UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Stingers and Burners

Keywords: Cervical spine, neuropraxia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 7/15/2018)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Stingers and Burners

Also known as transient brachial plexus neuropraxia, “dead arm syndrome,” or brachial plexopathy. Symptoms such as pain, burning, and/or paresthesias in a single upper limb, lasting seconds to minutes.

Usually involves more than one dermatome

May be associated with weakness.

               -Common in collision sports that involve tackling, such as football.

               -Most common C-spine injury in American Football.  

               -More than 50% of college football players sustain a stinger each year

-Having 1 stinger increases the risk of having another 3 fold

Mechansims: C5, C6 (deltoid,biceps) most commonly involved

-Traction injury due to forcible lateral neck flexion away with downward displacement of arm

-Nerve root compression during combined neck extension and lateral neck flexion

-Direct trauma to the brachial plexus in the supraclavicular fossa

Physical Exam:

-Examine muscle strength in the deltoid, biceps, and infraspinatus muscles

-Check sensation and reflexes in upper extremities

-Check C-spine range of motion and perform Spurling’s Test

Imaging:

Consider MRI for symptoms lasting more than 24 hours, bilateral symptoms or for recurrent stingers

Return to play guidelines vary:

-No neurologic symptoms

-Can return to play in same game if symptoms resolve within 15 minutes and no prior stingers that season.

-If 2nd stinger in that season, do NOT return to play in the same game

-if 3rd stinger in a season, consider imaging before return to play and consider sitting out the remainder of the season.

 


Category: Pediatrics

Title: Abdominal Migraine: Finding a needle in a haystack

Keywords: Pediatrics, Migraine, Abdominal Migraine, Headache (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/13/2018 by Megan Cobb, MD
Click here to contact Megan Cobb, MD

Abdominal pain in children can be just as frustrating as dizzy in the elderly. Your exam is targeted at quickly ruling out acute pathologies, but then what? The diagnosis is often  functional gastrointestinal disorders, like the ever exciting constipation. Abdominal migraine (AM) is an additional entity to consider during your emergency department evaluation.

 

The following factors are often associated with AM: 

- peak incidence at 7 years old

- paroxsymal, periumbilical abdominal pain lasting more than 1 hour

- family history of migraine

- episodes not otherwise explained by known pathology. 

AM can be associated with headache, pallor, anorexia, photophobia, and fatigue. There are multiple theories on the pathogenesis, which can be found in the article cited below. If there is a known history, and the patient is presenting with an exacerbation, the treatment protocols for migraine headache may be employed with good success. 

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Bottom Line:

AM is increasingly recognized as a source of recurrent abdominal pain in children. If other organic pathologies can be ruled out, this may be an important diagnosis to consider so your patient can get the appropriate follow up and outpatient management. 

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Category: Toxicology

Title: Utility of physostigmine in antimuscarinic delirium

Keywords: antimuscarinic/anticholinergic toxicity, reversal of delirium (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/12/2018 by Hong Kim, MD, MPH
Click here to contact Hong Kim, MD, MPH

From 1960s to 1970s, physostigmine was routinely administered as part of the "coma cocktail." Since the publication of two cases by Pentel (1980) that resulted in asystole after administration of physostigmine in TCA poisoned patient, its use has declined significantly.

However, physostigmine still possess limited but clinically useful role in the management of patients with antimuscarinic/anticholinergic induced delirium.

Recently, a prospective observational study was performed in the use of physostigmine when recommended by a regional poison center.

In 1 year study period, physostigmine was recommended by a regional poison center in 125 of 154 patients with suspected antimuscarinic/anticholinergic toxicity. 

common exposures were

  1. antihistamines (68%)
  2. analgesics (19%)
  3. antipsychotics (19%)

57 of 125 patients received physostigmine per treating team.

  • median dose of physostigmine administered: 2 mg

Of the remaining patients,

  • 35 patients did not receive any sedative agents
  • 55 received benzodiazepines (56%)
  • others received propofol (n=10), haloperidol (n=8), olanzapine (n=4), dexmedetomidine (n=3), etc.

