Keywords: Quadriceps contusion, immobilization, hematoma (PubMed Search)
Mechanism: Blunt trauma from ball, helmet, stick
Usually to the central region
Damage to highly vascular area of the muscle and to local blood vessels can cause hematoma formation
Typical trauma history and pain worse with muscle activation (knee flexion)
Physical exam: Bruising, tenderness, palpable mass/hematoma
Goals of care: Minimize intramuscular bleeding
Treatment: NSAIDS, crutches, unique type of immobilization
Attempt to increase resting length of the quadriceps muscle to facilitate early healing and return to function
Note: Left untreated, large contusions may result in myositis ossificans
Keywords: pediatrics, COVID, vaccination, hospitalization (PubMed Search)
Woodruff RC, Campbell AP, Taylor CA, et al. Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19 in Children. Pediatrics. 2022;149(1):e2021053418.
Category: Critical Care
Clinical pearls for hypothermic cardiac arrest
Paal P, Gordon L, Strapazzon G et al. Accidental hypothermia–an update. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2016;24(1). doi:10.1186/s13049-016-0303-7
Pasquier M, Rousson V, Darocha T et al. Hypothermia outcome prediction after extracorporeal life support for hypothermic cardiac arrest patients: An external validation of the HOPE score. Resuscitation. 2019;139:321-328. doi:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2019.03.017
Misch M, Helman A. Accidental Hypothermia and Cardiac Arrest | CritCases | EM Cases. Emergency Medicine Cases. http://emergencymedicinecases.com/accidental-hypothermia-cardiac-arrest. Published 2019. Accessed January 18, 2022.
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: trauma, pneumothorax, positive pressure ventilation, invasive mechanical ventilation, tension pneumothorax (PubMed Search)
Background: Conventional medical wisdom long held that patients with pneumothorax (PTX) who require positive pressure ventilation (PPV) should undergo tube thoracostomy to prevent enlarging or tension pneumothorax, even if otherwise they would be managed expectantly.1
Bottom Line: The cardiopulmonar-ily stable patient with small PTX doesn’t need empiric tube thoracostomy simply because they’re receiving positive pressure ventilation. If you are unlucky enough to still have them in your ED at day 5 in these COVID times, provide closer monitoring as the observation failure rate may increase dramatically around this time.
Keywords: flumazenil, benzodiazepine overdose, adverse events (PubMed Search)
Flumazenil is a reversal agent for benzodiazepine overdose. Adverse events including seizure, agitation and cardiac arrhythmias have been reported but the frequency of adverse events is unknown.
AE and serious AEs were defined as:
Serious AE (SAE):
A systematic review/meta-analyses of 13 randomized controlled trials showed
Most common AEs
Most common SAEs
PENNINGA E ET AL.Adverse Events Associated with Flumazenil Treatment for the Management of Suspected Benzodiazepine Intoxication--A Systematic Review with Meta-Analyses of Randomized Trials. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2016
Keywords: hamstring, strain, muscle tear (PubMed Search)
Prevalence varies by sport ranging from 8 to 25 percent with a high recurrence rate frequently during the ensuing sport season, usually in next 2 months but may extend up to one year!
Highest in sports that involve rapid acceleration and deceleration
3 highest risk sports - football and men’s and women’s soccer
Average time lost 17-21 days
Injury much less common in younger athletes
The hamstring is composed of three muscles: the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.
Primarily involved in knee flexion and hip extension
Biceps femoris is most commonly injured
Simple grading system using 3 grades
Grade 1 – mild strain
Grade 2 – Partial tear
Grade 3 – Complete tear
Proximal injuries are more common than distal injuries, occurring at the musculotendinous junction
Avulsion fractures of the ischium occur rarely occur in adults but may occur in skeletally immature athletes
When watching a sporting event you will see the athlete grab the buttock or upper thigh. They usually cannot return to play. Most grade 2 or 3 injuries will require crutches. If seeing them the following day significant bruising may be seen.
Numerous modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors have been identified including:
*Weakness of ipsilateral quadriceps or contralateral hamstring, hamstring, hip & quadriceps tightness/poor flexibility, poor warm-up, sudden increased training volume and muscle fatigue.
*Older age (risk increase may begin as early as age 23)
Prior hamstring injury (up to 6x increased risk)
**Premature return to sport increases the risk of reinjury
Differential Diagnosis: Lumbar radiculopathy, sciatic nerve irritation or compression, stress fracture of femur.
Refer to sports medicine/orthopedics for avulsion injuries, complete proximal complete tears and partial or complete distal tears
Keywords: foreign body, ear, insect, button battery (PubMed Search)
Many types of foreign bodies may be found in a child's ear. Some examples include: beads, cotton swabs, food, insects, and button batteries.
