February 15, 2014

Electrocardiography is a fundamental part of cardiovascular assessment. It is an essential tool for investigating cardiac arrhythmias and ischemia. Just because electrocardiography is a basic skill in EM doesn't mean that our skills should be basic...we must be the EXPERTS! Below is a summary of some ECG basics including:
  • ECG Measurements
  • ECG Rate
  • ECG Axis

December 12, 2013

The case from this week is from one of the PGY-1 residents at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA).  Several of the details of the case have been changed to keep patient information confidential. 53 year old female with a past medical history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, and 3 anterior myocardial infarctions s/p 4-vessel CABG (LIMA-LAD, RIMA-RCA, SVG-D1-OM1 sequentially) 9 months ago who presents with intermittent 10/10 chest pain that radiates to his left arm for the past 6 months. The chest pain is associated with nausea and shortness of breath but denies diaphoresis or syncope. Patient reports that the pain is the same as his index chest pain and is both exertional and non-exertional and will often wake him up from sleep. The pain can last 5-10 minutes and is always relieved by rest. The patient reports good medication compliance (on metoprolol, atorvastatin, enalapril, amlodipine, aspirin). He presented with similar symptoms 3 months ago but left against medical advice before a work-up could be performed. Now he presents with increasing frequency of chest pain. BP 152/105  HR 86 RR 16 O2 sat 99% on RA   Temp 98.0 ECG from triage is shown…

December 4, 2013

55 year old male with chief complaint of palpitations.  Denies any chest pain, shortness of breath, diaphoresis, or syncope.  His past medical history is significant for diastolic congestive heart failure, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. Per patient he had a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation vs ventricular tachycardia 2 years prior, but he is unsure of which one exactly. BP: 153/83     HR: 183     RR: 18     O2 on RA: 99%     Temp: 36.3 ECG from triage is shown...

December 3, 2013

The recognition of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in the presence of left bundle-branch block (LBBB) remains difficult and frustrating to both emergency medicine physicians and cardiologists.  According to the 2004 STEMI guidelines, emergent reperfusion therapy was recommended to patients with suspected ischemia and new LBBB however, the new 2013 STEMI guidelines made a drastic change by removing this recommendation.  Several papers have recently been published discussing a modified Sgarbossa's criteria and a new algorithm to help decrease false cath lab activation and/or fibrinolytic therapy but, are they ready for primetime?

November 29, 2013

62 year old male with chief complaint of weakness.  Patient had a complicated hospital course including necrotizing fasciitis which required surgical debridement and IV antibiotics.  Patient was discharged home with oral antibiotics and returned to the ED with a chief complaint of weakness, abdominal pain, and 3 weeks of loose bowel movements. BP: 100/51     HR 93     RR 16     Temp 97.2     O2 Sat 98% on RA ECG from triage is shown...