October 10, 2016

Every few years we get updates in the guidelines based on new evidence. Guidelines give us a framework to work with in the treatment of disease processes, such as pneumonia. The last Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) guidelines update on the treatment of pneumonia came from 2005, but recently, the new 2016 guidelines were just published. This was a massive 51 page summary that starts off by saying:

“It is important to realize that guidelines cannot always account for individual variation among patients.  They are not intended to supplant physician judgment with respect to particular patients or special clinical situations.  IDSA considers adherence to these guidelines to be VOLUNTARY, with the ultimate determination regarding their application to be made by the physician in the light of each patient’s individual circumstances.”

April 11, 2016

Background: Irrigation after incision and drainage (I&D) of an abscess in the ED is considered by some sources to be standard care but local practice varies considerably. There are no randomized controlled trials to date that look at the potential benefits of this procedure. Irrigation increases the time required for the procedure and increases pain experienced by the patient.

March 10, 2016

Background: It is well documented that the number of visits to the ED for abscesses is on the rise in the US, with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) being the most common cause of purulent skin and soft-tissue infections. The primary treatment for cutaneous abscesses is incision and drainage (I&D). The prescription of antibiotics after this procedure is not straightforward. On one hand there is increased cost and possibly increased side effects, but on the other hand maybe antibiotics will increase eradication and improve treatment. What is known is that I&D alone will result in resolution in >80% of cases. So this begs the question, should we be empirically prescribing Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole for uncomplicated skin abscesses after I&D?

February 24, 2016

Background: Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) is something that has been beat into the heads of medical students, residents, fellows, and all physicians in general. However, the derivation of SIRS occurred in 1991, where the focus was on the then-prevailing inflammatory response of the host immune system. In 2001, a task force recognized the limitations of these definitions but did not really offer alternatives due to a lack of supporting evidence. What we have been left with is the definitions of sepsis being largely unchanged for more than 2 decades, until now. Enter Sepsis 3.0.

September 21, 2015

Background: Some of the major take home points from the sepsis trilogy of studies recently published (ProCESS, ARISE, and ProMISe) was that early identification of patients with sepsis, early intravenous fluids, and timely, appropriate broad-spectrum antibiotics is key to decreasing morbidity and mortality. In 2006 a study by Kumar et al [3] showed a 7.6% increase in mortality in patients with sepsis for every hour of delay after the onset of shock, but this finding has not been reproduced. In fact, the results of timing of antibiotic administration on outcomes have been all over the map. Regardless, the Surviving Sepsis Campaign still has very specific recommendations regarding the timing of antibiotics. And even more painful is that metrics for the quality of care of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock are now recognizing these recommendations as core measures.
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