EM Reflections – October 2018

Thanks to Dr. Paul Page for leading the discussions this month

Edited by Dr David Lewis 

 


 

Top tips from this month’s rounds:

 

Trauma – Secondary Survey

DNAR Considerations 

ED Neonatal Equipment

 


Trauma – Secondary Survey

The secondary survey is performed once the primary survey and resuscitation has been completed.

The secondary survey does not begin until the primary survey (ABCDEs) is completed, resuscitative efforts are underway, and the normalization of vital functions has been demonstrated. When additional personnel are available, part of the secondary survey may be conducted while the other personnel attend to the primary survey. In this setting the conduction of the secondary survey should not interfere with the primary survey, which takes first priority. ATLS 9e

This means that on occasions trauma patients may be transferred to the OR or ICU before the secondary survey has been completed. The secondary survey is a thorough head to toe examination including where indicated adjunct investigations e.g limb radiographs. This assessment must be carefully performed and documented. It should not be rushed.

If there is not enough time to complete a thorough secondary survey (e.g patient transferred to OR during primary survey) then this should be communicated to the surgeon or other responsible physician (e.g ICU) and the documentation should reflect this.

We would recommend that all trauma patients admitted to the ICU undergo a repeat secondary survey assessment as part of the standard admission process. In some systems this is referred to as a Tertiary survey.

This systematic review reports a reduction missed injury rate when a tertiary survey is used as part of a trauma system.

Trauma.org article on tertiary survey


DNAR Considerations 

The CMPA provides excellent guidance for clinicians considering Do Not Attempt Resuscitation orders. CMPA Website

CMPA – Key Concepts for End of Life Issues

  • The best interests of the patient are paramount.

  • The capable patient has the right to consent to or refuse medical treatment, including life-sustaining treatment.

  • Thoughtful and timely advance care planning, discussion, and documentation of a patient’s wishes and healthcare goals can help avoid misunderstandings.

  • Physicians should be familiar with any relevant laws and regulatory authority (College) policies concerning end-of-life care, and the withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment, and medical assistance in dying.

  • When considering placing a do-not-resuscitate order in the medical record, or acting upon a do-not-resuscitate order, consent from the patient or substitute decision-maker is advisable. It may also be helpful and appropriate to consult with physician colleagues and the patient’s family to determine support for the order.

  • Decisions about withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment that is considered futile or not medically indicated should be discussed with the patient, or the substitute decision-maker on behalf of an incapable patient. When consensus is not achieved despite discussions with the substitute decision-maker, the family, and others such as ethics consultants, patient advocates, and spiritual advisors, it may be necessary to make an application to the court (or an administrative body) or seek intervention from the local public guardian’s office.

  • Physicians considering a request for medical assistance in dying should be familiar with the eligibility criteria set out in the Criminal Codewith applicable provincial legislation, and with applicable regulatory authority (College) guidelines.

  • Physicians should be familiar with the role of advance directives (including living wills).

  • End-of-life decisions should be carefully documented in the patient’s medical record.

Horizon Health, NB uses these accepted Canadian DNAR definitions:

 


 

ED Neonatal Equipment

Perinatal Services BC, Canada have published an excellent document – Standards for Neonatal Resuscitation

It includes this Appendix for suggested Radiant Warmer Equipment checklist:

 

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Trauma Reflections – August 2018

Thanks to Dr. Andrew Lohoar and Sue Benjamin for leading the discussions this month

 


 

Major points of interest:

 

A) Blood is important stuff…so keep track of it.

Recent ATLS guidelines are suggesting switching to blood for resuscitation after one litre crystalloid bolus, not two. We will be using blood more often and it is important to keep track of amount ordered and infused. Give clear orders, document, and send any unused units back to transfusion medicine.

 

B) Analgesia/anti-emetics prior to leaving for diagnostic imaging

Moving on/off DI tables can increase pain or provoke nausea in some patients.

 

C) Who put that thing there?

If you decide to put something into your patient, such as a chest tube or ET tube, then write a procedure note, including details of placement confirmation.

