“At work, at home”

As I began a new role with WorkSafeNB, alongside ongoing work in Emergency Care, I thought that perhaps it was timely to reflect on some of the best ways that we can all improve our health and the health of our patients, whether at work, or at home. Too often, we equate our health with how we feel, what pills we take, or how often we see a nurse or doctor. We all have a much greater influence and control over the quiet processes underpinning our physical and mental health than we are aware of.

How can we, as a society, achieve mindfulness that while some parts of our bodies (neurons) are as old as we are, others (skin, lungs, liver and even our heart) are replaced over time, cell by cell? That the food we eat is not just fuel for our bodies, but also supplies the building blocks – the replacement parts for our organs? To consider that when we drink that bottle of sugary pop to wash down the nachos or pizza, we should not be surprised if the body we build, over time, reflects those choices. If we sit all day, every day, and then suddenly need to run to catch a bus, or climb a flight of stairs, is it surprising that our leg muscles cry out in protest, and our heart pounds to alert us to its stress?

I believe that 2017 is as good a year as any for us as a society, and as individuals, to make some changes, so that in 2018, 2028 and beyond, we have a little bit more health, and a little less “health care” in our lives. How does that relate to work? Let’s look at a few scenarios: working, being unemployed, disability, going back to work and time spent at home.

Working: In general, going to work is good for us. Working is the most common way to make a living and attain financial independence. We know that long spells without work are harmful to physical and mental health. Earning enough money to eat well, to afford leisure, to reduce stress around meeting payments is likely to benefit our health. Work also meets many psychosocial needs including identity and providing a purpose in life.

However, many jobs pose both physical and psychological hazards that can risk health. These might include the dangers associated with construction, operating machinery or performing repetitive tasks, or may simply be the amount of sitting down at work. People who sit for prolonged periods of time have a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercise regularly.

Unemployment: There is a strong association between not working and being in poor health. Unemployed people die earlier, have more physical and mental health issues, and use medical resources more frequently.

Disability: Injured and ill workers need the time and medical interventions provided to them by workers’ compensation, or other insurance, to recover from their injury or illness. However, they too will suffer the ill effects of being off work for extended periods of time.

Going back to work: For the most part, the negative effects of not working can be reversed by going back to work. Disabled and sick individuals should be encouraged and supported to return to some form of work as soon as possible, when their health condition permits. Again, this helps to promote recovery and rehabilitation; leads to better physical and mental health outcomes; improves their economic position and improves quality of life overall.

At home: Many of the factors that influence health in the workplace also apply at home and in all other settings. Better food, less sitting, more exercise, more relaxation, and active community engagement all improve our health and wellbeing.

We all know these things to be true. Physicians and politicians talk about educating the public. And yet rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, mental health issues and many other chronic illnesses continue to increase. So, while we must continue to promote healthy choices, it is clear that education and information are not very effective without systemic change.

Over the past century, major health improvements and increased life expectancy came about because of clean water and rapid declines in infectious disease, including immunization policy, as well as broad economic growth, rising living standards, and improved nutritional status. Much of this change has been at a societal level, rather than individual – in other words, ordinary people didn’t really need to make any special effort to benefit from these things. More recent smaller gains have resulted from advances in treatment of cardiovascular disease and control of its risk factors, such as smoking.

Frieden’s “Health Impact Pyramid” clearly shows that if we want to improve health, the most effective and straightforward means is through improving socio-economic factors. However, the next level of action is challenging. “Changing the context to make individuals’ default decisions healthy” may sound to some a little too much like the “nanny state” or “big brother.” But does true independent individual choice exist? We tend to eat similar foods to those around us – think of the difference you notice when you travel to another culture. The milk we drink, the bread we eat – as individuals, we do not control the ingredients. We have similar habits to those around us – think social media, cars we drive, holidays we celebrate. These choices all contain elements that are beyond our control, yet they influence our health every day. Individual choices will move in a healthier direction when government, industry and community leadership come together to establish a healthier environment.

