Author Archive for: Swami

Do Patients with Posterior Epistaxis Managed by Posterior Packs Require ICU Admission?

13 Apr
April 13, 2015

Epistaxis MythsThis post is part 2 of epistaxis dogma. In the first post, we discussed the (dis)utility of prophylactic antibiotics in patients with epistaxis who require nasal packing. Here, we will take on dogma #2:

Dogma #2: Patients with posterior packs for epistaxis should be admitted to the ICU for continuous monitoring due to the risk of life-threatening bradydysrhythmias.

Unfortunately, the literature here is even sparser than with prophylactic antibiotics. An extensive literature search (paging research librarian) turned up two articles that were repeatedly cited. Read more →

Do Patients with Epistaxis Managed by Nasal Packing Require Prophylactic Antibiotics?

30 Mar
March 30, 2015

EpistaxisEpistaxis is a common Emergency Department (ED) complaint with over 450,000 visits per year and a lifetime incidence of 60% (Gifford 2008, Pallin 2005). Posterior epistaxis is considerably less common than anterior epistaxis and represents about 5-10% of all presentations. Many patients with posterior epistaxis will be managed with a posterior pack and admitted for further monitoring. Traditional teaching argues that:

  1. Patients with nasal packs should be given prophylactic antibiotics to prevent serious infectious complications.
  2. Patients with posterior packs should be admitted to the ICU for cardiac monitoring as they are at risk for serious bradydysrhythmias.

Read more →

Is Kayexalate Useful in the Treatment of Hyperkalemia in the Emergency Department?

02 Feb
February 2, 2015

BariumEnema_ORIGINAL_460x261Background: Hyperkalemia is the most common electrolyte disorder seen in the Emergency Department and treatment of hyperkalemia is core knowledge of EM training for interns and focuses on:

1) Stabilization of cardiac myocytes with calcium salts
2) Temporary shifting of potassium into cells (insulin, beta agonists, normal saline,
      magnesium, sodium bicarbonate)
3) Removal of potassium from the body (i.e. loop diuretics, cathartics)
4) Definitive Treatment (i.e. Hemodyalisis)

Although there is still some debate on the first two areas (i.e. is there truly a role for sodium bicarbonate?) our focus will be on the removal part of the algorithm, specifically, is there a role for kayexalate?

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Do Patients with Strep Throat Need to Be Treated with Antibiotics?

05 Jan
January 5, 2015

Background: Streptococcal pharyngitis is a common presentation to primary care and Emergency Department physicians. Every year, 10 million patients in the United States are treated with antibiotics for pharyngitis. However, less than 10% of these patients actually have strep pharyngitis (Barnett 2013). Prescribing of antibiotics for these patients centers on three arguments:

  1. Antibiotics reduce symptomology
  2. Antibiotics reduce the rate of suppurative complications
  3. Antibiotics reduce the rate of non-suppurative complications (primarily Rheumatic Heart Disease).

So, do patients with strep throat need to be treated with antibiotics?

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Does Use of Tamsulosin in Renal Colic Facilitate Stone Passage?

07 Aug
August 7, 2014

Does Use of Tamsulosin in Renal Colic Facilitate Stone PassageRenal colic is a common ED presentation. Rarely does a day go by that we don’t see a patient rocking and rolling in acute renal colic. Dan Firestone makes an impassioned argument against the use of CT scanning for diagnosis of renal colic so I won’t address that here. Once we make a diagnosis, our primary goal in the ED is pain relief. Then we turn our attention to disposition planning, follow up and outpatient medications. The majority (90%) of stones will pass spontaneously but it would be nice if we could:

  1. increase the passage rate
  2. shorten the time to passage.

This could potentially reduce ED revisits, reduce the number of invasive procedures and make happy patients. So does the use of tamsulosin in renal colic facilitate stone passage? Read more →

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