February 28, 2018

Background:  Normal Saline (NS) is one of the most commonly used IVFs in resuscitation today.  The use of balanced vs unbalanced crystalloids has been one of the biggest debates in resuscitation of the critically ill in recent history due to concerns of unbalanced fluids causing acute kidney injury, hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis,  and worsened mortality.  In 2015, we saw the publication of the SPLIT trial, which we covered on REBEL EM. This was a randomized clinical trial of over 2200 patients in 4 ICUs in New Zealand comparing 0.9% Saline (NS) vs Plasma-Lyte.  This trial had many issues including, >70% of patients coming from the OR, only 15% came from the ED, only 4% had sepsis, and the biggest issue with this trial was that the majority of patients only received 1 – 2L of NS, making it unclear if larger volumes of unbalanced crystalloid would have worsened morbidity and mortality.  Since the publication of this study, two more trials have been published: The SALT-ED Trial and The SMART trial (Both Just published in the NEJM Feb 27th, 2018).

March 30, 2017

Background: Anyone practicing in emergency medicine has taken care of a patient with diabetic gastroparesis.  Although, it is not a sexy topic to discuss, nor a disease process associated with significant mortality, it is associated with decreased quality of life, and increased resource utilization due to frequent hospitalization.  Furthermore, opioid analgesia, can further decrease gastric emptying and therefore worsen symptoms of abdominal pain and nausea/vomiting. Haloperidol possesses antiemetic and analgesic properties, which may be one of the reasons this medication could work in diabetic gastroparesis.  The authors of this paper quite ingeniously entitled their study: Haloperidol Undermining Gastroparesis Symptoms (HUGS).

December 1, 2016

Background: Anyone who works in the Emergency Department has seen patients brought in by EMS or sent from the clinic with a chief complaint of “high blood sugar.”  Now, we are not talking about patients with diabetic ketoacidosis, but just simple hyperglycemia. This is a common complaint with no real consensus on optimal blood glucose levels before safe discharge.

August 18, 2016

Background: Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is traditionally defined as a triad of hyperglycemia (>250mg/dL), anion gap acidosis, and increased plasma ketones. There is another entity that providers must be aware of known as euglycemic DKA (euDKA), which is essentially DKA without the hyperglycemia (Serum glucose <200 mg/dL). Euglycemic DKA is a rare entity that mostly occurs in patients with type 1 diabetes, but can possibly occur in type 2 diabetes as well. The exact mechanism of euDKA is not entirely known, but has been associated with partial treatment of diabetes, carbohydrate food restriction, alcohol intake, and inhibition of gluconeogenesis. euDKA, can also be associated with sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitor medications.  These medications first came onto the market in 2013 and are FDA approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, however many physicians use them off-label for type I diabetes due to their ability to improve average glucose levels, reduce glycemic variability without increasing hypoglycemia, and finally promote weight loss.

November 2, 2015

Recently, I was asked to give a lecture to both my residents and nurses at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) on some common DKA myths. Now this topic was originally covered by my good friend Anand Swaminathan on multiple platforms and I did ask his permission to create this blogpost with the idea of improving patient care and wanted to express full disclosure of that fact. I specifically covered four common myths that I still see people doing in regards to DKA management:
  1. We should get ABGs instead of VBGs
  2. After Intravenous Fluids (IVF), Insulin is the Next Step
  3. Once pH <7.1, Patients Need Bicarbonate Therapy
  4. We Should Bolus Insulin before starting the infusion