UMEM Educational Pearls - By Jenny Guyther

Category: EMS

Title: What are the barriers for laypeople to be trained in CPR?

Keywords: cardiac arrest, CPR, bystander (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/20/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Prior studies have shown that CPR education is associated with a greater willingness to perform CPR.  This was a review of 23 studies to determine factors that enable and hinder a layperson from learning CPR.
Enabling factors included having witnessed someone collapse in the past, awareness of public AEDs, certain occupations and legal requirements for training (i.e. mandatory high school CPR training).
Married people were more likely to be trained than those that were not married and people with children younger than 3 years were less likely to take a BLS course.  
Barriers that were found to impact people taking CPR classes included lower socioeconomic status and education level, and advanced age and language barriers.  
Bottom line: CPR education sessions should target groups with these identified barriers.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Spontaneous Pneumomediastinum in Children: What should I do?

Keywords: Spontaneous Pneumomediastinum, asthma, crepitus, esophagram (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/15/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD
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Spontaneous pneumomediastinum (SPM) is air within the mediastinum in the absence of trauma.  This occurs more often in males and has 2 age peaks: children younger than 6 years as a result of lower respiratory tract infections and adolescents due to asthma exacerbations.  Typical symptoms include chest pain, subcutaneous emphysema and shortness of breath, but can also include neck pain, dysphagia, pneumopericardium, and pneumorrhachis (air in the spinal cord).   SPM has been seen in patients with a history of asthma, current influenza infection and hyperventilation with anxiety, but many have no known precipitating factor. 
The diagnosis of SPM is typically made on CXR.  The literature is mixed on the utility of CT scans, esophagrams, esophagoscopy and bronchoscopy.  This study looked at 179 pediatric patients who were diagnosed with SPM.  No patients were found to have an esophageal injury.  Also, CT scans did not provide additional information or change management based on what was seen on the chest xray.
The author's concluded that CT scans and esophagrams can be avoided unless there is a specific esophageal concern.  Management should be guided based on the patient's symptoms.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric drowning what are the risk factors?

Keywords: Drowning, near drowning, CXR (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/18/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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This was a retrospective study involving several hospitals in Italy.  135 patients who had drowned (the term used in the article) were included.  4.5% of patients died.  Most drowning occurred in July and August.  The most common comorbidity was epilepsy in about 10% of patients.  Several patients were also witnessed to have trauma and syncope.  Early resuscitation, either by bystanders or trained professionals, was paramount in survival. 

Children who are conscious at presentation and have mild or no respiratory distress have the best prognosis.  A well appearing child should be observed for 6-8 hours, given that 98% of children will present with symptoms within the first 7 hours.  A chest xray is not indicated in the asymptomatic patient.  Patients who are submerged greater than 25 minutes or without ROSC after 30 minutes have a poor prognosis.

Bottom line: Never swim alone and everyone should be trained in bystander CPR.

Category: EMS

Title: What are the barriers to 911 being able to direct hands only CPR instructions to callers?

Keywords: Hands only CPR, bystander CPR, directions (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/16/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Bystander CPR increases out-of-hospital CPR survival and direction by 911 telecommunicators increases the frequency of bystander CPR.  The majority of 911 centers use Medical Priority Dispatch System which walks 911 telecommunicators through a series of questions that give different instructions based on the caller's answers.  Studies have shown out-of-hospital cardiac arrests are only recognized between 79-92% of the time and telecommunicator instructions for CPR can take between 176-285 seconds.

This study reviewed recorded 911 calls of patients who were found to be in cardiac arrest. Calls where the caller was not with the patient and confirmed overdoses were some of the call types that were excluded.

Out of 65 reviewed calls, 28% were not recognized during the actual call.  When they were reviewed, 8/18 of the calls were deemed to be recognizable.  Themes that were noted were: incomplete or delayed recognition assessment (ie uncertainty in breathing), communication gaps (callers were confused with instructions or questions), caller emotional distress, delayed repositioning for chest compressions, non essential questions and assessments, and caller refusal/hesitation or inability to act.

Bottom line: In addition to bystander CPR training, education on the process and questions involved in calling 911 could be helpful in an emergency.  

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Should blood cultures be drawn in a child with fever and lower extremity pain?

