Category: Critical Care
Keywords: dopamine, hemodynamic medication, vasopressors (PubMed Search)
Dopamine in the ED
Marino PL. Hemodynamic drugs. In: The Little ICU Book of Facts and Formulas. 2009 Ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA.
Category: Infectious Disease
Keywords: Pneumonia (PubMed Search)
Healthcare Associated Pneumonia (HCAP)....why is this important for the emergency physician?
Most of us are very familiar with the types of pneumonias commonly seen in clinical practice: community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), hospital-acquired pneumonia(HAP), and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP). But, some may not be that aware of a relatively newer type of pneumonia that has been well-defined, healthcare-associated pnemonia (HCAP). Experts in infectious disease and critical care now say that we (the ED) should be assessing ALL pneumonia patients for HCAP risk factors.
Why care, you ask?
Risk factors: (most are common sense)
Keywords: aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm, cardiac arrest, ultrasound (PubMed Search)
Death from ruptured aortic aneurysms and thoracic aortic dissection has a few key features that often help in distinguishing these entities from other causes of rapid decompensation and sudden death:
1. These aortic disasters have a tendency to present with hypotension but without necessarily any specific complaints of pain (in contrast to common teaching).
2. These aortic disasters tend usually to produce PEA as the initial arrest rhythm.
3. These aortic disasters are often diagnosable on bedside ultrasound (AAA seen when scanning the abdomen; dissections frequently produce pericardial tamponade as they dissect backwards into the pericardial sack).
ALWAYS take a look at a patient's aorta and pericardium with the ultrasound when that patient presents in extremis or in cardiac arrest. The results can help make some critical diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.
[recent article related to this topic: Pierce LC, Courtney DM. Clinical characteristics of aortic aneurysm and dissection as a cause of sudden death in outpatients. Am J Emerg Med 2008;26:1042-1046.]
Keywords: Glucometer, Accuracy (PubMed Search)
The glucometer is one of the devices that we quickly reach for in the management of our unresponsive patients, diabetics and in the critically ill. Recently, I noticed that our Roche Accu-Check has a big sticker on the case stating that results could be affected by therapies that alter the metabolism of galactose, maltose, and xylose. Since this was a big hole in my fund of knowledge I decided to look up what else affects the accuracy of glucometers.
Now, Dr. Winters already warned used about the inaccuracy of bedside glucometer readings in the critically ill, but what about the patient that is not septic and/or in shock.
Substances/Drugs that have been reported to affect the accuracy of glucometers are:
Anemia also results in higher values, and a capillary blood sample can differ from venous blood by as much as 70mg/dL.
Most errors are more significant when dealing with hypoglycemia.
So the moral of the story is be careful with a bedside glucometer when the reading is low, as the venous blood sample sent to the lab may return even lower. Error on the side of treating the patient with glucose.
Fahy BG, Coursin DB. Critical glucose control: the devil is in the details. Mayo Clin Proc. Apr 2008;83(4):394-397.
Keywords: status epilepticus, seizure (PubMed Search)
Keywords: opioid, opiate, allergy, hypersensitivity (PubMed Search)
How many times have you had a patient with an allergy to codeine described as stomach upset? Or how about a rash with morphine (probably secondary to histamine release)? True anaphylactic reactions to opioids are very rare (< 1%). But what happens when you have a patient with a true allergy, but still need to give an opioid? No problem, you just need to choose one that is structurally different.
All of the group 1 and 2 agents are structurally very similar to each other and should not be given if a true allergy exists to any other natural or semi-synthetic derivative. Group 3 agents have structures different enough that they can be given to a patient intolerant to the natural or semi-synthetics without fear of cross reactivity. They are also very different from others in this same group.
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: seizure, metabolic (PubMed Search)
Seizures in the Critically Ill
Mirski MA, Varelas PN. Seizures and status epilepticus in the critically ill. Crit Care Clin 2008;24:115-147.
Keywords: hypertension (PubMed Search)
Keywords: low voltage, electrocardiography (PubMed Search)
Keywords: maisonneuve, tibia, fibula, fracture, ankle, orthopedic (PubMed Search)
A maisonneuve fracture is a fracture dislocation resulting from external rotational forces to ankle -- through interosseous ligament to fibula.