Delirium control

  • Physostigmine group 79% (45 of 57)
  • No-physostigmine group: 36% (35 of 97)

Adverse events (physostigmine group vs. non-physo group) - no statistically significant difference.

  • Intubation (n=7): 2 (3.5%) vs. 5 (5.2%)
  • physical restraints (n=10): 3 (5.3%) vs. 7 (7.2%)
  • vomiting (n=4): 3 (5.3%) vs. 1 (1.0%)

Conclusion:

Physostigmine can safely control antimuscarinic/anticholinergic-induced delirium.

 

 

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Legionella is an important cause of community-acquired pneumonia. It ranks among the three most common causes of severe CAP leading to ICU admission and carries a high mortality rate – up to 33%. Resulting from inhalation of aerosols containing Legionella species and subsequent lung infection, it is often associated with contaminated air conditioning systems, and other hot and cold water systems.

 

Recommended antibiotic regimens include a fluoroquinolone, either in monotherapy or combined with a macrolide (typically Levaquin or Azithromycin).

 

A retrospective, observational study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy in 2017 looked at 211 patients admitted to the ICU with confirmed severe legionella pneumonia treated with a fluoroquinolone vs a macrolide and monotherapy vs combination therapy. Combination therapy included fluoroquinolone + macrolide, fluoroquinolone + rifampicin, or macrolide + rifampicin.

 

Of these 211 cases, 146 (69%) developed ARDS and 54 (26%) died in the ICU. Mortality was lower in the fluoroquinolone-based group (21%) than in the non-fluoroquinolone based group (39%), and in the combination therapy group (20%) than in the monotherapy group (34%). In a multivariable analysis, fluoroquinolone-based therapy, but not combination therapy was associated with a reduced risk of mortality (HR 0.41).

 

 

Take Home Points:

-Remember, our usual blanket coverage with vanc + zosyn in the ED does not cover atypicals!

-Consider Levaquin instead of Azithro if there is clinical concern for Legionella PNA

           -hyponatremia, abnormal LFTs may be clues in the appropriate context

 

 

 

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Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: New-Onset Diabetes with DKA in Adults

Keywords: Diabetes, DKA (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/7/2018 by Wesley Oliver (Updated: 7/15/2018)
Click here to contact Wesley Oliver

Takeaways

Pearl submitted by James Leonard, PharmD, Clinical Toxicology Fellow
 
A 54-year-old male 1-year post-renal transplant arrives to the emergency department in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). He has no history of diabetes and is not currently taking steroids for immunosuppression. Home medications include tacrolimus, mycophenolate, and hydrochlorothiazide. Is this latent auto-immune diabetes or something else?
 

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Based in part upon Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines, the American College of Emergency Physicians has initiated a Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation Program. Emergency departments (EDs) can be accredited at one of three levels- Gold (Level 1), Silver (Level 2) and Bronze (Level 3). There are various aspects upon which and EDs’ level is determined, including nurse and physician staffing and education, appropriate policies and protocols, quality improvement activities, outcome measures, equipment and the physical environment.


  • The rainy East coast spring has increased tick populations in endemic areas such as Maryland resulting in more tick bites.
  • ED visits for known tick bites present acutely, often with parents bringing in the tick to be identified/tested.
  • Routine serologic testing and antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended after every tick bite.
  • If an attached tick is engorged, identified as I. scapularis, and has been attached for >36 hours, then antibiotic prophylaxis for Lyme can be prescribed if started within 72 hours of tick removal in those patients > 8 years of age
  • Prophylaxis: Single dose of doxycycline 4 mg/kg or 200mg max 
  • If early Lyme Disese is present in the form of the classic rash of Erythema migrans, then treatment is doxycycline, 4 mg/kg or 100mg max BID for patients > 8 years of age or amoxicillin 50 mg/kg per day divided TID with 500 mg max TID in those < 8 years of age for 14 days 
  • Serologic testing is false negative in the first month of testing, and unnecessary in the ED  for acute presentations. 

Category: Neurology

Title: Can my patient with dementia refuse treatment?