I will sign off with my suggested prescriptions for 2017. These are all achievable, without a major amount of effort, at minimal cost, but with major potential benefit:

Prescription for Workers:

Engage in your job. Remain as physically active as possible at work – stand rather than sit, for periods of time; use the stairs rather than the elevator. Eat well – pack a salad for lunch; don’t bring unhealthy sugary snacks to work. Take regular breaks, each day, each week, and use your vacation to renew body and mind. Safety – always take full safety precautions; never operate dangerous machinery when fatigued, distracted or intoxicated; report any dangers you discover.

Prescription for Employers:

Engage your workers. Provide opportunity for physical activity. Facilitate options for healthy eating. Schedule workers appropriately, allowing adequate rest periods. Provide support for stressed, sick, or injured workers. And of course, always provide a safe work environment, cultivating a safety culture where workers are comfortable discussing dangers and precautions.

Prescription for Decision Makers (Government, Healthcare Providers, Industry, etc.):

Continue to work towards full employment. Promote exercise, and make it easier for all to exercise safely – with walking paths, cycle lanes and paths, safe crosswalks. Encourage a better general diet – create incentives for healthy choices. Encourage and incentivize the healthcare sector to make cost effective choices for treatment and investigation. Prioritize health and prevention of disease when making policy decisions – factor in long term investment and cost savings over short term gains. Help create a healthy, safe culture for all.

Prescription for All of us at Home:

Let’s think about what food we buy – we are likely to eat it! We are what we eat (and drink) – it is not just fuel. Don’t drink sugary beverages – they will damage our livers and increase our chance of diabetes and obesity. Don’t smoke – it kills – and help is available to stop. Stand up, walk around, then walk some more. There are 24 hours in a day – why not spend at least half an hour exercising? Spend some time with friends and family, and spend some time alone, thinking.

Here’s to a healthier 2017, at work, and at home.

Dr. Paul Atkinson MB MA FRCPC
Professor and Research Program Director
Emergency Medicine
Dalhousie University
Saint John Regional Hospital
Saint John, NB E2L 4L2Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine Research Committee,
Dalhousie University in New Brunswick

Chief Medical Officer, WorkSafeNB

Senior Editor, Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine

paul.atkinson@dal.ca

@Eccucourse

Dr Paul Atkinson

 

For original article in OPUS MD and French version see below.

Download (PDF, 205KB)

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New SJRHEM Course – Debriefing Skills for Simulation – The Basics

New SJRHEM Course – Debriefing Skills for Simulation – The Basics

Who is this for?

If you are interested in using simulation for education in healthcare, then this is for you! We aim to give you the basic skills needed to start debriefing in your own institution. This is a practical course with lots of opportunities to debrief.

 

Download (PDF, 254KB)

 

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SJRHEM Research Report – September 2017

 

Summer 2017 has been productive for the Horizon / Dal NB emergency medicine research team. We are pleased that there continues to be a high level engagement from our department and from colleagues in other departments in the projects. A big thanks to Jackie, James and others listed below for all their hard work. We are also honoured to have had an opportunity to publish with some big names in emergency medicine including Jerry Hoffman, Scot Weingart, Simon Carley and others.

Please do not hesitate to ask Jackie, James or me about getting involved as a topic expert or team member in a 2017/18 project. Contact Chris Vaillancourt, Cheri Adams, David Lewis, Jay Mekwan, Jo Ann Talbot, Mike Howlett, or anyone else listed below to chat about what is involved and their experience.

We are looking forward to our annual research rounds in November.


Presentations

We had a successful CAEP in June, with 15 abstract presentations – these can be seen here https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/canadian-journal-of-emergency-medicine/issue/DE69CB0B8806C073C42126337B1A814F

and here http://sjrhem.ca/?s=CAEP17

 


Publications and manuscript submissions:

Published

Mackay J, Atkinson P, Palmer E, et al. (June 23, 2017) Alternate Access to Care: A Cross Sectional Survey of Low Acuity Emergency Department Patients. Cureus 9(6): e1385. doi:10.7759/cureus.1385

Hayre J, Rouse C, French J, Sealy B, Fraser J, Erdogan M, Watson I, Chisholm A, Benjamin S, Green R, Atkinson P. A traumatic tale of two cities: a comparison of outcomes for adults with major trauma who present to differing trauma centres in neighbouring Canadian provinces. CJEM. 2017 Jul 13:1-9. doi: 10.1017/cem.2017.352.

