May 6, 2019

Background: Management and workup of fever in the neonate has been a long-standing challenge. This unique age group is particularly susceptible to serious bacterial infections (SBI’s) despite their clinical “well” appearance. Newborns, specifically those < 60 days of age are considered high risk for SBI’s (urinary tract infections, bacteremia, bacterial meningitis) primarily due to an underdeveloped immune system. As fragile hosts, simple bacterial infections are easily communicated via hematogenous spread, from one system to another. Once bacteremic, spread of infection through their permeable blood-brain barriers is relatively easy. Through a cascade of cellular events, bacteria are able to easily penetrate the CNS, leading to overwhelming meningitis &/or death.[1] Confounding their vulnerability, is the lack of immunizations in the first month of life. If you recall, at birth, newborns are given just their first hepatitis B vaccine. The remainder of baseline immunizations (Pneumococcal, Haemophilus influenzae type b [Hib], Rotavirus, Diphtheria, tetanus & acellular Pertussis [DTap], and Polio) are traditionally not given until 6 weeks - 2 months of age.[2] Thus infants in the < 60 day age range are dependent on their mothers’ antibodies for protection. Lastly as any clinician who has taken care of a sick newborn can attest, babies at this age rarely manifest an “ill-appearance” until they are critically ill, making their exam in the early stages of bacteremia falsely reassuring. Collectively this makes the workup of fever (38 ℃/100.4 ℉) in this age group particularly challenging.

January 28, 2019

Diagnosis and management of concussion in children is part of our everyday bread and butter in the Emergency Department. Given the estimated 1.1 million - 1.9 million pediatric concussions we see annually in the United States, it is no wonder why. [1] We are well aware that pediatric concussions (more accurately termed mild traumatic brain injury, mTBI) occur most commonly from direct blunt head trauma, but they can also occur via indirect forces. Regardless of mechanism, concussions result in temporary neurologic and/or cognitive impairment that can last hours to days, with long-term sequelae potentially lasting weeks to months.

October 15, 2018

If you mainly treat adults or both adults and children like me, then you have probably heard the (very annoying) quote, “kids are not just small adults”, and so I won’t say it again. Well, I guess I just did, but at least I wont stop at this quote, but attempt to explain how kids are not small adults, and how this may impact their care in the emergency department and the intensive care unit. Nearly all organ systems of young children are immature and developing throughout childhood and on into adulthood, including the cardiovascular system. Without a basic understanding of the key physiologic differences, the emergency and intensive care physicians will be ill equipped to care for the critical ill child. To understand how kids with shock present differently than adults, it’s important to discuss a few basic differences regarding intravascular volume and cardiovascular system in children especially neonates and infants (1-24 months of age). Also remember shock is defined the exact same way as it would be in adults even though the presentation and underlying physiology may differ. Shock is simply a state where tissue/organ blood flow is inadequate to meet tissue/organ metabolic demands.

September 13, 2018

Warning: Limited Published Evidence on this Topic

You have just intubated a 4 year old with sepsis from a bad pneumonia. Post intubation BP is 70 systolic, while waiting for the epinephrine (adrenaline) infusion to come up from pharmacy you watch the BP decline into the 60 systolic range and start to use fluids to resuscitate. You are an accomplished adult resuscitationist, and are comfortable mixing, and pushing push dose epi in your adult patients. The following questions arise as you consider mixing a batch of push dose epi:
  • How much push dose epinephrine should you give this septic 4 year old?
  • Do pediatric patients need more or less epi when given in push dose format?
  • How do some pediatric intensivists and pediatric emergency physicians manage this problem?