Does My Patient with Chest Pain Have Acute Coronary Syndrome?

23 Nov
November 23, 2015

Acute Coronary SyndromeBackground: We have already discussed the value of a good history in assessing patients with chest pain on REBEL EM. What is known about chest pain is that it is a common complaint presenting to EDs all over the world, but only a small percentage of these patients will be ultimately diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). This complaint leads to prolonged ED length of stays, provocative testing, potentially invasive testing, and stress for the patient and the physician. For simplicity sake, we will say that, looking at the ECG can make the diagnosis of STEMI. What becomes more difficult is making a distinction between non-ST-Elevation ACS (NSTEMI/UA) vs non-cardiac chest pain. ED physicians have different levels of tolerance for missing ACS with many surveys showing that a miss rate of <1% is the acceptable miss rate, but some have an even lower threshold, as low as a 0% miss rate. Over testing however, can lead to false positives, which can lead to increased harms for patients. In November 2015, a new systematic review was published reviewing what factors could help accurately estimate the probability of ACS. Read more →

November 2015 REBELCast: All Vascular Access Episode

12 Nov
November 12, 2015

Vascular AccessWelcome to the November 2015 REBELCast, where Swami, Matt, and I are going to tackle a couple of topics in the world of Vascular Access. Peripheral intravenous (PIV) access is one of the most common procedures we perform in the emergency department (ED) and central venous catheter (CVC), although decreasing in frequency, has some very real complications associated with it. It is always good to question clinical practice, especially in procedures that we perform on a daily basis.  IV access is important to patient care for things that we may take for granted such as lab work and initiation of treatment. So with that introduction today we are going to specifically tackle:

Topic #1: Intravascular Complications of Central Venous Catheter (CVC) Access
Topic #2: US vs Landmark Technique for Peripheral IV Access

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Ischemic Stroke Treatment Archive

09 Nov
November 9, 2015

Ischemic Stroke Treatment ArchiveI recently returned from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Conference which took place from Oct. 26th – 29th, 2015 in Boston, MA.  There were really a lot of amazing talks by so many amazing speakers but one lecture in particular by David Newman, of SMART EM and The NNT fame, made me realize that there is just so much research on treatment of ischemic stroke, that I can’t even keep them straight.  So what I thought I would do is create an archive of all that research and continue to add to the list as more research is released.  I don’t know about you, but I find myself spending lots of time looking this information up every time I need it.  Read more →


05 Nov
November 5, 2015

Noreversaban?We have written about the new Non-Vitamin K Oral Anti Coagulants (NOACs). Many have jokingly referred to them as the “Noreversabans.” Taking these drugs is a high risk, high reward type of decision. While we recognize the benefits of quick anticoagulation without a need to bridge, as well as being more stable and having less interactions than Coumadin, these drugs are dangerous with serious bleeding concerns. Recently, Dabigatran was likened to “Dancing with the Devil”. For those of us in EM and Critical Care practice, there are no good options for reversing these agents. Once taken there is no turning back… until now?

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Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) Myths

02 Nov
November 2, 2015

DKARecently, I was asked to give a lecture to both my residents and nurses at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) on some common DKA myths. Now this topic was originally covered by my good friend Anand Swaminathan on multiple platforms and I did ask his permission to create this blogpost with the idea of improving patient care and wanted to express full disclosure of that fact. I specifically covered four common myths that I still see people doing in regards to DKA management:

  1. We should get ABGs instead of VBGs
  2. After Intravenous Fluids (IVF), Insulin is the Next Step
  3. Once pH <7.1, Patients Need Bicarbonate Therapy
  4. We Should Bolus Insulin before starting the infusion

Read more →

Why You Should More Than Consider a Vasopressin, Steroid, and Epinephrine (VSE) Cocktail

29 Oct
October 29, 2015

VSE in Cardiac Arrest1The newly published 2015 AHA guidelines recommend that:
“In IHCA, the combination of Vasopressin, Epinephrine, and Methylprednisolone and post-arrest Hydrocortisone as described by Mentzelopoulos et al. maybe considered; however, further studies are needed before recommending the routine use of this strategy (Class IIb, LOE C-LD)”

Mentzelopoulos et al. [2][3] have published two separate randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies out of Greece examining the role of this Vasopressin, Steroid, and Epinephrine (VSE) cocktail. These studies looked at in-hospital cardiac arrest for patients and enrolled patients immediately with non-shockable rhythms or patients in refractory VFib/VTach. The first study included 100 patients from a single center, while the second study included 268 patients from multiple centers. Read more →

CPR in Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest: Man vs Machine

26 Oct
October 26, 2015

CPR - Man vs MachineBackground: In cardiac arrest, high quality, uninterrupted CPR is essential to help improve survival rates. In theory, mechanical CPR should provide CPR at a standard depth and rate for prolonged periods without a decline in quality, which should help improve survival and survival with good neurologic outcomes. There are many types of mechanical chest compression devices but the two main technologies can be generalized as piston devices and load-distributing bands. The piston driven devices work by compressing on the chest in an up and down type of motion, similar to how we do manual CPR. The load distributing bands wrap all the way around the chest and shorten and lengthen which provides more of a rhythmic type of chest compression. No individual trials have ever shown superiority on clinically important outcomes for adult patients with OHCA, regardless of device. Read more →

REBEL Cast Wee: Our Top 5 AHA 2015 Guideline Updates for CPR and ECC

22 Oct
October 22, 2015

Top 5 AHA Guideline UpdatesIn case you have not heard or not read it on the twittersphere, the American Heart Association just released their 2015 Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) in Circulation. I am joined by Mr. Security, Matt Astin for this episode and we both read through this massive 15 part document and came up with our top 5 updates and recommendations. Now this is just a list of our top 5 new or updated recommendations, that caught our attention, but certainly there are other recommendations. If you want the cliff notes version of the updates look through part I, titled the executive summary or the Highlights PDF which we will attach on the blog, but certainly as always we recommend reading the full document to form your own interpretations and opinions. Read more →

The Countdown has Begun for smaccDUB

21 Oct
October 21, 2015


The countdown has begun:

#smaccDUB registration opens next week!

Read more →

The HEAT Trial – Acetaminophen in ICU Patients with Fever

19 Oct
October 19, 2015

The HEAT Trial 1Background: Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is commonly used to lower the temperature of patients with fever suspected to be causeed by an infection in both homes across the world and the hospital. There are, however, opposing theories to the utility of decreasing fever in these situations. One side argues that fever places “additional physiological stress on patients,” who are already ill (Young 2015). Removing this source of increased metabolic demand would allow the body to allocate additional resources to fighting infection, respiratory function etc. On the other hand, fever may “enhance immune-cell function” and inhibit further growth and spread of an infecting pathogen (Young 2015). From a simple evolutionary standpoint, fever, which entails a significant cost likely evolved and persists because it benefits the host. To date we don’t have high-level evidence that acetaminophen treatment of fever due to probable infection is beneficial, ineffective, or harmful. Read more →

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