Keywords: fever, limp, bacteremia, osteomyelitis, septic joint (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/21/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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This was a cross sectional review of 698 patients ages 1 year to 18 years who presented to a tertiary care center with fever of at least 38 degrees centigrade and non traumatic acute lower extremity pain. This hospital was located in the North East of the United States. Lower extremity pain was defined as an antalgic gait by report or on exam, inability or refusal to bear weight or reported bone or joint pain in the verbal patient within the past 14 days.
Blood cultures were available for review in 510 patients.  Blood cultures were positive in 70 of them (13.7%).  Pathogens included MSSA, MRSA, Strep pyogenes and Salmonella.  Significant predictors of bacteremia included an elevated CRP and localizing exam findings.  
8 blood culture contaminants were identified.  6/8 of these patients had other testing and treatment consistent with osteomyelitis.  
The final diagnosis of the patients with bacteremia included osteomyelitis, septic arthritis, pyomyositis and toxic shock syndrome.
Bottom line: The prevalence of bacteremia, even in Lyme endemic areas, in healthy children presenting to the ED with fever AND lower extremity pain is high enough to strongly consider obtaining a blood culture with other lab work during the initial evaluation. 

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Category: EMS

Title: ED handoff of pediatric patients by EMS

Keywords: handoff, communication, adverse outcomes (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/19/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD
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Ineffective handoff communications have been shown to occur in up to 80% of medical errors.  Previous studies have shown that up to 1/3 of pertinent information is lost during the handoff of trauma patients.  Interruptions, lack of listening and ED team preoccupation with their own patient assessment have been associated with adverse outcomes.
This study reviewed videotaped footage of pediatric critical care resuscitations and the handoff between the ED and EMS.  Inefficient communication occurred in 87% of handoffs, including 51% of cases with interruptions by staff, 40% with questions from the ED leader about information that had already been given and 65% requesting information that had not yet been communicated.
Bottom line: Allow for an uninterrupted hand off from EMS followed by closed loop communication and asking any additional questions.

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Burns are common pediatric injuries and usually represent preventable unintentional trauma.
Approximately 10% of children hospitalized with burns are victims of abuse. Thermal burns are the most common type of burn and can result from scalding injuries or contact with objects (irons, radiators, or cigarettes). Features of scald burns that are concerning for inflicted trauma include clear lines of demarcation, uniformity of burn depth and characteristic pattern. Abusive contact burns tend to have distinct margins (branding of the hot object), while accidental contact burns tend to have less distinctive edges
How Kids are Different than Adults: 
- Kids have thinner skin, so time to burn/energy required to cause a burn is less. 
- Kids have increased blood volume relative to their mass, so may need more volume resuscitation compared to adults. 
- Kids are more likely to become hypoglycemic so give glucose in mIVF in kids <20 kgs.
- Risk of airway compromise in kids following inhalation injury is higher due to their smaller airway openings 
- Initial treatment should follow ABCs of resuscitation
- Airway: Airway management should include assessment for presence of airway or inhalation injury, with early intubation if such an injury is suspected. Smoke inhalation may be associated with carbon monoxide toxicity; 100% humidified oxygen should be given if hypoxia or inhalation is suspected.
- Circulation: Parkland's formula
     - Fluid requirements = TBSA burned (%) x weight (kg) x4mL
     - Give ½ of total requirements in 1st 8 hours, then give 2nd half over the next 16 hours. 
          - Rule of 9's for adults: 9% for each arm, 18% for each leg, 9% for head, 18% for front torso, 18% for back torso
          - Rule of 9's for children" 9% for each arm, 14% for each leg, 18% for head, 18% for front torso, 18% for back torso. 
Options for pain management
- fentanyl IN
- morphine IV
- ketamine IV
 Burns you should consider admission
- >6% TBSA
- full thickness burns
- specialty areas: face, eyes, airway, genitalia, palmar crease, sole of foot
- concern for non-accidental injury
- caused by treadmill


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Category: EMS

Title: What are risk factors in ambulance crashes?

Keywords: ambulance, crash, response, fatality, collision (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/22/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD
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Between 2010 and 2020, there were 279 fatalities related to ambulance accidents.  In up to 50% of accidents, EMS is not at fault.  The use of lights and sirens and intersections have been previously shown to be the most common risk factor for accidents.  There is a national push for a more judicious use of lights and sirens.  
Most ambulance crashes are minor, but up to 1/3 of crashes can result in significant injury or significant damage to the vehicle.  This study attempted to relate driver demographics and aggressive driving behavior to ambulance crashes using a vehicle telematics system.  The agency in this study responded to about 130,000 calls per year and the incident rate of any crash was 2.1/100,000 miles and the incident rate of a serious crash was 0.63/100,000 miles.  Injuries occured in 8% of the 214 crashes over the 3 year study period.  One third of the cases resulted in significant vehicle damage.  Female sex and age 18-24 were found to be independently associated with a collision.
Bottom line: Transporting patients via ambulance, especially when lights and sirens are used, is not a risk free event.  Even if injuries do not occur, the impact of damage to the vehicle can significantly impact the EMS system.


