September 3, 2020

Background: The risk of a subsequent ischemic stroke in the first few months after an acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack is approximately 5 to 10%. In these patients Aspirin has been used to prevent secondary ischemia, and trials have shown a reduced risk thereof when the P2Y12 receptor blocking antiplatelet agent Clopidogrel is added. Clopidogrel, however, requires hepatic conversion to its active form through a pathway that is inefficient in 25% of white and 60% of Asian patients and efficacy is uncertain in these patients. Not dependent on metabolic activation is the direct-acting ticagrelor with similar P2Y12 receptor blocking effect. While a trial of ticagrelor alone did not show benefit over aspirin; in their sub-group analysis of patients who had received aspirin within 7 days before randomization, treatment with ticagrelor may have reduced the risk of major vascular events. This finding suggested that the effect of aspirin received before entry into the trial might have persisted for several days after treatment and that the combination of ticagrelor and aspirin may prevent subsequent strokes.

August 27, 2020

The Coronaviridae family and its genera coronaviruses have been implicated as having neurotropic and neuroinvasive capabilities in human hosts (Bohmwald 2018). They have been associated with the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms, seizure activity, encephalomyelitis, acute flaccid paralysis, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, as well as cerebrovascular disease (Bohmwald 2018, St Jean 2004). Recently, there has been a growing body of evidence supporting the association of SARS-CoV2 with neurological abnormalities. A systematic review looking at the incidence of secondary neurological disease in patients diagnosed with SARS-CoV2 found rates to vary from 6-36.4% (Herman 2020). At the time of this submission, there have been ten reports of acute transverse myelitis (ATM) attributed to SARS-CoV2, and others are currently being submitted or are in pre-print at this time (See infographic below). ATM has a varied presentation and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality that necessitates increased awareness and vigilance on the part of the clinician. This has become especially important in light of a possible causal link of ATM to SARS-CoV2 with emerging cases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we review the salient features of infectious ATM (both para-infectious and post-infectious) to increase recognition of this disease entity.

July 27, 2020

Background: The scientific process in medicine is complicated. Obtaining high-quality data to guide management requires hypothesis formulation, data to support the hypothesis and study replication. Time and again beneficial findings in therapeutic studies fail to be replicated in subsequent studies. A single positive trial may cause some to feel it unethical to assign patients to a standard therapy that could potentially deprive them of benefit. Alternatively, pharmaceutical companies have little impetus to attempt or support collecting additional data that may jeopardize their product. In research, repetition is the pillar on which clinical trials results should be founded on. As this may not be feasible, complete transparency of all aspects of a trial are essential. One of the most hotly debated topics in emergency medicine is the use of systemic thrombolysis in acute ischemic stroke.  There are only two randomized clinical trials that demonstrate benefit in neurologic outcomes: NINDS-II and ECASS-III (see table below).  Methodological experts, however, have raised concerns that both studies had baseline imbalances in stroke severity that may have biased the trials final results. Both studies have undergone re-analysis taking these baseline differences into account.

July 22, 2020

Take Home Points
  • Spinal Epidural Abscess may present insidiously and patients often lack the classic triad of fever, back pain and neurologic symptoms
  • Empiric Antibiotics should cover Staphylococcus (including MRSA) and Gram negative Bacilli
  • All patients with clinical suspicion require rapid evaluation with MRI as the diagnostic study of choice
  • Although not all patients will go to the operating room, surgical consult (Neurosurgery or Orthopedics) should be obtained emergently

July 13, 2020

Background Information:

Headache is a common chief complaint that emergency physicians encounter almost every day and sometimes multiple times in each shift. In fact, headache is the fifth leading cause of patients presenting to the emergency department (ED).1 Current first-line treatment consists of a dopamine antagonist such as prochlorperazine or metoclopramide which are given in addition to diphenhydramine to mitigate any potential adverse effects. A recent study has shown that IV haloperidol, another dopamine antagonist, was equivalent to IV metoclopramide in the successful treatment of headaches in the ED.2 Additionally, haloperidol has been shown to be an effective rescue medication in the treatment of refractory migraine-pain.3 Unfortunately, the cardiovascular effects and reported QTc prolongation associated with haloperidol has limited its use in the ED. The authors of the following study sought to determine the effectiveness of low-dose IV haloperidol in the ED treatment of acute benign headache among patients aged 13 to 55 years old