CardioNerds Cardiac Critical Care

Cardiac Critical Care - CardioNerds
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Welcome to the CardioNerds Cardiac Critical Care Series Page! 

The modern Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) has evolved considerably since its inception in the 1960s. Once solely dedicated to the care and convalescence of patients who suffered acute myocardial infarctions, CICUs now include diverse demographics and pathology (including many non-cardiac conditions). Similarly, our critical care armamentarium has expanded, while older tools at our disposal may have new indications. Join us for the Cardiac Critical Care Series as we learn about the wide breadth of disease and treatment options – from hemodynamics to mechanical circulatory support to ventilation strategies – in the modern CICU.

This series is a multi-institutional collaboration made possible by contributions of stellar fellow leads and expert faculty from several programs, led by series co-chairs, Dr. Mark BelkinDr. Eunice DuganDr. Karan Desai, and Dr. Yoav Karpenshif.


CardioNerds Co-Founder, Dr. Amit Goyal, along with Series Co-Chairs, Dr. Yoav Karpenshif and Dr. Eunice Dugan, and episode Lead, Dr. Sean Dikdan, had the opportunity to expand their knowledge on the topic of ventricular tachycardia and electrical storm from esteemed faculty expert, Dr. Janice Chyou. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternDr. Maryam Barkhordarian.

Electrical storm (ES) is a life-threatening arrhythmia syndrome. It is characterized by frequently occurring bouts of unstable cardiac arrythmias. It typically occurs in patients with susceptible substrate, either myocardial scar or a genetic predisposition. The adrenergic input of the sympathetic nervous system can perpetuate arrythmia. In the acute setting, identifying reversible triggers, such as ischemia, electrolyte imbalances, and heart failure, is important. Treatment is complex and varies based on previous treatments received and the presence of intra-cardiac devices. Many options are available to treat ES, including medications, intubation and sedation, procedures and surgeries targeting the autonomic nervous system, and catheter ablation to modulate the myocardial substrate. A multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, intensivists, electrophysiologists, surgeons, and more are necessary to manage this complex disease.

The practice of critical care cardiology relies on the use of invasive hemodynamics, mechanical ventilation, mechanical circulatory support, and other advanced techniques to help our patients recover from critical cardiac illnesses. To facilitate these interventions, it is essential to have a broad understanding of how sedation and analgesia keep our patients comfortable and safe throughout their time in the CICU. In this episode, series co-chair, Dr. Yoav Karpenshif, and CardioNerds co-founder, Dr. Daniel Ambinder, are joined by Dr. Natalie Tapaskar, cardiology fellow and CardioNerds FIT Ambassador from Stanford, and faculty expert, Dr. Chris Domenico, to discuss sedation in the cardiac ICU. Notes were drafted by Dr. Natalie Tapaskar. Audio editing by CardioNerds academy internAnusha Gandhi.

We discuss the use of analgesics and sedative medications in the cardiac ICU. We dissect three cases of VT storm, heart failure associated cardiogenic shock, and cardiac arrest. We assess the hemodynamic, arrhythmic, and metabolic effects of opioids and sedatives and delve into the altered pharmacokinetics of these drugs during targeted temperature management. Most importantly, we highlight the use of structured pain and sedation scoring systems and discuss the recognition and management of ICU delirium both from a pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic standpoint.

It’s another session of CardioNerds Rounds! In these rounds, Dr. Karan Desai (Formerly FIT at University of Maryland Medical Center and currently faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) joins Dr. Dan Burkhoff (Director of Heart Failure, Hemodynamics and MCS Research at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation) to discuss mechanical circulatory support options through the lens of pressure-volume loops! Dr. Burkhoff is the author of Harvi, an interactive simulation-based application for teaching and researching many aspects of ventricular hemodynamics. Don’t miss this wonderfully nerdy episode with a world-renowned expert in hemodynamics and MCS! Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy Intern, student doctor Chelsea Amo Tweneboah.

Renal replacement therapy (RRT) is routinely utilized in the CICU. Series co-chairs Dr. Eunice Dugan along with CardioNerds Co-founder Dr. Daniel Ambinder were joined by FIT lead and CardioNerds Ambassador from University of WashingtonDr. Tomio Tran. Our episode expert is world-renowned nephrologist Dr. Joel Topf. Dr. Topf is Medical Director of Research at St. Clair Nephrology, and editor of the Handbook of Critical Care Nephrology. In this episode, we describe a case of cardiogenic shock due to acute myocardial infarction resulting in renal failure, ultimately requiring continuous RRT (CRRT). We discuss the most common causes of AKI within the cardiac ICU, indications for initiating RRT, evidence on the timing of RRT, different modes of RRT, basic management of the RRT circuit, and how to transition patients off of RRT during renal recovery. Episode notes were drafted by Dr. Tomio Tran. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternDr. Maryam Barkhordarian.

