June 4, 2020

Traditionally, vasopressor infusions have been done through central venous catheters (CVCs) due to the hypothetical risk of extravasation injury to extremities when given through peripheral IVs.  The documented risk of extravasation from peripheral pressors is 3 – 6% [1][3][4][5]. Hypothetically, the extravasation rate can be further reduced.  At Essentials of EM 2020 I gave a short 10-minute talk on 6 pearls I have implemented.  This post will serve as a summary of that talk.

May 27, 2020

Take Home Points
  • Small to Moderate Size Pneumothorax - consider managing conservatively with observation (need to make sure consulting services on same page)
  • Needle aspiration for spontaneous pneumothorax recommend by British Thoracic and European Respiratory Societies
  • 1 in 5 patients requiring a chest tube will suffer complications - many are iatrogenic in nature. Practice procedure via simulation 
  • Chest tubes placed for traumatic pneumothoraces should get prophylactic antibiotics
  • When deciding on treatment strategy, discuss with your consultants and make sure you have institutional buy-in.

April 22, 2020

Take Home Points
  • N95 masks ideally should be single use but in COVID19 times, safe reuse practices are critical.
  • The best approach to reuse is vaporized H2O2 and UV light decontamination with a total of 3 decon cycles prior to losing mask integrity.
  • A backup method of cycling between 4 masks is likely effective as SARS-CoV-2 cannot survive > 72 hours outside a human host in sufficient numbers to cause infection.
  • Ethanol soaks are effective in decontamination but destroy mask integrity and should not be use.

April 17, 2020

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has strained our available healthcare resources and caused unprecedented stress in the lives of our healthcare workers.  With the advent of COVID-19 and the resultant deaths of our colleagues, it has become painfully clear that our profession has become inherently dangerous.  It is ethically sound to expect the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) before treating patients with infectious diseases.1  To borrow from our pre-hospital counterparts, when responding in dangerous situations the utmost priority is your personal safety and the safety of your teammates, and only once these have been assured are we able to attend to the needs of the victim/patient.  However, we cannot be frozen by fear and through the proper and appropriate use of PPE, clinicians can safely uphold the sacred duty to care for the ill.  Following the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, a study analyzed the nosocomial infections in Hong Kong healthcare workers.  Standardized PPE contact and droplet precautions included a mask, gloves, gowns, and handwashing.  Notably, none of the personnel who utilized all four measures were infected with SARS.  Contrastingly, all of the healthcare workers with nosocomial infection had failed to implement at least one of the PPE methods.2  We have confidently and effectively employed PPE against airborne, droplet, and contact pathogens for years (e.g. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, H1N1 influenza A, Clostridium difficile).  Now, as we battle COVID-19, similar to lessons learned on the battlefield and taught in Tactical Combat Casualty Care, we must first engage in suppression of the threat prior to initiating patient care.3