A new antibiotic will soon be approved for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs): dalbavancin. The company behind the drug will likely begin marketing heavily to emergency physicians as many patients with SSTIs seek care in the Emergency Department (ED). However, should we seriously consider dalbavancin as an addition to an ED’s arsenal against SSTIs and should it change our practice?
Imagine a consult service located IN the ED. The consultants are some of the friendliest people you’ve met and are there to help you. They tirelessly go out of their way to guide you through hospital protocols, help you with treatments, keep a close eye on your work, and ensure that you and your patients stay out of trouble. Not only are these consultants helpful to you, but also your residents, mid-levels, nurses, and the admitting teams. Everything they know, they teach you – and some are very active in FOAMed and emergency medicine research.
You’re a recent graduate picking up an extra shift in a small ED somewhere north of here. At 3 AM an obese 47 year-old woman presents with shortness of breath and difficulty speaking after eating a Snickers bar an hour earlier. She admits to history of hypertension, peanut allergy, and a prior intubation for a similar presentation. She is becoming more obtunded in the resuscitation room as you are collecting your history. A glance at the monitor shows:
- HR 130
- BP 68/40
- O2 saturation 89% on room air
Propofol for the treatment of migraines in the ED might be on the horizon. This will possibly be a new practice in emergency medicine, although it has been known for some time. Propofol, when given at procedural sedation doses, seems to miraculously terminate migraines refractory to usual treatment. Patients awake with minimal to no headache and may be discharged from the ED much quicker than traditional treatment with possibly less side effects. The proposed mechanism of action is described in below papers, but in short, propofol seems to “reboot” the brain and terminate the migraine.
Medication error is something that we all fear in Emergency Medicine and do our best to avoid. Here’s a scenario and simple approach for you, provided by Zlatan Coralic, PharmD (Assistant Clinical Professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy).
You are an emergency physician working in an underserved country. You are presented with an asthmatic kid with severe retractions and tight wheezes. Multiple nebulizers and corticosteroids have failed. You want to try some magnesium sulfate before risking intubation in a place with no reliable access to ventilator equipment. You know the dose should be 1 gm IV over 20 minutes.