Approach to Difficult Vascular Access

IVExpertPeerReviewStamp2x200Intravenous (IV) access is a basic and invaluable skill for emergency physicians. For patients requiring rapid fluid resuscitation, airway management, or medication administration, the placement of one or more IV lines is absolutely essential. Most patients do well with a simple, landmark-based, blind placement of a superficial peripheral IV. However, we often encounter situations where this may be difficult or impossible to achieve, and so we all should have a repertoire of other sites and techniques to employ.

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The HEART Score: A New ED Chest Pain Risk Stratification Score

chest_pain_1600_clr_2153Chest pain is a common presentation complaint to the emergency department (ED) and has a wide range of etiologies including urgent diagnoses (i.e. acute coronary syndrome (ACS), pulmonary embolism, aortic dissection) and non-urgent diagnoses (i.e. musculoskeletal pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pericarditis). The challenge in the ED is to not only to identify high risk patients but also to identify patients who can be safely discharged home. Specifically, when dealing with ACS, dynamic ECG changes or positive cardiac biomarkers is pretty much a slam dunk admission in most cases, but a lack of these does not completely rule out ACS. Currently, most guidelines and risk stratification scores focus on the identification of high risk ACS patients that would benefit from early aggressive therapies, but what about all the other chest pain patients that don’t have ACS… are they accounted for?

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By |2019-09-10T13:35:00-07:00Jan 7, 2014|Cardiovascular|

Why the Holidays Can Be Deadly

holidays deadlyThe winter holiday season is a busy time in most EDs. Colder weather, respiratory infections, and many factors contribute to this. However Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in particular are two of the deadliest days of the year. Missed medications due to travel, delayed presentations because of a desire to stay home for family gatherings, increased stress, alcohol and substance abuse, travel, and drunk driving, are just a few of the things that can contribute to morbidity and mortality in patients of all ages, and particularly in older adults. If you are working this holiday season, here is a glimpse of what you can expect.

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QI Series: Pitfalls in Diagnosing Hyperkalemia

Clue copyA 55 year old male was brought to the Emergency Department (ED) by paramedics complaining of weakness and chest discomfort. His past medical history was notable for coronary artery disease with bypass grafting, diabetes mellitus, and end stage renal disease. He reported being non-compliant with his last 2 scheduled hemodialysis sessions. Paramedics noted pallor and recorded a blood pressure of 80/palpated and a heart rate of 44. Upon arrival to the ED, a 12 lead ECG was obtained.

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By |2016-11-11T19:17:44-08:00Dec 16, 2013|ECG, Endocrine-Metabolic|

Modified Sgarbossa Criteria: Ready for Primetime?

Modified Sgarbossa Criteria TitleThe recognition of ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in the presence of left bundle-branch block (LBBB) remains difficult and frustrating to both emergency medicine physicians and cardiologists. According to the 2004 STEMI guidelines, emergent reperfusion therapy was recommended to patients with suspected ischemia and new LBBB however, the new 2013 STEMI guidelines made a drastic change by removing this recommendation. Several papers have recently been published discussing a modified Sgarbossa’s criteria and a new algorithm to help decrease false cath lab activation and/or fibrinolytic therapy, but are they ready for primetime? (more…)

By |2016-11-11T19:17:42-08:00Dec 3, 2013|Cardiovascular, ECG|

Subsegmental Pulmonary Embolisms (SSPE) are Important

0125Multi-detector computed tomographic pulmonary angiography (CTPA) allows for better visualization of peripheral pulmonary arteries allowing for diagnosis of small peripheral emboli limited to the subsegmental pulmonary arteries. Interestingly as these SSPE’s get diagnosed more and more, two questions come to mind:

  1. What is the prognostic utility of diagnosing SSPEs?
  2. What is the morbidity and mortality of SSPEs compared to more proximal PEs?

A recent study in 2013 Blood looked at these questions. 1

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By |2019-09-10T13:35:08-07:00Nov 27, 2013|Cardiovascular, Critical Care/ Resus, Pulmonary|

52 Articles in 52 Weeks: Landmark EM Articles 2013

52To provide a resource for evidence-based Emergency Medical education, this list of must-read landmark articles was created to supplement the Emergency Medicine (EM) internship year of training. There are 52 articles so that one article can be read at leisure each week of the year. I searched national databases and polled faculty at the University of Washington to identify articles that faculty would expect any EM resident to be familiar with or that they felt were practice-changing in EM. Articles were selected for the final list based on the quality of study design, sample size, and relevance for EM residents.

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