 

D) Trauma patients you know will require consultants

When services are known to be required for patients prior to arrival (intubated, critical ortho injuries, penetrating trauma, transfers etc.) call a level A activation – consultants should meet patient with you. Give the consultants notice when patient is 15 minutes out.

In pediatric traumas that cannot be managed locally use the NB Trauma TCP to coordinate transfers to IWK.

 

E) Yo-yoing to DI for yet another film

“Pan-scanning” a younger patient can be a difficult decision, but if there is a high energy MOI and indication for spine imaging, CT scan is the superior imaging choice.

 

F) Pregnancy tests for everybody

Do not forget this in ‘older’ pediatric age group.

 

G) “Moving all limbs”..

..is NOT an acceptable documentation of exam findings in a patient with suspected neurologic injury. Thorough exam to detect any deficits is needed for neurologic baseline and for comparison later. Dermatome level of sensory dysfunction, key muscle group strength (0-5 scale) and anal sphincter tone should all be recorded, with time of exam.

 

H) Severe traumatic brain injury

Remember the CRASH 3 study – adult with TBI < 3hrs from time of injury.

 

I) Motorcycle + cocaine + EtOH + no helmet…

Equals an agitated head injured patient very difficult to sedate after intubation. Consider fentanyl infusion in addition to sedation infusion.

 

 

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Infectious flexor tenosynovitis

“Don’t pull my finger!” – a case of flexor tenosynovitis.

Resident Clinical Pearl (RCP) – July 2018

Mandy Peach – FMEM PGY3, Dalhousie University, Saint John NB

Reviewed by Dr. David Lewis

You are working a rural ED and a 70 yo male presents with an injury to his right hand about one week ago. He has no known past medical history, is widowed and lives alone. He has no family doctor; a family member made him come in.

In triage he denies any major discomfort in the finger, and has taken nothing for pain. However he has noticed it is increasing in size, becoming more red and even black in places.

Vital signs show he is hypertensive, but otherwise afebrile with a normal heart rate.

You walk into the room to do the assessment and immediately your eyes are drawn to his hand:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHOA.

As you get further history it turns out the injury was a rusty nail to the digit – it just keeps getting better.

You are worried about an infectious flexor tenosynovitis – a can’t miss diagnosis. This is when purulent fluid collects between the visceral and parietal layers of the flexor tendon1. This infection can rapidly spread through the deep fascial spaces. Direct inoculation, like this penetrating injury, is the most common cause1.

4 clinical signs of tenosynovitis – Kanavel’s signs

  • ‘sausage digit’ – uniform, fusiform swelling
  • Digit is held in flexion as the position of comfort
  • Pain with passive extension
  • Tenderness along the tendon sheath

Figure 1: Sketchy Medicine – Flexor Tenosynovitis http://sketchymedicine.com/2012/10/flexor-tenosynovitis-kanavels-signs/

 

As you can imagine this guy had all 4 signs – slam dunk diagnosis, with a little gangrene at the tip to boot. But the diagnosis isn’t always clear cut, and some of these are late signs of infectious flexor tenosynovitis. Patients may present earlier in the course of illness, so what can we use to help diagnose this condition? PoCUS of course!

Place a high frequency linear probe at the wrist crease where you should visualize flexor tendons overlying carpel bones.

Figure 2: Normal flexor tendons (yellow) and carpel bones in transverse plane1

In infectious flexor tenosynovitis you would see anechoic edema and debris in the flexor tendon sheath, and potentially thickening of the synovial sheath. You can assess in both longitudinal and transverse planes.

Figure 3: Transverse (A) and Longitudinal (B) images showing edema in flexor tendon sheath1.

 

Treatment:

So the most common bug that causes these infections is Staphylococcus, however they can be polymicrobial2. Broad spectrum coverage is required – think ceftriaxone or pip tazo. If there is concern for MRSA than vancomycin would be indicated.

But let’s remind ourselves – he had exposure to a rusty nail – you must cover Pseudomonas as well.

We chose ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin, administered a tetanus (he never had one before) and urgently contacted plastics. He stayed overnight in the rural ED and was transferred out the next morning for OR. Unfortunately, he did have up having the digit amputated but he recovered well.

