UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Treat hyperthermia with a TACO

Keywords: Hyperthermia, cold water immersion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/11/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

The TACO method (tarp assisted cooling with oscillation)

Cold water immersion (CWI) remains the standard for cooling in exercise induced hyperthermia

A low cost alternative is modified cold water immersion.

Sometimes, monetary reasons and location venue prevent the feasibility of CWI

Benefits: fast, cheap, portable

Portable – Allows for on site location at area of collapse

Cheap: Equipment required – 3 providers, 1 tarp, 20 gallons of water and 10 gallons of ice

Fast: Average time to set up – 3.4 minutes

The TACO method – fast effective reduction in core temperatures

              May be up to 75% as effective as CWI

             

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxjP0-_RIdc

 

 

 

 

 

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Management of Coagulopathy in Acute Liver Failure

  • Patients with acute liver failure (ALF) frequently require rapid resuscitation to prevent decompensation and multiorgan failure.
  • The most common cause of ALF remains drug-induced injury (i.e., acetaminophen).
  • Though coagulopathy is common in patients with ALF, the prophylactic administration of blood products has not been shown to have clinical benefit.
  • The routine correction of coagulation abnormalities is not currently recommended, unless the patient undergoes a major procedure (e.g., liver transplant).

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Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Managing Patients on Continuous Home Infusion Medications

Keywords: Milrinone, dobutamine, insulin, pumps (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/4/2019 by Ashley Martinelli (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact Ashley Martinelli

Continuous home infusion therapies of medications such as insulin, milrinone, dobutamine, and pulmonary hypertension medication such as treprostinil are becoming more common.  As a result, you may see these patients present to the emergency room and need to know the basics for checking the pump.

  • Is the pump working correctly?
    • Check the infusion lines for leaks or holes
    • Is the screen on, and does it show the correct dose information
  • How long will the current battery last?
  • How long will the current infusion bag last or expire?
    • Also consider the half-life of the medication. Infusions for pulmonary hypertension have a very short half-life and cannot be stopped abruptly.
  • Is the medication carried by the hospital or will the patient need to provide their own medication for pump refills?
  • What is the current dose?
    • Look for doses in weight based increments (i.e. mcg/kg/min, or ng/kg/min)
    • Insulin may have a basal rate and a bolus dose.
  • What is the patient's "dosing weight"?
    • Ensure that the weight used to program the pump is the same weight used to enter a continuation order in the electronic medical record. This may be different from their current weight and can lead to dose changes if not done properly.
  • What is the current bag concentration?

These questions are very important to determine if you will need to order a replacement infusion bag and run it on a hospital infusion pump, or if the patient can safely remain on their pump during the initial medical evaluation. 

 


Category: Toxicology

Title: pediatric guanfacine exposure

Keywords: guanfacine, ADHD, pediatric, toxicity (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/3/2019 by Hong Kim, MD, MPH (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact Hong Kim, MD, MPH

 

Guanfacine is a presynaptic alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist (similar to clonidine) that is FDA approved to treat ADHD in pediatric patients 6 years of age and older. A recently published study characterized the pediatric exposure to guanfacine between 2000 and 2016.   

  • 10927 single exposures to guanfacine were identified.
  • Guanfacine exposure increased in all age group starting 2009
  • Highest exposure rate was in 6-12 years old population

Most frequently reported clinical effect (n=10927)

  • Drowsiness (n=4262; 39.0%)
  • Bradycardia (n=1696; 15.5%)
  • Hypotension (n=1127; 10.3%)
  • Dizziness (n=279; 2.6%)
  • Hypertension (n=199; 1.8%)

Severe clinical effects (n=10927)

  • Respiratory depression (n=47; 0.43%)
  • Coma (n=24; 0.22%)
  • Respiratory arrest (n=5; 0.05%)
  • Cardiac arrest (n=1; 0.01%)

Duration of clinical effect

  • 8 to 24 hours: > 80%

Conclusion

  • Severe toxicity (respiratory depression/arrest and cardiac arrest) is rare with unintentional guanfacine exposure.
  • If symptomatic, majority of the patients were asymptomatic within 24 hours.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Mechanical Ventilation Strategies in Paralyzed or Sedated Patients

Keywords: Mechanical Ventilation, Paralytics (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/27/2019 by Mark Sutherland (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact Mark Sutherland

Many, if not nearly all, of our intubated patients in the ED have altered mental status, a potential to clinically worsen, or a requirement for medications that would alter their respiratory status (e.g. propofol, opioids, paralytics).  It is imperative to place these patients on appropriate ventilator modes to avoid apnea when their respiratory status changes.

