August 22, 2016

Background: In the pyramid of evidence based medicine randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are considered to be one of the most reliable study designs when evaluating the cause and effect of treatment modalities. When evaluating randomized controlled trials, we often look for statistical significance of a study to determine if a treatment has an effect.  Statistical significance means that the result of a study is unlikely to occur by chance alone.  The value assigned to a statistically significant result is typically a p-value less than 0.05.

August 18, 2016

Background: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is traditionally defined as a triad of hyperglycemia (>250mg/dL), anion gap acidosis, and increased plasma ketones. There is another entity that providers must be aware of known as euglycemic DKA (euDKA), which is essentially DKA without the hyperglycemia (Serum glucose <200 mg/dL). Euglycemic DKA is a rare entity that mostly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, but can possibly occur in type 2 diabetes as well. The exact mechanism of euDKA is not entirely known, but has been associated with partial treatment of diabetes, carbohydrate food restriction, alcohol intake, and inhibition of gluconeogenesis. euDKA, can also be associated with sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor medications.  These medications first came onto the market in 2013 and are FDA approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, however many physicians use them off-label for type I diabetes due to their ability to improve average glucose levels, reduce glycemic variability without increasing hypoglycemia, and finally promote weight loss.

August 15, 2016

Background: In the ACLS guidelines stable Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) can be treated with either IV amiodarone or IV procainamide, as the drugs of choice. This has been given a class II recommendation, but there has not been a controlled prospective trial to base the use of one drug over the other in the clinical setting. Despite both medications having a class II recommendation, both clinically and anecdotally it appears that amiodarone is the preferred agent in clinical practice.

August 1, 2016

Background: Procedural sedation and analgesia is a frequently performed procedure in the emergency department to help facilitate care of patients in an effective manner. Our goal should be to minimize pain and anxiety while minimizing adverse effects. We have discussed the complications associated with procedural sedation and analgesia on REBEL EM before HERE.  Ketamine and Propofol are two agents commonly used for this and each agent has its own theoretical advantages and disadvantages. Due to this, it has been hypothesized that the combination of the two agents may result in fewer adverse events because of each agent counteracting the disadvantages of the other. Despite this, to date, no RCTs have really shown a reduction in adverse events with the combination of propofol and ketamine.

June 23, 2016

Background: The best way to resuscitate critically ill patients with fluids has been a hotly debated topic in the FOAMed and Critical Care worlds. Fluids are important to optimize stroke volume and distal tissue perfusion, however, the administration of excessive fluids for shock can increase a patient’s morbidity and mortality by causing volume overload, which may lead to tissue edema and subsequently inadequate blood flow to tissues [1]. Accurately predicting when, whom, and how much fluid to administer remains a very challenging clinical question as only half of critically ill patients increase their cardiac output in response to the administration of fluids (i.e. the patient is preload or fluid responsive) [1]. Clinical signs and pressure/volumetric static variables are unreliable predictors of fluid responsiveness [1]. Ventilator-induced dynamic variables such as stroke volume variation and pulse pressure variation, however, have been shown to be more accurate in predicating fluid responsiveness. These tests can only be applied when several criteria are present (e.g., sinus heart rate, mechanical ventilation with a tidal volume of 8-10cc/kg of ideal body weight). Passive leg raise (PLR) is another method to assess preload responsiveness. PLR produces a temporary and reversible increase in ventricular preload through an increase in venous return from the lower extremities, which mimics fluid administration without actually having to give exogenous fluids. This sounds great in theory, but PLR requires a hemodynamic assessment to be made during the maneuver to determine if the patient is preload responsive or not. There are multiple techniques for assessing changes in stroke volume but the diagnostic performance of each method still remains unknown. The two most commonly described methods are changes in pulse pressure variation and variables of flow.