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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Omphalitis

Keywords: neonatal fever, cellulitis, bacteremia (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/16/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Omphalitis is a soft tissue infection involving the umbilicus and surrounding tissues with redness and induration around the umbilical stump.  Risk factors include: prematurity, prolonged rupture of membranes, maternal infection, low birth weight, history of umbilical catheter and home birth.  Pathogens include Staph, Strep and Gram Negative bacteria.  Studies have shown that bacteremia can be present in up to 13% of cases.
Omphalitis most often occurs in infants 8-22 days.  If fever is present, the AAP guidelines for neonatal fever should be followed.  In the well appearing, afebrile infant, blood cultures should be obtained, but CSF studies are not reflexively indicated.  Since urachal anomalies can be present in up to 1/4 of these patients, urine studies should be obtained and an ultrasound can be considered if drainage is present.  A surface culture should be obtained when possible as well.

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This study looked at "low risk" patients who were being transferred from a community hospital to the system quaternary referral center.  Patients were selected by the referral center as low risk (closed fracture requiring reduction, eye problems, minor burns, laceration, ect) for transport by personnel vehicle (POV) regardless of IV status.  The families were then approached for consent.
Patients had to be between 4-17 years, without social concerns, unreliable transportation or communication differences.  
78 patients were eligible with 67 patients electing transport by POV.  All patients arrived safely.  29 patients had IVs in place.  Procedures were in place by the sending facility to secure the IV, educate the parents about IV care and supplies in case of dislodgement were given.  The drive was about 40 minutes.  All IVs were functional on arrival at the referral center and there were no noted complications.
Surveys were given to the patients' families and the results were overall positive.  The one negative point of feedback involved traffic and navigational difficulties.
Bottom line: In the appropriately selected patient, safe interfacility transport via POV is possible, even when an IV is in place.

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Category: Misc

Title: What do caregivers think of alternate EMS dispositions for pediatric patients?

Keywords: EMS, Alternate destinations, pediatric, EMS, reduce transport times (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/17/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Pediatric patients represent up to 10% of EMS transports, but studies suggest that between 10-60% of these patients can be safely transported by alternate means.  Many EMS agencies have begun to implement alternate destination programs for adult patients - including transport to an urgent care center, using a taxi service instead of an ambulance, or utilizing telehealth services.  One of the first steps in being able to expand these program into the pediatric population involves determining the caregivers perspectives on the concept of not being taken directly to an emergency department when 911 is called.
This study conducted focus groups in English and Spanish which included a total of 38 participants in the Washington DC area.  Key take away points include:
1) The reasons for calling 911 for a non emergent reason were multifactorial and included lack of transportation, lack of health insurance, uncertainty about the severity of the patient's complaint and difficulty with after hours primary care access.
2) Most participants were not familiar with alternate EMS disposition programs.
3) Most caregivers preferred telemedicine over telecommunication.
4) Caregivers worried that there would be a delay in care if their child had a genuine medical emergency or decompensation.  They were also concerned that there would not be pediatric resources and expertise at the alternate destination requiring a second transport.  Also, there were concerns about the coordination between 911, clinics and EMS.  Concerns about transportation included vehicle cleanliness and hygiene and provision of appropriate car seats.
Bottom line: Alternate destination for EMS is possible with pediatric patients, but the programs need to take into consideration the above parental concerns in order to be successful. 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Ketamine vs opiates for pediatric pain management

Keywords: Ketamine, morphine, fentanyl, pediatrics, EMS, pain control (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/21/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Multiple modalities are available for pain control in the pediatric setting.  Ketamine has recently been introduced into the prehospital environment as an alternative to opiates (fentanyl and morphine).  This study examines how ketamine and opiates compare in relation to pain reduction and adverse events.
9223 patients (< 18 years) were included with data from the ESO Collaborative. 190 patients received ketamine (2.1%) and 9033 received opiates (97.9%).  Ketamine was associated with a greater reduction in pain score (-4.4 vs -3.1) compared to opiates and a greater reduction in EMS clinician reported improvement.  Patients in the ketamine group did have a reduction in the GCS by -0.3 points.  There were no patients who required ventilatory support in the ketamine group and one patient who required support in the opiate group. No patients in either group required intubation or died.  This study did not examine medication doses or route.
Bottom line: Both ketamine and opiates are viable pain control options for pediatric patients in the prehospital environment.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Is croup caused by COVID more severe compared to other etiologies?