Massaro PA, Kanji A, Atkinson P, Pawsey R, Whelan T. Is computed tomography-defined obstruction a predictor of urological intervention in emergency department patients presenting with renal colic? Canadian Urological Association Journal. 2017;11(3-4):88-92. doi:10.5489/cuaj.4143.

Featured in September CJEM (in 2 weeks): Jacqueline Fraser, Paul Atkinson, Audra Gedmintas, Michael Howlett , Rose McCloskey, James French. A comparative study of patient characteristics, opinions, and outcomes, for patients who leave the emergency department before medical assessment. Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. Vol. 19, No. 5. Sept 2017.

At work, at home. Opus MD. NBMS 2017. https://goo.gl/2kvjvX

Accepted for publication

Geoffrey J. Hoffman, PhD, Jerome R. Hoffman, MA MD,  Michael Howlett MD, Paul Atkinson MB MA. CoPayment. Medical Insurance is for non-routine events. CJEM.

Paul Atkinson MB MA, Eddy Lang MDCM, Meaghan Mackenzie BSc, Rashi Hirandani BSc, Rebecca Lys MSc, Megan Laupacis BScH , Heather Murray MD, MSc. The Choosing Wisely campaign will not impact physician behaviour and choices. CJEM

Peter Cameron, Simon Carley, Scott Weingart, Paul Atkinson. Social media has created emergency medicine celebrities who now influence practice more than published evidence. CJEM

Jim Ducharme, Sam Campbell, Paul Atkinson. Burnout is inevitable in clinical emergency medicine practice. CJEM

Submitted for publication

Mazurek A, Atkinson P, Hubacek J, Lutchmedial S. Is there a relationship between frequency of presentation and quality of care for ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction?

Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Sebastian de Haan, MBChB; Hein Lamprecht, MBChB; Michael K Howlett MD, MHSA; Anil Adisesh MBChB, MSc, MD; Paul R Atkinson MB BCh BAO MA. A Comparison of Work Stressors in Higher and Lower Resourced Emergency Medicine Health Settings: An International Survey. CJEM.

Hein H Lamprecht MBChB; Paul R Atkinson MB BCh BAO MA,; Richard Hoppmann MD; Gustav Lemke MBChB MMed; Daniel van Hoving MBChB MMed MSc; Lee A Wallis MBChB MD; Thinus F Kruger MBChB MMed MD DSc.  Poor return on investment: Investigating barriers causing low credentialing yields in a low-resourced clinical ultrasound training program. CJEM.

Hein H Lamprecht MBChB; Paul R Atkinson MB BCh BAO MA ; Richard Hoppmann MD; Lee A Wallis MBChB MD, Thinus F Kruger MBChB MMed MD DSc. Clinical Ultrasound Credentialing Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Critical Analysis. CJEM.

K McGivery, P Atkinson, D Lewis, L Taylor, J Fraser et al. Emergency Department Ultrasound for the detection of B lines in the Early Diagnosis of Acute Decompensated Heart Failure: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. CJEM

D McLean, L Hewitson, D Lewis, J Fraser, P Atkinson, J Mekwan, J French, G Verheul. ULTRASIM: ULtrasound in TRAuma SIMulation. CJEM

Rouse C, Hayre J, French J, Sealy B, Fraser J, Erdogan M, Watson I, Chisholm A, Benjamin S, Green R, Atkinson P. A Traumatic Tale of Two Cities: Does EMS level of care and transportation model affect survival in trauma patients at level 1 trauma centres in two neighbouring Canadian provinces? Emergency Medicine Journal.


