December 3, 2018

Background: Use of tranexamic acid (TXA), an antifibronlytic medication,  has certainly become popular for numerous indications (i.e. trauma, uterine bleeding, epistaxis).  Patients with hemoptysis, frequently come through EDs, and as an ED healthcare provider, I am unable to provide the definitive therapies of bronchial artery embolization and bronchoscopy for these patients at many of the institutions in which I work.  And, of course, it’s not like I can just put my finger on the bleeder. There is no real effective medical therapy for hemoptysis, other than antibiotics for infection.  I often find myself helpless with these patients as all I can do is transfer them to larger institutions where definitive therapies can be done.  Well hold on…It turns out inhaled TXA may be an option to reduce bleeding in patients with hemoptysis.  Thus far the evidence for this has  only been from small case series.  There have been no prospective studies evaluating nebulized TXAs effectiveness as an inhaled treatment for hemoptysis.  I have certainly used this treatment for post-tonsillectomy bleeding and have at times used it for hemoptysis, with great success, but it would be nice to see some evidence to support this practice.

November 29, 2018

Background: Pulmonary embolism is the leading cause of death in pregnancy and the puerperium – accounting for nearly 20% of maternal deaths in the United States – making rapid and accurate diagnosis critically important for emergency physicians, OB/GYNs, and all who take care of these women on a regular basis. Diagnosis is made more difficult by the frequency of concerning and suggestive signs and symptoms in this population, particularly dyspnea (a common symptom in pregnancy related to an increase in progesterone levels) and tachycardia (as resting heart rate is typically expected to increase by up to 25% in normal pregnancy). While the use of the D-dimer in conjunction with a low pre-test probability for pulmonary embolism is well-established for ruling out PE in the non-pregnant population, pregnant women were excluded from studies that derived and validated models assessing pretest clinical probability of PE, and no specific tool to assess pretest probability is available in this setting. This lack of a pretest probability assessment tool and the lack of prospective data confirming the safety of ruling out PE on the basis of a negative D-dimer result have limited the adoption of the D-dimer test in pregnant patients. Indeed, the American Thoracic Society guidelines [1] recommend specifically against the use of D-dimer to exclude PE in pregnancy. The DiPEP study, published in the British Journal of Haematology, attempted to add to this literature base [2], and was reviewed here on REBEL EM. The DiPEP authors’ conclusion, that D-dimer should not be recommended for use in the diagnostic work-up of PE in pregnancy, was echoed in our review, however this study was likely fundamentally flawed in that it did not risk stratify patients prior to application of D-dimer testing, a critical step in all validated applications. Recently, a group of French and Swiss authors published a prospective diagnostic management outcome study for diagnosis of PE in pregnant women that sought to better define the role of D-dimer when paired with pre-test risk stratification. [3]

September 3, 2018

EM Journal Update: Safety of Using Wells’ Clinical Model With D-Dimer To Manage Patients In The ED With Suspected Pulmonary Embolism

Background: In the US, pulmonary embolism (PE) kills 100,000 people each year and over 360,000 new cases of PE are diagnosed each year (Horlander 2003). Currently, the gold standard for diagnosing PE is the computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA). Patients with PE present with varying symptoms, from anxiety and tachycardia, to shortness of breath and syncope. Thus, it is difficult to exclude this life-threatening diagnosis and thus far there is no validated method to exclude PE. Prior work from this group derived and validated Wells’ criteria for calculating clinical probability of PE, and using it to determine which patients should get serial ultrasonography, venography, or angiography after an equivocal ventilation perfusion (VQ) scan (Wells 1998). Now, this group examines how the D-dimer assay, together with Wells’ clinical model can help manage PE patients.

August 27, 2018

Choosing Your Initial Settings: I hope you now see what physiologies to consider when setting up the ventilator and your goals for each. If your patient doesn't fit into one of these three categories, then I set up my ventilator as if I was managing a patient who has refractory hypoxemia to maintain a lung protective strategy even if they don't think they have very significant lung disease. Maintaining a lung protective strategy with low tidal volume ventilation has been shown to decrease ventilator induced lung injury and minimize harm, even in patients without refractory hypoxemia and ARDS (1-2).

August 23, 2018

The use of heated and humidified high flow nasal cannula has become increasing popular in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory failure through all age groups.  In part 1 we summarized how High Flow Nasal Cannula (HFNC) works.  In part 2, we will discuss the main indications for its use in adult and pediatric patients.