We love magnesium in the Emergency Department. It’s been said that magnesium is second-line for everything (kind of like doxycycline). But what about rate/rhythm control in atrial fibrillation (AF)? The 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS guideline for the management of patients with AF doesn’t mention magnesium at all.1 Dr. Josh Farkas (@PulmCrit) wrote about magnesium infusions for atrial fibrillation and torsade last year. His post looked at its use for cardioversion, rhythm-control, and rate-control in critically-ill patients. Our post will focus specifically on the IV magnesium data for rate-control in ED-related settings.
Case: A 58 year-old female presents with a one-day history of worsening right lower extremity pain and swelling, and an acute onset of dyspnea. Her past medical history consists of stage IV renal cell carcinoma diagnosed six months previously. Triage vitals are remarkable for a heart rate of 120 beats per minute and a blood pressure of 68/48 mmHg. What is the diagnosis?
The Problem: A patient is rolled in to your ED by EMS with extremity trauma. You’re rightfully concerned about possible vascular injury to an upper or lower extremity, but you can’t palpate a dorsalis pedis (DP) or posterior tibialis (PT) pulse! You spend minutes, whisking the doppler probe, attempting to hear a waveform in a busy ED. Unfortunately you can’t seem to hear the “whoosh,” making accurate it nearly impossible for you to measure ankle-brachial indices (ABI). 1–3
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 43-year-old man presents to the Emergency Department after a syncopal episode.
A 52-year old man presents via EMS with a chief complaint of “racing heartbeat” for one hour. He is placed on a cardiac monitor which shows a heart rate of 185, an ECG reveals supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), and his blood pressure is 143/95 mmHg. As you ask the nurse to procure 6 mg of adenosine, the patient’s eyes grow wide.
“Please doc…” he pleads, “anything but that! Last time they gave that to me I thought I was gonna die!”
You recently read about using calcium channel blockers (CCBs) for paroxysmal SVT (PSVT), but can’t recall the last time you actually considered using them. After all, it’s been over 20 years since we switched to using adenosine first-line.
Children with chest pain commonly present to the emergency department. Both the child and family members may think their symptoms are due to a serious illness. Among adolescents seen for their chest pain, more than 50% thought they were having a heart attack or that they had cancer.1 In reality, only 6% of pediatric chest pain has a cardiac etiology.2 Nonetheless, extensive and costly emergency department (ED) evaluations are common and there is wide practice variation.3
But prior to reassuring your patient, what can you do to reassure yourself that your patient doesn’t need a more extensive workup? What would make you suspicious for cardiac causes of pediatric chest pain?