Patients can be asymptomatic. However, they often have otalgia, pruritus, fullness, tinnitus, hearing loss, otorrhea, or bleeding. Obtain a history of the type of foreign body, when/how it entered the ear, and if there was a prior attempt at removal. Also ask if there are foreign bodies elsewhere, such as in the nose. Perform Rinne and Weber tests before and after removing the foreign body if the child is old enough to participate.
Delayed presentation can result in edema and otitis externa. When the foreign body is sharp, there may be damage to the tympanic membrane (TM) and ossicles.
Consult ENT when there is suspicion of damage to TM, when hearing loss is present, or when removal is especially challenging. Spherical foreign bodies are more difficult to remove.
Remove foreign body if it can be visualized. Wax curettes, right-angled hooks, alligator forceps, and Frazier tip suctions can facilitate removal. Avoid additional trauma due to concern for edema, bleeding, TM perforation, or distal displacement of the object. Anxiety in the child will lead to increased difficulty with removal.
A button battery in the ear is an emergency that can result in severe damage, including TM perforation, scarring or stenosis of the ear canal, and deeper injury. Seeds such as beans or peas and other absorptive material in the ear can expand, so do not irrigate when such foreign bodies are present. Living insects should be killed with alcohol, lidocaine, or mineral oil prior to performing foreign body removal.
After removal, reassess ear canal and TM. Some foreign bodies require removal in the operating room. If the object has been successfully removed, evaluate for otitis externa or iatrogenic injury to the ear canal, and prescribe antibiotic otic drops when needed. When TM has perforated, refer for formal audiogram. ENT follow up is recommended for all patients.
Butts, SC, Goldstein NA, Rosenfeld RM et al. Atlas of Pediatric Emergency Medicine: 3rd Edition. Binita Shah. Brooklyn, NY: McGraw Hill, 2019. 437-438. Print.
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: Calcium, Cardiac Arrest, ACLS, Code Blue (PubMed Search)
There are several well known medications that we tend to give by default during cardiac arrests. It seems like for each of them, every few years someone does an RCT to see if they really help anybody, and we're all disappointed by what they find. Well... prepare to be disappointed again, I'm afraid.
These Danish authors randomized 391 patients in cardiac arrest to either calcium or saline (given IV or IO). They gave 2 doses of either calcium chloride or saline, with the first dose being along with the first epi dose. Primary outcome was ROSC. They also looked at modified Rankin at 30 and 90 days.
The trial was stopped early for harm. Now, we all know the dangers of interpreting studies that were stopped early, but this doesn't look great for calcium. 19% of the calcium group had ROSC compared to 27% of the saline group (p = 0.09). Percentage of patients alive, and with favorable mRS at 30 days also both favored the saline group (although also not statistically significantly). By the way, of the patients who had calcium levels sent, 74% in the calcium group, vs 2% in the saline group, were hypercalcemic. Whether that had anything to do with the outcome, we may never know.
Bottom Line: Is this saying that calcium hurts patients in cardiac arrest? Maybe... but I don't think this is high quality enough data to draw that conclusion. At the very least, however, just giving everyone in arrest calcium is probably not terribly helpful. If you have a reason to give it (known severe hypocalcemia, recent parathyroid surgery, suspected hyperkalemia, etc) then go for it, otherwise you can probably focus your resus on more important things.
Vallentin MF, Granfeldt A, Meilandt C, et al. Effect of Intravenous or Intraosseous Calcium vs Saline on Return of Spontaneous Circulation in Adults With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2021;326(22):2268–2276. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.20929
Benary, Lozano, Higley, Lowe. Pediatrics. Ondansteron Prescription is Associated with Reduced Return Visits to the Pediatric Emergency Department for Children with Gastroenteritis. 76,5. November 2020.
Rivera-Dominguez, Ward. StatPearls. Pediatric Gastroenteritis. April 2021.
Managing Acute Gastroenteritis Among Children. CDC. MMWR.
Category: Critical Care
The BOUGIE Trial
Driver BE, et al. Effect of use of a bougie vs endotracheal tube with stylet on successful intubation on the first attempt among critically ill patients undergoing tracheal intubation. JAMA. 2021. Published online December 8, 2021
Category: Airway Management
Keywords: Caffeine, Exercise, VO2 max (PubMed Search)
Caffeine is probably the most wildly used and studied drug/supplement in the world.
It has been shown to enhance exercise capacity and performance.
Mechanism of action is likely multifactorial and involves adenosine receptor antagonism via direct CNS action improving mental alertness, reaction time and reducing the perceived exertion rate (pain).
To no surprise, amateur and elite athletes use caffeine to improve performance.
