December 19, 2019

Background: E-cigarettes or “vapes” are now the most popular tobacco product among US teens and are used by 20% of all high-schoolers2. Vapes are used to heat and vaporize a liquid (e-juice or vape juice) that may contain nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), or ultraconcentrated THC resin (hash oil, wax, or dabs.)3. Since their introduction, vaping devices have been studied for the numerous potentially harmful chemicals they can introduce into users, including: heavy metals (cadmium, nickel, lead), plastic-related toxic gases (like cyanide and phosgene), volatile organic compounds, ultrafine particles, and diacetyl flavoring (linked to a chronic pulmonary syndrome known as ‘popcorn lung,’ which is not as appealing as it sounds)4. More recently, a spectrum of lung illnesses related to vaping have become the focus of a national public health investigation. These cases have been described in almost every US state since early summer 2019; as of November 2019, there have been over 2000 cases of ‘Vaping-Associated Lung Injury’ (VALI) reported to the CDC, with 42 associated deaths. The article discussed below is a large case series from the Midwest depicting the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with VALI from April to August 2019.  Since then, several more epidemiological and analytical investigations have been published, and studies are ongoing to clarify the causes and best treatments for this disorder. We chose this article for REBEL EM because it represents a well-done early investigation of an emerging epidemic which contributed valuable clinical insights for emergency medicine practice.

August 22, 2019

Background: Unwarranted use of antibiotics has several deleterious effects which include, antimicrobial resistance, wasted resources, adverse effects, negative affect on the microbiome of patients, and distracts from potentially more effective interventions. There has recently been a huge push for tests such as procalcitonin to help in curtailing the use of antibiotics when it is not warranted.  Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) guidelines recommend only prescribing antibiotics in moderately or severely ill patients with acute COPD exacerbations, increased cough, and/or sputum purulence [2]. The authors of this trial wanted to test another such marker, point of care CRP in patients with acute COPD exacerbations.  Along with bronchodilators and steroids, antibiotic prescriptions seem to be a common treatment modality as well. CRP is an acute-phase protein that is readily available and can be measured quickly with point of care testing.  The authors of this trial hypothesized that the results of POC CRP may help inform prescribing decisions for acute COPD exacerbations, however RCTs regarding clinical effectiveness of this test are lacking.

June 27, 2019

Acute respiratory failure has many causes which can affect the ability to either take up oxygen (hypoxemic), eliminate carbon dioxide (hypercapnia), or both. Acute respiratory failure has many possible causes and in this post/video we will name the causes of acute respiratory failure and describe lung shunt physiology.

June 17, 2019

Mechanical Ventilation is a modality commonly used in the critically ill, but many providers, may not have a strong understanding of the basics of mechanical ventilation. Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Physicians need to have a firm grasp of the basic concepts of mechanical ventilation because without it, we can do serious harm to our patients. Airway management is not complete once the endotracheal tube is placed through the cords, and the proper selection of both the ventilator mode and initial settings is essential to ensure your patient has the best possible outcomes. You should not simply rely on the respiratory therapist to know your patients physiology. Clear communication with your therapist about the patient’s physiology and initial ventilator setting is crucial.