The Cardiorenal Syndrome is commonly encountered, and frequently misunderstood. Join the CardioNerds team as we discuss the complex interplay between the heart and kidneys with Dr. Elliott Miller (Assistant Professor of Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and Associate Medical Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit of Yale New Haven Hospital), and Dr. Nayan Arora (Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Nephrologist at the University of Washington Medical Center). We are hosted by FIT lead Dr. Matthew Delfiner (Cardiology Fellow at Temple University), Cardiac Critical Care Series Co-Chairs Dr. Mark Belkin (AHFTC faculty at University of Chicago) and Dr. Karan Desai (Cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital), and CardioNerds Co-Found Dr. Dan Ambinder. In this episode we discuss the definition and pathophysiology of the cardiorenal syndrome, explore strategies for initial diuresis and diuretic resistance, and management of the common heart failure medications in this setting. Show notes were developed by Dr. Matthew Delfiner. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy Intern, student doctor Akiva Rosenzveig.

This episode is focused on Palliative Care and Shared Decision-Making in the CICU. In this episode, we learn about how the principles of palliative care and shared decision-making apply to our patients across the spectrum of cardiovascular care, especially in the cardiac intensive care unit. We discuss pivotal trials of specialty palliative care and decision aids in cardiology and how they might inform our practice to enhance patient quality of life and improve goal-concordant care. Finally, we discuss practical tips and communication strategies for how to engage patients about end-of-life decisions and topics that can be utilized from outpatient to inpatient to critical care settings.

“We need to help patients hope for the best and plan for the worst as time goes on.”

Dr. Larry Allen

Series co-chairs Dr. Eunice Dugan and Dr. Karan Desai, along with CardioNerds Co-founder Amit Goyal are joined by FIT lead, Dr. Sarah Chuzi. Dr. Chuzi is a Chicagoan and completed her internal medicine residency, cardiology fellowship, AHFTC fellowship and is now Assistant Professor at Northwestern University. Our episode expert is a true national leader in shared decision-making and palliative care in heart failure – Dr. Larry Allen, Medical Director of Advanced Heart Failure and the Co-Director of the Colorado Program for Patient-Centered Decisions at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternDr. Christian Faaborg-Andersen.

In this episode, we discuss the utility of veno-arterial extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) for the temporary management of biventricular failure and cardiogenic shock requiring full cardiopulmonary support. Here, we define the types of ECMO and describe the unique physiology of this mechanical circulatory support platform, as well as review the potential complications and management strategies. Most notably, we highlight indications for and contraindications to the use of VA-ECMO and review the importance of patient selection.  Lastly, we discuss de-escalation and de-cannulation strategies for patients on VA-ECMO as a bridge to recovery.

Join Dr. Amit Goyal (CardioNerds Cofounder and FIT at Cleveland Clinic), Dr. Yoav Karpenshif (Series Co-chair and FIT at University of Pennsylvania), and Dr. Megan Burke (Episode FIT Lead and FIT at University of Pennsylvania) as they learn about how to care for some of our sickest patients from Dr. Ann Gage, interventional and critical care cardiologist at Centennial Heart. At the beginning of the episode, enjoy a message from the very first CardioNerds Scholar, Dr. Katie Vaughan (Chief Resident and soon Cardiology Fellow at BIDMC). Episode notes were developed by Dr. Megan Burke. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternHirsh Elhence.

CardioNerd (Daniel Ambinder) and series co-chairs Mark Belkin (AHFT Fellow, University of Chicago) and Karan Desai (Cardiologist, Johns Hopkins), join fellow lead, Dr. Pablo Sanchez (FIT, Stanford) for a discussion with Dr. Ryan Tedford (Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina) about Right Ventricular (RV) predominant cardiogenic shock. In this episode we explore risk factors, pathophysiology, hemodynamics, and treatment strategies in this common and complex problem. We dissect three cases that epitomize the range of diagnostic dilemmas and management decisions in RV predominant shock, as Dr. Tedford expertly weaves us through the pathophysiology and decision-making involved in managing the “people’s ventricle.” Audio editing by Dr. Gurleen Kaur (Director of the CardioNerds internship program, CardioNerds academy fellow, and IM resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital).

Cardiogenic shock (CS) remains a complex, multifactorial syndrome associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The CardioNerds Critical Care Cardiology Series tackles this important syndrome in a series of several episodes including: LV-predominant Shock, RV-predominant Shock, and Bi-ventricular Shock.

