December 26, 2020

Background Information: With rising cases, an increasing death toll, and a significant strain on hospital systems globally, the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to have no end in sight. The aggressive pursuit of a vaccine has led to multiple clinical trials starting before the end of this year. In fact, there are 48 vaccines under clinical evaluation and 11 of these are currently being evaluated in phase 3 clinical efficacy trials.1 Among those includes, the replication-deficient chimpanzee adenoviral vector developed at Oxford University (ChAdOx1). Following the initiation of a phase 1 clinical trial in the UK (COV001), three additional randomized controlled trials were initiated across the UK (COV002), Brazil (COV003) and South Africa (COV005). Upon completion of enrollment, the authors of the following paper sought to perform a combined interim analysis of the four trials to assess ChAdOx1’s efficacy and safety

August 6, 2020

Background: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues a number of challenges have arisen. Amongst these is the ability of clinicians to predict which patients will suffer from early decompensation. It is well established that there are patients that will rapidly decline while others, who initially present similarly, will continue without disease progression. A clinical decision instrument (CDI) to guide clinicians can be useful placing patients requiring hospital admission at the correct level of care without over-utilizing ICUs or, putting patients on the floors who will suffer from early decompensation.

May 4, 2020

Introduction: Emergency physicians rarely are involved in tube exchanges; I can’t remember the last time I had to do one. However, during the COVID19 surge, we found ourselves boarding intubated patients for days and even weeks as our ICUs were filled to the brim. With our ICU teams so busy, it became increasingly important for us to aid in critical care management where we could. Initially this was simply with lines and hemodynamic monitoring but, tube exchange became important. A number of our boarding patients developed considerable mucous plugging and tube obstruction that could not be cleared by suction. Reintubation with a fresh tube, while well within our scope, creates unnecessary risks - aerosol generation, increased provider exposure and possible harm to patient if intubation proves challenging. Tube exchange over a bougie seems to make a lot of sense.

Note: Due to the lack of experience most EM clinicians have with this procedure and the fact that it is a high-risk one, it may be best to consult anesthesia to help with the procedure if they are available. We acknowledge that this may not be possible if that service is stretched thin due to circumstances.

May 3, 2020

The Novel Coronavirus 2019, was first reported on in Wuhan, China in late December 2019.  The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern in January 2020 and on March 11th, 2020, the outbreak was declared a global pandemic. The spread of this virus is now global with lots of media attention.  The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes has become known as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  This post will serve as a summary of emerging available evidence in regard to neurologic manifestations associated with COVID-19.

May 1, 2020

Background: Over the past few weeks there has been a shift in the management of critically ill COVID-19 patients.  Many seem to have moved away from an intubate early strategy to the use of high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) and noninvasive ventilation (NIV).  HFNC and NIV may obviate the need for endotracheal intubation in patients with acute respiratory failure.  Mechanical ventilation is not a benign intervention as it has a number of associated complications including ventilator associated pneumonia, excessive sedation, delirium, ICU acquired weakness, as well as ventilator induced lung injury (VILI). NIV can cause lung injury from excessive negative pressure forces.  However, mechanical ventilation can cause VILI from excessive positive pressure forces.  There is a fine balance of when to use which modality, and when to transition from one modality to another that requires frequent bedside monitoring.  NIV has been used successfully for COPD exacerbations and cardiogenic pulmonary edema, but its use in acute hypoxemic respiratory failure is still rather controversial.  One of the issues with NIV through a mask device is that higher levels of positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP), which are often needed in hypoxemic conditions, may lead to mask intolerance and air leaks around the sides of the mask.  Helmet NIV may have several advantages over face masks including better tolerability and less air leaks.  There is a dearth of evidence comparing these to NIV modalities.