 

Take home message: Flexor tenosynovitis is a surgical emergency – examine for Kanavel’s signs. Ultrasound can be helpful in confirming diagnosis in the right clinical context. Cover with broad spectrum antibiotics, consider MRSA or Pseudomonas coverage if indicated. Urgent plastics referral needed.

 

References:

  1. Padrez, KP., Bress, J., Johnson, B., Nagdev, A. (2015). Bedside ultrasound Identification of Infectious Flexor Tenosynovitis in the Emergency Department. West J Emerg Med; 16(2): 260-262.
  2. Flexor Tenosynovitis (Karavel’s signs). Sketchy Medicine. Retrieved from http://sketchymedicine.com/2012/10/flexor-tenosynovitis-kanavels-signs/ June 12, 2018.
  3. Tintinalli, JE. (2016). Flexor Tenosynovitis (8th ed.) Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide (page 1922). New York: McGraw-Hill.

 

 

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EM Reflections – June 2018

Thanks to Dr. Joanna Middleton for leading the discussions this month

Edited by Dr David Lewis 

 


 

Top tips from this month’s rounds:

Button Battery Ingestions

Acetaminophen Overdose / Poisoning – Delayed Presentation

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – Follow-Up


 

Button Battery Ingestions

Button Battery Ingestion

 

Take Home Points:

  • Button battery ingestions are can potentially be very serious. Necrosis, perforation and erosion into vessels can occur in as little as 2 hours
  • ALL nasal and esophageal button batteries should be removed within 2 hours of presentation to minimize mucosal damage
  • Consider button battery ingestion in children presenting with dysphagia, refusal to eat and hematemesis
  • Co-ingestion of a button battery with a magnet requires emergency removal regardless of where it is in the GI system
  • Early GI consult is advised

The management algorithm form National Capital Poison Center covers all eventualities! (Click to enlarge)

 


 

Acetaminophen Overdose / Poisoning – Delayed Presentation

Take Home Points:

  • N-acetylcystine (NAC) is a safe and effective antidote. Time to NAC is crucial to protect the liver from significant toxicity.
  • Stated timing and dose are often unreliable and this needs to be taken into consideration.
  • NAC is almost 100% effective if administered within 8hrs of ingestion.
  • If time of ingestion is known for certain to be < 4hrs ago – draw blood for level at 4hrs post ingestion and use nomogram to determine who to treat.
  • If time of ingestion is known for certain to be < 8hrs ago – draw blood for level immediately and use nomogram to determine who to treat (provide result can be obtained within 8 hrs – otherwise start NAC pending result)
  • If time of ingestion is known for certain to be > 8hrs and < 24hrsCommence NAC and draw blood for level immediately and use nomogram to determine whether to continue NAC.
  • If time of ingestion is > 24hrs or unknown or ingestion is staggered – Commence NAC and draw blood for level immediately – Consult toxicology for advice – Only if level is undetectable and AST is normal then NAC can be discontinued, otherwise continue NAC and consult.

View the SJRHEM Acetaminophen Poisoning post here (includes Nomograms and NAC dosing):

New Acetaminophen Poisoning Guidelines from the Royal College of EM

See also this useful NEJM Review Article

For Children, this guideline is useful.

  • Presenting between 4-24 hours (Time of ingestion is known)- use nomogram to determine who to treat.


 

  • Presenting after 24 hours or time of ingestion unknown or ingestion spans > 24hrs

From: UpToDate

 


 

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) – Admit or Follow-Up

Take Home Points:

  • All TIA patients need an ECG and baseline labs (CSBP recommended labs)
  • Very High Risk TIA Patients (see below) should have a CT/CTA (or MRI/MRA) immediately
  • High Risk TIA Patients (see below) should have a CT/CTA (or MRI/MRA) within 24hrs
  • All TIAs should be followed up in a specialist TIA Clinic
  • TIA’s + large artery stenosis – candidate for early revascularization (the sooner it is done the better the prognosis)

 

Full Canadian Stroke Best Practice Guideline can be viewed here

 

UpToDate: These results suggest that CEA is likely to be of greatest benefit if performed within two weeks of the last neurologic event in patients with ≥70 percent carotid stenosis. For patients with 50 to 69 percent stenosis, CEA may only have benefit if performed within two weeks of the last event.