In this episode, we review the definitions, pathophysiology, evaluation, and contemporary management, including use of inotropes and mechanical circulatory support, of left ventricular (LV) predominant CS. Series co-chairs Dr. Eunice Dugan and Dr. Karan Desai along with CardioNerds Co-founders Dr. Amit Goyal and Dr. Daniel Ambinder were joined by FIT lead, Dr. Vanessa Blumer, the recipient of the AHA 2021 Laennec Fellow in Training Clinician Award and currently pursuing Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. Our episode expert is Dr. Shashank Sinha, an Advanced Heart Failure, Mechanical Circulatory Support, and Cardiac Transplant cardiologist, Medical Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, and Director of the Cardiovascular Critical Care Research Program at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. His illustrious career accomplishments include being a Steering Committee member and site Principal Investigator for the multicenter Cardiogenic Shock Working Group and Critical Care Cardiology Trials Network.

In this episode, Dr. Carly Fabrizio (Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Physician at Christiana Care Hospital), CardioNerds Critical Care Series Co-Chair Dr. Mark Belkin (Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellow at University of Chicago) and CardioNerds Co-Founder Dr. Amit Goyal (Cleveland Clinic) join Dr. Gavin Hickey (Director of the AHFTC Fellowship and medical director of the left ventricular assist device program at UPMC) and Dr. David Kaczorowski (Surgical Director for the Advanced Heart Failure center, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at UPMC) for a discussion on post-cardiotomy shock. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy Intern, student doctor, Shivani Reddy.

Post-cardiotomy shock is characterized by heart failure that results in the inability to wean from cardiopulmonary bypass or develops post cardiac surgery. Patients who develop post-cardiotomy shock typically require inotropic support and may ultimately require temporary mechanical circulatory support. Post-cardiotomy shock carries a high mortality rate. However, early recognition and prevention strategies can help mitigate the risk for developing post-cardiotomy shock.

The modern CICU has evolved to include patients with complex pulmonary mechanics requiring more non-invasive and mechanical ventilation. Series co-chairs Dr. Eunice Dugan and Dr. Karan Desai along with CardioNerds Co-founder Dr. Amit Goyal were joined by FIT lead, Dr. Sam Brusca, who has completed his NIH Critical Care and UCSF Cardiology fellow and currently faculty at USCF. We were fortunate enough to have two expert discussants: Dr. Burton Lee, Head of Medical Education and Global Critical Care within the National Institutes of Health Critical Care Medicine Department and master clinician educator with the ATS Scholar’s Critical Care for Non-Intensivists program, and Dr. Chris Barnett, ACC Critical Care Cardiology council member and Section Chair of Critical Care Cardiology at UCSF.  In this episode, these experts discuss the basics of mechanical ventilation, including the physiology/pathophysiology of negative and positive pressure breathing, a review of ventilator modes, and a framework for outlining the goals of mechanical ventilation. They proceed to apply these principles to patients in the CICU, specifically focusing on patients with RV predominant failure due to pulmonary hypertension and patients with LV predominant failure. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy Intern, student doctor, Shivani Reddy.

With the advent and rapid evolution of contemporary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), the early invasive management of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has become a mainstay in therapy with significant impact on patient outcomes. However, despite modern advances in technology and system-based practices, AMI presenting with cardiogenic shock (CS) continues to portend a high risk of morbidity and mortality. Few randomized controlled clinical trials are available to guide decision-making in this uniquely challenging patient population. Understanding the pathophysiologic mechanism by which injury occurs and propagates the shock cycle can be instrumental in selecting an appropriate strategy for revascularization and left ventricular unloading. In this episode we are joined by Dr. Venu Menon, The Mehdi Razavi Endowed Chair and Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine,  section head of clinical cardiology, fellowship program director, and director of the Cardiac intensive care unit at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Menon shares his wealth of knowledge and experience to help us review the contemporary data available for AMI CS management in a case-based discussion. We are also joined by Dr. Priya Kothapalli, star chief fellow and future interventionalist from University of Texas at Austin, series co-chair Dr. Yoav Karpenshif, and CardioNerds Co-founders Amit Goyal and Daniel Ambinder. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternDr. Christian Faaborg-Andersen.

In this episode we discuss cardiogenic shock due to valvular heart disease. Join Dr. Pranoti Hiremath (Interventional cardiology fellow, Johns Hopkins), Dr. Karan Desai (CN Critical Care Series Co-Chair, Cardiology fellow, University of Maryland), Dr. Yoav Karpenshif (CN Critical Care Series Co-Chair, Chief cardiology fellow, University of Pennsylvania), and Amit Goyal (CardioNerds Co-Founder) as they interview Dr. Paul Cremer (Associate Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic) in this broad overview of valvular shock. We discuss the nuances in diagnosis, differing presentations and how physical exam, multi-modality imaging, and invasive hemodynamics can inform management. Audio editing by Dr. Gurleen Kaur (Director of the CardioNerds Internship and CardioNerds Academy Fellow).