Keywords: Croup, respiratory distress, stridor, URI (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/17/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Patients with croup often present with a "barky" cough, stridor, and trouble breathing, traditionally worse at night.  The mainstay of treatment is a dose of dexamethasone and if there is moderate to severe distress, racemic epinephrine is added.  Croup has typically been caused by viruses, mainly parainfluenza, but influenza, non-COVID coronavirus, adenovirus and RSV have also been shown to cause croup.  
When COVID variant Omicron BA.1 became the dominant strain, the rate of pediatric emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to croup were noted to increase.  This retrospective study of 499 pediatric patients showed that those who tested positive for COVID within one week of presentation had a significantly higher degree of stridor at rest, hypoxia, the need for additional doses of racemic epinephrine, admission to the floor, admission to the intensive care unit and increasing respiratory support.  
Bottom line: Consider testing for COVID in your croup patient who is not responding to traditional therapies.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Does purulent eye discharge need to be treated topically in pediatrics?

Keywords: conjunctivitis, pink eye, eye drops (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/17/2023 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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It is often difficult to clinically differentiate between viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, but previous studies have shown that the vast majority of the discharge is bacterial. Topical antibiotics are often prescribed, but the efficacy of these antibiotics compared to no treatment has not been well studied.
This study included 88 children aged 6 months to 7 years with acute infective conjunctivitis who were randomized to receive moxifloxacin eye drops, placebo eye drops or no intervention.  Acute infective conjunctivitis was defined as conjunctival inflammation, discharge, soreness or swelling of the eyelids.  The clinical cure was significantly shorter in the moxifloxacin group compared to the no intervention group (3.8 vs 5.7 days).  Both moxifloxacin and placebo eye drops had a shorter time to clinical cure compared to placebo suggesting that placebo eye drops may be beneficial due to their washout effect.
Bottom line: Topical antibiotics for acute infective conjunctivitis were associated with significantly shorter recovery times from acute infective conjunctivitis.

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Should EMS place an advanced airway in out of hospital cardiac arrests?  Current studies suggest that advanced airway management is not superior to BVM in pediatric out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).  

Pediatric OHCA carries a high mortality rate and those that do survive often have a poor neurologic outcome.  This study evaluated BVM vs supraglottic airway (SGA) placement vs endotracheal intubation (ETI) in relation to one month survival and favorable neurological outcomes.  SGA and ETI were also grouped together and categorized as advanced airway management (AAM).

This study was conducted using the Pan Asian Resuscitation Outcomes Study Clinical Research Network.  3131 pediatric patients were included.  85% received BVM, 11.8% SGA and 2.6 % ETI.  In a matched cohort, one month survival and survival with favorable neurological outcome was higher in the BVM group compared to the AAM group and in the BVM group compared to the SGA group.  There was no significant difference noted between the ETI group and BVM group.

Bottom line: In this study, AAM was associated with decreased one month survival and less favorable neurological status in pediatric OHCA.

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Pseudohyperkalemia can result from the use of small bore IVs, excessive tourniquet time, fist clenching and mechanical stress during collection.  These factors may affect pediatric blood draws. 
This was a 5 year retrospective analysis of patients 0-17 years.  187 patients had a hemolyzed sample that showed hyperkalemia.  145 children had repeat testing and only 3 children had true hyperkalemia (2%).  All three of these patients had underlying conditions that would have raised suspicion for hyperkalemia (chronic renal failure and diabetic ketoacidosis).  There were no abnormalities to the BUN or creatinine in the patients without hyperkalemia.
Bottom line: This small study suggests that it may not be necessary to obtain repeat blood samples for hyperkalemia in patients with normal BUN and creatinine.  Larger studies are needed before bringing this into mainstream practice.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: What is the proper ratio of blood products in the bleeding pediatric trauma patient?

