Respiratory Care Currents

 Published: October 5, 2021

By: Debbie Bunch



AARC Gains ECRI Approval

The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) Guidelines Trust (EGT) Content Review Team recently approved the ‘AARC Clinical Practice Guideline: Management of Pediatric Patients with Oxygen in the Acute Care Setting,’ to be published to the ECRI website.

The EGT Trust acts as a clearing house for evidence-based guidelines. The AARC is proud to have our guideline included.

33 Therapists Respond to Call for Tele-Critical Care Support Clinicians

Last August, the AARC received a request from the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) asking if the Association would be willing to help the SCCM recruit experienced ICU RTs to provide tele-critical care support for COVID-19 patients in the U.S.

The request was made in support of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, which is deploying the National Emergency Telecritical Care Network (NETCCN), a cloud-based, stand-alone health information management system for the creation and coordination of flexible and extendable virtual critical care wards.

The AARC was happy to assist and a call went out to the membership for volunteers. Thirty-three RTs stepped up to assist with the effort.

Therapists who participate will be given to two to four week assignments and will be paid an hourly rate for the services they provide through the NETCCN to locations around the country that lack adequate critical care expertise and resources needed to care for COVID-19 patients.

The AARC sends its kudos to all the RTs who agreed to participate in this tele-critical care program.

Georgia Member Falls to COVID-19

Ginny Alvers, BS, RRT, was just days away from retirement when she passed away from COVID-19 on Aug. 30 at age 59. As a long-time member of the AARC and the Georgia Society for Respiratory Care, her family will receive a donation through the AARC’s COVID-19 RT Fund.

Alvers earned her associate’s degree in respiratory care from Indian River Community College in Fort Pierce, FL, and she also held a bachelor’s degree in health administration from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

She had been a supervisor in the respiratory therapy department at Atrium Navicent Medical Center in Macon, GA, since 2002.

Through the COVID-19 RT Fund, the AARC grants $500 to the family of each licensed RT who contracted COVID-19 while working and then died from complications of the disease. Two commemorative blocks in the AARC Virtual Museum, one for the RT’s family and one for the RT’s employer, are also donated.


Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Low dose CT lung cancer (LDCT) screening is recommended for people considered at high risk of developing the disease. But does it really save lives?

According to British researchers who conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing LDCT screening with usual care in a high-risk population believe the answer is yes. They found a 16% relative reduction in lung cancer mortality among the 1987 participants in the intervention group vs. the 1981 participants in the usual care group.

Overall, 30 deaths were noted in the people who were screened compared with 46 in the patients who did not receive the screening.

When the researchers added their results to a meta-analysis including nine previous trials, they also found a significant reduction in lung cancer mortality among those who received LDCT screening. They believe the results of their study combined with the meta-analysis results should serve as an impetus for the implementation of lung cancer screening programs worldwide.

The study was presented at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer.

A “Bad Mucin” May Provide a Target for New Drugs

Scientists know that mucus consists of various proteins called mucins that play different roles in the respiratory system. For example, while MUC5B offers up a defense to things that people inhale, MUC5AC increases disproportionately in response to cigarette smoke and allergens.

Now researchers from the UNC School of Medicine and elsewhere have discovered how MUC5AC may be disrupting the airways of people with respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD.

The investigators used several techniques to show that MUC5AC is significantly more likely to bind to surfaces in the airways that typically repel liquids. It also leads to stiffer layers that are thicker and more elastic compared to layers where MUC5B is more prominent.

The results could lead to new drugs for chronic lung diseases.

“We think our findings show why MUC5AC is so closely associated with the pathologies in the lung, and why MUC5AC could be a ‘bad mucin’ as compared to MUC5B,” said study author Mehmet Kesimer, PhD. “Therefore, we think it should be seen as a potential target for compounds that could help [in] preventing disease initiation and progression and improve lung function of people with chronic respiratory conditions.”

The study was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Early COPD in the Hispanic/Latino Population

A new study out of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital offers some insights into the prevalence of COPD in the under-50 Hispanic/Latino population.

The investigators examined data on 7,323 people under age 50 who participated in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos to identify risk factors and estimate early COPD prevalence. Among that group, 524 met the criteria for early COPD. After adjusting for sex and age, the researchers determined that the prevalence of COPD in Hispanics/Latinos under age 50 stands at 7.6%. Risk factors for developing early COPD in order of importance were asthma, having ever smoked, and chronic sinusitis.

Interestingly, the study also showed that recent immigrants were less likely to develop early COPD than those who were born in the U.S. The investigators believe this may be because immigrants are less likely to be exposed to respiratory hazards early in their lives.

The authors call for increased awareness of, and access to, culturally sensitive and bilingual smoking cessation education, counseling, and treatment to combat the problem of early COPD in the Hispanic/Latino population. A greater focus on reducing exposure to respiratory hazards in the workplace will be important as well.

The research was published by the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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