Keywords: capacity, dementia, altered mental status, medicolegal, ethics (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/27/2018 by Danya Khoujah, MBBS
Click here to contact Danya Khoujah, MBBS

Medical decision-making capacity refers to the patient’s ability to make informed decisions regarding their care, and emergency physicians are frequently required to assess whether a patient possess this capacity. Patients with acute or chronic neurological diseases (such as dementia) may lack this capacity, and this should be identified, especially in life-threatening situations. The patient must have the ability to:

  • communicate a consistent choice

  • understand (and express) the risks, benefits, alternatives and consequences

  • appreciate how the information applies to the particular situation

  • reason through the choices to make a decision

There are numerous tools that may help with this assessment, but none has been validated in the ED. Be careful of determining that the patient lacks capacity just because of the diagnosis they carry. 

 

BONUS PEARLS:

 

 

  • Capacity is a fluid concept; a patient may have the capacity to make simple decisions but not more complex ones. Capacity may also change over time

  •  

  •  

  • Psychiatry consultation to determine capacity is not obligatory but may be utilized for a second opinion.  

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Volume Responsiveness, Carotid Ultrasound, and the PLR

  • Passive Leg Raise (PLR) is accomplished by starting with the patient at a 45’ semi recumbent position, lowering the body to horizontal, passively raising the patients legs to 45’ for 30-90 seconds, then returning the patient to the semi-recumbent position.
  • To assess volume responsiveness using PLR, you must assess cardiac output (CO) and not simply look at the changes in blood pressure or heart rate.
  • Previous papers have shown EtCO2 to be a reasonable surrogate of CO with PLR when ventilation is unchanged.
  • Another option for measuring CO is carotid ultrasound. One study demonstrated good correlation between carotid ultrasound and invasive measurements on ICU patients.  It is calculated using the equation Diameter * VTi, where VTI is the velocity time integral.
  • Take Home Point - Be sure to measure CO with a PLR to help determine volume responsiveness- EtCO2 or carotid ultrasound can be considered as surrogates of CO.

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ED visits for acute gout increased almost 27% between 2006 & 2014, a 26.8% increase

Presentation: Acute severe pain, swelling, redness, warmth.

Pain peaks between 12 to 24 hours and onset more likely at night

Quiet, calm period between flares vs other arthritic disorders

Signs of inflammation can extend beyond the joint

Normal to low serum urate values have been noted in 12 to 43% of patients with gout flares 

Accurate time for assessment of serum urate is greater than 2 weeks after flare subsides

Most hyperuricemic individuals never experience a clinical event resulting from urate crystal deposition.

Gout flares may occasionally coexist with another type of joint disease (septic joint, psedugout),

A clinical decision rule has shown to be more accurate than clinical diagnosis (17 versus 36%)

*Male sex (2 points)

*Previous patient-reported arthritis flare (2 points)

*Onset within one day (0.5 points)

*Joint redness (1 point)

*First metatarsal phalangeal joint involvement (2.5 points)

*Hypertension or at least one cardiovascular disease (1.5 points)

*Serum urate level greater than 5.88 mg/dL (3.5 points)

 Scoring for low (≤4 points), intermediate (>4 to <8 points), and high (≥8 points) probability of gout identified groups with a prevalence of gout of 2.2, 31.2, and 82.5 percent, respectively.

Consider supplementing your clinical decision with this in the future

 

 

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Children with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) may have brain injuries ranging from mild to severe. The debate over the contribution from intravenous fluids towards poor neurologic outcomes has been ongoing for decades. 

PECARN's large multicenter randomized, controlled trial examined the effects of the rate of administration and the sodium chloride content of intravenous fluids on neurologic outcomes in children with diabetic ketoacidosis may finally put the controversy to rest. There was no difference on significant neurologic outcomes based on the rate (fast vs slow) or concentration (0.9% vs 0.45%) of IV fluid administration.

Clinically apparent brain injury occurred in 12 of 1389 episodes (0.9%) of children in DKA.

Any change in the mental or neurological status of the patient should be concerning for life threatening edema and should be treated with mannitol 1g/kg IV bolus or hypertonic saline (3%) 5-10 mL/kg IV over 30 minutes.