Approximately 350,000 adults per year in the US experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Only about 10% of such patients survive their initial hospitalization. The key drivers of successful resuscitation from OHCA are bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and public use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Survival rates from OHCA vary dramatically between US regions. For instance, the extracorporeal CPR (eCPR) program at the University of Minnesota has over a 40% survival rate in patients with OHCA and refractory ventricular fibrillation (VF) based on data published in the ARREST trial. In this episode, we are joined by experts from the University of Minnesota, including Dr. Jason Bartos (Interventional and Critical Care Faculty) and Dr. Julie Power (Chief Fellow at University of Minnesota and CardioNerds Academy Fellow), along with Dr. Yoav Karpenshif (Co-Chair Critical Care Series, University of Pennsylvania) and CardioNerds Co-Founders (Amit Goyal and Dan Ambinder) to discuss cardiac arrest, E-CPR, & post-arrest care. This includes targeted temperature management, coronary angiography and revascularization, as well as the growing field of eCPR and VA ECMO.  Episode introduction by CardioNerds Clinical Trialist Dr. Jason Feinman. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternShivani Reddy.

The hemodynamic evaluation of cardiogenic shock obtained via a Swan-Ganz catheter plays an essential role in the characterization of cardiogenic shock patients. Join Dr. Nosheen Reza, (Assistant Professor of Medicine and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant cardiologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania), episode fellow lead Dr. Brian McCauley (Interventional and Critical Care Fellow at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Mark Belkin (Cardiac Critical Care Series Co-Chair and AHFT fellow at University of Chicago), and CardioNerds Co-Founders, Amit Goyal and Dan Ambinder, for this tour through the heart aboard the Swan-Ganz catheter. In this episode, we evaluate three separate admissions for a single patient to highlight pearls regarding waveform assessment, evaluating cardiac output, phenotyping hemodynamic profiles, targeted therapies based on hemodynamics and so much more. Episode introduction and audio editing by Dr. Gurleen Kaur (Director of the CardioNerds Internship).

Cardiogenic shock is a state of cardiac dysfunction leading to hemodynamic instability and end-organ hypoperfusion. At the bedside, clinicians take various data points – from history to physical exam to labs/imaging and invasive hemodynamics – to make an assessment of the etiology, severity and management of cardiogenic shock. Health systems have developed “Shock Teams” to collectively interpret this data to deliver the optimal care for each patient. In this episode, Dr. Mark Dela Cruz (Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellow at University of Chicago), CardioNerds Critical Care Series Co-Chairs Dr. Mark Belkin (Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellow at University of Chicago) and Dr. Karan Desai (General Cardiology Fellow at University of Maryland), and CardioNerds Co-Founder Dr. Daniel Ambinder (Structural Fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital) join Dr. Anu Lala (Director of the AHFT Fellowship, Associate Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital and Deputy Editor of the Journal of Cardiac Failure) on a Shock Team Call! Dr. Lala leads us in a discussion of the systematic bedside evaluation of cardiogenic shock, from understanding a patient’s physiology and their humanity, to manage their illness and make a rapid but thorough evaluation when on the Shock Call. Audio editing and episode introduction by CardioNerds Academy InternHirsh Elhence.

The CardioNerds are thrilled to launch The Cardiac Critical Care Series! The series Co-Chairs – Dr. Mark Belkin (Advanced Heart Failure FIT, U Chicago), Dr. Yoav Karpenshif (FIT, U Penn), Dr. Eunice Dugan (CardioNerds Academy Chief Fellow and FIT, Cleveland Clinic), and Dr. Karan Desai (CardioNerds Academy Editor and FIT, U Maryland) – join CardioNerds Co-Founders, Amit Goyal and Daniel Ambinder to delve into high-yield topics in critical care cardiology.

We kickstart this series with one of the early pioneers and national leaders in cardiac critical care – Dr. Jason Katz, Director of Cardiovascular Critical Care and Co-Director of Mechanical Circulatory Support and the CICU at Duke University Medical Center.

In this episode, we learn about Dr. Katz’s career path and what motivated him to train in Critical Care Cardiology. He shares early struggles, notable changes in this field’s nascent period, and ongoing challenges in training and practice. We discuss collaboration with other cardiac and non-cardiac specialties and their importance in comprehensive care. Furthermore, we discuss how to advance critical care research, including the Critical Care Cardiology Trials Network and future randomized controlled trials to inform our practice and develop standardized protocols. In this small but rapidly growing field, we learn there is much to discover together. Audio editing by CardioNerds Academy InternHirsh Elhence.

Cardiac Critical Care - CardioNerds
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CardioNerds CCC Collection (Includes all CCC episodes)