Current Projects

We continue to recruit for CRASH3 – please consider any adult patient who presents with an isolate head injury within 3 hours of injury for inclusion.

Thank you for your continued support for the Burnout (Critical Dynamics and Crucial Conversations) project which is ongoing.

The epinephrine auto-injector education project is progressing well.

We are finalizing data analysis on SHoC-ED1 and SHoC-ED2 studies and hope to submit for publication in the fall.

We are preparing manuscripts for publication on several completed projects including Head CT at night, Intimate Partner Violence in the ED, Exercise prescription in the ED, Choosing Wisely (Low Back Pain Imaging), COPD management, Crowding Scores,


New Projects underway

Following the success at the Dragon’s Den in the spring of 2017, we have received REB approval for our ECPR (ED-ECMO) project and have begun phase 1. Phase 2 will involve in-situ simulation – coming up this fall.

The Sonography in Hypotension and Cardiac Arrest Series  continues with 2 systematic reviews – – PoCUS in Hypotension. A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis and Echo in Life Support – A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


Proposed new projects and a chance to get involved

There are opportunities to supervise or co-supervise a resident of medical student project starting this fall.

Potential topic areas include:

First trimester bleeding, low back pain in the ED, age-adjusted D-Dimer in DVT, predictive markers in shock, Informatics – admission predictors and more.


Find out more about these projects and more at http://sjrhem.ca/programs/research/

 

Regards,

Paul

on behalf of the research team

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EM Reflections – September 2017

Thanks to Dr Paul Page for leading the discussion

Edited by Dr David Lewis

Top tips from this month’s rounds:

  1. Non-specific Abdo pain – Appendicitis is always high on the differential 

  2. Intoxicated patients are at high risk for Head Injury

  3. Acute Heart Failure has a higher mortality than acute NSTEMI

  4. Enhancing Morbidity and Mortality Rounds Quality


Non-specific Abdo pain – Appendicitis is always high on the differential 

Does a normal white count exclude appendicitis?No – Clinicians should be wary of reliance on either elevated temperature or total WBC count as an indicator of the presence of appendicitis. The ROC curve suggests there is no value of total WBC count or temperature that has sufficient sensitivity and specificity to be of clinical value in the diagnosis of appendicitis. Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Oct;11(10):1021-7.Clinical value of the total white blood cell count and temperature in the evaluation of patients with suspected appendicitis.

Does a normal CRP exclude appendicitis?No – Acad Emerg Med. 2015 Sep;22(9):1015-24. doi: 10.1111/acem.12746. Epub 2015 Aug 20. Accuracy of White Blood Cell Count and C-reactive Protein Levels Related to Duration of Symptoms in Patients Suspected of Acute Appendicitis.

 

A useful review on the diagnosis of appendicitis – JAMA. 2007 Jul 25; 298(4): 438–451. Does This Child Have Appendicitis?

 

Summary of Accuracy of Symptoms

Download (PDF, 124KB)

Summary of Accuracy of Signs

Download (PDF, 117KB)

 

 

Finally – Don’t forget Emergency Physicians can learn how to use Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS – ?Appendicitis) which can significantly improve diagnostic accuracy in experienced hands. Experience comes with practice.

J Med Radiat Sci. 2016 Mar; 63(1): 59–66. Published online 2016 Jan 20. doi:  10.1002/jmrs.154
Ultrasound of paediatric appendicitis and its secondary sonographic signs: providing a more meaningful finding

See SJRHEM PoCUS Quick Reference

PoCUS – Measurements and Quick Reference

 


 

Intoxicated patients are at high risk for Head Injury

Intoxicated patients with minor head injury are at significant risk for intracranial injury, with 8% of intoxicated patients in our cohort suffering clinically important intracranial injuries. The Canadian CT Head Rule and National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study criteria did not have adequate sensitivity for detecting clinically significant intracranial injuries in a cohort of intoxicated patients.

ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2013; 20:754–760. Traumatic Intracranial Injury in Intoxicated Patients With Minor Head Trauma

Canadian CT Head Rule not applicable to intoxicated patients (GCS<13)

Download (PDF, 76KB)

 

 

CMPA provide useful guidance on the duties expected in the management of intoxicated ED patients.

 

All intoxicated patients, even the so called ‘frequent fliers’ require a full assessment, including history (from 3rd parties if available), full examination (especially neurological), blood glucose level, neurological observations, and this assessment should be carefully documented.

 

Can we defer CT imaging for intoxicated patients presenting with possible brain injury?

This study suggests that deferring CT imaging while monitoring improving clinical status in alcohol-intoxicated patients with AMS and possible ICH is a safe ED practice. This practice follows the individual emergency physician’s comfort in waiting and will vary from one physician to another.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735675716306805

 

Download (PDF, 172KB)

 

 


 

Acute Heart Failure has a higher mortality than acute NSTEMI

Cardiac markers are routinely used to exclude NSTEMI in patient presenting with chest pain. However the diagnosis of acute heart failure (AHF) is mainly clinical, including CXR, ECG, PoCUS.

Ultrasound B Lines and Heart Failure

 

There is good evidence that BNP can be helpful in ruling out AHF – BMJ 2015;350:h910

Recommended Link – Emergency Medicine Cardiac Research and Education Group

Download (PDF, 1.32MB)

 

 

Emergency Treatment of Acute Congestive Heart Failure

Most recent recommendations from Canadian Cardiovascular Society (2012)

  • 1 – We recommend supplemental oxygen be considered for patients who are hypoxemic; titrated to an oxygen saturation > 90% (Strong Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence).

Values and preferences. This recommendation places relatively higher value on the physiologic studies demonstrating potential harm with the use of excess oxygen in normoxic patients and less value on long-term clinical usage of supplemental oxygen without supportive data.

  • 2 – We recommend CPAP or BIPAP not be used routinely (Strong Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence).

Values and preferences. This recommendation places high weight on RCT data with a demonstrated lack of efficacy and with safety concerns in routine use. Treatment with BIPAP/CPAP might be appropriate for patients with persistent hypoxia and pulmonary edema.

  • 3 – We recommend intravenous diuretics be given as first-line therapy for patients with congestion (Strong Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence).
  • 4 – We recommend for patients requiring intravenous diuretic therapy, furosemide may be dosed intermittently (eg, twice daily) or as a continuous infusion (Strong Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence).
  • 5 – We recommend the following intravenous vasodilators, titrated to systolic BP (SBP) > 100 mm Hg, for relief of dyspnea in hemodynamically stable patients (SBP > 100 mm Hg):
    • i

      Nitroglycerin (Strong Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence);

    • ii

      Nesiritide (Weak Recommendation, High-Quality Evidence);

    • iii

      Nitroprusside (Weak Recommendation, Low-Quality Evidence).

Values and preferences. This recommendation places a high value on the relief of the symptom of dyspnea and less value on the lack of efficacy of vasodilators or diuretics to reduce hospitalization or mortality.

  • 6 – We recommend hemodynamically stable patients do not routinely receive inotropes like dobutamine, dopamine, or milrinone (Strong Recommendation, High-Quality Evidence).

Values and preferences. This recommendation for inotropes place high value on the potential harm demonstrated when systematically studied in clinical trials and less value on potential short term hemodynamic effects of inotropes.

  • 7 – We recommend continuation of chronic β-blocker therapy with AHF, unless the patient is symptomatic from hypotension or bradycardia (Strong Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence).

Values and preferences. This recommendation places higher value on the RCT evidence of efficacy and safety to continue β-blockers, the ability of clinicians to use clinical judgement and lesser value on observational evidence for patients with AHF.

  • 8 – We recommend tolvaptan be considered for patients with symptomatic or severe hyponatremia (< 130 mmol/L) and persistent congestion despite standard therapy, to correct hyponatremia and the related symptoms (Weak Recommendation, Moderate-Quality Evidence).

