MOUNT PROSPECT, IL – With holiday shopping in full swing, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is reminding health care professionals that vasopressin is first line for the treatment of patients hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs) with sticker shock.
“People were seeing the price of an iPhone X online or at the Apple Store and instantaneously becoming hypotensive,” said Dr. Ruth Kleinpell, President of the SCCM, who said ICUs across the country have been at capacity ever since the release of the iPhone X on November 3, 2017. “These patients come in with multi-organ failure: elevated liver enzymes, cardiac enzymes, and creatinine, to say the least.”
“IV fluid boluses are largely ineffective in this patient population, as are broad-spectrum antibiotics,” explained emergency medicine physician Lucas White. “Don’t waste your time and start vasopressin immediately. Patients are incredibly responsive.”
For reasons poorly understood by clinicians and researchers, patients with sticker stock have a robust response to vasopressin but not to other vasopressors or inotropic agents. With vasopressin, the response is swift and patients are often discharged within 24 hours. Unfortunately, they tend to be readmitted within 72 hours.
The SCCM knows that there are numerous etiologies for sticker shock and that Apple’s products are only one source. “Many tech companies are putting out cutting edge products that are a threat to normotension,” said White. “But you also have to keep in mind rarer causes too, things like gold-plated vacuums, glass pool tables, or diamond rabbits.”
“Part of the winter surge we see at hospitals is due to sticker stock when consumers buy Christmas or Hanukkah gifts,” explained Kleinpell. “And given the obesity epidemic and the numerous comorbidities some patients can have, it may not take that high of a price to induce sticker shock; a $5 cookie could do it. That’s why we wanted to remind our health care professionals about vasopressin, as we will most definitely be seeing these patients in droves over the next few weeks.”
The SCCM is asking consumers to be proactive and avoid sticker shock in the first place by wearing blindfolds when holiday shopping.