September 2, 2019

Background: Convulsive status epilepticus is the most common pediatric neurological emergency worldwide.  Currently, phenytoin (UK & Europe) or fosphenytoin (USA) is the recommended second-line IV anticonvulsant for the treatment of pediatric status epilepticus.  Some evidence and providers however suggest that levetiracetam could be an effective and safer alternative. Recently not one, but two RCTs were published trying to figure out whether levetiracetam or phenytoin should be second-line treatment of pediatric status epilepticus.

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).

August 26, 2019

Normal saline started being used based on work done in the 1830s with cholera.  We are still doing the same thing the same way and it’s not until recently we have begun to ask the hard questions about why we are doing things the same way 150 years later.  In this debate, titled "What the Fluid," from Rebellion in EM 2019, Scott Wieters, MD and Rob J. Bryant, MD debate the pros and cons of balanced and unbalanced crystalloids.

August 22, 2019

Background: Unwarranted use of antibiotics has several deleterious effects which include, antimicrobial resistance, wasted resources, adverse effects, negative affect on the microbiome of patients, and distracts from potentially more effective interventions. There has recently been a huge push for tests such as procalcitonin to help in curtailing the use of antibiotics when it is not warranted.  Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines recommend only prescribing antibiotics in moderately or severely ill patients with acute COPD exacerbations, increased cough, and/or sputum purulence [2]. The authors of this trial wanted to test another such marker, point of care CRP in patients with acute COPD exacerbations.  Along with bronchodilators and steroids, antibiotic prescriptions seem to be a common treatment modality as well. CRP is an acute-phase protein that is readily available and can be measured quickly with point of care testing.  The authors of this trial hypothesized that the results of POC CRP may help inform prescribing decisions for acute COPD exacerbations, however RCTs regarding clinical effectiveness of this test are lacking.

August 21, 2019

Take Home Points

  • Myxedema coma is severe, decompensated hypothyroidism with a very high mortality.
  • Classic features include: decreased mental status, hypothermia, hypotension, bradycardia, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia, and hypoventilation
  • Work up includes looking for and treating precipitating causes, most commonly infection as well as serum levels of TSH, T4 and cortisol
  • Treat for the possibility of adrenal insufficiency with stress dose steroids such as hydrocortisone 100 mg IV
  • The exact means of thyroid replacement is controversial. Definitely given 100-500 mcg levothyroxine and discuss the simultaneous administration of T3 with your endocrine and ICU teams.