Values and preferences. This recommendation places higher value on the correction of symptoms and complications related to hyponatremia and lesser value on the lack of efficacy of vasopressin antagonists to reduce HF-related hospitalizations or mortality.

 

Emergency Medicine Cases – Episode 4: Acute Congestive Heart Failure 

In Summary

  • AHF is a serious life-threatening condition in its own right, excluding NSTEMI does not change that. Appropriate management and disposition (almost always admission) is required.
  • Oxygen and intravenous Diuretics are the first-line  treatment
  • Nitrates are recommended in the relief of dyspnea in hemodynamically stable patients (SBP > 100 mm Hg)

 


Enhancing Morbidity and Mortality Rounds Quality

The Ottawa M&M Model

CalderMM-Rounds-Guide-2012

 

 

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“Double double” yellow lines for improved road safety!

When it comes to reducing road deaths and injuries in New Brunswick, perhaps we should be inspired by Voltaire to avoid letting “the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Most serious collisions on our roads result from a combination of problems with road conditions, human factors, technology, and chance. While public safety campaigns and legislation try to affect many of the human factors by highlighting the dangers of distracted driving, intoxication (a subject for another day), and speed; and car manufacturers continue to improve vehicle safety; there is strong evidence that as a society, through improved regulations, we can also save lives by simple changes to road conditions and layout.

According to the world report on road traffic injury prevention, the Dutch policy of sustainable safety divides roads into one of three types according to their function, and then sets speed limits and driving conditions accordingly. These categories are Flow Roads; Distributor Roads; and Residential Roads. For Residential Roads, the needs of non-motorized users take priority, with the use of sidewalks, cycle lanes, crosswalks and slow speed limits. Distributor Roads carry traffic to and from large urban districts, and give equal importance to motorized and non-motorized local traffic, but separate users wherever possible, with variable speed limits. Flow Roads, or arterial roads and highways, are designed to allow through-traffic to go from the place of departure to the destination without interruption. Speed limits are higher, and there should be complete separation of traffic streams. It is on this last point that we in New Brunswick often fail.

While we are fortunate to have many kilometres of twinned highways, we also have several medium volume undivided Arterial Highways such as routes 7 and 11, to name two. And this is where we should consider Voltaire’s observation. We cannot afford to twin all our arterial roads, however we can afford to modify high-risk areas to minimize the chances of major collisions occurring.

If roads did not exist, and we were to ask an engineer to design a safe road for two-way traffic, how likely is it that they would deliberately place oncoming traffic,a mixture of family vehicles and large commercial trucks, heading towards each other at combined speeds of over 200kph separated only by a thin yellow line, encouraging, in places, faster traffic to move into the apposing lane, directly facing oncoming traffic, to pass slower vehicles? Unlikely! So now that we know better, with strong evidence to back up what is essentially good common sense, can we not introduce some simple low cost measures to improve safety?

 

We saw how the government acted quickly to enact “Ellen’s Law” legislating a minimum passing distance of one metre for cars passing cyclists. Should we not consider similar principles for oncoming traffic – perhaps widening the central yellow line to a one metre wide “painted barrier” on fast arterial roads? Kind of like a “double double” yellow line! The addition of central rumble strips to such a widened median, and the erection of central median barriers in high risk areas, with safe passing zones, are all much lower cost interventions than twinning every kilometer of our road network – the perfect solution that will never happen, yet the idea of which stops us implementing other solutions that could save lives. Let’s stop the perfect becoming the enemy of the good when it comes to road safety.

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Medical Student Clinical Pearl – Reversal of Anticoagulation in the Emergency Department

Reversal of Anticoagulation for Bleeding Complications in the ED


Tess Robart, Med 1

Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick, Class of 2020

Reviewed by: Dr David Lewis and Liam Walsh (SJRH Pharmacy)


Clinical Question:

Emergency Departments frequently encounter patients on anticoagulant therapy. How are we currently managing anticoagulation reversal in our ED? How do we approach reversal, considering urgency in the face of major bleeding complications or prior to emergency surgery?

