Severe sepsis and septic shock affect millions of patients worldwide and have high rates of morbidity and mortality as well as high resource utilization. The way we manage sepsis has changed quite a bit since the Rivers et al randomized controlled trial of early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) 1 , which had an absolute decrease in mortality from 46% with “usual care” to 31% with EGDT. What we now know is that a proactive approach to septic patients will result in lower mortality rates and better outcomes (i.e. early identification, early intravenous fluids, and early antibiotics). Patients with sepsis are still missed despite the fact that we understand the benefits to morbidity and mortality with early recognition. In this blast from the past study from 2007, Howell et al 2 answered the important question of does elevated lactic acid simply reflect a patient’s hemodynamic status or can it independently predict 28 day in-hospital mortality after controlling for other potential confounders in patients with sepsis. (more…)
Currently, guidelines recommend therapeutic hypothermia for comatose adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). A recent trial of adults with OHCA showed that therapeutic hypothermia with the use of a targeted temperature of 33°C vs maintained therapeutic normothermia of 36°C, did not improve outcomes. There is a paucity of randomized trials of therapeutic hypothermia in children with OHCA, but sometimes adult trials get extrapolated to pediatrics. There are differences between adult and pediatric populations with OHCA, which makes it difficult to extrapolate the results of the adult trials to a pediatric population.
We are very excited this month to bring you our fourth ALiEM-Annals of EM Global Journal Club on the use of age-adjusted D-dimer levels to help exclude the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE). We hope you will participate in an online discussion of the four posted questions below from now until August 29th. Respond by commenting below or tweeting (#ALiEMJC). Mark your calendars: On Thursday, August 28th at 16:30 CST (17:30 EST), we will be hosting a 30-minute live Google Hangout with Drs. Jeff Kline and Jonathan Kirschner, the authors of the Annals of Emergency Medicine Journal Club for the ADJUST-PE Trial, that is informed by the discussion. Later this year, a summary of this journal club will hopefully be published in Annals of EM.
Intravenous (IV) rapid sequence intubation (RSI) is by most considered the gold standard practice for securing an airway in the critically ill. There are, however, scenarios where it may not be possible to get rapid IV access in a timely manner (i.e. severe cutaneous burns, hemorrhagic shock, IV drug users, and/or the morbidly obese). It has been reported that intraosseous (IO) drug administration has similar pharmacokinetics to IV administration, but there have only been a handful of cases reported using the IO route for RSI. In this post we will discuss intraosseous rapid sequence intubation and if it is a feasible practice. (more…)
Patients with fingertip injuries involving the nail bed typically present to the emergency department and require meticulous repair of the nail bed to prevent long-term cosmetic and functional disability. There are several methods to repair nail beds, typically involving absorbable suture, but maybe there is a faster way with similar cosmetic and functional outcomes. (more…)
Most of us would agree that massive PE is treated with fibrinolysis and non-massive PE is treated with anticoagulation. The area of great debate has been the optimal treatment for sub-massive PE. The MOPETT Trial was published in January 2013 and although the patient population was small, it did show a huge benefit in pulmonary pressures at 28 months with fibrinolysis. The next study we have all been waiting for is the Pulmonary Embolism Thrombolysis (PEITHO) trial, which was just published yesterday in the NEJM, evaluating fibrinolysis for patients with intermediate-risk PE.
There has been a lot of publicity about evaluation of chest pain patients in the emergency department (ED) with high sensitivity troponin testing. In the past with older troponin assays, clinicians would evaluate patients, get an ECG, and an initial set of cardiac biomarkers. The subsequent set of biomarkers would be performed at 6-8 hours later before determination of disposition. In the past few years, several studies have been published evaluating point of care troponins, sensitive troponins, and high sensitivity troponins which have changed our practice and evaluation of these patients. An early version of a study was recently released in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) stating that for ED chest pain patients, we may be able to discharge patients from the ED with an initial normal ECG and single high sensitivity troponin T (hs-cTnT). So is it true… one and done?