March 11, 2020

Vascular Disasters Take Home Points
  1. Consider vascular pathologies in all of your patients with atraumatic limb pain - especially those with typical and atypical risk factors
  2. Early diagnosis is imperative. Time is tissue. Catch this as early as possible. Pain is the earliest symptom. First presents with pain then paresthesia then paralysis
  3. Perform vascular exam on every patient with pain
  4. If concerned for ischemic limb, call the vascular surgeon and get patient to CT for imaging of aorta and affected limb. 

February 12, 2020

Take-Home Points
  1. Endocarditis can have vague and varied presentations and has high morbidity and mortality. Be on the lookout in patients with risk factors including: 
    1. Congenital heart disease
    2. Cardiac prosthesis or devices
    3. Immunocompromise
    4. IV drug use
    5. Recent invasive procedure
    6. Hx of prior IE
  2. Patients may present with fever, sepsis of unclear source or may have manifestations of emboli to the skin, eyes, brain, lungs, spleen or kidney.
  3. Diagnosis is based on the modified Duke Criteria and workup should include THREE good sets of blood cultures. 
  4. ED management includes consultation with ID and cardiothoracic surgery and starting antibiotics based on whether the patient has a native or prosthetic valve. Basic starting antibiotic regimen includes:
    1. For patients with native valve disease a good starting regimen is:
      1. Vancomycin 25-30 mg/kg IV loading dose followed by 15-20 mg/kg twice daily AND
      2. Cefepime 2 g IV TID
    2. For patients with prosthetic valve disease, we have to go a bit bigger:
      1. Vancomycin 25-30 mg/kg IV loading dose followed by 15-20 mg/kg IV twice daily AND
      2. Rifampin 300 mg PO/IV TID AND
      3. Gentamicin 1 mg/kg IV TID AND
      4. Some recommendations include the Cefepime 2 g IV TID

December 16, 2019

Background: The clinical diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) can be challenging given its variable presentation, thus requiring dependence on objective testing. decision instruments such as PERC and the Wells’ score help stratify patients to low or high probability, enabling focused use of CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for diagnosis. However, despite these algorithms, there is evidence of increasing use of CTPA along with diminishing diagnostic rates (less than 10%). This combination results in the overdiagnosis of subsegmental PEs, unnecessary exposure to radiation and false positive results.

Though the D-dimer test has long been maligned for its low specificity the real issues around it rest in indiscriminate use and threshold value. In recent years, age-adjustment of the D-dimer and the YEARS algorithm have attempted to adjust the threshold in order to “rule-out” more patients without advanced imaging. The YEARS creates a two-tiered D-dimer threshold by first asking three questions:

  1. Are there clinical signs of DVT?
  2. Does the patient have hemoptysis? and
  3. Is PE the most likely diagnosis.

If the answer to all 3 questions is no, the D-dimer threshold is set at 1000 ng/mL FEU (500 ng/mL DDU) and if the answer is “yes” to any of the 3 questions, the D-dimer threshold is set at 500 ng/mL FEU (250 ng/mL DDU). More recently, the YEARS algorithm has been assessed in pregnancy.

Age-adjustment of the D-dimer assay simply multiplies 10 X the patients age (if using FEU and 5 X age if using DDU) and uses this number as the threshold for the test. This adjustment is applied to patients > 50 years of age. Age-adjustment of the D-dimer was endorsed by an ACEP clinical policy in 2018.

The PEGeD study is another attempt to show the safety of using an adjusted D-dimer threshold.

December 12, 2019

Background: The 2015 American Heart Association guidelines for Adult Advanced Cardiac Life Support recommend adenosine in non-hypotensive patients in regular narrow-complex supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).  Adenosine has a rapid onset and a half-life that is <10 seconds, which makes it an ideal agent for hemodynamically stable SVT. Typically, adenosine is administered as an initial 6mg rapid IV bolus over 1 – 2 seconds followed by a rapid 10 – 20mL saline flush.  If SVT is not terminated and normal sinus rhythm maintained within 1 – 2 minutes, a repeat dose of 12mg is given followed by a 10 – 20mL saline flush, and this can be repeated for a total of 3 doses. Because of the short half-life of adenosine, several advocate for a two-way stopcock, where adenosine and a 10 – 20mL saline flush are given in tandem. The logistics and timing with using a two way stopcock can be challenging and can result in less rapid flush than intended.
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