July 6, 2020

Background: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an antimalarial and immunomodulatory drug that is postulated to exert an antiviral effect by increasing intracellular pH resulting in decreased viral binding at the ACE2 receptor. Azithromycin is a macrolide antibiotic that also has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties which could help decrease viral replication and viral binding. Both of these medications have been used to treat COVID patients based on in vitro findings. However, in vitro studies often do not extrapolate to patient oriented outcomes. In June 2020 the US FDA revoked the prior emergency use authorization to HCQ and chloroquine (CQ) in patients with COVID-19. We now have yet another retrospective observational trial of HCQ, azithromycin, and the drugs in combination.

July 2, 2020

Background: In patients presenting to the ED with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), dual antiplatelet therapy is the current standard treatment.  This typically consists of aspirin and an adenosine diphosphate receptor antagonist.  It is fairly well understood that prasugrel and ticagrelor provide greater, and more rapid platelet inhibition than clopidogrel (i.e. Plavix) [5][6]. Both ticagrelor and prasurgel have a class I recommendation for use in ACS with or without ST-segment elevation. The loading strategies of these two medications are different: ticagrelor is administered as a pre-treatment medication prior to diagnostic angiography while prasugrel is given after coronary anatomy has been assessed by angiography (No advantage has been observed when prasugrel is used as pretreatment) [7].  The authors of this trial (ISAR-REACT 5) looked to compare ticagrelor vs prasugrel in patients with ACS to evaluate efficacy and safety.

June 29, 2020

Background: In patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ARDS clinical trials network recommends a target partial pressure of arterial oxygen (Pao2) between 55 and 80 mmHg. Goals of arterial oxygenation are not based on robust experimental data and prior evidence has shown the feasibility of targeting a lower partial pressure of arterial oxygen in patients with ARDS. The authors of this trial, aptly named the study, LOCO2 (Liberal Oxygenation vs Conservative Oxygenation). They sought to determine whether a lower oxygen strategy was safe in patients with ARDS.

June 27, 2020

Background: Acute gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) is a common diagnosis dealt with by emergency clinicians.  Definitive therapy for acute GIB often includes endoscopy or surgery. However, there is a myriad of pharmaceutical options (i.e. PPI, Somatostatin Analogues, Antibiotics, etc.) as well as blood products that may be instituted as part of the acute resuscitation of these patients. The role of tranexamic acid (TXA) in resuscitation of this condition is unknown.

TXA has become one of the darling medications of emergency medicine, with numerous indications, minimal side effect profile and low cost. TXA works by inhibiting blood clot breakdown (i.e. fibrinolysis).  TXA has been shown to decrease death from bleeding in other conditions (Trauma, Postpartum hemorrhage) but there is limited evidence for its use in GIB.  A systematic review and meta-analysis of seven randomized trials with just over 1600 patients [2] showed a reduction in all-cause mortality.  However, the individual trials were small and prone to a myriad of biases making these conclusions hypothesis generating at best.

June 25, 2020

Definition: Suppurative infection enclosed within the epidural space


  • Incidence: 2-3 cases per 10,000 hospitalized patients (Sendi 2008).
    • Rate is increasing given the rise in number of spinal procedures and anesthesia techniques
  • Mortality is low at 5%, however, if untreated paralysis may occur
  • Can occur at any age but most patients are between 50 and 70 years old.