 

  • Spontaneous modes (see partial list below) REQUIRE patients to initiate breaths on their own.  No ventilation occurs in a true spontaneous mode without patient effort.  
  • Patients who have alterations in respiratory drive, neuromuscular function, or are receiving paralytics should NOT be placed on:
    • Pressure Support (PSV),
    • Volume Support (VSV),
    • CPAP/BiPAP/APAP,
    • Pressure-Assisted Ventilation (PAV) / Proportional Pressure Support (PPS),
    • or other spontaneous modes
  • Our hypothermia order set includes a prn paralytic (cisatracurium infusion, vecuronium bolus) to combat shivering.  Discontinue these medications for patients on spontaneous modes.
  • Our Servo-I ventilators automatically backup to a control mode (VS-->VC, PS-->PC) after a period of apnea (default is anywhere from 15-45 seconds, but it depends on how the RT has set the ventilator) as a safety mechanism, but this could still cause dangerous hypoxia or hypercapnea in severely ill patients.
  • If the mechanics of pressure support are desired in patients at risk of apnea, there are other methods to achieve this (PC, descending flow VC, SIMV VC+PS with a low rate, and others).
  • Always consult your RT when changing ventilator settings, and be sure to take vent alarms seriously.

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Attachments

Apnea_Alarm.JPG (16 Kb)


Category: Neurology

Title: Cervical Spine Disease

Keywords: MRI, neuro exam, bladder, gait (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/24/2019 by Danya Khoujah, MBBS (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact Danya Khoujah, MBBS

Cervical spondylotic disease is the most common cause of myelopathy in patients over the age of 55 years and accounts for 25% of all hospitalizations for spastic quadriparesis.
It can be confused with lumbar spine disease as the most common presentation is a slowly progressive spastic gait dysfunction with 15-20% presenting with bladder disturbance.

Take Home Message: Don’t rush to localizing a lesion to the lumbar spine without performing a thorough neuro exam. 

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Takeaways

Gallstones account for 35-40% of cases of pancreatitis and the risk increases with diminishing stone size. Bile reflux into the pancreatic duct can form stones there, beyond where they can be visualized by ultrasound. Biliary colic may precede the pancreatitis, but not necessarily. The pain typically reaches maximum intensity quickly but can remain for days.

Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) > 3x normal is highly suggestive of biliary pancreatitis.

Abdominal ultrasound is not sensitive to common bile duct stones but may find dilation.

In the absence of cholangitis, endoscopic ultrasound or MRCP are sensitive tests and permit intervention. Patients who recover are much more likely to develop cholangitis, therefore cholecystectomy is indicated in patients after they recover from gallstone pancreatitis.

Bottom Line: a patient presenting with days of abdominal pain but an absence of gallstones or cholangitis may still suffer from gallstone pancreatitis which requires further intervention, including cholecystectomy.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Measles complications in hospitalized patients

Keywords: Measles, outbreak, complications (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/19/2019 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Measles outbreaks have been reported all over the globe, with the incidence increasing due to low immunization rates.  Italy experienced 5000 cases in 2017. This study was a retrospective multicenter observational study of children less than 18 years hospitalized for clinically and laboratory confirmed measles over a year and a half period from 2016-2017.

There were 263 cases of measles that required hospitalization during this time and 82% developed a complication with 7% having a severe clinical outcome defined by a permanent organ damage need for ICU care or death. A CRP value of greater than 2 mg/dL was associated with a 2-4 fold increased risk of developing complications. 23% developed pneumonia and 9.6% developed respiratory failure.  Hematologic involvement was seen in 48% of patients.  1.2% of hospitalized patients died.

Bottom line: Consider CRP, lipase and CBC at a minimum in your patients with suspected measles who require hospitalization.