 

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Trauma Reflections – June 2018

Thanks to Dr. Andrew Lohoar and Sue Benjamin for leading the discussions this month

 


 

Major points of interest:

 

A)  Should that be bubbling like that?

Chest tube placement is a critical procedure in managing trauma patients – successful placement can be challenging, complications are common. Post-procedural imaging and check of chest drain system should determine adequate positioning/effectiveness. Check for fluctuation (tidaling) of fluid level in water seal chamber.

 

B)   Nice intubation…but why is his BP now70?

Post intubation sedation and analgesia infusions are superior to push dosing, but should be titrated up slowly to effect. Avoid starting medications that could potentially drop blood pressure at very high infusion rates – yo-yoing BP is not good for damaged neurons.

See attached NB consensus statement for suggested medications and dosages.

FINAL Consensus statement – RSI+ – July 2018

C)  Crystalloid choice in burns

(Warmed) Ringer’s lactate is the preferred crystalloid for initial management of burns patients. And probably all trauma patients for that matter.

 

D)  TTA log sheets – numbers are only slightly better

Ensure qualifying traumas have activations, and TTA log sheets are filled out. Don’t forget transfers should have activations as well.

When services are known to be required for transfer patients (intubated, critical ortho injuries etc.) call a level A activation – consultants should meet patient with you.

Remember, ED length of stay < 4hours is significantly higher with trauma activations (60% vs. 30%), so it is to our advantage to identify these patients immediately on arrival.

 

E) Propofol infusions in pediatric population

This in still a no-no in patients < 18 yo. Single doses for procedure is fine, but for maintaining sedation choose something else.

 

F)  “Moving all limbs”..

..is NOT an acceptable documentation of exam findings in a patient with suspected neurologic injury. Thorough exam to detect any deficits is needed for neurologic baseline and for comparison later. Dermatome level of sensory dysfunction, key muscle group strength (0-5 scale) and anal sphincter tone should all be recorded, with time of exam.

 

G)  We don’t talk anymore..

There should be TTL to TTL handover at shift change if the trauma patient still resides in our ED. Even if consultants are involved.

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PoCUS and Clavicle Fractures

Using PoCUS to diagnose clavicular fractures

Medical Student Clinical Pearl – May 2018

Danielle Rioux – Med III Class of 2019, Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick 

Reviewed by Dr. Mandy Peach and Dr. David Lewis

Case: A 70 year-old man presented to the emergency department with pain in his left shoulder and clavicular region following a skiing accident. He slipped and fell on his left lateral shoulder while he was on skis at the ski hill. He has visible swelling in his left shoulder and clavicular region, and was not able to move his left arm.

On exam: The patient was in no sign of distress. He was standing and holding his left arm adducted close to his body, supporting his left arm with his right hand. There was swelling and ecchymosis in the left clavicle, mid-shaft region, with focal tenderness. On palpation, there was crepitation, tenderness, swelling, and warmth in this region. He was unable to move his left shoulder due to pain. His neurovascular exam on his left arm was normal. Auscultation of his lungs revealed normal air-entry, bilaterally and no adventitious sounds.

Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS): We used a linear, high-frequency transducer and placed it in the longitudinal plane on the normal right clavicle (see Image 1.), and the fractured left clavicle (see Image 2.). Image 3 shows the fractured clavicle in the transverse plane.

Image 1. PoCUS of normal right clavicle along the long axis of the clavicle (arrows depict the hyperechoic superficial cortex with deep acoustic shadowing).

Clip 1. PoCUS of normal right clavicle along the short axis of the clavicle. The transducer is moving from the lateral to medial, note the visible hyperechoic curved superficial cortex and the subclavian vessels at the end of the clip. 

Image 2. PoCUS of normal right clavicle along the short axis of the clavicle (arrows depict the hyperechoic superficial cortex with deep acoustic shadowing).

Image 3. PoCUS of a fracture in the left clavicle along the long axis of the clavicle

Clip 2. PoCUS of a fracture of the left clavicle, viewed in the long axis of the clavicle. Compare this view with image 1.