The well-accepted dosage of caffeine to improve performance is between 3 and 6 mg/kg, approximately 60 min before exercise. This dosage promotes (between 1 and 8%) performance gains in aerobic exercises and exercises with high glycolytic demand from cyclists to tennis players to weightlifters.
Consider the lower end of this range if interested in trying this on your own.
In an evaluation of 20,686 urine samples of elite athletes, almost 75% of the samples contained caffeine in concentrations higher than 0.1 μg/mL
Caffeine also increases maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max)
23 elite athletes were tested twice with and twice without caffeine.
Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study.
Caffeine 4.5 mg/kg taken 45 minutes before exercise
Measures: Time to exhaustion and VO2 max.
Caffeine increased time to exhaustion and VO2 max, thereby increasing overall performance.
If you are going to incorporate using caffeine before your next workout, I suggest espresso shots for extra caffeine without the volume of a large cup of coffee. Beware of known side effects such as jitters, anxiousness and difficulties with sleep if taken later in the day. Also consider stomach upset digestive issues, and increased heart rate.
Keywords: xylazine, adulterate, heroin, fentanyl (PubMed Search)
Xylazine is a central alpha-2 agonist (similar to clonidine) that is used as a veterinary tranquilizer. It also possesses analgesic, and muscle relaxant properties. Heroin/fentanyl is increasingly being adulterated with xylazine and resulting in severe adverse effects (CNS and respiratory depression, bradycardia, and hypotension), including deaths.
According to CDC, 0.1%-5.5% of IMF death in US between 2019 – 2020 involved xylazine.
In Philadelphia, PA:
The detection of xylazine in unintentional overdose death increased from
Approximately 25% of drug seizures in Philadelphia contained xylazine in 2019
There is no effective pharmacologic agent for xylazine toxicity. Similar to clonidine toxicity, high dose naloxone may be tried. But pediatric data show that approximately 50% of pediatric clonidine toxicity response to high-dose naloxone administration. Thus, naloxone administration may not reverse the CNS/respiratory depression, bradycardia and hypotension.
O’Donnell J, Tanz LJ, Gladden RM, Davis NL, Bitting J. Trends in and Characteristics of Drug Overdose Deaths Involving Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyls — United States, 2019–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:1740-1746. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7050e3.
Johnson J, et al. Inj Prev 2021;27:395–398. doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2020-043968
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: bacterial infection, sepsis, Emergency Department, broad spectrum antibiotics (PubMed Search)
When we initiate the sepsis bundle in the ED for patients with suspected sepsis, what probability that those patients who received broad spectrum antibiotics in the ED would have bacterial infection.
This study (Shappell et al) provides us with a glimpse of those number.
Settings: Retrospective study of adults presenting to 4 EDs in Massachusetts.
Patients: patients with suspected serious bacterial infection in ED, defined as blood cultures and initiation of at least one broad spectrum antibiotics. Random selection of 75 patients per hospital.
Patients were categorized in 4 groups:
Outcome: Prevalence of each category.
Study Results: 300 patients who received broad spectrum antibiotics.
3. For patients who were admitted to the ICU (P = 0.26)
a. Definite 16.5%
b. Likely 8.6%
c. Unlikely 16.4%
d. Definitely no 20.4%
4. Source of infection
Approximately 30% of patients who had blood cultures drawn and received broad spectrum antibiotics in ED have low likelihood of bacterial infection.
1. Shappell CN, Klompas M, Ochoa A, Rhee C; CDC Prevention Epicenters Program. Likelihood of Bacterial Infection in Patients Treated With Broad-Spectrum IV Antibiotics in the Emergency Department. Crit Care Med. 2021 Nov 1;49(11):e1144-e1150. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000005090. PMID: 33967206; PMCID: PMC8516665.
2. Klein Klouwenberg PM, Cremer OL, van Vught LA, Ong DS, Frencken JF, Schultz MJ, Bonten MJ, van der Poll T. Likelihood of infection in patients with presumed sepsis at the time of intensive care unit admission: a cohort study. Crit Care. 2015 Sep 7;19(1):319. doi: 10.1186/s13054-015-1035-1. PMID: 26346055; PMCID: PMC4562354.
Category: Critical Care
Clinical Pearls for Variceal Hemorrhage
-lower mortality with “restrictive” (Hgb 7-9 g/dL) rather than liberal strategy
-antibiotic “prophylaxis” reduces mortality
-no need to correct INR with FFP
-vasoactives (i.e. octreotide, somatostatin, terlipressin) alone may actually control bleeding
-for your ICU boarders...if persistent or severe rebleeding (despite endoscopic therapy), rescue TIPS is therapy of choice (call IR)
Zanetto A, Shalaby S, Feltracco P, et al. Recent advances in the management of acute variceal hemorrhage. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2021;10(17):3818.
Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: Calcium, cardiac arrest (PubMed Search)
Calcium is commonly administered during cardiac arrest, but there is little data to support or refute its use. The Calcium for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest trial was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group study conducted in Denmark. Their EMS system responds to all cardiac arrests with an ambulance and a physician-manned mobile emergency care unit.
Adult patients were included if they had out of-of-hospital (OOH) cardiac arrest and received at least 1 dose of epinephrine. Exclusion criteria were traumatic arrest, known or suspected pregnancy, prior enrollment in the trial, receipt of epinephrine from an EMS unit not in the trial, or a clinical indication for calcium during the arrest (i.e. hyperkalemia or hypocalcemia).
Patients received 735mg calcium chloride dihydrate (5 mmol CaCl –US standard product is 1000mg) or saline control immediately after the first dose of epinephrine. A second dose was administered after the second dose of epinephrine if cardiac arrest ongoing. Teams were blinded to the treatments. The primary outcome was ROSC for at least 20 minutes.
397 patients were randomized (197 calcium, 200 saline). The average age was 68 years old, 70% were male, and over 80% of the cardiac arrests occurred at home, 60% witnessed arrests, and 82% received bystander CPR. Only 25% were in a shockable rhythm. The time to first epinephrine and study drug was approximately 17 minutes and over 70% received two doses.
ROSC rates were low and not statistically different between groups, 19% in the calcium group vs 27% in the saline group. There was no difference in survival to 30d or neurologic function. In the patients who did achieve ROSC in the calcium arm, 74% had hypercalcemia.
Bottom Line: The routine use of calcium in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is not recommended.
Vallentin MF, et al. Effect of intravenous or intraosseous calcium vs saline on return of spontaneous circulation in adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. JAMA. Published online November 30, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.20929
Keywords: peds ortho, calcaneus, stress injury (PubMed Search)
Smith JM, Varacallo M. Sever Disease. [Updated 2021 Jul 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441928/
Keywords: Elbow, fracture, radiology (PubMed Search)
Presentations of Fracture in Nursemaids Elbow
Study group: Visits by children younger than 10 years, with a diagnosis of radial head subluxation at 1 of 45 pediatric EDs from 2010 to 2018.
Retrospective cohort study of 88,466 ED visits for radial head subluxation
Outcome: Missed fracture (return visit for upper extremity fracture within 7 days of the index visit).
Median patient age was 2.1 years,
59% of visits were by female patients,
60% of cases occurred in the left arm.
Radiography was performed at 28.5% of visits (Range 19.8% to 41.7%.)
Extremity fractures were observed in 247 cases, representing 0.3% of the cohort.
The odds of missed fracture were higher in:
Only 0.3% of children with a diagnosis of radial head subluxation subsequently received a diagnosis of an upper extremity fracture within 7 days of the index visit.
Missed fractures were commonly about the elbow such as a supracondylar fracture. However, this study also found a significant proportion of missed fractures in other locations (e.g. shoulder, wrist), highlighting the importance of a careful physical examination, and the limitations of localizing pain in younger children.
Recurrence was common, and the risk of recurrence decreased with increasing age at first presentation. Overall, radial head subluxation recurrence was 8.7% after the first visit VERSUS 12%-13% in children younger than 2 years. THese patients are likely to return to the ED with a recurrence within 2 years. These findings should help inform anticipatory guidance to parents regarding the risk of recurrence based on their child’s age.
Category: Critical Care
Myocarditis is a potentially fatal inflammatory disorder of the heart. Viral infection is the most common cause but can also result from toxic, autoimmune, or other infectious etiologies. Complications include life-threatening dysrhythmias, heart failure, and fulminant myocarditis. Typically affects young patients (20-50 years old).
ED management pearls
Gottlieb, Michael et al. "Diagnosis And Management Of Myocarditis: An Evidence-Based Review For The Emergency Medicine Clinician". The Journal Of Emergency Medicine, vol 61, no. 3, 2021, pp. 222-233.
Keywords: orthopedics, upper extremity fractures, playgrounds (PubMed Search)
Curnow H and Millar R. Too far to fall: Exploring the relationship between playground equipment and paediatric upper limb fractures. Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health. 2021.
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: OHCA, IHCA, targeted temperature management, therapeutic hypothermia, postcardiac arrest (PubMed Search)
Fever has long been understood to be associated with worse outcomes in patients post-cardiac arrest. Whether ascribing to the goal of 33-34°C, 36°C, or simply <38°C, close monitoring and management of core temperatures are a tenet of post-cardiac arrest care.
A recently published study compared the effectiveness of several methods in maintaining temperatures <38°C…
Maintenance of temp <38°C:
Mean change in temp from baseline: