Background: Despite continued debate on the efficacy of alteplase (tPA), it currently remains one of the major interventions directed at patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke. The current standard dose of the drug is 0.9 mg/kg given over 1 hour. It is unclear whether lower doses would be equally effective in increasing good neurologic outcomes after stroke while simultaneously decreasing the rate of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH); the most serious side effect. Evidence showing that lower doses of tPA are non-inferior to standard-dose tPA could lead to a shift in treatment. Read more →
The subclavian route is known to be the site for central line placement with the lowest risk of infection, but can also lead to many mechanical complications . The biggest risk of subclavian line placement is an iatrogenic pneumothorax. The use of ultrasound for subclavian line placement can greatly reduce this risk by watching the needle enter the vein. But does arm position matter for ultrasound guided subclavian central lines? Read more →
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 →