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?
Let’s face it. You’ve heard about the A-a gradient. And free water deficit. And even the APACHE-II score. But how useful are these in your daily practice? You don’t care that much if a patient has shunt physiology in the first case, nor exactly how much free water they’re lacking in the second. And in the third case, your clinical acumen is probably pretty good at predicting a sick patient’s mortality already. But what about the new medical scores of BISAP, EHMRG, and ORT?
Hypertension is one of the most common conditions seen in primary care clinics and emergency departments (EDs). Frequently, patients are found to have asymptomatic hypertension and referred to EDs for management, despite the fact that rapidly lowering blood pressure is not necessary and may be harmful. Yet many clinics still refer these patients for emergent management. In December 2013, the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) published a new, open-access, evidence-based hypertension guideline in JAMA. They only cited randomized clinical control trials to answer three questions:
- Does initiating antihypertensive pharmacologic therapy at specific BP thresholds improve health outcomes?
- Does treatment with antihypertensive pharmacologic therapy to a specified BP goal lead to improvements in health outcomes?
- Do various antihypertensive drugs or drug classes differ in comparative benefits and harms on specific health outcomes? (more…)