April 29, 2019

Background: The two biggest keys to successful survival with good neurological outcome in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) are high-quality CPR and early defibrillation. Dispatcher-assisted (DA) CPR is a novel concept to not only improve the rate of CPR being performed, but also the quality of CPR.  In DA-CPR, rescuers perform CPR under telephone guidance from trained dispatchers. In this study, the authors sought to see if DA-CPR improved the quality of chest compressions (Compression depth, compression rate, no-flow time, complete release of pressure between compressions, and hand location).

April 25, 2019

Background: Although the debate over balanced (i.e. lactated ringers, PlasmaLyte) vs unbalanced (i.e. 0.9% saline) crystalloids has not been settled, fluid resuscitation continues to be a fundamental therapy given to critically ill patients.  0.9% saline is one of the most common fluids given in resuscitation of patients but the high chloride content may contribute to the development of acute kidney injury (AKI) [1]. Alternatives to 0.9% saline include crystalloids with electrolyte compositions that are more balanced and resemble that of plasma (i.e. Lactated Ringer’s Plasma-Lyte, etc). Theoretically use of more balanced crystalloids would result in less potential side effects when compared to 0.9% saline. The crux of the matter is does fluid choice affect any patient-oriented outcomes?

April 22, 2019

Background: Syncope and presyncope are common presenting complaints to the Emergency Department. Orthostatic vital signs are often included in the ED evaluation of syncope to assess for volume depletion despite their poor performance characteristics as previously discussed. In particular, it is important to understand that older adults often have abnormal orthostatic vitals at baseline,  due to numerous causes including medications, despite having a normal physiologic state (Ooi 1997, Aronow 1988). In spite of the evidence, orthostatic vital signs measurements continue to be recommended by the AHA/ACC/HRS guidelines (Shen 2017) and occupy valuable provider and nursing time.

April 18, 2019

Every now and again someone raises the issue on social media about resuscitative thoracotomy.  What are the indications (we have the EAST guidelines for that), what are the risks (highlighted in this important recent paper), and of course, whether EM or surgery should be doing it in the trauma bay (guess what – it’s in the curriculum for both specialties). That’s not the point of this post.  This post is about how I think you, as the emergency medicine physician (EP), working in a system where your surgeon is not in-house, but is available in a reasonable amount of time, should proceed when faced with the patient who meets the indications.  You’ve gone through your HOTTT(T) algorithm and are now at that final “T” – you have to open the chest.