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Low-Dose Tocilizumab With High-Dose Corticosteroids in Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19 Hypoxic Respiratory Failure Improves Mortality Without Increased Infection Risk

Brosnahan, Shari B; Chen, Xian Jie Cindy; Chung, Juri; Altshuler, Diana; Islam, Shahidul; Thomas, Sarun V; Winner, Megan D; Greco, Allison A; Divers, Jasmin; Spiegler, Peter; Sterman, Daniel H; Parnia, Sam
BACKGROUND:Severe hypoxic respiratory failure from COVID-19 pneumonia carries a high mortality risk. There is uncertainty surrounding which patients benefit from corticosteroids in combination with tocilizumab and the dosage and timing of these agents. The balance of controlling inflammation without increasing the risk of secondary infection is difficult. At present, dexamethasone 6 mg is the standard of care in COVID-19 hypoxia; whether this is the ideal choice of steroid or dosage remains to be proven. OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:The primary objective was to assess the impact on mortality of tocilizumab only, corticosteroids only, and combination therapy in patients with COVID-19 respiratory failure. METHODS:A multihospital, retrospective study of adult patients with severe respiratory failure from COVID-19 who received supportive therapy, corticosteroids, tocilizumab, or combination therapy were assessed for 28-day mortality, biomarker improvement, and relative risk of infection. Propensity-matched analysis was performed between corticosteroid alone and combination therapies to further assess mortality benefit. RESULTS:= 0.005] without increasing the risk of infection. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE/UNASSIGNED:Combination of tocilizumab and corticosteroids was associated with improved 28-day survival when compared with corticosteroids alone. Modification of steroid dosing strategy as well as steroid type may further optimize therapeutic effect of the COVID-19 treatment.
PMID: 34180274
ISSN: 1542-6270
CID: 4926192

Physician failure to stratify patients hospitalized with acute pulmonary embolism

Jacobs, Mitchell D; Greco, Allison; Mukhtar, Umer; Dunn, Jonathan; Scharf, Michael L
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:In 2011, the AHA recommended risk stratification of patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE). Failure to risk stratify may cause under recognition of intermediate-risk PE and its attendant short- and long-term consequences. We sought to determine if patients hospitalized with acute PE were appropriately risk stratified according to the 2011 AHA Scientific Statement within our hospital system and whether differences exist in adherence to risk stratification by hospital or treating hospital service. We also wished to know the frequency of in-hospital consultations for acute PE which might assist in the risk stratification process. METHODS:This is a retrospective chart audit of all patients hospitalized with a diagnosis of acute PE between January 2011 and December 2013 at our 937-bed metropolitan, three hospital system comprised of academic University, neuroscience Specialty, and teaching Community hospitals. We evaluated the presence of imaging, laboratory tests, and specialty consultation within 72 h of PE diagnosis by hospital. RESULTS:701 patients with acute PE were admitted to our hospital system during the study period. 308 patients (43.9%) met criteria for intermediate-risk PE. 347 patients (49.5%) were considered 'Low-Risk - At Risk', patients defined in a low-risk category not having undergone all recommended risk stratification testing and so truly may have been in a higher risk category. No specialty consultations were utilized for 265 patients (37.8%). CONCLUSIONS:Our large metropolitan hospital system inadequately risk stratifies hospitalized patients with acute PE. Because nearly one-half of patients with acute PE did not have all recommended testing, clinicians may be under recognizing patients with intermediate-risk PE and their risk for long-term morbidity. Specialty consultations were underutilized and may help guide medical decision-making.
PMID: 28835184
ISSN: 2154-8331
CID: 4494102

Differential effects of hypoxic and hyperoxic stress-induced hypertrophy in cultured chick fetal cardiac myocytes

Greco, Allison A; Gomez, George
The adult heart responds to contraction demands by hypertrophy, or enlargement, of cardiac myocytes. Adaptive hypertrophy can occur in response to hyperoxic conditions such as exercise, while pathological factors that result in hypoxia ultimately result in heart failure. The difference in the outcomes produced by pathologically versus physiologically induced hypertrophy suggests that the cellular signaling pathways or conditions of myocytes may be different at the cellular level. The structural and functional changes in myocytes resulting from hyperoxia (simulated using hydrogen peroxide) and hypoxia (using oxygen deprivation) were tested on fetal chick cardiac myocytes grown in vitro. Structural changes were measured using immunostaining for α-sarcomeric actin or MyoD, while functional changes were assessed using immunostaining for calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase (CaMKII) and by measuring intracellular calcium fluxes using live cell fluorescence imaging. Both hypoxic and hyperoxic stress resulted in an upregulation of actin and MyoD expression. Similarly, voltage-gated channels governing myocyte depolarization and the regulation of CaMK were unchanged by hyperoxic or hypoxic conditions. However, the dynamic features of calcium fluxes elicited by caffeine or epinephrine were different in cells subjected to hypoxia versus hyperoxia, suggesting that these different conditions differentially affect components of ligand-activated signaling pathways that regulate calcium. Our results suggest that changes in signaling pathways, rather than structural organization, may mediate the different outcomes associated with hyperoxia-induced versus hypoxia-induced hypertrophy, and these changes are likely initiated at the cellular level.
PMID: 23990386
ISSN: 1543-706x
CID: 4494092