BOTTOM LINE:

"Neither the rate of administration nor the sodium chloride content of intravenous fluids significantly influenced neurologic outcomes in children with diabetic ketoacidosis"

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Although not specifically a part of current recommendations due to lack of data, the AHA has previously recommended shifting upward on the sternum during CPR in the pulseless pregnant patient in order to account for upward displacement of the heart by a gravid uterus. Should the same be done for our obese patients?

Lee et al. performed a retrospective study that reviewed chest CTs to determine the location on the sternum that corresponded to the optimal point of maximal left ventricular diameter (OPLV), in both obese and non-obese patients. 

They found that the OPLV was higher (more cranial) on the sternum for obese patients than for patients with normal weight, although 96% of obese patients' OPLV fell within 2cm of where the guidelines recommend standard hand placement should be, compared to a notable 52% in non-obese patients.

*as measured from the distal end of the sternum

 

Bottom Line: Radiographically, the location on the sternum that corresponds to optimal compression of the LV is more cranial in obese patients than in non-obese patients. It remains to be seen whether the recommendations for hand placement in CPR should be adjusted, but we may want to consider staying within 4cm of the bottom of the sternum in patients of normal weight. 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Concussion Management

Posted: 6/2/2018 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 6/17/2018) (Updated: 6/17/2018)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

Bottom Line:

Less than 1/2 of patients presenting to EDs and being diagnosed with concussion receive mild traumatic brain injury educational materials, and less than 1/2 of patients have seen a clinician for follow up by 3 months after injury.

In order to improve long term outcomes in patients with concusions please remember to provide the patient with approriate discharge instrucitons and strict instructions to follow up on their injury.

Full details of the article in JAMA can be found at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2681571

 

 


Category: Pediatrics

Title: Occult bacteremia in infants

Keywords: Fever, infants, blood culture (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/15/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Takeaways

The rate of occult bacteremia in infants 3 months to 24 months with a temperature higher than 40.5C was slightly higher when compared to those with a temperature higher than 39C.

363 infants (3 months to 24 months) with a fever > 40.5C who were well appearing were evaluated in this study.  4 were diagnosed with occult bacteremia (1.1%).  3 of these were caused by S. pneumoniae and 2 were fully immunized.

A larger sample size is needed to see if reconditions to include empiric blood cultures on this subgroup of patients is warrented.

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Category: Toxicology

Title: Midazolam for agitated patients

Keywords: acute agitation, midazolam, antipsychotics, (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/14/2018 by Hong Kim, MD, MPH (Updated: 7/15/2018)
Click here to contact Hong Kim, MD, MPH

Acutely agitated patients in the emegency room receive single or combination of benzodiazepine (lorazepam vs. midazolam) and antipsychotic (e.g. haloperidol) agents. Recently, use of ketamine has also been advocated to sedate agitated patients.

 

A recently published article compared IM administration several medications to treat acutely agitated patients in the ED. According to established protocol, each medication was administered in predetermined 3 week blocks:

  1. Haloperidol (5 mg)
  2. Ziprasidone (20 mg)
  3. Olanzapine (10 mg)
  4. Midazolam (5 mg)
  5. Haloperidol (10 mg)

Results

N=737 with median age of 40 years, 72% men.

Midazolam resulted in greater proportion of patients with "adequate" sedation (altered mentatl status scale <1) compared to antipsychotics at 15 min post administration. Among antipsychotics, olanzapine resulted in greater proportion of patient with sedation. 

  • Midazolam (71%)
  • Haloperidol - 5 mg (40%)
  • Haloperidol - 10 mg (42%)
  • Olanzapine (61%)
  • ziprasidone (52%)

Adverse effect were limited

  • extrapyramidal AE: 0.3%
  • hypotension 0.5%
  • hypoxemia 1%
  • intubation 0.5%

Conclusion:

Midazolam 5 mg IM achieve more effective sedation at 15 min in agitated ED patients than antipsychotics.

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Category: Neurology

Title: Neuroimaging in Syncope - Is It Necessary?