If stability is questionable, orthopedic evaluation under anesthesia is required. Additionally always consider compartment syndrome. Do not rely on Kanduval's signs (pain, paraesthesia, pallor, poikilothermia, pulselessness) - "... with the exception of pain and paraesthesia, these traditional signs are not reliable." Emergent orthopedic consultation and compartment pressure assessment should be performed. (see attached photos)
Keywords: Drugs of abuse, salvia, sage (PubMed Search)
This is a psychoactive herb which can induce strong dissociative effects by stimulation of the kappa receptor. It has become increasingly well known and available in modern culture, and popularized by YouTube Salvia (also known as Sage, Diviner's Sage, Magic Mint, or Sally D) is usually smoked, but can be chewed or ingested.
The high it produces is very intense, but lasts only approximately 10 minutes. Currently many states have enacted legislation against it, including Fla, IL, KA, MI, MO, ND, OK and VA, but it is available over the internet.
The following video demonstrates clinical effects of drug.
Although it is amusing, this is not meant to condone use.
(if you can not view the embeded video here is the link)
Keywords: chiari malformation, cerebellum, vertigo, congenital abnormalities (PubMed Search)
- muscle weakness
- coordination abnormalities
- gait abnormalities
- visual abnormalities
Keywords: PERC Rules (PubMed Search)
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: auto-peep, mechanical ventilation (PubMed Search)
Auto-PEEP in the non-COPD patient
Mughal MM, Minai OA, Culver DA, et al. Auto-positive end-expiratory pressure: mechanisms and treatment. Clev Clin J Med 2005;72:801-9.
Keywords: coronary heart disease, cardiac disease, risk factors (PubMed Search)
The classic risk factors for coronary artery disease (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, smoking, etc.) are helpful at predicting the long-term risk of CAD, but they have limited utility at predicting whether a patient with acute symptoms is having an acute coronary syndrome or not. In one recent study of > 800 patients with suspected cardiac chest pain, 12% of patients with NO cardiac risk factors ruled-in for acute MI.
Never rule out ACS in a patient purely based on the absence of traditional cardiac risk factors!
[Body R, McDowell G, Carley S, et al. Do risk factors for chronic coronary heart disease help diagnose acute myocardial infarction in the Emergency Department? Resuscitation 2008;79:41-45.]
Keywords: high altitude illness (PubMed Search)
High altitude illnesses is typically called Acute mountain sickness (AMS) and is associated with two major complications high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE).
Symptoms associated with AMS are headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, anorexia and insomia. Cough, Cyanosis, hypoxia, and dyspnea are associated with HAPE. HACE is associated with progressive neurologic symptoms and can lead to ataxia and coma.
Factors that increase your risk for altitude illnesses are:
Keywords: bacterial conjunctivitis (PubMed Search)
How do we know if we really need to put all those red eyes sent in from daycare centers and schools on antibiotics? The following study shows us why.
Bacterial Conjunctivitis in Children
Patel, P.Clinical Features of Bacterial Conjunctivitis in
Children. Academic Emergency Medicine 2007; 14:1–5a 2007
Keywords: siadh, mdma, ecstasy (PubMed Search)
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or "Ecstasy"
A designer club drug that has been classified as a "hallucinogenic" amphetamine though it does not cause visual hallucinations like are reported with LSD. It has many of the sympathomimetic effects like other amphetamines but its main mechanism of action which both causes the euphoria and toxicity is serotonin agonism. Since Anti-diuretic hormone is released by the hypothalamus under the direct regulation of serotonin, there is a transient but dangerous episode of Syndrome of Inappropriate ADH (SIADH). Combined with the club culture and fear of dehydration while taking MDMA, patients ingest MDMA concomitantly with free water through the night further exacerbating the hyponatremia. The time sequence of events for these patient is (women appear genetically predisposed to this phenomena):
Treatment: Fluid restriction - this is the one time that the 1L NS Bolus can kill a patient with cerebral edema. If you must give fluid give 3% NaCl if there is symptomatic hyponatremia. Remember the patient has dropped their sodium in about 24 hours so you can replenish in about the same time quite safely and even faster in severe cases. Treated correctly, patients improve rapidly - within 24-48 hours. Read a great case report in the reference below.
Traub SJ, Hoffman RS, Nelson LS. The "ecstasy" hangover: hyponatremia due to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. J Urban Health. 2002 Dec;79(4):549-55.
Keywords: NIHSS, stroke scales, motor function, visual fields, language, gaze (PubMed Search)
-- motor function (right leg)
-- motor function (left leg)
-- visual fields
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: PEEP, mechanical ventilation, ARDS (PubMed Search)
Ventilator Therapy for ED Patients with ARDS