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Single use laundry pods are readily available in many homes. Due to their bright colors, they have been mistaken for edible products (e.g. candy) by children.

A recent study reviewed 4652 laundry pod exposures from United Kingdom.

95.4% involved children aged < 5 years via oral route (89.7%).

  • Asymptomatic: 1738 (37.4%)
  • Minor symptoms: 2728 (58.6%)
  • Moderate symptoms: 107 (2.3%)
  • Severe symptoms: 19 (0.4%)
  • Death: 1 

 

Common symptoms in moderate/severe symptom groups, including fatality (n=127)

  • Vomiting: 75
  • Stridor: 34
  • CNS depression: 22
  • Keratitis/corneal damage: 21
  • Coughing: 18
  • Conjunctivitis: 13
  • Hypersalivation: 12
  • Foaming from the mouth: 11
  • Hypoxemia: 11

 

Conclusion

  • The majority of the laundry pod exposure occurs via oral route and result in no or minor symptoms
  • Although rare, respiratory, GI and ocular effect can occur after laundry pod exposure.

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Mechanical Ventilation in the Obese Critically Ill

  • Rates of obesity have steadily risen over the past three decades.  In fact, the prevalance of obesity in the ICU is now estimated at 20%.
  • Obesity affects numerous organ systems and impacts the resuscitation and management of these patients.
  • The pulmonary systems undergoes several changes that include decreased lung compliance, decreased chest wall compliance, increased O2 consumption, increased CO2 production, and increased work of breathing.
  • When initiating mechanical ventilation in the obese patient without ARDS, consider the following initial settings:
    • Tidal volume 6 ml/kg ideal body weight
    • PEEP of 10-12 cm H2O
    • RR to achieve a PaCO2 35-45 mmHg
    • FiO2 to maintain SpO2 92-95%
    • Driving pressure < 15 cm H2O

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Category: Misc

Title: CT Radiation doses

Keywords: CT, head, radiation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/13/2019 by Brian Corwell, MD
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

 
  • A recent retrospective study examined CT radiation doses in different types of facilities

 

  • Mean patient age: 12 years
  • Authors reviewed radiation doses for nearly 240,000 CT scans in over 500 facilities
  •  
  • The facilities were categorized into 4 groups: 

 

  • 1) academic pediatric,
  • 2) non-academic pediatric,
  • 3) academic adult, 
  • 4) non-academic adult

 

Most (65%) scans were performed at nonacademic adult centers

 

  • Radiation doses were significantly higher at adult facilities vs. pediatric facilities
  • Also, radiation doses were higher at non-academic vs. academic facilities
  • For example, the largest children received twice the radiation dose for abdomen-pelvis CT scans performed at nonacademic adult facilities compared with academic pediatric facilities
    • 11.9 mGy vs. 5.8 mGy
  • Academic pediatric facilities use lower radiation doses than do nonacademic pediatric or adult facilities for all head CT examinations and for the majority of chest and abdomen-pelvis

 

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Over 630,000 children visit the ED every year with a diagnosis of concussion

Predictors of persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS):

  • female sex
  • age over 13 years
  • previous concussive symptoms lasting over 1 week
  • headache
  • sensistivity to noise
  • fatigue
  • slow response to questions.

Appromixately 1/3 of pediatric patients will have PPCS lasting over 2 weeks

Likelihood of PPCS increases to >50% in those with risk factors identified in the ED

Every state has a youth concussion law. The basic tenants are a) immediate removal from play b) written clearance from health professional to return to play c) education for athlete, parents, coaches.

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Category: Neurology

Title: Intraosseous Administration of Hypertonic Saline

Keywords: 23.4%, mannitol, intracranial hypertension, herniation, IO (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/11/2019 by WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD (Updated: 11/19/2019)
Click here to contact WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD

  • Hypertonic saline and mannitol are commonly used for management of acute intracranial hypertension and cerebral herniation.
  • The choice of medication is often limited by venous access.
  • 23.4% NaCl has been shown to decrease intracranial pressure in patients refractory to mannitol.
    • It requires administration through a central line to avoid sclerosis of the peripheral veins and tissue necrosis with extravasation.
  • Intraosseous (IO) access provides a more rapid route for 23.4% NaCl administration.
    • No complications were observed relating to IO insertion site.
    • Transient hypotension occurred in more patients who received 23.4% NaCl via IO vs. central line.

