Background: Severe alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) accounts for only 10% of the roughly 500,000 annual cases of AWS episodes that require pharmacologic treatment. AWS is characterized by an imbalance between inhibitory GABA and excitatory NMDA receptor stimulation secondary to chronic ethanol intake. Treatment is typically centered around supportive care and symptom-triggered benzodiazepines. However, some patients are refractory to benzodiazepines, defined as > 10 mg lorazepam equivalents in 1 hour or > 40 mg lorazepam equivalents in 4 hours. Doses exceeding this threshold provide little benefit and put patients at risk for increase morbidity and mortality, over sedation, ICU delirium, respiratory depression and hyperosmolar metabolic acidosis. Read more →
Background: Many Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) are attributable to ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VT). Both are said to be treatable presentations of OHCA, due to their responsiveness to defibrillation. VF and VT can persist or recur after defibrillation with an inverse relationship between the duration of OHCA, the recurrences of arrhythmias, and ultimately resuscitation outcomes.
Amiodarone and lidocaine are both recommended by the advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) guidelines to help promote successful defibrillation in refractory ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia and to prevent recurrences. In previous randomized controlled trials patients receiving amiodarone vs placebo or lidocaine in OHCA were more likely to have return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and to survive to hospital admission. However the effects of amiodarone on survival to hospital discharge or neurologic outcome still remain uncertain. Should we be using anti-dysrhythmic drugs in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest? Read more →
Background: Airway management is a critical part of the management of patients presenting with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Emergency Physicians (EPs) have no ability to change the primary injury once it has occurred and so our focus is on preventing secondary brain injury. Hypoxemia and hypercarbia are major contributors to morbidity and mortality and management must focus on preventing them. Patients with TBI and depressed mental status frequently require definitive airway management in order to avoid these secondary insults. Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) with serial administration of a neuromuscular blocking agent (NMBA) and an induction agent is common practice. The most commonly used NMBAs are the depolarizing agent succinylcholine and the non-depolarizing agent rocuronium. There are strong proponents arguing for the dominance of one agent over the other based on qualities of the drugs but scant data investigating the question has led to clinical equipoise. Read more →
So this is the third installation of Advice to the Graduating Resident. Again, many 3rd year residents will be graduating in just a few short months and taking on their first jobs as attending physicians. I was lucky enough to sit down with the amazing Victoria Brazil and pick her brain. She gave some valuable words of wisdom, which I will try and summarize in this post, but for the full advice, be sure to checkout the podcast. Read more →
Today, I gave a lecture on Hemophilia to our residents in San Antonio, TX. Now this was a core content lecture that I have actually never given before. As I was preparing the lecture I realized that this is a diagnosis that comes up frequently enough that it is important to know about, but also so infrequently that I always have to look up the factor replacement options and calculations. So instead of being our typical evidence based evaluation of literature, this post will serve as a reminder of the basics of hemophilia and what are the essential elements one needs to know to appropriately treat a patient with Hemophilia. Read more →
Background: Irrigation after incision and drainage (I&D) of an abscess in the ED is considered by some sources to be standard care but local practice varies considerably. There are no randomized controlled trials to date that look at the potential benefits of this procedure. Irrigation increases the time required for the procedure and increases pain experienced by the patient. Read more →
Background: Peripheral venous cannulation is the most frequently performed procedure in the Emergency Department (ED). The vast majority of patients admitted to the hospital will leave the ED with an intravenous catheter (IV). While these devices typically have a “life-span” of 72 hours from placement, they often fail prematurely as a result of infection, phlebitis, occlusion or dislodgement. IV dislodgement is a particular bane to emergency providers and nurses because it often occurs during the patient’s ED stay requiring repeated cannulation and the associated expenditure of time and resources not to mention the additional pain/discomfort to the patient. Inadequate fixation of the catheter is a likely cause of dislodgement but may also contribute to infection and phlebitis due to small movements leading to microtrauma to the vein.
Medical-grade skin glue (cyanoacrylate) has been demonstrated to reduce peripheral arterial line failure rate in prior studies but has not been extensively studied for peripheral IV securing. Read more →
Welcome back to the April 2016 edition of REBELCast. For this episode I was lucky enough to get Scott Weingart on the show to talk to us about all things Apneic Oxygenation (ApOx). ApOx is a concept that has been around for some time in the operating room literature, but only recently been gaining acceptance in the ED, especially after the publication of this concept by Scott and Richard Levitan in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in 2011 . Many nay sayers will argue that the OR studies were in controlled settings with elective surgical patients who were not in critical condition. The believers would argue that ApOx makes sense, its low cost, and low complexity. To date there has been no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on ApOx in the ED. There has been one ICU Trial (i.e. The FELLOW Trial)  and an even more recent observational trial in the ED  that have been published on the topic of ApOx. So the question remains: Is Apneic Oxygenation Overhyped? Read more →
So this is the second installation of Advice to Graduating Residents. Again, many 3rd year residents will be graduating in just a few short months and taking on their first jobs as attending physicians. I was lucky enough to sit down with the amazing Amal Mattu and pick his brain. He gave some valuable words of wisdom, which I will try and summarize in this post, but for the full advice, be sure to checkout the podcast. Read more →
Post Written By: Sam Ghali (Twitter: @EM_RESUS)
In cardiac arrest care there has been a lot of focus over the years on limiting interruptions in chest compressions during CPR. In fact, this concept has become a major focus of the current AHA Guidelines. Why? Because we know interruptions are bad [1,2]. One particular aspect of CPR that has gotten a lot of attention in this regard is the peri-shock period. It has been well established that longer pre- and peri-shock pauses are independently associated with decreased chance of survival [3,4].