May 17, 2020

There is a lot we still do not know when it comes to COVID-19 pathophysiology. We are learning every day, and as we navigate the waters of the unknown, there are a few that boldly dare to try and understand what is happening in this disease process that may go against mainstream thinking. COVID-19 is new and therefore will require new thinking and new questions but should also be balanced with not grasping for straws and randomly doing things that could be deleterious. Below is a proposed lung injury model that may be right or could be wrong. However, the only way we can further understanding is by feedback and edits until we can get to the right answer. The purpose of this post is not to tell you what you are doing is wrong, but instead putting a model out there so that we can work on this together to find an answer. This is not a recommendation on how to treat patients, but a proposal that needs feedback and work. We felt it was a good starting place for all of us to work together to figure this thing out. Thank you to Dr. Farid Jalali, MD for putting his thoughts down on COVID-19 acute lung injury to help as a starting point.

May 12, 2020

Background: Current management of COVID-19 focuses on supportive care as there are yet to be robust, data driven treatments. To date, there has barely been a glimmer of hope based on published evidence, as most studies are either poor quality or demonstrate “negative” results.  Two more trials have now been published looking at some new options as potential candidates.

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.
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