Can Tamsulosin Get That STONE to Drop?

29 Jun
June 29, 2018

Background: Ureteric (renal) colic is a common, painful condition encountered in the Emergency Department (ED). Sustained contraction of smooth muscle in the ureter as a kidney stone passes the length of the ureter leads to pain. The majority of stones will pass spontaneously (i.e. without urologic intervention). For over a decade, calcium channel blockers (i.e. nifedipine) and, more commonly, alpha adrenoreceptor antagonists (i.e. tamsulosin) have been employed in the treatment of ureteral colic for their potential ability to increase stone passage, reduce pain medication use and reduce urologic interventions. These interventions were mostly based on poor methodologic studies and meta-analyses of these flawed studies (Hollingsworth 2016)

Over the past 3-4 years, a small number of higher-quality RCTs have been published (Ferre 2009, Pickard 2015, Furyk 2016). These studies have demonstrated a lack of benefit for routine use of alpha blockers. However, secondary outcomes suggest a possible benefit in larger stones (> 6 mm). In spite of recent multiple studies, the use of alpha blockers remains an area of active debate. Read more →

REBEL Cast Ep 54: What the Heck is Pseudo-PEA?

27 Jun
June 27, 2018

Background: Pulseless electrical activity (PEA) is an organized electrical activity without a palpable pulse.  1/3 of cardiac arrest cases will be pulseless electrical activity and the overall prognosis of these patients is worse than patients who have shockable rhythms (ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia).  It can be a challenge to decide when to terminate or continue resuscitation efforts in PEA arrest.  Palpating pulses is difficult in the setting of a code situation, neither sensitive nor specific based on current literature.  The use of POCUS could help split PEA patients into Pseudo-PEA (cardiac activity on US = profound shock) vs True-PEA (no cardiac activity on US) in determining the potential for ROSC. Read more →

Bougie use in Emergency Airway Management (BEAM)

25 Jun
June 25, 2018

Background: Emergency intubation in the ED is a potentially life-saving procedure in critically ill patients, but does have risks associated with it as we have discussed before on this blog. The authors of the study we are going to review today described a first-attempt intubation success (FPS) rate in the ED to be 85%, despite new technologies such as video laryngoscopy [2]. Successful endotracheal intubation on the initial attempt is vital as it reduces the likelihood of adverse events. Use of the bougie as the primary intubation approach may increase FPS but it is typically reserved as a rescue device only after failed intubation attempts. This is the first randomized controlled trial comparing the bougie vs endotracheal tube + stylet (ETT + stylet) in ED patients with at least 1 characteristic predictive of difficult intubation.  The trial is titled the Bougie use in Emergency Airway Management (BEAM) trial. Read more →

Simplifying Mechanical Ventilation – Part 4: Obstructive Physiology

22 Jun
June 22, 2018

Obstructive Physiology: Setting up the ventilator for a patient with severe obstructive physiology like asthma or COPD is almost a completely opposite strategy compared to the patient with severe metabolic acidosis. They both have problems with ventilation (removal of carbon dioxide), but for the patient with obstructive disease it takes a very long time to expire due to inflammation and bronchoconstriction.  Instead of setting a high respiratory rate to blow off more CO2 like our severe metabolic acidosis patient, here, you want to set a low respiratory rate to give your patient time to empty more effectively. Read more →

Rebellion in EM 2018 – DOAC Reversal by Scott Wieters, MD

20 Jun
June 20, 2018

The 1stannual Rebellion in EM Clinical Conference took place in San Antonio, TX on May 11th– 13th, 2018.  If you missed out in 2018, the Rebellion is coming back June 28th – 30th, 2019.  Stay up to date as we plan the conference for this upcoming year at

The Missions of Rebellion in EM:

  1. Decrease Knowledge Translation: With 100s of journals and thousands of publications every year, it takes time for research to disseminate to clinical practice. Discussion of current literature and its application to practice is the key to facilitating safe best practices.
  2. Create a Community of Practice: It requires many to take care of the few. Patient care is a team sport that starts pre-hospital, continues through the ED, and finally into the hospital.
  3. Improve Patient Care: Decrease suffering and improve patient oriented outcomes

“Learning is always rebellion…every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before.” -Margaret lee Runbeck- Read more →

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