Clip 3. PoCUS of a fracture in the left clavicle viewed in the short axis of the clavicle. Compare this view with Clip 1. Note the fracture through the visible cortex and the displacement that becomes apparent halfway through the clip.

Radiographic findings: Radiographic findings of the left clavicle reveal a mid-shaft spiral clavicular fracture.  (Image 4).

Image 4. Radiographic image of fractured left clavicle.

 

Take home point: Research has shown that Ultrasonography is a sensitive diagnostic tool in the evaluation of fractures (Chapman & Black, 2003; Eckert et al., 2014; Chen et al., 2016).

This case provides an example of how PoCUS can be used to diagnose clavicle fractures in the emergency department. In a rural or office setting where radiography is not always available, PoCUS can be used to triage patients efficiently into groups of those with a fracture and those with a low likelihood of a fracture. This would enable more efficient medical referrals while improving cost-effectiveness and patient care.

References:

Chapman, D. & Black, K. 2003. Diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound for emergency physicians. Ultrasound, 25(10):60

Eckert, K., Janssen, N., Ackermann, O., Schweiger, B., Radeloff, E. & Liedgens, P. 2014 Ultrasound diagnosis of supracondylar fractures in children. Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg., 40:159–168

Chen, K.C., Chor-Ming, A., Chong, C.F. & Wang, T.L. 2016. An overview of point-of-care ultrasound for soft tissue and musculoskeletal applications in the emergency department, Journal of Intensive Care, 4:55

This post was copyedited by Dr. Mandy Peach

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EM Reflections – April 2018

Thanks to Dr. Joanna Middleton for leading the discussions this month

Edited by Dr David Lewis 

 


 

Top tips from this month’s rounds:

 

Ondansetron (Zofran) and QTi

Globe Rupture

Ovarian Torsion

 


 

Ondansetron (Zofran) and QTi

  • Ondansetron prolongs QTi in a dose-dependent manner
  • Patient is most at risk for an arrhythmia when peak serum levels are reached
    • Largest difference in QTi was found at 15 minutes (IV), but has seen to persist up to 120 min in heart failure patients.
  • Arrhythmia after a single dose is EXCEEDINGLY RARE
    • No reports of arrhythmia after a single dose of oral ondansetron.
    • Consider ECG monitoring (or use another anti-emetic agent) in patients who are receiving IV ondansetron with other arrhythmogenic factors such as QTi prolonging agents or electrolyte abnormalities

Ondansetron and QTc Prolongation: Clinical Significance in the ED

 


 

Globe Rupture

  • When should you suspect?
    • Mechanism – severe blunt, penetrating, metal-on-metal
  • Signs of open globe include:
    • penetrating lid injury,
    • bullous subconjunctival hemorrhage
    • shallow anterior chamber
    • blood in the anterior chamber (hyphema),
    • peaked pupil
    • iris disinsertion (iridodialysis)
    • lens dislocation, and
    • vitreous hemorrhage. Loss of red reflex can indicate vitreous hemorrhage or retinal detachment.

The EyeRounds.org website has some useful tutorials.

 

Management 

  • Stop Examination
  • NO PATCH – Use Eyes Shield
  • Consult Ophthalmology immediately
  • NPO, Tetanus, IV Antibiotics, analgesia and antiemetics

Download (PDF, 181KB)

 


 

Ovarian Torsion

  • Uptodate:  It is one of the most common gynecologic emergencies and may affect females of all ages
  • Most common ages 20-50 years
  • Acute onset pain with adnexal mass
  • As size of mass increases, risk of torsion increases
    • #1 RF is ovarian mass >5 cm
    • benign > malignant
  • Increased risk during pregnancy, fertility treatments
  • U/S test of choice, although normal doppler does not rule out torsion
  • CT not diagnostic, although if you had a CT that didn’t show an ovarian mass of >5cm, unlikely it was torsion…
  • 86-95% of patients with torsion have a mass (exception – pediatric population – more likely to have torsion with normal ovaries)
  • Pediatric patients – early surgical detorsion more likely to be successful
  • >36 hours – non-viable

A useful recent review can be viewed here

CoreEM provides another useful summary (as well as a huge amount of other EM Topics)

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Trauma Reflections – April 2018

Thanks to Dr. Andrew Lohoar and Sue Benjamin for leading the discussions this month

 


 

Major points of interest:

 

A) Managing airway in severely head injured patient

Intubate GCS < 5 prior to CT scan or after? Good discussion ensued. The bottom line – with a well-placed i-gel LMA and spontaneous respirations with O2 sats of 99%, obtaining CT to rule out potentially correctable brain injury is the priority. Intubation on return to ED from DI should be done using appropriate techniques and medications to minimize surge in ICP – SEE THIS PODCAST

 

B) He is on Riveroxaban? That’s just great..

