November 30, 2015

Background: As emergency providers we must be smarter than our ECG machines. Many times subtle findings on ECGs are not read by the machine, but we must be the experts at making the distinction between findings that require emergent treatment versus more benign etiologies. One specific set of diagnoses that can be very difficult to distinguish from each other is inferior STEMI vs Pericarditis. ECG experts discuss strategies such as looking at morphology of ST-segments (i.e. concavity or convexity), but this is not always accurate. Another, frustrating fact is that ST-elevation in the inferior leads (II, III, aVF) is typically seen with inferior STEMI and pericarditis. We therefore need a finding that has both a high sensitivity and specificity for MI.

November 23, 2015

Background: We have already discussed the value of a good history in assessing patients with chest pain on REBEL EM. What is known about chest pain is that it is a common complaint presenting to EDs all over the world, but only a small percentage of these patients will be ultimately diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). This complaint leads to prolonged ED length of stays, provocative testing, potentially invasive testing, and stress for the patient and the physician. For simplicity sake, we will say that, looking at the ECG can make the diagnosis of STEMI. What becomes more difficult is making a distinction between non-ST-Elevation ACS (NSTEMI/UA) vs non-cardiac chest pain. ED physicians have different levels of tolerance for missing ACS with many surveys showing that a miss rate of <1% is the acceptable miss rate, but some have an even lower threshold, as low as a 0% miss rate. Over testing however, can lead to false positives, which can lead to increased harms for patients. In November 2015, a new systematic review was published reviewing what factors could help accurately estimate the probability of ACS.

November 12, 2015

Welcome to the November 2015 REBELCast, where Swami, Matt, and I are going to tackle a couple of topics in the world of Vascular Access. Peripheral intravenous (PIV) access is one of the most common procedures we perform in the emergency department (ED) and central venous catheter (CVC), although decreasing in frequency, has some very real complications associated with it. It is always good to question clinical practice, especially in procedures that we perform on a daily basis.  IV access is important to patient care for things that we may take for granted such as lab work and initiation of treatment. So with that introduction today we are going to specifically tackle: Topic #1: Intravascular Complications of Central Venous Catheter (CVC) Access Topic #2: US vs Landmark Technique for Peripheral IV Access

November 9, 2015

I recently returned from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Conference which took place from Oct. 26th - 29th, 2015 in Boston, MA.  There were really a lot of amazing talks by so many amazing speakers but one lecture in particular by David Newman, of SMART EM and The NNT fame, made me realize that there is just so much research on treatment of ischemic stroke, that I can't even keep them straight.  So what I thought I would do is create an archive of all that research and continue to add to the list as more research is released.  I don't know about you, but I find myself spending lots of time looking this information up every time I need it. 

November 2, 2015

Recently, I was asked to give a lecture to both my residents and nurses at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) on some common DKA myths. Now this topic was originally covered by my good friend Anand Swaminathan on multiple platforms and I did ask his permission to create this blogpost with the idea of improving patient care and wanted to express full disclosure of that fact. I specifically covered four common myths that I still see people doing in regards to DKA management:
  1. We should get ABGs instead of VBGs
  2. After Intravenous Fluids (IVF), Insulin is the Next Step
  3. Once pH <7.1, Patients Need Bicarbonate Therapy
  4. We Should Bolus Insulin before starting the infusion
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