May 30, 2019

Background: Syncope, defined as a transient loss of consciousness with spontaneous and complete recovery to pre-event status, is a common emergency department (ED) presentation. Recently, we have discussed the lack of clinical utility in distinguishing syncope from near-syncope in terms of outcomes. In that discussion, we concluded: “In older adults (> 60 years of age), near-syncope appears to portend an equal risk of death or serious clinical event at 30 days when compared to syncope. These two entities should be considered as one when decisions are made in terms of evaluation in the ED.” While we argue for evaluation and disposition to be the same, we don’t address what the best disposition or plan is. While it is common to admit older patients with syncope/near-syncope from the ED, admission doesn’t inherently yield better outcomes.

May 29, 2019

Take Home Points on Tracheostomy Emergencies

  • Track is mature in 7 days - don't blindly replace before then because concern for false track creation
  • All bleeding needs to be taken seriously and should be evaluated by surgery
  • If not ventilating through trach - go through it systematically to find malfunction

May 27, 2019

Background: In 2000, the U.S. achieved the elimination of measles, defined as the absence of sustained transmission of the virus for more than 12 months [3,7]. Unfortunately, this success was short lived.  According to the CDC, 555 cases of measles have already been confirmed from Jan 1st – April 11th, 2019 [3]. This resurgence in measles is frustrating as it has a safe and highly effective vaccine, and it has no animal reservoir to maintain circulation.  Failure to get vaccinated unfortunately stems from misconceptions about vaccine safety (i.e. the now-debunked claim connecting vaccination to autism [4,5]), poor health education, lack of access to health care, and complacency.  This is now a global epidemic as disease does not respect borders.

May 23, 2019

Background: The clinical importance of immediate coronary angiography, with subsequent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in OHCA patients without STEMI is a matter of debate.  We have already covered the COACT trial on REBEL EM, but this is a second study, the pilot phase of the DISCO trial, assessing immediate vs delayed coronary angiography in patients with OHCA and without STEMI on ECG.

May 23, 2019

Background: Predicting a challenging airway is important to assist in the most optimal approach to airway management during RSI.  Two such tools include the Mallampati and LEMON scores and were derived in the pre-operative setting. Major limitations of these scores include the requirement of patients to be awake and cooperative and they don’t incorporate physiologic factors into them. The HEAVEN criteria is a recently developed tool thought to be more relevant and feasible for emergency airway assessment.  Each letter of HEAVEN stands for the difficult airway characteristic:
  • Hypoxemia - ≤93% at the time of initial laryngoscopy
  • Extremes of size – Pediatric patient ≤8 years of age or clinical obesity
  • Anatomic challenge – any structural abnormality that is anticipated to limit laryngoscopic view
  • Vomit/blood/fluid – Clinically significant fluid noted in the pharynx or hypopharynx prior to laryngoscopy
  • Exsanguination – Suspected anemia raising concerns about limiting safe apnea times
  • Neck mobility issues – Limited cervical range of motion