January 20, 2020

Definition: Acute infection of the ascitic fluid in a patient with liver disease without another source of infection

Epidemiology: (Runyon 1988, Runyon 1988, Borzio 2001)

  • Incidence
    • 10-25% risk of at least one episode per year
    • 20% risk in those with ascites admitted to the hospital
  • Historically, mortality ~ 50%


  • Not completely understood
  • Increased portal systemic hypertension
    • Causes mucosal edema of the bowel wall
    • Increases transmural migration of enteric organisms into the ascitic fluid
  • Impaired phagocytic function in the liver
  • Impaired immunologic activity in ascitic fluid

January 16, 2020

Background: Computed tomography pulmonary angiography (CTPA) is the current gold standard for diagnosing acute pulmonary embolism in the ED.  It has a high sensitivity, and specificity, is readily available, and can establish analternative diagnoses.  One issue with CTPA is that many hospital protocols create barriers for patients with chronic kidney disease or acute kidney injury (AKI) protocols in place from getting the necessary IV contrast.  There are several studies [2][3][4] that have evaluated the causal relationship between contrast exposure and nephrotoxicity. However, most of these studies are observational and retrospective in nature. The issue with retrospective studies is that they often cannot control for confounders and observational studies cannot give us causation, only association. We now have another retrospective observational study asking the same question, which has the inherent issues of previous studies.

January 15, 2020

Take Home Points 
  • Osteomyelitis is an infection in any part of a bone. It has a varied presentation including acute and chronic forms. Patients can present septic, or rather well appearing.
  • Patients may present with fever, chills, musculoskeletal pain, erythema, swelling or drainage from an ulcer.
  • Lab evaluation includes WBC, ESR and CRP, which we expect to be elevated in acute osteo, but less so in chronic.
  • MRI is the best imaging modality, but XR and CT may have some findings that suggest osteo.
  • Unstable patients should be started on broad spectrum antibiotics, usually vancomycin and cefepime, right away. Stable patients can be started on antibiotics in conjunction with your orthopedic consults.

January 13, 2020

Therapeutic Hypothermia (also called targeted temperature management (TTM)) is a deliberate reduction of the core body temperature to 32 - 34°C, in patients who suffer cardiac arrest with return of spontaneous circulation, but also don't regain consciousness.  In REBEL Crit Cast episode 1, I will go through the evidence for cooling adults and children, potential adverse effects, and what temperature to shoot for.

January 9, 2020

Background: Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) is the most widely utilized approach for patients requiring emergency tracheal intubation.  RSI typically requires the use of a induction agent followed by the use of a neuromuscular blocking agent (NMBA) to improve the overall intubation conditions and therefore improve first-attempt intubation success rate. Historically, succinylcholine has been the preferred NMBA, due to its fast onset (45 – 60 seconds) and fast offset (6 – 8 minutes of paralysis). Recent studies, however, show that rocuronium is an effective agent (similar timing of onset for ideal intubating conditions) as well.  When used at a dose of 1.2mg/kg, rocuronium has a similar onset time to succinylcholine of about 1 minute. Additionally, succinylcholine has several contraindications (see bottom of the post) while rocuronium has no contraindications (except for hypersensitivity) which has increased the debate about the paralytic agent of choice for RSI.