Trauma patient on NOAC/DOAC can be a challenge. Only medication with true reversal agent is dabigatran (Praxbind 5G IV). Consider Octaplex until true reversal agents for the Xa inhibitors become available. Remember TXA!

 

C) Trauma transfers from other centers

Expectation is trauma activation for all major trauma transfers, even if “direct” for a consultant.

 

D) Post intubation analgesia and sedation – “Is he hungry?”

No he isn’t! – biting the ET tube means it is time to crank up the meds. Infusions are superior to push dosing. Analgesia is often given in inadequate doses or not at all. Also consider the need for larger doses of opioids in patients on methadone.

 

E) Disposition from Emergency Department

NB Trauma Program Policy 2.4-010, which has long been approved by LMAC – commit this to memory!

“The TTL, in consultation with other inpatient services, shall determine the most appropriate service and level of care for admission, transfer or discharge.”

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Pre-hospital Airway Management – the bottom line

Study review of recent Airway World Webinar.

Reviewed by David Lewis and Jay Mekwan

The study: Retrospective Data Review conducted in Australia investigating rates of successful RSI by intensive care paramedics.

Rationale: Controversial whether RSI should be completed pre-hospital as unsuccessful attempts can result in patient complications.

Results: First pass success rate of 89.4% with low rates of complications – hypoxia (1.3%) and hypotension (5.2%).

Bottom line:  Appropriately trained air transport paramedics can perform RSI pre-hospital with high levels of success.

 

The study: Retrospective review of a global database tracking critical care transport program. Looked at first pass success attempts at tracheal intubation in the field

Rationale: Critical care transport teams are the first point of critical care contact for acutely unwell patients. Tracheal intubation can be a lifesaving intervention performed while transporting to a tertiary care center.

Results: First attempt intubation success was higher in adult focused critical care transport paramedics, regardless of the age of the patient (>86%).

Bottom Line: Experience may be a significant factor for intubation success. Experienced intubators have better success rates in all patient age groups.

 

The study: Retrospective chart review of air medical patient records where cricothyrotomy was performed to assess frequency, success and technique.

Rationale: When all other airway maneuvers fail, cricothyrotomy is a potentially lifesaving skill.

The results: Performance of cricothyrotomy is rare (<1% of over 22,000 patients), but when performed had 100% success rate.

Bottom Line: Although a rarely performed skill, Helicopter Emergency Medicine Service providers can successfully perform cricothyrotomy when needed.

 

The study: Multicenter randomized clinical trial comparing outcomes in patients who were either intubated or bagged following out of hospital cardiorespiratory arrest.

Rationale: Bag mask ventilation is an easier clinical technique to perform during CPR and previously reported as superior than intubation in terms of survival. Neurological outcomes at 28 days post arrest had not been reported.

Results: No difference in rates of survival or neurological at 28 days between bagged or intubated patients. Bag mask ventilation was associated with higher regurgitation rates and, in general, were more difficult airways to manage.

Bottom line: We don’t know if bag mask ventilation or intubation is superior. More research needed.

