The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), Des Plaines, Ill, has joined the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 100,000 Lives Campaign, a national campaign to save 100,000 lives by implementing proven health care improvement techniques. The campaign aims to enlist more than 1,600 hospitals across the country in the next 18 months to reach this goal. As a scientific partner to the 100,000 Lives Campaign, the society will provide expertise, demonstrating the improved outcomes associated with deploying rapid response teams, minimizing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and central line infections among the critically ill, and optimizing care for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Cough Center Opens at the Institute for Better Breathing

The Institute for Better Breathing (IBB), Burbank, Calif, recently announced the creation of Southern California’s first Cough Center, designed to help people struggling with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or other chronic coughs. According to James Roach, MD, a board-certified pulmonologist at the Burbank-based IBB, most causes of chronic cough can be effectively treated once the cause is known. The new Cough Center provides diagnosis and treatment for all causes of chronic cough.

Three Questions May Provide Good Clues to Smoke Exposure

Every day, in thousands of busy pediatric medical offices, doctors and nurses routinely use a variety of questions to determine which of their young patients are at risk for exposure to second-hand smoke in their homes. But the answers do not always provide a clear enough picture of a young child’s environment. Questions can be ambiguous or misunderstood by the child’s caregiver, or the caregiver may be consciously or unconsciously less than accurate with their answers. A report, however, in the May 2, 2005, issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine says that three significant but simple questions can provide an accurate prediction of environmental tobacco smoke exposure. In addition to asking, “Do you smoke?” the study says following up with “Do others who live or frequently visit with you smoke?” and “Do they smoke indoors?” can provide added insight into the child’s environment. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians assess children’s exposure to tobacco smoke beginning with their first doctor’s visit.

Sleep-Disordered Breathing and Sleepwalking

Christian Guilleminault, MD, and researchers at the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Program published a study in the April 2000 issue of Brain looking at the treatment of sleepwalking in young adults. The participants with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), including obstructive sleep apnea, were treated using nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The participants that used CPAP as directed eliminated sleepwalking, unlike the participants that did not adhere to the regular use of CPAP. Patients who received surgical treatment for SDB also had a complete resolution of sleepwalking. The study concluded that successful treatment of SDB, which is frequently associated with chronic sleepwalking in young adults, controlled the syndrome.

Snoring Puts Strains on Relationships

Snoring can be an unexpected cause for concern for bedtime partners and may add stress to a relationship. More than 5,600 snoring patients were interviewed and surveyed at the Center for Corrective Surgery in Bala Cynwyd, Pa, over a 10-year period; 86% of snoring men were not aware of their problem or they were in denial; 32% claimed that snoring was ruining their relationship as well as their sex life; 18% said the problem had got so bad that they had considered divorce to escape the nightly drill; and greater than 70% of patients were sleeping in separate bedrooms.

“Snoring obviously puts tremendous stress on relationships. In fact, people who suffer from snoring typically wait about 6 to 10 years before they do anything about it,” according to Mansoor Madani, MD, whose research paper was published recently in the Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Fortunately, the snoring problem can be corrected in most instances by a simple procedure, according to Madani. These treatments may involve laser surgery to trim tissues in the roof of the mouth including the uvula and a portion of soft palate, or the use of radiofrequency to treat enlarged tonsils or nasal turbinates that cause chronic nasal congestion and snoring. The study showed that these procedures were effective for treating snoring and milder cases of sleep apnea.

Experts Stress Need for Improved Asthma Control

In recognition of World Asthma Day (May 3), a group of the nation’s leading asthma experts recently joined the American Lung Association and US Surgeon General Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, MD, MPH, in Washington, DC, to highlight the issue of uncontrolled asthma in the United States. Carmona, the keynote speaker at the briefing, focused on asthma prevention and control as part of his 2005 agenda “The Year of the Healthy Child.”

US Surgeon General Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, discussed the public health implications of poorly controlled asthma in the United States.

“To help control asthma symptoms and severity, I urge everyone with asthma and every parent of a child with asthma to talk with a health care professional and follow an asthma control action plan,” says Carmona.

Currently, 20 million Americans have asthma and more than 11 million of them do not have their asthma under control despite existing guidelines for the diagnosis and management of the disease.