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.
Rate control with IV medications is recommended for atrial fibrillation in the acute setting in patients without preexcitation. This was a Class 1 recommendation (Level of Evidence B) per the 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation . What does the evidence say? Are calcium channel blockers or beta blockers better?
You are evaluating a 45-year-old male who is complaining of calf pain. He has a history of cancer however he has never had a clot in the past. The leg is neither swollen nor warm but he notes a cramping sensation in the posterior portion of his calf. You are concerned for a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and consider the multiple means to reliable exclude the diagnosis: Wells score, D-dimers, ultrasound? What works?
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?
Kline et al developed a clinical decision tool based on parameters that could be obtained from a brief initial assessment to reasonably exclude the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism (PE) without the use of D-dimer in order to prevent unnecessary cost and the use of medical resources. 1 Many of us have used the Pulmonary Embolism Rule-out Criteria (PERC) rule by now, but we should be clear on what it includes. Are we using it appropriately?