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What's new in hospital medicine
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What's new in hospital medicine
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
Literature review current through: Apr 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 23, 2016.

The following represent additions to UpToDate from the past six months that were considered by the editors and authors to be of particular interest. The most recent What's New entries are at the top of each subsection.


Rivaroxaban for treatment of superficial vein thrombosis (May 2017)

Short-term anticoagulation is recommended for treatment of superficial vein thrombosis (SVT) in patients at high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE). The phase 3b SURPRISE trial randomly assigned over 400 patients with SVT to oral rivaroxaban (a direct factor Xa inhibitor) or subcutaneous fondaparinux and found that both groups had similar rates of symptomatic VTE, progression or recurrence of SVT, and all-cause mortality at 45 days [1]. There were no major bleeds in either group, but clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding occurred more often in the rivaroxaban group. Thus, rivaroxaban appears to be an effective anticoagulant for patients with SVT and may be a more convenient and less expensive option than subcutaneous therapy. (See "Phlebitis and thrombosis of the superficial lower extremity veins", section on 'Increased risk for thromboembolism'.)

The qSOFA prediction score and in-hospital mortality (January 2017)

Two recent studies have evaluated the quick sepsis-related organ failure assessment score (qSOFA) as a simple bedside tool to facilitate early identification of patients at risk of dying from sepsis [2,3]. In one study of patients presenting to the emergency department with suspected infection, the predictive validity of qSOFA for in-hospital mortality was similar to that of the full SOFA score [2]. In contrast, qSOFA was inferior to SOFA in a retrospective analysis of intensive care unit (ICU) patients with an infection-related diagnosis [3]. We believe that qSOFA is a valuable bedside tool in predicting death from sepsis outside the ICU. (See "Sepsis syndromes in adults: Epidemiology, definitions, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and prognosis", section on 'Identification of early sepsis (qSOFA)'.)

Anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis not warranted in nonmajor lower limb orthopedic surgery (January 2017)

Whether anticoagulation thromboprophylaxis is indicated for patients with lower leg immobilization from below knee casting or undergoing arthroscopy was evaluated in a randomized trial [4]. The rate of symptomatic venous thromboembolism (VTE) was low (<2 percent) and not affected by the administration of anticoagulant prophylaxis. Risk factors in addition to the surgery itself were present among the few patients who did develop thrombus. This trial supports the current recommendation that, for patients with lower leg immobilization due to below knee casting or arthroscopy who do not have additional risk factors for VTE, anticoagulant prophylaxis is not warranted. (See "Prevention of venous thromboembolic disease in surgical patients", section on 'Orthopedic surgery'.)


ACG guidelines on the evaluation of abnormal liver chemistries (January 2017)

The American College of Gastroenterology has published new guidelines on the evaluation of abnormal liver chemistries [5]. These guidelines define normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ranges as 29 to 33 international units/L for males and 19 to 25 international units/L for females, which are lower than the reference ranges of many clinical laboratories. They recommend that ALT levels repeatedly above these upper limits of normal be evaluated. In addition, they provide a framework for the evaluation of elevated ALT, aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase levels (which should be characterized as liver chemistries or tests rather than markers of liver function) based on the degree and pattern of elevations. (See "Approach to the patient with abnormal liver biochemical and function tests", section on 'Aminotransferases'.)

Donor fecal microbiota transplant for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (December 2016)

Strong evidence to support fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) in patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) has been lacking. In a randomized trial, patients with three or more recurrences of CDI who had received vancomycin for their most recent acute episode were assigned to FMT administered by colonoscopy with donor stool or their own stool (as a control) [6]. Patients who received donor FMT achieved higher clinical cure rates (92 versus 63 percent). These data support our recommendations to treat patients with recurrent CDI despite multiple courses of antibiotic therapy with donor FMT. (See "Fecal microbiota transplantation in the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection", section on 'Colonoscope'.)


