expert physicians in this field to be involved in patient care with improved communications among primary physicians, anesthesiologist, surgeons, the patient, family members of the patient, cardiologist, and all other ancillary departments of health care involved.

Figure 1: Algorithm for perioperative cardiac risk assessment prior to noncardiac surgery (p.2)

algorithm cardiac

The authors state that it is important to stress the fact that a majority of these recommendations are based, to a large extent, on observational studies and clinical experience. There are only few RCTs that address this matter. It is prudent that more randomized trials are needed to improve on current recommendations, hence leading to further improvement in patient care and management in the perioperative period.