Initial Antibiotic Choice in Uncomplicated Cellulitis

08 Jun
June 8, 2017

Background: Cellulitis is a common emergency department (ED) presentation. Despite the fact that diagnosis remains relatively straight forward, complexity remains in management in terms of the causative agent and appropriate antibiotic regimen. Though beta-hemolytic Streptococci are the most common causative agents there is increasing prevalence of community acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Cephalexin has long been used to treat uncomplicated cellulitis because of it’s activity against streptococci and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA). Despite the current Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) recommendations against routine coverage of MRSA, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is often added to cephalexin (Stephens 2014). While there are other single options for coverage, they either have suboptimal MRSA coverage (i.e. clindamycin and doxycycline) or are more expensive (i.e. linezolid). Without reliable ways to determine which patients need MRSA coverage, it is unclear which patients with uncomplicated cellulitis need to be discharged with MRSA coverage and which will do fine with a single agent.

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Should You Give Albumin in Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis (SBP)?

05 Jun
June 5, 2017

The Background: Nearly 50% of patients in the U.S. with cirrhotic liver disease develop ascites over a 10-year period of observation, placing them at risk for developing spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) (Runyon 2012). It is estimated that 12-25% of patients with ascites in the ED will have spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) but the classic triad of fever, abdominal pain, and worsening ascites is often absent (Borzio 2001)(Runyon 1988). With a mortality rate approaching 40%, rapid diagnosis and evidence-based treatment is critical in the management of patients presenting with SBP (Salerno 2013).

SBP is diagnosed via cell count and differential of ascitic fluid obtained by paracentesis demonstrating an elevated polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) count ( 250 cells/mm3). Treatment focuses on appropriate antibiotic therapy. A third-generation cephalosporin is the treatment of choice as they are typically effective in covering the three most common isolates from infected ascitic fluid: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, and Streptococcus pneumonia (Runyon 2012). Intravenous albumin administration is often added to the management of these patients but the utility for improving morbidity and mortality is questionable. The benefit of albumin infusion in SBP is not entirely known, although multiple possible mechanisms have been identified. Albumin has been demonstrated to mitigate endotoxemia, block lipopolysaccharide-stimulated neutrophil activity, and modulate nitric oxide activity, mitigating systemic vasodilation and capillary leak (Salerno 2013). Read more →

What’s Your Drug Shortage Plan: Part II

01 Jun
June 1, 2017

Many drugs critical to patient management are showing up on national shortages (most pertinent to the ED list below).  Is your institution feeling the effects?  Do you have a drug shortage plan?

In this post we will cover potential alternatives to combat drug shortages for the following medications:

  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Promethazine
  • Rocuronium

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What’s Your Drug Shortage Plan: Part I

29 May
May 29, 2017

Many drugs critical to patient management are showing up on national shortages (most pertinent to the ED list below).  Is your institution feeling the effects?  Do you have a drug shortage plan?

In this post we will cover potential alternatives to combat drug shortages for the following medications:

  • Atropine
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Calcium Gluconate
  • Dextrose 50%
  • Epinephrine
  • Lidocaine

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Acute Salicylate Toxicity, Mechanical Ventilation, and Hemodialysis

25 May
May 25, 2017

Background: Salicylates are common substances that can be purchased over the counter. They are readily available, and in the setting of an overdose, can be fatal [1]. Initially, as salicylates are metabolized, they can induce a respiratory alklalosis. This is then followed by an anion gap metabolic acidosis.

Due to the metabolic derangements induced by salicylates as well as salicylate’s direct stimulation on the respiratory centers of the brain, patients can present with profound tachypnea, fever and even altered mental status. As the severity of toxicity increases, the need for airway protection through intubation and mechanical ventilation becomes more profound.

Intubation has unique implications in patients with acute salicylate toxicity [1]. Patients with  tachypnea are able to compensate for the profound metabolic acidosis that can develop from salicylate poisoning. Once intubated, the peri-intubation minute ventilation, typically, cannot be matched by the ventilator, thus taking away the patient’s physiologic mechanism of compensation for the metabolic abnormalities associated with salicylate toxicity leading to further clinical deterioration. Despite this, intubation in many cases of severe salicylate toxicity is necessary.

In addition to ventilation management, other therapeutic options to help manage acute salicylate toxicity include alkalization of the serum to prevent conversion of salicylates to its non-ionized form, which easily crosses the blood brain barrier and can lead to cerebral edema and end organ damage. Hemodialysis is another option in management of salicylate toxicity to help correct acid-base abnormalities and directly remove salicylates from the blood stream [3]. Read more →

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