PLASMIC score for TTP (March 2017)

Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) is a potentially life-threatening condition in which platelet microthrombi can cause organ injury and infarction. Most patients with TTP have severely reduced activity of the von Willebrand factor cleaving protease ADAMTS13, but results of ADAMTS13 testing may take days to receive. The PLASMIC score was developed to predict the likelihood of ADAMTS13 activity ≤10 percent in adults with suspected TTP. In three cohorts involving over 500 patients, a high PLASMIC score was predictive of ADAMTS13 ≤10 percent [7,8]. This score cannot be used to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of TTP, but it may be helpful when there is lack of clarity regarding the most likely diagnosis and/or the need to initiate TTP therapy. (See "Acquired TTP: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis", section on 'Diagnostic evaluation'.)

Underdosing of direct oral anticoagulants (February 2017)

The oral direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran and the direct factor Xa inhibitors apixaban, edoxaban, and rivaroxaban (collectively called direct oral anticoagulants [DOACs]) have been available for several years. A real-world study of over 1500 patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) who were treated with a DOAC found that dosing differed from the recommended product dosing in 20 to 50 percent of cases, depending on the agent [9]. These deviations (mostly underdosing) correlated with an increased frequency of VTE recurrence. Clinicians should familiarize themselves with prescribing information to avoid adverse outcomes. (See "Direct oral anticoagulants and parenteral direct thrombin inhibitors: Dosing and adverse effects", section on 'Clinician familiarity with dosing'.)


2016 sepsis guidelines (March 2017)

Updated sepsis guidelines were issued by the Surviving Sepsis Campaign/Society of Critical Care Medicine/European Society of Intensive Care Medicine [10]. Major differences, compared with the 2012 iteration, include: the administration of intravenous antibiotics within one hour of presentation, with emphasis on source control and antibiotic stewardship; infusion of crystalloid solution at a rate at 30 mL/kg/hour within three hours for early fluid resuscitation; and movement away from previously recommended early goal-directed therapy targets (eg, central venous pressure) to use of dynamic predictors of fluid responsiveness, when feasible. Norepinephrine remains the vasopressor of first choice. (See "Evaluation and management of suspected sepsis and septic shock in adults", section on 'Hemodynamic'.)

Ultraviolet environmental disinfection and in-hospital transmission of resistant organisms (January 2017)

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation may be a useful adjunctive tool for surface disinfection to reduce in-hospital transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms. One cluster-randomized crossover study evaluated the addition of UV light to standard disinfection alone (quaternary ammonium for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant enterococci or multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter, and bleach for Clostridium difficile) for rooms from which a patient on contact precautions for these pathogens was discharged [11]. Among over 20,000 patients subsequently admitted to these rooms, UV light reduced the overall incidence of colonization or infection with these pathogens by 30 percent, but it did not substantially reduce the individual incidence of C. difficile infection. (See "Infection prevention: General principles", section on 'Healthcare environment: Cleaning and disinfection'.)


Extubation during nighttime hours may be harmful (January 2017)

It is unclear whether patients who are mechanically ventilated can be safely extubated during nighttime hours. One recent retrospective study reported that, compared with patients extubated during daytime hours, patients who were extubated at nighttime (after 7:00 pm) had increased intensive care unit mortality [12]. These data support the typical practice of safe extubation during daytime hours, when personnel are usually more readily available for re-intubation. However, methodologic flaws (eg, incomplete capture of the circumstances surrounding extubation and analysis of older data) and incongruent results compared with earlier studies suggest that these findings should not prohibit clinicians from extubating select patients who are suitable for extubation at night (eg, terminal patients). (See "Extubation management", section on 'Timing of extubation'.)

Guidelines for weaning critically ill patients from mechanical ventilation (January 2017)

The American Thoracic Society and American College of Chest Physicians recently issued joint guidelines regarding weaning critically ill patients from mechanical ventilation [13-15]. Recommendations focus on the use of sedation, liberation, and early mobilization protocols in patients who were mechanically ventilated for more than 24 hours. Additional recommendations include the use of low-level inspiratory pressure support during spontaneous breathing trials, the application of noninvasive ventilation immediately following extubation in patients at high risk of extubation failure, and cuff leak testing and/or glucocorticoid administration in those at high risk of post-extubation stridor due to laryngeal edema. These guidelines are consistent with our current recommendations for weaning patients from mechanical ventilation. (See "Extubation management" and "Methods of weaning from mechanical ventilation" and "Weaning from mechanical ventilation: Readiness testing" and "Post-intensive care syndrome (PICS)", section on 'Prevention'.)