Background:

As result of the narrow therapeutic window of many anticoagulants, treatment presents a significant risk for life-threatening bleeds. Major bleeding involving the gastrointestinal, urinary tract, and soft tissue occurs in up to 6.5% of patients on anticoagulant therapy. The incidence of fatal bleeding is approximately 1% each year (1). Standard therapy for the control of coagulopathy related bleeding has traditionally required the use of available blood products, reversal of drug-induced anticoagulation, and recombinant activated factor VII (rFVIIa). The introduction of new direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), dabigatran, apixaban and rivaroxaban presents the need for a new realm of antidotes and reversal agents.



Indications for Reversal:

Emergency physicians should consider reversal of anticoagulation for patients presenting with bleeding in the case of anticoagulant use, antiplatelet use, trauma, intracranial hemorrhage, stroke, and bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract, deep muscles, retro-ocular region, or joint spaces (2,3). The severity of each hemorrhage should be considered, reversing in cases of shock or if the patient requires blood transfusions because of excessive bleeding (2).

Patients should also undergo reversal of anticoagulation if urgent or emergent surgery is necessary (4).

For most medical conditions requiring anticoagulation, the target international normalized ratio (INR) is 2.0 to 3.0 (5). Notable exceptions to this rule are patients with mechanical heart valves, and antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. These patients require more intense anticoagulation, with target INR values between 2.5-3.5 (5).

The following laboratory assays should be considered, and repeated as clinically indicated (2):

  • PT/INR
  • aPTT
  • TT (thrombin time)
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • CBC

Initial assessment should address the following from a patient history (2):

  • How severe is the bleed, and where is it located?
  • Is the patient actively bleeding now?
  • Which agent is the patient receiving?
  • When was the last dose of anticoagulant administered?
  • Could the patient have taken an unintentional or intentional overdose of anticoagulant?
  • Does the patient have any history of renal or hepatic disease?
  • Is the patient taking other medications that would affect hemostasis?
  • Does the patient have any other comorbidities that would contribute to bleeding risk?

See this article for more details on the management of anticoagulation reversal in the face of major bleeding

It is important to note that not all coagulopathies will be anticoagulant drug induced. After all drug-induced causes have been ruled out, it is appropriate to follow previously established protocols (ie. transfusion protocol).


Table 1: Common Anticoagulants and Drug Reversal Considerations 


Table 2: Anticoagulant Reversal Agents (5)

 


Bottom Line: 

 

Anticoagulation leading to clinically significant bleeding is an issue commonly encountered in the emergency department. Therapies designed to combat and reverse anticoagulation are constantly changing in response to new anticoagulant medications. Emergency physicians must be well versed around anticoagulants commonly used, and recognize the antidotes used to treat their overuse in urgent and emergent situations.

 

 


References:

 

  1. Leissinger C.A., Blatt P.M., Hoots W.K., et al. Role of prothrombin complex concentrates in reversing warfarin anticoagulation: A review of the literature. Am J Hematol. 2008;83:137-43.
  2. Garcia D.A., Crowther M. (2017) Management of bleeding in patients receiving direct oral anticoagulants. Retrieved from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-bleeding-in-patients-receiving-direct-oral-anticoagulants?source=search_result&search=reversal%20of%20anticoagulation&selectedTitle=1~150
  3. UC Davis Health Centre. Reversal of Anticoagulants at UCDMC. Retrieved from Reversal of Anticoagulants at UCDMC – UC Davis Health
  4. Vigue B. Bench-to-bedside review: Optimising emergency reversal of vitamin K antagonists in severe haemorrhage–from theory to practice. Crit Care. 2009;13:209.
  5. Mathew, A. E, Kumar, A. (2010) Focus On: Reversal of Anticoagulation. American College of Emergency Physicians. Retrieved from https://www.acep.org/Clinical—Practice-Management/Focus-On–Reversal-of-Anticoagulation/
  6. Brooks J.C., Noncardiogenic pulmonary edema immediately following rapid protamine administration. Ann Pharmacotherap1999;33(9):927-30.
  7. National Advisory Committee on Blood and Blood Products. Recommendations for Use of Prothrombin Complex Concentrates in Canada. May 16, 2014. http://www.nacblood.ca/resources/guidelines/PCC-Recommendations-Final-2014-05-16.pdf
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Is CT-defined obstruction a predictor of urological intervention in emergency department patients presenting with renal colic?

