May 1, 2019

Take Home Points on Blunt Cardiac Injury

  • No single test can be used to exclude BCI. However a thorough physical exam combined with a 12-lead EKG, troponin measurement, and echocardiography can be used to characterize BCI and direct care
  • Obtain a 12-lead EKG in all thoracic trauma patients 
  • A chest x-ray may help to identify associated injuries. However, isolated musculoskeletal injuries such as sternal fractures do not correlate with a risk of BCI
  • Bedside TTE can quickly evaluate for life-threats such as cardiac tamponade; A TEE is both sensitive and specific across the spectrum of BCI pathology and is part of a comprehensive evaluation
  • BCI can be excluded in a patient without EKG abnormalities and a negative troponin I

March 25, 2019

Background: TXA is a synthetic lysine derivative that binds with the lysine site on plasminogen and inhibits fibrinolysis.  TXA is not a new drug. Studies from the late 1960s and early 1970s have shown reduced bleeding and need for transfusions in many surgical and medical settings.  Fast forward to today and we are finding all kinds of uses for TXA other than trauma including post-partum hemorrhage, epistaxis, hemoptysis, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, and many more.

March 23, 2019

The management of the critically hemorrhaging trauma patient has seen a large amount of change over last decade, from bringing care far forward to the field to early use of blood products to civilian translation and application tourniquets to name a few. The reality unfortunately is that there is still a subgroup of patients who continue to suffer early mortality from hemorrhage, primarily because they are bleeding in the torso.  This is particularly challenging for both prehospital and in-hospital clinicians to manage as these areas do not allow control through direct compression. Enter resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) – a technique that builds on principles from vascular surgery and sees the placement of a balloon catheter into the aorta via the femoral artery.  Acting as an internal tourniquet, it temporarily occludes flow to the bleeding vessel thus providing circulatory support and precious time to get the patient to definitive care. With the alternative being death from hemorrhage, REBOA came as a breath of fresh air – a minimally invasive means of achieving hemorrhage control in these extremely sick patients. There were innovators and early adopters and reports of fantastic saves – patients were surviving who would never have survived before. 

December 6, 2018

Friday, 2300 hours:

A 24 year-old woman presents to your Emergency Department after a motor vehicle collision. She was the restrained driver of a car that collided head-on with another vehicle. She is complaining only of chest pain and appears uncomfortable and anxious.  The monitor shows sinus tachycardia and you spot a sternal fracture on her chest x-ray.  After IVF and Fentanyl, she remains slightly tachycardic and you wonder:

  • Do I need to send a troponin?
  • If the troponin is negative does this patient need to be admitted?
  • What other testing should I consider in the Emergency Department?

November 5, 2018

Background: Care of trauma patients with severe bleeding has advanced in recent years with a focus on damage control resuscitation which includes permissive hypotension, hemostatic resuscitation (blood component resuscitation), and hemorrhage control. Minimizing crystalloids in favor of blood component-based resuscitation in the prehospital setting has the potential to reduce downstream complications by intervening closer to the time of injury before the development of coagulopathy, irreversible shock, and inflammatory response.  There is a paucity of high level evidence showing the efficacy and safety of plasma transfusions in the prehospital setting including retrospective studies which suffered from survivor bias (patients had to survive long enough to receive plasma) and small randomized clinical trials not showing survival benefit.  This has led to the publication of two randomized controlled trials: COMBAT and PAMPer.