July 2, 2020

Background: In patients presenting to the ED with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), dual antiplatelet therapy is the current standard treatment.  This typically consists of aspirin and an adenosine diphosphate receptor antagonist.  It is fairly well understood that prasugrel and ticagrelor provide greater, and more rapid platelet inhibition than clopidogrel (i.e. Plavix) [5][6]. Both ticagrelor and prasurgel have a class I recommendation for use in ACS with or without ST-segment elevation. The loading strategies of these two medications are different: ticagrelor is administered as a pre-treatment medication prior to diagnostic angiography while prasugrel is given after coronary anatomy has been assessed by angiography (No advantage has been observed when prasugrel is used as pretreatment) [7].  The authors of this trial (ISAR-REACT 5) looked to compare ticagrelor vs prasugrel in patients with ACS to evaluate efficacy and safety.

June 27, 2020

Background: Acute gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a common diagnosis dealt with by emergency clinicians.  Definitive therapy for acute GIB often includes endoscopy or surgery. However, there is a myriad of pharmaceutical options (i.e. PPI, Somatostatin Analogues, Antibiotics, etc.) as well as blood products that may be instituted as part of the acute resuscitation of these patients. The role of tranexamic acid (TXA) in resuscitation of this condition is unknown.

TXA has become one of the darling medications of emergency medicine, with numerous indications, minimal side effect profile and low cost. TXA works by inhibiting blood clot breakdown (i.e. fibrinolysis).  TXA has been shown to decrease death from bleeding in other conditions (Trauma, Postpartum hemorrhage) but there is limited evidence for its use in GIB.  A systematic review and meta-analysis of seven randomized trials with just over 1600 patients [2] showed a reduction in all-cause mortality.  However, the individual trials were small and prone to a myriad of biases making these conclusions hypothesis generating at best.

June 23, 2020

Background: We have been in need of a sign of hope in the fight against SARS-CoV-2 as it runs from city to city overwhelming health systems.  The majority of patients will be either asymptomatic or have only mild disease.  These patients will improve for the most part with symptomatic care.  There is a smaller portion of patients admitted to the hospital and ICU requiring oxygen therapy or invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV).  In this group of patients, there has not been much promise in the way of treatments improving mortality.  Patients requiring oxygen therapy (HFNC, NIV, IMV, ECMO) are mostly in the pulmonary and hyperinflammatory stage of disease (see below figure). One theoretical option in this hyperinflammatory stage of disease is corticosteroids to help quell the immune response and potentially improve mortality outcomes.

June 22, 2020

Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) complaints are commonly seen in the emergency department. When you hear “ENT emergencies,” you probably think about epistaxis, sinusitis, and possibly foreign body removal (either from the ear or nose). While not as common, auricular hematomas are equally important to both understand and know how to manage. As a former wrestler, I can attest to the importance of 1) knowing how to accurately diagnose and 2) how to treat this injury to prevent future development of “cauliflower ear”. An auricular hematoma is a collection of blood underneath the perichondrium of the ear that typically occurs secondary to trauma. Common mechanisms of injury include an ear-piercing gone wrong or blunt trauma in contact sports (wrestling, boxing, and martial arts). Inadequate treatment of an auricular hematoma can lead to the development of an auricular deformity commonly known as “cauliflower ear,” which develops from permanent cartilage destruction.

June 18, 2020

Background: Here we go again with another “Time is Brain,” acute ischemic stroke study.  The authors start out by saying that earlier administration of intravenous tPA in acute ischemic stroke is associated with reduced mortality by the time of hospital discharge and better functional outcomes at 3 months.  These statements are based on flawed studies [3][4] (Check out Ken Milne discussing these issues HERE). Additionally, tPA has not been demonstrated to decrease mortality in any randomized clinical trial though it does increase early mortality. If you can’t tell, I am very skeptical about the spin of this trial.