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  1. Beyer-Westendorf J, Schellong SM, Gerlach H, et al. Prevention of thromboembolic complications in patients with superficial-vein thrombosis given rivaroxaban or fondaparinux: the open-label, randomised, non-inferiority SURPRISE phase 3b trial. Lancet Haematol 2017; 4:e105.
  2. Freund Y, Lemachatti N, Krastinova E, et al. Prognostic Accuracy of Sepsis-3 Criteria for In-Hospital Mortality Among Patients With Suspected Infection Presenting to the Emergency Department. JAMA 2017; 317:301.
  3. Raith EP, Udy AA, Bailey M, et al. Prognostic Accuracy of the SOFA Score, SIRS Criteria, and qSOFA Score for In-Hospital Mortality Among Adults With Suspected Infection Admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. JAMA 2017; 317:290.
  4. van Adrichem RA, Nemeth B, Algra A, et al. Thromboprophylaxis after Knee Arthroscopy and Lower-Leg Casting. N Engl J Med 2017; 376:515.
  5. Kwo PY, Cohen SM, Lim JK. ACG Clinical Guideline: Evaluation of Abnormal Liver Chemistries. Am J Gastroenterol 2017; 112:18.
  6. Kelly CR, Khoruts A, Staley C, et al. Effect of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation on Recurrence in Multiply Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med 2016; 165:609.
  7. Jamme M, Rondeau E. The PLASMIC score for thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. Lancet Haematol 2017; 4:e148.
  8. Bendapudi PK, Hurwitz S, Fry A, et al. Derivation and external validation of the PLASMIC score for rapid assessment of adults with thrombotic microangiopathies: a cohort study. Lancet Haematol 2017; 4:e157.
  9. Trujillo-Santos J, Di Micco P, Dentali F, et al. Real-life treatment of venous thromboembolism with direct oral anticoagulants: The influence of recommended dosing and regimens. Thromb Haemost 2017; 117:382.
  10. Rhodes A, Evans LE, Alhazzani W, et al. Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock: 2016. Intensive Care Med 2017; 43:304.
  11. Anderson DJ, Chen LF, Weber DJ, et al. Enhanced terminal room disinfection and acquisition and infection caused by multidrug-resistant organisms and Clostridium difficile (the Benefits of Enhanced Terminal Room Disinfection study): a cluster-randomised, multicentre, crossover study. Lancet 2017; 389:805.
  12. Gershengorn HB, Scales DC, Kramer A, Wunsch H. Association Between Overnight Extubations and Outcomes in the Intensive Care Unit. JAMA Intern Med 2016; 176:1651.
  13. Ouellette DR, Patel S, Girard TD, et al. Liberation From Mechanical Ventilation in Critically Ill Adults: An Official American College of Chest Physicians/American Thoracic Society Clinical Practice Guideline: Inspiratory Pressure Augmentation During Spontaneous Breathing Trials, Protocols Minimizing Sedation, and Noninvasive Ventilation Immediately After Extubation. Chest 2017; 151:166.
  14. Schmidt GA, Girard TD, Kress JP, et al. Official Executive Summary of an American Thoracic Society/American College of Chest Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline: Liberation from Mechanical Ventilation in Critically Ill Adults. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2017; 195:115.
  15. Girard TD, Alhazzani W, Kress JP, et al. An Official American Thoracic Society/American College of Chest Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline: Liberation from Mechanical Ventilation in Critically Ill Adults. Rehabilitation Protocols, Ventilator Liberation Protocols, and Cuff Leak Tests. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2017; 195:120.
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All topics are updated as new information becomes available. Our peer review process typically takes one to six weeks depending on the issue.