Keywords: Pediatric trauma, blood transfusion, ratios (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/18/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Research in the pediatric trauma patient has finally shown that crystalloid volume should be limited and blood products should be used early in resuscitation.  Whole blood transfusion is currently being studied.  Studies are also being conducted looking at the proper ratio of blood products for these pediatric trauma patients.
This was a retrospective review of the Trauma Quality Improvement Program.  Patients younger than 18 years old who received at least 1 unit of FFP and PRBCsduring the initial 4 hours of admission were included.  The study looked at 1,233 patients who received FFP:PRBC ratios of 1:1, 1:2, 1:3 and 1:3+ and 24 hour mortality, hospital mortality, complications and 24 hour PRBC requirements.
The 1:1 transfusion group had the lowest 24 mortality and in-hospital mortality.  There was no difference between the groups for complications.  The 1:1 ratio group also had the lowest 24 hour PRBC requirements.  This study did not include those patients who required massive transfusion on arrival. 
Bottom line: FFP:PRBC ratio of 1:1 was associated with increased survival in children.  More studies are needed regarding whole blood and massive transfusion in pediatrics.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Once intuccesption has been diagnosed, when should reduction occur?

Keywords: intuccesption, air enema, reduction timing (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/21/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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Once the diagnosis of intussusception is made, there are often delays in 1) getting the patient to a center where reduction can be performed and 2) getting the staff available to perform an air enema, especially during evenings and nights. Previous studies have shown worse outcomes when there is longer than a 24 hour delay in reduction. This was a retrospective single center study looking at 175 cases of intussusception and evaluating the time between the radiology final read of intussusception and the timing of reduction and if enema based reduction was successful. In this group of patients, there was no statistically significant difference in reduction efficacy, requirement for surgical reduction or complication rate (bowel resection or perforation) in the patients studied which included delay intervals up to 8 hours. Successful first attempt reductions ranged from 72-81% in each study group (1hr, 1-3hr, 3-6hr and 6+ hr). The caveat to this study is that there were only 11 patients included in the 6-8 hour group. This study also did not take into account the timing from symptom onset to reduction time. Bottom line: More evidence is needed, but this small study provides evidence that up to 8 hours from radiology diagnosis of intussusception to the 1st reduction attempt was not less efficient compared to those with an attempt in under 1 hour.

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Laryngospasm is defined as the cessation of ventilation despite persistent respiratory effort related to glottic closure.  Complications include hypoxia, bradycardia, and cardiac arrest.  In OR cases, one recent study found the laryngospasm to occur in 0.45/1000 cases.  In these children undergoing general anesthesia, risk factors included current upper respiratory infection, active asthma, airway anomalies, airway procedures, age < 3 months and the use of an LMA.  
Studies of the rates of laryngospasm in pediatric sedation have shown varied incidence, with prevalence between 0.43/1000 to 2.1/1000.  A metaanalysis showed that laryngospasm was more common with a combination of propofol and ketamine.
This study looked at moderate sedation cases where laryngospasm was not relieved with chin repositioning or the use of an airway adjunct.  Over a 7 year study period, 276,832 sedations were examined with 913 patients experiencing laryngospasm (3.3/1000 cases).  About 5% of these patients required intubation.  There were 2 cases of cardiac arrest, one with an underlying cardiac condition and one with a URI who was undergoing an echo.  Both of these patients had multiple agents used for sedation.
The isolated use of IV ketamine had a laryngospasm rate of 1.4/1000 cases.  The highest prevalence occured with propofol + ketamine (6.6/1000), propofol + midazolam + opiate (6.1/1000) and propofol + dexmedetomidine (5.8/1000).
The risk of laryngospasm was associated with a higher ASA status, younger age, presence of a URI, airway procedures, and certain propofol combination regimens.
Bottom line: While the prevalence of laryngospasm remains low during pediatric sedation, risk factors should be taken into consideration and the risk/benefits should be discussed in detail with the families.  Always be prepared for an airway emergency during sedation.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Secondary Transmission of SARS-CoV2 with regards to Masking in Schools

Keywords: COVID, kids, masking, school (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/19/2022 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 9/21/2023)
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This was a multistate, prospective, observational cohort of children and teachers attending in person schools in kindergarden through 12th grade where the school districs had the ability to perform contact tracing and determine primary vs secondary infections.  During the study period (6/21-12/21) 46 districts had universal masking policies and 6 districts had optional masking policies.  

Districts that optionally masked had 3.6x the rate of secondary transmission compared to universally masked school districts.  Optionally masked districts had 26.4 cases of secondary transmission per 100 community acquired cases compared to only 7.3 cases in universally masked districts.

Bottom line: Universial masking was associated with reduced secondary transmission of SARS-CoV2 compared with optional masking policies. 

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