Bottom Line: Use of IO allows more rapid administration of 23.4% NaCl with no immediate serious complications.

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Category: Critical Care

Title: POCUS in Prognostication of Non-Shockable, Atraumatic Cardiac Arrest

Keywords: Resuscitation, cardiac arrest, POCUS, ultrasound, ROSC (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/9/2019 by Kami Windsor, MD
Click here to contact Kami Windsor, MD

 

Background:  Previous systematic reviews1,2,3 have indicated that the absence of cardiac activity on point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) during cardiac arrest confers a low likelihood of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), but included heterogenous populations (both traumatic and atraumatic cardiac arrest, shockable and nonshockable rhythms).

The SHoC investigators4 are the first to publish their review of nontraumatic cardiac arrests with nonshockable rhythms, evaluating POCUS as predictor of ROSC, survival to admission (SHA), and survival to discharge (SHD) in cardiac arrests occurring out-of-hospital or in the ED.

  • 10 studies, 1485 patients
  • Compared to absence of cardiac activity, presence of cardiac activity = higher odds, increased incidence of ROSC, SHA, and SHD
  • Pooled sensitivity for ROSC, SHA, SHD relatively low (60%, 75%, 69%, respectively)
    • On subgroup analysis, sensitivity higher in PEA group (77%) than asystole group (25%)

 

Bottom Line:  In nontraumatic cardiac arrest with non-shockable rhythms, the absence of cardiac activity on POCUS may not, on its own, be as strong an indicator of poor outcome as previously thought.

 

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Elderly patients (mean age of 84 years) living in the community who are seen and discharged from the Emergency Department due to illness or injury are at increased risk for further disability and functional decline for at least six months after their visit.  This is associated with increased mortality, cost and need for long term care in previously self-functioning individuals. *   When appropriate to discharge from the ED, we should consider discharge planning that includes coordination with care management services to be sure these individuals have adequate home support systems in place and access to close outpatient follow-up. 

*It should be noted that the risk is even greater after inpatient hospitalization.

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Identifying serotonin syndrome in the emergency department can be difficult without an accurate patient history. Furthermore, the physical symptoms may look similar to many other disorders such as neuroleptic malignant syndrome and anticholinergic toxicity. If you remember the acronym SHIVERS, you can easily recognize the signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome.

Shivering: Neuromuscular symptom that is unique to serotonin syndrome

Hyperreflexia and Myoclonus: Seen in mild to moderate cases. Most prominent in the lower extremities. This can help differentiate from neuroleptic malignant syndrome which would present with lead-pipe rigidity.

Increased Temperature: Not always present, but usually observed in more severe cases

Vital Sign Abnormalities: Tachycardia, tachypnea, and labile blood pressure

Encephalopathy: Mental status changes such as agitation, delirium, and confusion

Restlessness: Common due to excess serotonin activity

Sweating: Autonomic response to excess serotonin. This symptom can help differentiate from anticholinergic toxicity in which the patients would present with increased temperature but dry to the touch

Once serotonin syndrome is identified, it is important to discontinue all serotonergic agents, provide supportive care with fluids, and sedate with benzodiazepines. Sedation with benzodiazepines helps to decrease myoclonic jerks which also helps with temperature control. If patients are hyperthermic, they will require intensive cooling. Cyproheptadine, a potent antihistamine and serotonin antagonist, should also be administered. The initial dose of cyproheptadine in serotonin syndrome is 12mg which can be followed by 2 mg every 2 hours as needed for symptom control.

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Intravenous lipid emulsion (ILE) is use as a therapy of last resort in refractory cardiovascular shock from toxicity of select agents (e.g. calcium channel blockers, beta blockers and select Na-channel blocking agents). There are number of case reports/series that showed positive cardiovascular/hemodynamic response after ILE, which are prone to publication bias. Results from limited number of human trials  have shown mixed results.

A study reviewed fatal cases of poisoning that received ILE from the National Poison Data System to characterize the clinical response of ILE therapy.

Results

N=459 cases from 2010 to 2015.

