December 10, 2018

Background Information: Sepsis is a complex syndrome frequently encountered in the ED. This infection-triggered, multifaceted disorder of life-threatening organ dysfunction is due to the body’s dysregulated response to pathologic and biochemical abnormalities.2-4 There has been significant debate regarding the use of clinical decision tools such as Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) in the early recognition of sepsis.2,5-7­ Multiple studies have shown SIRS to not be specific enough for the early detection of sepsis as many non-infectious processes, including exercise, can often meet many of its criteria.8-10 On the other hand, qSOFA has been criticized as having poor sensitivity and moderate specificity for short-term mortality.11,12 Furthermore, qSOFA  has been described as clinically valuable but an imperfect marker of sepsis as some forms of organ dysfunction, such as hypoxemia and renal failure, are not assessed using qSOFA.5 Another severity score known as the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) focuses on inpatient deterioration in detecting patients with increased risk of early cardiac arrest, unanticipated ICU admission and death.13 One study showed that utilization of NEWS in the emergency department (ED) has been shown to be effective in recognizing patients with sepsis who are at a higher risk of adverse outcomes.14  The authors of this study sought to review the use of NEWS as an early sepsis screening score, a predictor of severe sepsis/septic shock, and compare it to SIRS and qSOFA in an ED triage setting.

April 13, 2017

Background: In 2011, we saw 7 million patients in the emergency department (ED) complaining of chest pain. Most of these patients did NOT have an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Missing an AMI is one of the biggest fears we have in the ED. By using validated risk scores, we can help decrease the risk of missing AMI and the resultant adverse events. There are multiple scores available for our use. Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) predicts risk of adverse outcomes in the next 14 days. Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE) predicts outcomes at 6 months. ED specific scores include HEART and Emergency Department Assessment of Chest Pain (EDACS). But, how well do these scores actually perform? Are we missing AMIs by using these clinical risk scores?