This post was copyedited by Mandy Peach

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Great ideas and making things better

I heard Dr. Dylan Blacquiere speaking on the radio while driving home after one of those busy D2 shifts on Friday, and it really cheered me up to hear him describe how we all in Saint John are leading the way in managing acute stroke care. http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1152508483846
From EMS, through Emergency Medicine, diagnostic and intervention radiology, internal medicine and neurology, Saint John Regional Hospital (probably more appropriately Saint John University Hospital) provides a world class service for stroke patients in New Brunswick.
This got me thinking about many of the other innovations and ideas that we continue to push forward locally, especially relating to emergency medicine, and how important it is not to let ourselves become disillusioned by busy shifts, perceived administrative inertia, perceived injustices, crowding and many of the negatives we face, and will likely continue to face for sometime.
To name but a few, we can be proud of the integrated STEMI program we have from EMS to Cath Lab, the Point of Care Ultrasound program that leads in this nationally and beyond, the new Trauma Team leadership program, the patient wellness initiatives such as the photography competition corridor that make things just a little brighter for patients, the regionally dominant and growing simulation program, the regional and local nursing education programs, the nationally unique and hugely popular 3 year EM residency program, the impact of our faculty on medical education at DMNB, the leading clinical care provided by a certified faculty of emergency physicians, our website, our multidisciplinary M&M and quality programs, many of the research initiatives underway including development of an ECMO/ECPR program with the NB Heart Centre, improving detection of domestic violence, innovations around tackling crowding, preventing staff burnout, better radiology requesting, encouraging exercise prescriptions, and much more.
I was particularly impressed how Dylan explained the integrative approach that was required to improve stroke care, and how that was achieved here. There are many other areas that we can also improve, innovate and lead in. Every day we see ways to make things better.
I hope that at this point in our department’s journey, we can continue to make the changes that matter, for patients, our departmental staff, physicians, nurses and support staff alike.
I encourage all of us to think of one area we can improve, to plan for change and for us all to support each other to achieve those improvements. Some of our residents are embarking on very interesting projects, such as designing early pregnancy clinic frameworks, models to improve performance under stress, and simulating EMS ECPR algorithms – all new innovations, not just chart reviews of what we are already doing. I encourage us all to support them, and others with these projects, and to begin to create innovation priorities for the department.
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EM Reflections – January 2018

Thanks to Dr Joanna Middleton for leading the discussion this month and providing these tips and references.

Edited by Dr David Lewis 

 

  1. Occult Fractures of the Upper Limb

  2. Door to Needle/Balloon Times

  3. Mycotic Aneurysms

  4. CME Quiz


Occult Fractures of the Upper Limb

In patients (particularly the elderly)who present with upper limb pain following a fall or other trauma, be careful not to miss an occult fracture. Localization may be impaired by dementia, acute confusion or other soft tissue injuries. Commonly missed fractures of the upper limb include:

  • Clavicle fracture
  • Supracondylar fracture
  • Radial Head/Neck fracture
  • Buckle fractures of the radius/ulna
  • Scaphoid fracture
  • Carpal dislocation
  • Any impacted fracture

Impacted fractures of the humeral neck may still allow some shoulder joint movement. Pain can be referred to the elbow (just as some hip injuries have pain referred to the knee).

When a fracture is strongly suspected ensure that the entire bone is included in the radiograph. If localization is impaired consider obtaining radiographs of the entire limb, starting with the most symptomatic area. Also follow the old mantra – “include the joint above and below” when ordering radiographs for suspected fracture.

Commonly missed fractures in the ED

Misses and Errors in Upper Limb Trauma Radiographs

 


Strategies to reduce door to ballon time

Delays in door to balloon time for the treatment of STEMI have been shown to increase mortality.

 

 

JACC 2006 Click on here for full text

 

BMJ 2009 – Click here for full text

 

This evidence has led to an international effort to establish strategies that can reduce door to balloon times

This rural program in the USA published their strategy for reducing door to ballon times below 90mins over a 4 year period. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109710043810. Their strategies included the following:

2005
• Community hospital physicians visited by interventional cardiologist with recommendations to:

∘ Perform ECG within 10 min of arrival for chest pain patients

∘ Communicate with PCI center physicians via dedicated STEMI hotline

∘ Treat and triage patients without consulting with primary physicians

∘ Give aspirin 325 mg chewed, metoprolol 5 mg IV × 3 when not contraindicated, heparin 70 U/kg bolus without infusion, sublingual nitroglycerin or optional topical nitropaste without routine intravenous infusion, and clopidogrel 600 mg PO

∘ Eliminate intravenous infusions of heparin and nitroglycerin.