Most common substance involved

 

N (%)

Number with ROSC (%)

Ca-channel blockers

183 (40)

8 (4.4)

Beta blockers

102 (22)

5 (4.9)

Bupropion*

53 (12)

5 (9.4)

TCAs*

48 (10)

2 (4.2)

Citalopram/escitalopram

36 (8)

0

Quetiapine

26 (6)

1 (3.8)

Flecainide

21 (5)

5 (23.8)

Local anesthetics – parenteral*

8 (2)

1 (12.5)

*Use of ILE supported by Lipid work group

Response rate

  • No response: 45%
  • Unknown response: 38%
  • Transient/minimal response: 7%
  • ROSC: 7%
  • Immediate worsening: 3%

Possible adverse reactions (n)

  • ARDS: 39
  • Lipemia: 3
  • Failure of CRRT filter: 2
  • Worsening/new seizure: 2
  • Asystole immediately after administration: 2
  • Fat embolism: 1

 

Conclusion

  • The number of failed cases of ILE therapy outnumbers the published cases of ILE success.
  • Currently, there is a lack of data that shows the efficacy of ILE therapy.

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The Lung Transplant Patient in Your ED

  • Infections are the most common reason for ICU admission in lung transplant patients.
  • Not surprisingly, healthcare-aquired pneumonia is the most common infection seen in lung transplant recipients.
  • In contrast to non-transplant patients, gram-negative bacteria (i.e., Pseudomonas aeruginosa) are the most common pathogens.
  • Be sure to include antimicrobial coverage for Pseudomonas in your lung transplant patients presenting to the ED with pneumonia.

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  • Pediatric visits for behavioral and mental health issues is on the rise.
  • From 2008 to 2015, rates of PED visits for suicidal thoughts/attempts doubled.
  • Shortage of pediatric psychiatrists:  8,300 nationwide with a need for 30,000.
  • Deinstitionalized Movement of 1980's, has worsened this ED crisis-based culture.
  • 50% of all mental illness begins by age 14.
  • 1 in 5 children experience a mental disorder in a given year.
  • Aggressive or agitated behavior in pediatric patients is different from adults.
  • Children are more amenable to environmental and behavioral techniques, especially verbal de-escalation, once a trigger is identified.
  • If not successful, avoid physical restraints and consider medications instead.
  • Review current or previously prescribed medications, and consider extra/early/higher dosing. If naive to medications:
  • First line is Diphenhydramine.
  • Followed by Chlorpromazine, Risperidone, and Olanzapine
  • Thorazine should be avoided in children under 12 years due to extra-pyramidal effects.
  • Lorazapam not recommneded in children under 12 years, as it can cause disinhibition and worsen behavior.
  • Avoid sedating children with neurodevelopmental disorders as they can have paradoxical reactions to diphenhydramine and benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics sometimes are not as effective.
  • Boarding is common due to lack of resources, so starting treatment in the ED is imperative. 

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Category: Toxicology

Title: "There's Something Fishy Here"

Keywords: Scromboid, Histamine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/28/2019 by Kathy Prybys, DO (Emailed: 3/29/2019) (Updated: 3/29/2019)
Click here to contact Kathy Prybys, DO

Scromboid (histamine fish poisoning) can be easily misdiagnosed since its' clinical presentation can mimic that of allergy. Seen most frequently in the summer and occurring with Scombroideafish (tuna, mackerel, bonito, skipjack) but also with large dark meat fish (sardines and anchovies) and even more commonly with nonscromboid fish such as mahi mahi and amber jack. In warm conditions when fish is improperly refrigerated, bacterial histidine decarboxylase converts muscle histidine into histamine which quickly accumulates. Histamine is heat stable and not destroyed with cooking. 

  • Clinical features: Intense flushing of face, neck, and upper torso, urticaria, abdominal cramps, headache, palpitations, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, burning of the mouth and throat.
  • Symptoms begin within minutes of ingestion and typically last several hours
  • Self limiting condition. Mainstay of treatment is H1 blockers (antihistamines) and good supportive care. If bronchospam present steroids and inhaled B2 agonists should be administered.

Bottom Line:

Scromboid poisoning is due to histamine ingestion and is often misdiagnosed as allergic reaction. It is preventable with proper fish storage.

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