The 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…)
Multi-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:
- What is the prognostic utility of diagnosing SSPEs?
- What is the morbidity and mortality of SSPEs compared to more proximal PEs?
A recent study in 2013 Blood looked at these questions. 1
To 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.
As a physician and newcomer to FOAM, I am finding that I have learned a lot of myths and pearls that are not true as I matriculated through school. This has taught me that learning from textbooks may be great for board exams, but more importantly it is not optimal for patient care and has made me question a lot of different practices. We all want to know clinically relevant information that is evidence based and up to date that will make a difference in our care of patients. The purpose and goal of REBEL is to create a sustained change in beliefs, attitudes, and behavior through review of the best evidence available.
Pauses in chest compressions are known to be detrimental to survival in cardiac arrest, so much so that the 2010 American Heart Association (AHA) emphasize high-quality compressions while minimizing interruptions. There have been some studies that now advocate for continuous chest compressions during a defibrillation shock. There have been substantial changes to external defibrillation technology including:
- Biphasic shocks with real-time impedance monitoring to reduce peak voltages
- Paddles being replaced by adhesive pre-gelled electrodes
- Enhancement in ECG filtering permitting rhythm monitoring during chest compressions.
So the mantra of “hard and fast” may be true when it comes to CPR, but the real question now becomes, should we be continuing CPR during defibrillation?
When talking about Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) there are really only three things that make a true difference on outcomes (i.e. survival and neurologic function):
- High quality, non-interrupted CPR
- Early defibrillation
- Therapeutic hypothermia
The quality of CPR is often under appreciated and performed incorrectly (too slow and/or not hard enough). With mechanical CPR, chest compressions are delivered uninterrupted and at a predefined depth and rate. In my own practice I have seen these devices being used more and more, but my questions is do these devices impact outcomes?
Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common condition that can be both severe and difficult to diagnose. Half of all acute PE cases are diagnosed in the emergency department, and acute PE follows acute coronary syndrome as the second most common cause of sudden unexpected death in outpatients. Also, right ventricular dysfunction is a consequence of massive/submassive acute pulmonary embolism and correlates with a poor prognosis and high mortality rate. Although an ECG lacks both sensitivity and specificity for acute PE, there are some clues that can help in determining the size of an acute PE.