In the emergency department (ED), failure to comply with discharge instructions has been associated with an increased rate of adverse outcomes for patients. 1,2 There is tremendous variability in the information that is provided to patients in discharge paperwork. In some EDs, a simple handwritten discharge note is given to the patient, while in others, extensive, diagnosis specific pre-created instructions are provided to patients at time of discharge. To improve patient outcomes and reduce their medicolegal risk, providers must recognize pitfalls associated with discharge instructions and include two key elements as a part of all discharge paperwork.
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…)
I was recently the author of a PV card for management of Salicylate Toxicity, which had some discrepancy with expert opinion. The point of contention was in regards to measurement of urine pH vs serum pH for alkalinization. In preparing the first version of the card, I began with notes from a recent toxicology rotation, and expanded by examining textbooks and review articles. Although there was mention of serum pH measurement, numerous sources emphasized urine alkalinization as the primary endpoint for the treatment of aspirin toxicity. Therefore I choose to include this on the size-limited PV card.
Welcome to another ultrasound-based case, part of the “Ultrasound For The Win” (#US4TW) Case Series. In this peer-reviewed case series, we focus on real clinical cases where bedside ultrasound changed management or aided in diagnoses. In this case, a 101-year-old man presents after being found down with altered mental status.
Excited delirium syndrome is defined as “a syndrome of uncertain etiology characterized by delirium, agitation, and hyperadrenergic autonomic dysfunction”.1 You may have encountered a patient like this in the ED or prehospital setting. Although the etiology is impossible to determine in many cases, stimulant abuse and other drugs are involved in a majority of cases. An 8% mortality has been ascribed to Excited Delirium Syndrome, resulting from hyperthermia, severe metabolic acidosis, and cardiovascular collapse.
Limited intravenous access is a common conundrum in the Emergency Department, with heavy implications for medication administration. Of particular concern, are the profoundly septic patients that necessitate multiple timely therapies, which require tying up a line – fluids, pressors, several antibiotics, etc. The shift away from less central line (i.e. triple lumen) placement for initial resuscitation, may serve to further exacerbate this issue.
In January 2014, ALiEM featured a must-read post by Bryan Hayes regarding proper dosing of vancomycin in the emergency department, including a special note related to the recommendations regarding consideration of loading doses of vancomycin ranging from 25 to 30 mg/kg in adult patients who are critically ill with a high suspicion for MRSA infection.