Author Archive for: Swami

Acute Pancreatitis

12 Oct
October 12, 2017

Acute Pancreatitis Background:

Definition: Acute inflammatory process of the pancreas; a retroperitoneal organ with endocrine and exocrine function.

Epidimiology (Rosen’s 2018)

  • US Incidence: 5 – 40/100,000
  • Mortality: 4-7%
  • Progression to severe disease: 10-15% of cases (mortality in this subset 20-50%)


  • Alcohol (~ 35% of cases)
  • Gallstones (~ 45% of cases)
  • Medications/toxins
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Non-gallstone Obstruction (i.e. strictures, masses)
  • Trauma
  • Infectious


  • Phase 1: Local inflammation
    • Results from obstruction of the pancreatic or bile ducts or direct toxicity to pancreatic cells
    • Inflammation results in pancreatic enzyme activation within the pancreas and ducts
    • Premature enzyme activation leads to pancreatic autodigestion
  • Phase 2
    • Enzyme digestion leads to necrosis of the pancreas
    • Erosion into vascular structures can occur as well leading to hemorrhage
  • Phase 3
    • Release of systemic inflammatory mediators
    • systemic immune response syndrome and multisystem organ dysfunction (i.e. acute renal failure, cardiac dysfunction, ARDS, disseminated intravascular coagulation)

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The YEARS Study – Simplified Diagnostic Approach to PE

28 Sep
September 28, 2017

Background: The clinical diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) can be challenging given its variable presentation, requiring dependence on objective testing. Decision instruments such as PERC and the Wells’ score help stratify patients to low or high probability, enabling focused use of CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for diagnosis. However, despite these algorithms, there is evidence of increasing use of CTPA along with diminishing diagnostic rate (less than 10%). This combination results in the overdiagnosis of subsegmental PEs, unnecessary exposure to radiation, false positive results and the potential for contrast-induced nephropathy. The YEARS study aims to present a simplified algorithm for evaluation with a two-tiered D-dimer threshold to reduce the numbers of CTPA in all age groups. Read more →

The DETO2X Trial: Do Patients with AMI Need Supplemental O2?

21 Sep
September 21, 2017

Background: Each year approximately 790,000 Americans suffer an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) (Benjamin 2017). Traditional treatment for an acute myocardial infarction has included morphine, oxygen, nitroglycerine and aspirin (MONA) with interventions such as percutaneous coronary intervention providing more definitive management. There has been little data from randomized control studies that supports the use of oxygen in AMI. Recent studies such as the AVOID trial suggest that hyperoxia results in harm while a 2016 Cochrane Review suggest no benefit in supplemental oxygen. (Stub 2015, Cabello 2016). There has, however, not been a large randomized control study comparing supplemental O2 to ambient air with patient centered outcomes until the DETO2X-AMI trial. Read more →

Can We Agree on Cardiac Standstill?

18 Sep
September 18, 2017

Background: Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has gained wider use in resuscitation of patients presenting with cardiac arrest. POCUS can play an important role in determining the etiology of arrest as well as being used to determine the presence or absence of mechanical activity. The REASON study demonstrated that patients with PEA or asystole without cardiac activity on POCUS are extremely unlikely to survive to hospital discharge though this study did not investigate the more important question of a survival with a good neurologic outcome. (Gaspari 2016). In light of this as well as other evidence, some have proposed that the absence of cardiac activity may be adequate to declare resuscitation futility and stop resuscitative efforts. However, there is a lack of agreement on what defines cardiac activity (see table 1). Due to this, and other factors, the level of agreement between physicians in interpretation of cardiac standstill is unknown. Read more →

Predicting Dysrhythmias After Syncope

11 Sep
September 11, 2017

Background: Syncope, the sudden, brief loss of consciousness followed by spontaneous, complete recovery is a common presentation to the Emergency Department (ED). It represents a significant portion of overall admissions to the hospital because while many cases are benign (i.e. vasovagal syncope), some may result from a life-threatening cause (ventricular tachydysrhythmia, myocardial ischemia, gastrointestinal bleeding etc). Admission or 24 hour observation is often sought for continuous dysrhythmia monitoring but they are infrequently found. A decision instrument directed at stratifying patients to high or low risk for a dysrhythmia causing syncope (and thus subsequent risk for a recurrent dysrhythmia) would be useful in managing patients with syncope. Read more →

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