August 29, 2019

Background: Migraine is a chronic neurologic disease characterized by attacks of throbbing, often unilateral headache that are exacerbated by physical activity and associated with photophobia, phonophobia, nausea, vomiting, and, in many patients, cutaneous allodynia. Migraine is very common, and the burden of illness is substantial, with annual total costs estimated at $27 billion in the United States and ranking as the second most-disabling neurologic condition globally in terms of years lost to disability. Both preventive and abortive treatments have evolved alongside medicine’s improving understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of migraine and the discovery of new and effective therapies, however current treatments such as triptan therapy and neuroleptics are limited due to adverse effects (up to 52% in some cohorts) and contra-indications. Concerns about these effects were reported in one study to result in delays in treatment or avoidance of treatment in two thirds of patients. (Gallagher 2003).

February 18, 2019

Background: The use of intravenous lidocaine for analgesia in patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with renal colic has gained recent traction and interest, and was previously explored on the REBEL EM blog. Literature has been mixed, with one trial (Soleimanpour 2012) demonstrating analgesic benefit, but two smaller trials (Firouzian 2016) (Motamed 2017) finding no such role for IV lidocaine. Nonetheless, uptake has been brisk (Fitzpatrick 2016). The authors of this study (The LIDOKET Trial) sought to better define the utility of IV lidocaine for the treatment of renal colic.

January 3, 2019

Introduction: Beyond the Data

The evolution from eminence-based to evidence-based care has come to define bedside emergency medicine, with rigorous skepticism and scholarly consideration accelerated by the power of global connectivity. Where anecdote and opinion once drove therapy, clinicians now approach clinical conundrums with deliberate reflection, expecting—and at times demanding--ever-higher proof of perfection prior to implementing or incorporating therapies, tests, or approaches into their own practice. Such cogitation ensures excellence and safety and avoids pitfalls of over-adoption or confounding. Unfortunately, so many of our daily decisions are made in a space devoid of definitive data, and require a synthesis of relevant literature with our accumulated knowledge and experience—a departure from evidence-based medicine into the pragmatic world of evidence-informed medicine. It is only at this precipice—where studies and statistics simply don’t exist—that we change, where we push forward the boundaries of care, and develop not only experience, but the very questions which will define the next advances in emergency medicine. It’s with this in mind that we present this REBEL post, an entry not so much a look back on manuscripts which dictate our practice, but a treatise to help us look forward. To not inform, but to inspire thought and inquiry.  

November 29, 2018

Background: Pulmonary embolism is the leading cause of death in pregnancy and the puerperium – accounting for nearly 20% of maternal deaths in the United States – making rapid and accurate diagnosis critically important for emergency physicians, OB/GYNs, and all who take care of these women on a regular basis. Diagnosis is made more difficult by the frequency of concerning and suggestive signs and symptoms in this population, particularly dyspnea (a common symptom in pregnancy related to an increase in progesterone levels) and tachycardia (as resting heart rate is typically expected to increase by up to 25% in normal pregnancy). While the use of the D-dimer in conjunction with a low pre-test probability for pulmonary embolism is well-established for ruling out PE in the non-pregnant population, pregnant women were excluded from studies that derived and validated models assessing pretest clinical probability of PE, and no specific tool to assess pretest probability is available in this setting. This lack of a pretest probability assessment tool and the lack of prospective data confirming the safety of ruling out PE on the basis of a negative D-dimer result have limited the adoption of the D-dimer test in pregnant patients. Indeed, the American Thoracic Society guidelines [1] recommend specifically against the use of D-dimer to exclude PE in pregnancy. The DiPEP study, published in the British Journal of Haematology, attempted to add to this literature base [2], and was reviewed here on REBEL EM. The DiPEP authors’ conclusion, that D-dimer should not be recommended for use in the diagnostic work-up of PE in pregnancy, was echoed in our review, however this study was likely fundamentally flawed in that it did not risk stratify patients prior to application of D-dimer testing, a critical step in all validated applications. Recently, a group of French and Swiss authors published a prospective diagnostic management outcome study for diagnosis of PE in pregnant women that sought to better define the role of D-dimer when paired with pre-test risk stratification. [3]

July 23, 2018

Background: In 2011, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a committee opinion warning against the use of nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) during the first trimester of pregnancy due to the perceived risk of an increased rate of congenital abnormalities with its use (Committee Opinion 2017). While the committee continued to recommend that nitrofurantoin be used as a first-line agent during the second and third trimesters, they stated that it should only be considered appropriate in the first trimester when no other suitable alternative antibiotics were available. While this recommendation seems to have been slow to permeate into the emergency medicine community, growing awareness has led to clinical trepidation in the provision of nitrofurantoin.
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