ALiEM Cards: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome – Berlin Definition

Berlin Definition of ARDSAcute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a complex, life-threatening form of respiratory failure. It is responsible for almost 75,000 annual deaths in the United States.1Management remains lung-protective mechanical ventilation, an intervention that can begin in the ED. The Berlin Definition of ARDS has better predictive validity for mortality in comparison to previous definitions of ARDS.2 ALiEM Cards: ARDS, written by Dr. Michelle Lin, reviews the Berlin Definition and provides EPs with an on-shift resource to help manage critically-ill patients.
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2018-06-21T11:40:11-07:00

PEM Practice Changing Paper: Clinical Trial of Fluid Infusion Rates for Pediatric DKA

Most protocols for managing pediatric patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are based on a theoretical association between fluid resuscitation and subsequent neurological decline. Although the evidence for an association between IV fluids and cerebral edema comes from retrospective reviews, for over 20 years, it is an accepted teaching principle of pediatric DKA.

Clinical Trial of Fluid Infusion Rates for Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis, published just days ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, challenges this teaching with the first randomized controlled trial designed to investigate the relationship between IV fluids and cerebral edema. We review this publication and present a behind-the-scenes podcast interview with lead authors Dr. Nathan Kuppermann and Dr. Nicole Glaser from the Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN). (more…)

The Myth of Vasopressors and Ischemia

Despite the widespread clinical use, and their well-documented life-saving properties, vasopressors are often maligned, accused of causing ischemia to fingers, toes, mesentery, kidneys, and so forth. Not only is the evidence that this happens poor, but, a fear of this dreaded complication can unwarrantedly lead good clinicians to limit or withhold potentially life- and organ-saving medications. This article showcases the importance of end-organ perfusion and explains how vasopressors may in fact be one of the most important therapies in an emergency physician’s armamentarium.
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2018-06-11T08:02:01-07:00

ECMO for ARDS: Key Pearls for Emergency Physicians from the EOLIA Trial

The role of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the management of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has been a source of debate within the critical care community.1 The use of ECMO has steadily increased over the past decade;2 however, evidence to support the widespread adoption of this expensive and invasive technology is limited. As advances in ECMO technology have rapidly outpaced evidence, clinicians have been left to speculate as to ECMO’s true value. Is ECMO a promising tool to advance the care of patients with respiratory failure3 or an expensive distraction that has inappropriately supplanted evidence-based strategies?4

All who care for patients with ARDS have been eagerly awaiting the results of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation for Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (EOLIA) trial which were recently published in May 2018’s New England Journal of Medicine.5

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2018-05-31T07:46:14-07:00

Climate Change and Emergency Medicine: A Specialty on the Frontline

Emergency medicine (EM) is on the frontlines of climate change, which the Lancet Commission declared “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” with “potentially catastrophic risk to human health.”1,2 Climate change is having broad and profound negative impacts on the health of our patients, especially for the vulnerable populations. It is also affecting our healthcare systems and mandating the creation of climate-resilient emergency departments (ED) with robust disaster preparedness. EM needs to engage climate change advocacy efforts for 2 key reasons. It has a profound impact on our specialty, and it is built into the moral fiber of our practice. As this threat continues to grow, EM is perfectly situated to lead the charge.
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2019-02-19T18:37:47-07:00

Troubleshooting the Crashing Patient with a Tracheostomy

Patients presenting to the ED with respiratory distress and a tracheostomy can unnerve almost any provider, and management is often fraught with preventable errors.1,2 This recognition has led to the development of treatment algorithms from groups including the U.K. National Tracheostomy Safety Project to improve the safety and quality of care for patients with tracheostomies.3 Use the ABC-Ts mnemonic to help you perform a focused tracheostomy evaluation and troubleshoot in a stepwise, systematic manner while waiting for your ENT consultant to arrive.

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2019-02-19T18:38:06-07:00

ALiEM Cards: Keeping the Sepsis Definitions and Criteria Straight

sepsis definitionsIn 2015 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted the Sepsis Bundle Project, which is a quality improvement project aimed at reducing sepsis mortality by increasing compliance with national guidelines. But the CMS definitions of sepsis, differ from those is prominent trials (ProCESS, ARISE, ProMISE), and have since diverged from the Surviving Sepsis Campaign definitions, which may be different from your hospital guidelines! Also what are the criteria for SIRS, SOFA, qSOFA?
The ALiEM Card on Sepsis Definitions will help you keep it all straight.
2018-01-16T18:51:30-07:00