2006
• Nurse coordinator hired to oversee program and communicate with emergency department personnel at all referring hospitals.

• Recommendations for medications listed above were formally endorsed for all STEMI patients.

• Formal next-day feedback provided to referring hospitals, including diagnostic and treatment intervals and patient outcomes.

• Quarterly “report cards” issued to each referring hospital emergency department.

2007
• PCI hospital emergency physicians directly activated the interventional team (instead of discussing it first with the interventional cardiologist on call).

• A group page was implemented for simultaneous notification of all members of the interventional team and catheterization laboratory staff of an incoming STEMI patient.
ECG = electrocardiogram; IV = intravenous; PCI = percutaneous coronary intervention; PO = by mouth; STEMI = ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction.

 

However recent commentaries have highlighted the pitfall of this metric

 

The Challenges and Pitfalls of Door-to-Balloon Time as a Performance Metric

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/537538

 

and further evidence has shown no improvement in mortality despite reducing door to balloon times. However, it should be noted that these centres were already achieving < 90 min.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1208200

This may be a result of multiple confounding factors:

total ischemic time may be a more important clinical variable than door-to-balloon time

it has been suggested that the association between door-to-balloon time and mortality may be affected by an “immigration bias” – healthier patients are likely to have shorter door-to-balloon times than are sicker patients with more complex conditions, for whom treatment may be delayed because of the time needed for medical stabilization

 

Whilst strategies to ever reduce door to balloon times may not be the correct focus to reduce overall mortality, it is clear that the presence of significant delays (>90mins) is associated with increased mortality.

 


Mycotic Aneurysms

Any kind of infected aneurysm, regardless of its pathogenesis. Such aneurysms may result from bacteremia and embolization of infectious material, which cause superinfection of a diseased and roughened atherosclerotic surface.

 

Aneurysmal degeneration of the arterial wall as a result of infection that may be due to bacteremia or septic embolization 

  • Symptoms:  pulsatile mass, bruit, fever
  • Risk Factors:  arterial injury, infection, atherosclerosis, IV drug use
  • #1 cause = staph, #2 = salmonella

Download (PDF, 1.14MB)

 


 

CME QUIZ

EM Reflections - Jan 18 - CME Quiz

EM Reflections – Jan 18 – CME Quiz

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Trauma Reflections – December 2017

Thanks to Dr. Andrew Lohoar and Sue Benjamin for leading the discussions this month

 


 

Major points of interest:

 

A) Burns – Get out your crayons……

Accurate documentation of total body surface involved is key to determination of appropriate initial fluid resuscitation. Parkland formula = 4ml Ringer’s lactate x %BSA x kg – 1⁄2 in first 8 hours. Only count 2nd and 3rd degree burns. Lund and Browder documentation sheets. Urinary output will influence adjustment of fluid rates, so careful documentation of ins/outs is important.

B) Trauma in Maine – Get me out of here!

Canadian citizens injured in the U.S. often are transferred to NB for further investigation and management. TCP does NOT coordinate these transfers. Expectation is that the TTL will communicate with the sending physician and/or receiving consultant and manage as we would any other transfer from another facility.

C) Trauma transfers from other centers

Expectation is trauma activation for all major trauma transfers, even if “direct” for a consultant.

D) Crash 3- We are recruiting….

We are recruiting to the CRASH 3 study. Please familiarize yourself with eligibility criteria – adult, TBI < 3 hours isolated TBI.

E) Pre-alert of consultants – “Call me back when he gets there…”

In cases where immediate need for surgical consultation is clear, TTL should “pre-alert” consultants with ETA. Simultaneous arrival of consultant and patient is the goal.

F) Trauma activation package

Folder box on counter in room #19 has trauma activation packages – one stop shopping for all documents needed. Please fill out ‘MD Trauma Activation Log’ for every activation.
“SJRH ED Trauma Process Checklist” is in package and is a very useful prompt. Call it overhead. Put on a sticker.

G) Documentation

Documentation is important. Consider verbalizing full physical exam during secondary survey for documentation RN to chart on page 3 of trauma notes. MD can sign these notes. This will free up space on ED chart for “higher level” documentation such as list of injuries and treatments.

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