April 3, 2017

Background: Historically the treatment of uncomplicated appendicitis has been appendectomy. The first appendectomy performed dates back to 1735 done by Claudius Amyand. Appendectomy has been the standard treatment for acute appendicitis every since Charles McBurney described it in 1889. However, studies have shown that an antibiotic first strategy may be feasible without increased risk of perforation, sepsis, and/or death.  This other approach is called NOTA (Non-Operative Treatment of Appendicitis).  Past RCTs were from Europe and this is the first NIH grant study to question this in the US. Antibiotic first strategies are used for uncomplicated diverticulitis, but have not been used in uncomplicated appendicitis. Several reasons why this strategy may be preferred include fewer complications, less pain, and less disability than an appendectomy first strategy.  There have been a couple of systematic reviews on the issue of NOTA that came to different conclusions (Varadhan et al. BMJ 2012 and Kirby et al. J of Infection 2015). To date, no US randomized trial has evaluated an antibiotics-first approach in uncomplicated appendicitis until now.

March 28, 2017

Background: With the introduction of sepsis 3.0, came the quick sepsis related organ failure assessment (qSOFA) score. The purpose of this score is supposed to be a bedside tool to help predict which patients are at the greatest risk of poor outcomes.  There are three components to this score: Low systolic blood pressure (≤100mmHg), high respiratory rate (22 breaths per minute), and altered mental status (Glasgow coma scale <15).  Interestingly, nowhere in this score is fever.

October 31, 2016

Background: The most recent surviving sepsis campaign recommends the use of hydrocortisone in patients with refractory septic shock (i.e. vasopressor dependent).  However, the use of hydrocortisone in severe sepsis without shock still remains a very controversial topic. Recommendations for hydrocortisone are mostly based on 2 randomized clinical trials (i.e. Annane et al [2] and CORTICUS [3]), but subsequent meta-analyses had more mixed results.  Shock reversal was consistently improved irrespective of disease severity; however, mortality outcomes were not as consistent.  Therefore, it has been hypothesized that early hydrocortisone administration could prevent shock by attenuating patient’s inflammatory response.

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.