September 9, 2019

Background: Epinephrine (adrenaline) has been used in advanced life support in cardiac arrest since the early 1960s. Despite the routine recommendation for its use, evidence to support administration is less than ideal.  Although it is clear from multiple observational studies that epinephrine improves return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and short-term survival, most evidence suggests an absence of improvements in survival with good neurologic outcomes.  In cardiac arrest we want to take advantage of the alpha effects of epinephrine, including peripheral vasoconstriction, and therefore increasing aortic diastolic pressure, which in turn helps augment coronary and cerebral blood flow.  On the other hand, we want to avoid the potentially detrimental beta effects including dysrhythmias, decreased microcirculation, and increased myocardial oxygen demand all of which increase the chances of recurrent cardiac arrest and decreased neurologic recovery.  The only two interventions in cardiac arrest that have shown improve survival with good neurologic outcomes continue to be high-quality CPR and early defibrillation. The debate over the utility of epinephrine in OHCA has been ongoing for several years now and many providers are left with the ultimate question of what to do with epinephrine in OHCA.

September 5, 2019

Background: Working in the emergency department means frequently performing painful procedures on patients, often we turn to procedural sedation to make these procedures more tolerable for patients, families and clinicians alike.  Ketamine is often used for this purpose, particularly in pediatrics, however, many clinicians are reluctant to use this agent due to concerns for recovery agitation or the dreaded “emergence phenomenon.” Clinicians often turn to the co-administration of various agents, including benzodiazepines and antipsychotics, to blunt this effect.  The definition of recovery agitation and the means by which it is measured are inconsistent in the previous literature, leading to a dearth of evidence as to whether the practice of co-administration of medications is effective in reducing recovery agitation.

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.