Critical Care Horizons – A FOAM Critical Care Journal

30 Jul
July 30, 2015

Critical Care HorizonsAs the world of Free Open Access Medical Education has expanded over the last 5 years, one area that has been a laggard is the traditional journal. Although some journals release a limited number of articles in an open access format (NEJM, Annals of EM, Academic EM, EM Australasia, etc.) we haven’t seen a true open-access journal that is free to publish and free to read. This changed on June 24th, 2015 when the first issue of Critical Care Horizons was released. Read more →

The Challenge of Fever in Kids

27 Jul
July 27, 2015

FeverFEVER shows up beside the name of a new 3 year old that has just been checked into your department. This can be accompanied by many feelings when you see it from “Why are they here ?” to “I hope the child is not dying.” This is a reasonable range of thoughts depending on your level of experience and resources. Many variables are important with this “chief complaint” from how the temperature was actually obtained, to immunization status of the child, to how does the child look, and many more. In my estimation, fever gets a bad rap from general society. It’s our job to set the tone and fight “fever-phobia” when needed. Let’s examine some aspects of pediatric fever to change your mindset from apprehension, to “I’ve got this”. Read more →

Beyond ACLS: CPR, Defibrillation, and Epinephrine

23 Jul
July 23, 2015

Beyond ACLS - CPR, Defibrillation, & EpiAdvanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) provides a well structured framework for those who resuscitate infrequently. There is room to move beyond the algorithm to potentially provide better care for our patients for those who resuscitate frequently. I will describe some tweaks to the way CPR, defibrillation, and medications are delivered in the arrests I manage. Read more →

Minor Head Trauma in Anticoagulated Patients: Admit for Observation or Discharge?

20 Jul
July 20, 2015

Risk of ICH in Anticoagulated PatientsBackground: In elderly patients on chronic anticoagulation (i.e. warfarin and clopidogrel), falls have been shown to increase the incidence of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) versus those not on anticoagulation (8.0% vs 5.3%). Mortality in those with ICH on anticoagulation is also higher than those who are not (21.9% vs 15.2%). Patients >65 years of age account for almost 10% of ED visits and 30% of admissions for traumatic brain injury. Even more frustrating is clinical decision rules on who to scan and not scan (i.e. Canadian CT Head Rule, New Orleans Criteria, and NEXUS-II criteria) do not apply to anticoagulated patients, because these patients were excluded in many of these studies. To date studies on patients taking warfarin who suffer minor head injuries have shown an incidence of ICH from 6.2 – 29%, suggesting that physicians should have a low threshold to scan these patients. Finally, several European guidelines suggest that all anticoagulated patients with head trauma should be admitted for observation, even if the initial head CT is negative, based on limited data. Unfortunately, the risk of traumatic intracranial hemorrhage after blunt head trauma for patients on warfarin and clopidogrel, has never really been studied in a large generalizable cohort or under a rigorous, prospective, multicenter designed studies. Therefore, knowledge of the true prevalence and incidence of immediate and delayed traumatic ICH in patients on anticoagulation would allow for evidence based decisions to be made about initial patient evaluation and disposition instead of admitting all patients for observation for concern of delayed ICH [1]. Read more →

Beyond ACLS: Dual Simultaneous External Defibrillation

16 Jul
July 16, 2015

Beyond ACLSBackground: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) occurs in the United States at a rate of nearly 300,000 individuals per year. Even more concerning is the high mortality rate which is associated with this. The majority of OHCA is due to cardiac etiology with the most common initial rhythm being ventricular fibrillation (VF). What we all know is that high-quality, limited interruption cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation are the hallmarks of successful neurologic outcomes in OHCA. For many who have heard me speak about ACLS, you have heard me say that these guidelines are created for the providers who do not perform resuscitation as part of their daily routine. For those of us in the trenches of the emergency department, we have to think beyond ACLS at times. Although VF typically responds very well to the standard energies of defibrillation, maybe in patients with higher body mass index or morbid obesity we need higher energies to achieve successful defibrillation. Read more →

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