Larger proximal ureteral stones with severe pain, rather than ureteral obstruction, are associated with urological intervention [excerpt]

…According to the latest Canadian Urological Association guidelines for management of ureteral stones, patients presenting with ureteral stones <5 mm could be managed conservatively, provided that they don’t have infectious symptoms, intolerable pain, or a threat to renal function.1 When urological intervention is contemplated, the decision-making process takes into account patient- related factors (intolerable pain, infectious complications, impending renal failure, coagulopathies and renal anomalies including solitary kidney); and stone-related factors (stone size, location, density, and skin-to-stone distance). However, signs of ureteral obstruction on computed tomography (CT) are not part of the guidelines.

In their study, Massaro et al performed a retrospective review of 195 patients presenting with ureteral stones at a tertiary Canadian centre [@SJRHEM] between 2011 and 2013.2 Forty-two per- cent of the patients presenting with ureteral stones underwent urological intervention, including cystoscopy with retrograde pyelography, placement of ureteric stent, shockwave lithotrip- sy, and/or ureteroscopic laser lithotripsy. A radiologist and a urologist independently reviewed all CT scans for prede ned criteria of ureteral obstruction (no obstruction, partial, or com- plete obstruction) based on degree of hydronephrosis, hydro- ureter, nephromegaly, and perinephric stranding. In addition, the authors examined other potential predictors for interven- tion, including patient demographics, stone size and location, amount of analgesics used, signs and symptoms of infection, serum creatinine, cumulative intravenous uid administered, and the prescription of medical expulsive therapy.

Not surprisingly, the authors found that stone size and location, in addition to cumulative opioid dose, were independent predictors for urological intervention. In fact, every mm increase in stone size increased the likelihood of intervention 2.2 times (odds ratio [OR] 2.17; 95%  [CI] 1.67‒2.85). The OR exceeded unity for stones larger than 4.5 mm, indicating higher likelihood of urological intervention for stones larger than 4.5 mm. Similarly, proximal stones were 4.7 times more likely to require intervention than distal stones (OR 0.21; 95% CI 0.09‒0.49). Finally, every 10 mg increase in morphine administered was associated with a 30% increase in the odds of intervention (OR 1.30; 95% CI 1.07‒1.58). However, degree of obstruction was not an independent predictor of intervention for ureteral stones (OR 1.757; 95% CI 0.899‒3.436). Finally, none of the variables predicted 30-day return to the emergency department (ED). This could be explained by the very low number of returns to the ED in both groups.

Despite its retrospective nature, this study con rms previ- ous studies that ureteral stone size (>4.5 mm), proximal loca- tion, and intractable pain requiring higher doses of opioids are associated with urological intervention. Furthermore, the degree of ureteral obstruction on CT scans did not pre- dict intervention. While CT scan ndings of hydronephrosis, hydroureter, nephromegaly, and perinephric stranding are helpful in diagnosing ureteral stones, they are not helpful in guiding the decision-making process for intervention.

Sero Andonian, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS; Associate Professor of Urology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Cite as: Can Urol Assoc J 2017;11(3-4):93. http://dx.doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.4511

References

  1. Ordon M, Andonian S, Blew B, et al. CUA guideline: Management of ureteral calculi. Can Urol Assoc J 2015;9(11-12):E837-51. https://doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.3483
  2. Massaro PA, Kanji A, Atkinson P, et al. Is computed tomography-de ned obstruction a predictor of urological intervention in emergency department patients presenting with renal colic? Can Urol Assoc J 2017;11(3-4):88-92. http://dx.doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.4143

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