August 6, 2018

Background: POCUS has been touted as the stethoscope 2.0, a true game changer in patient care.  There is no patient population that this statement should hold more true for, than in patients with undifferentiated shock (SBP <100mmHg or SI > 1). Everyone has a story about how ultrasound changed their management or even saved a patient’s life. Unfortunately, the plural of anecdote is not data.  To date, there have not been any prospective randomized controlled trials examining POCUS outcomes on survival in this population.  Enter the Sonography in Hypotension and Cardiac Arrest in the Emergency Department (SHoC-ED) trial.

July 25, 2018

Background: In the ED, POCUS has become one of the most important tools in discovering both the diagnosis and in the management of critically ill patients.  cardiac arrest, is ultimately as sick as a person can get in the spectrum of critical illness.  I mean how can someone be deader than dead, right?  There has been a slew of literature evaluating the use of POCUS in cardiac arrest and many providers have started to incorporate its use into their practice.  Newer literature, however indicates that the use of POCUS prolongs CPR pauses which ultimately impacts good neurological survival.  POCUS protocols may help decrease cognitive load, but many are too cumbersome and complicated.  Enter the Cardiac Arrest Sonographic Assessment (CASA) exam.

July 20, 2018

Background: Epinephrine(adrenaline) has been used in advanced life support in cardiac arrest since the early 1960s. Despite the routine recommendation for its use, evidence to support administration is less than ideal.  Although it is clear from multiple observational studies that epinephrine improves return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and short-term survival, most evidence suggests an absence of improvements in survival with good neurologic outcomes.  In cardiac arrest we want to take advantage of the alpha effects of epinephrine, including peripheral vasoconstriction, and therefore increasing aortic diastolic pressure, which in turn helps augment coronary and cerebral blood flow.  On the other hand, we want to avoid the potentially detrimental beta effects including dysrhythmias, decreased microcirculation, and increased myocardial oxygen demand all of which increase the chances of recurrent cardiac arrest and decreased neurologic recovery.  The only two interventions in cardiac arrest that have shown improve survival with good neurologic outcomes continue to be high-quality CPR and early defibrillation. The debate over the utility of epinephrine in OHCA has been ongoing for several years now and many providers have been awaiting the results of the PARAMEDIC-2 trial that was just published in the NEJM 2018. 

January 29, 2018

Background: Post-cardiac arrest patients are among the sickest groups of patients seen in the Emergency Department. They are difficult to study, which leads to endless questions about how to best care for them. Below we address the available evidence on four of these controversies: oxygen therapy, hemodynamic management, cardiac catheterization and head CT. We recognize the limitations to the available data and attempt to offer the best recommendations we can.