October 10, 2020

From Oct 6th – 8th, 2020, Haney Mallemat (@CriticalCareNow) and his team put on an absolutely amazing online critical care conference called ResusX Rewired.  ResusX is a conference designed by resuscitationists to provide clinicians with the most up to date skills and knowledge to help make a difference in your patients' lives.  Haney and his crew made a combination of short-format, high-yield lectures, and completely customizable small group sessions with procedural demos seem easy.  There were so many high-quality speakers and pearls that I learned from this conference that I wanted to archive them here in one post for reference and to share with our readers/followers.

October 8, 2020

Background: Prior to the discovery of thrombolytics, clinicians could only observe their patients completing their myocardial infarctions and then classify them according to whether their subsequent ECGs developed Q waves. When trials showed a clear survival benefit with thrombolytics (especially in STE) this shifted the paradigm from “Q-wave/ non Q-wave MI” to “STEMI / non-STEMI”. Eventually STEMI became synonymous with acute coronary occlusion (ACO) requiring reperfusion, except this connection was never studied in trials. Unfortunately, the STEMI criteria have limited diagnostic criteria for ACO, leading to false cath lab activation. And worse, missing ⅓ of ACO (NSTEMI), depriving them of emergent reperfusion therapy. This led many authors to shift from STEMI/ NSTEMI to ACO-MI/ non- ACO-MI. 

March 9, 2017

Background: Lets face it. All of us have been interrupted by the onslaught of triage ECGs for interpretation.  This constant flow of pink paper with black scribble causes frequent task switching, interrupts train of thought, and ultimately can lead to medical errors, which affects the patients in front of us.  On the other hand, it is important to avoid delays in care and, in accordance with the American Heart Association guidelines, ECGs in triage should be obtained and interpreted by an attending emergency physician within 10 minutes of arrival to the emergency department for any patients with concerns of acute coronary syndrome. Is there a way to maybe minimize the number of interruptions?

February 4, 2016

Background: The electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the most useful diagnostic studies for identification of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The classic teaching is ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is defined as symptoms consistent with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) + new ST-segment elevation at the J point in at least 2 anatomically contiguous leads of at least 2mm (0.2mV) in men or at least 1.5mm in women in leads V2 – V3 and/or at least 1mm (0.1mV) in other contiguous leads or the limb leads, in the absence of a left bundle branch block, left ventricular hypertrophy, or other non-acute MI ST-segment elevation presentations. Unfortunately, the ECG may be non-diagnostic in nearly half of all patients who initially present with AMI. There are also STEMI equivalent patterns that are caused by occlusion of the coronary arteries that place a significant portion of the left ventricle at jeopardy and result in poor outcomes. This review article focused on 5 under recognized high-risk ECG patterns in the ACS patient that result in poor outcomes including malignant dysrhythmias, higher rates of cardiogenic shock, and death.

April 17, 2014

Hyperkalemia is an electrolyte abnormality seen in the emergency department as well as in hospitalized patients and it can be associated with adverse clinical outcomes and death if not treated appropriately. It is important to remember that the electrophysiologic effects of hyperkalemia are directly proportional to both the absolute plasma potassium and its rate of rise. However, neither the ECG nor the plasma potassium alone are an adequate index of the severity of hyperkalemia, and therefore providers should have a low threshold to initiate therapy. Classic teaching of the chronological ECG changes of hyperkalemia include:
  1. Peaked T waves
  2. Prolongation of PR interval
  3. Widening QRS Complex
  4. Loss of P wave
  5. "Sine Wave"
  6. Asystole
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