Background: Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) has gained wider use in resuscitation of patients presenting with cardiac arrest. POCUS can play an important role in determining the etiology of arrest as well as being used to determine the presence or absence of mechanical activity. The REASON study demonstrated that patients with PEA or asystole without cardiac activity on POCUS are extremely unlikely to survive to hospital discharge though this study did not investigate the more important question of a survival with a good neurologic outcome. (Gaspari 2016). In light of this as well as other evidence, some have proposed that the absence of cardiac activity may be adequate to declare resuscitation futility and stop resuscitative efforts. However, there is a lack of agreement on what defines cardiac activity (see table 1). Due to this, and other factors, the level of agreement between physicians in interpretation of cardiac standstill is unknown. Read more →
Tag Archive for: POCUS
The provision of high-quality compressions with minimal interruptions is central to the management of cardiac arrest. Along with defibrillation, high-quality compressions are the only interventions proven to improve patient-oriented outcomes. Recently, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has gained greater use in cardiac arrest care for determination the cause of arrest as well as guiding the resuscitation and interventions. Performance of POCUS during cardiac arrest can be challenging particularly in terms of obtaining cardiac windows. Among these challenges is obtaining images of the heart during compressions. As a result, cardiac POCUS is often performed during rhythm checks when there is a scheduled pause in compressions. Despite the potential benefit from POCUS, prolonged interruptions in compressions while attempting to get optimal windows is unlikely to benefit the patient and, may be harmful. Read more →
Background: Sudden cardiac arrest has very poor outcomes; less than 11% of patients in cardiac arrest in the Emergency Department survive to discharge from the hospital. The management of cardiac arrest is algorithmic because providers have limited tools at their disposal and limited knowledge of the patient’s past medical history. EKG is limited in its evaluation of cardiac function. Pulses are often difficult to palpate. The blood pressure cuff is often unreliable. As a result, there is a sense of futility when running resuscitations.
Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) in the Emergency Department gave providers another tool to help guide management through direct visualization of cardiac activity, tamponade physiology, right heart strain, etc . It also offers prognostic value if there is no cardiac activity upon arrival to the Emergency Department on TTE, there is a near 0% chance of survival. However, TTE has its limitations: obesity, emphysema, poor windows, interrupts compressions, gel gets everywhere.
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) provides significant benefits when compared to TTE in the management of cardiac arrest in the emergency department. Read more →
Welcome to the September 2015 REBELCast, where Swami, Matt, and I are going to tackle a couple of topics in the world of Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). Seems like we are hearing more and more about VTE in terms of workup, management, etc. Lets face it, diagnosing someone with a pulmonary embolism (PE) is no longer as simple as checking a d-dimer or just doing a CT Pulmonary Angiogram. There is so much more to it and to frustrate physicians even more there is so much research coming out on this topic alone, even I am having a hard time keeping up. Swami, Matt, and I thought it might be good to tackle a couple of articles from he world of VTE that have implications for clinical practice and patient care. So with that introduction today we are going to specifically tackle:
- Topic #1: Home Treatment of Low Risk Venous Thromboembolism with Rivaroxaban
- Topic #2: RV Dilation on Bedside Echo Performed by ED Physicians
As we have discussed in previous posts, the care of patients with cardiac arrest is a key skill for Emergency Providers. ACLS provides a foundation for care but is rife with shortcomings including, but not limited to, reliance on outdated data and inability to adapt in the face of improved understanding of cardiac arrest pathophysiology. The incorporation of technological advances and skills is another massive limitation of ACLS. One of these technologies is point of care ultrasound (POCUS).
Over the last two decades, POCUS has become a integral part of Emergency Medicine training and practice. POCUS allows for rapid, bedside diagnosis of a number of conditions including cholecystitis, urinary retention and ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, it is becoming a greater component in the management of the critical patient where it can be used to assess cardiac contractility, wall motion abnormalities, intraperitoneal free fluid and more. Application of POCUS in all patients with cardiac arrest is simply the next step. This diagnostic modality is not highlighted in the current iteration of ACLS but is a practice changer. The bottom line is that application of POCUS in cardiac arrest allows the emergency provider to guide resuscitation with a direct look into the body – we are no longer blind.
For this post, I want to discuss two ways that we can use ultrasound in cardiac arrest patients, specifically in pulseless electrical activity (PEA), in the Emergency Department:
- Assessment for the presence or absence of cardiac output and
- As an alternate framework to the Hs and Ts.
A quick disclaimer – I am not an ultrasound expert, I did not do a fellowship but I am passionate about it’s application in our sickest patients. Read more →