Keywords: Syncope, neurological, neuroimaging, CT, MRI (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/13/2018 by WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD (Updated: 7/15/2018)
Click here to contact WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD

  • The use of neuroimaging in syncope-related ED visits increased from 21% in 2001 to 45% in 2010.
  • A recent single-center retrospective study of 1114 patients who presented to the ED with syncope found that 62.3% patients underwent CT, while 10.2% underwent MRI.
  • A subset of patients (10.4%) sustained mild head trauma (GCS 14-15) due to syncope and all received neuroimaging.
  • Neuroimaging studies were not found to be beneficial in patients without features of:
    • Confusion
    • Amnesia
    • Focal neurological deficit
    • Dizziness
    • Severe headache
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Signs of serious head injury
    • Intracranial malignancies
    • Use of anticoagulant drugs

Bottom Line: Consider obtaining neuroimaging in patients presenting with syncope only if clinical features suggest probable neurological syncope.

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Syndesmotic sprain aka a “high ankle sprain”

Ankle injuries make up almost 30% of the injuries in professional football

High ankle injuries make up between 16 and 25% of these injuries in the NFL (lateral most common)

               10% in general population

In comparison to lateral ankle sprains, high ankle sprains result in significantly more missed games, missed practices and required a longer duration of treatment

Anatomy: The syndesmosis comprises several ligaments and the interosseous membrane

Mechanism: External foot rotation with simultaneous rotation of the tibia and fibula.

               Can lead to a Maisonneuve fracture

Injuries 4x more likely in game setting than practice

A positive proximal squeeze test significantly predicts missed games and practices compared to those without.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThiW_9m7cFM

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Conjunctivitis-otitis syndrome

Keywords: augmentin, conjunctivitis, AOM, otitis media (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/8/2018 by Mimi Lu, MD
Click here to contact Mimi Lu, MD

Although conjuncitivitis outside of the neonatal period is commonly caused by viruses, there are times when antibiotics are warranted due to bacterial infections, such as conjuncitivits-otitis syndrome.

  • up to 25% of patients with conjunctivitis have concurrent otitis media (even in the abscence of ear pain) and up to 73% of patients with purulent conjunctivitis
  • Non-typeable H. influenzae is the most common recovered bacteria.
  • For these patients, systemic (oral) antibiotics are recommended and the topical ophthalmic antibiotics are NOT necessary.
  • Antibiotics should cover beta-lactamase producing organisms, e.g. high dose amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (45 mg/kg BID; 600 mg/5mL concentration which is formulated to have less clavulanic acid

Bottom line: Every patient with conjunctivitis should have an examination of his/her TMs, as your management may change.

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Category: Geriatrics

Title: What is a fever, really?

Keywords: fever, infection, physiology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/3/2018 by Danya Khoujah, MBBS (Updated: 7/15/2018)
Click here to contact Danya Khoujah, MBBS

Older patients are less likely than their younger counterparts to mount a fever in response to an infection. One explanation is that their basal temperature is lower. Some experts suggest redefining fever in older patients to match this decrease of 0.15C per decade. Therefore, your 80 year old patient would be considered “febrile” if their temperature is above 37.3C, rather than the traditional 38C.

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Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Steroid Induced Leukocytosis

Keywords: steroids, infection, leukocytosis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/2/2018 by Ashley Martinelli (Updated: 7/15/2018)
Click here to contact Ashley Martinelli

Steroids induce leukocytosis through the release of cells from bone marrow and the inhibition of neutrophil apoptosis.   This effect typically occurs within the first two weeks of steroid treatment. 

Leukocyte elevation is commonly used in the diagnosis of septic patients; however, this can be hard to discern in patients on concomitant steroid therapy.

A retrospective cohort study of adult patients presenting with fevers and a diagnosis of pneumonia, urinary tract infection, bacteremia, cellulitis, or COPD exacerbation was conducted to determine the maximal level of WBC within the first 24h of admission between patients on acute, chronic, or no steroid treatment.

Results: maximal WBC levels (p< 0.001)

·        Acute steroid therapy: 15.4 ± 8.3 x 10 9/L

·        Chronic steroid therapy: 14.9 ± 7.4 x 10 9/L

·        No steroid therapy: 12.9 ± 6.4 x 10 9/L

An increase in WBC of 5 x 10 9/L can be found in acute and chronic steroid use when presenting with an acute infection and fever.

 

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