Keywords: sodium bicarbonate, sodium acetate (PubMed Search)
FDA announced a shortage of sodium bicarbonate on 3/01/17. Sodium bicarbonate is frequently used in acid-base disorder as well as in poisoning (cardiac toxicity from Na-channel blockade, e.g. TCA & bupropion, and salicylate poisoning).
Acetate is a conjugate base of acetic acid where acetate anion forms acetyl CoA and enters Kreb cycle after IV administration. Final metabolic products of acetate are CO2 and H2O, which are in equilibrium with bicarbonate via carbonic anhydrase activity.
Administration of sodium acetate increases the strong ion difference by net increase in cations, as acetate is metabolize, and leads to alkalemia.
Adverse events from sodium acetate infusion have been associated with its use as dialysate buffer: myocardial depression, hypotension, hypopnea leading to hypoxemia and hyperpyrexia. However, such adverse events have not been reported in toxicologic application.
Sodium acetate can be administered safely in place of sodium bicarbonate if sodium bicarbonate is not available due to shortage.
Sodium acetate dose:
Neavyn MJ, Boyer EW, Bird SB, et al. Sodium acetate as a replacement for sodium bicarbonate in medical toxicology: a review. J Med Toxicol 2013;9:250-254.
Keywords: geriatric, trauma, imaging (PubMed Search)
· In the elderly, falling is the most common mechanism of injury
· Unavoidable Risk factors: age 85 or older, male, Caucasian, history of falls
· Other factors: alcohol consumption, polypharmacy
· Mechanisms of fall: slipping, tripping, stumbling
· Physical exam to include: gait, balance, proprioception, vision, strength and cognitive function testing
· Must consider neglect/abuse, affects 10% of seniors per year
· Evaluate for anticoagulant use due to increased risk of intracranial injury
· Use advanced imaging to identify occult hip fractures when clinically suspected and plain radiographs are negative
Abraham, MK, Cimino-Fiallos, NE. Falls in the Elderly: Causes, Injuries, and Management. Medscape February 1, 2017.
Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: methadone, linezolid, serotonin syndrome, drug interaction (PubMed Search)
Linezolid is a weak, nonselective monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). A recent FDA Drug Safety Communication released in March 2016 noted reports of serotonin syndrome associated with certain opioids, particularly fentanyl and methadone. Development of serotonin syndrome after concomitant administration of linezolid with other serotonergic agents has been reported. Due to a potential risk of serotonin syndrome, a patient on chronic methadone should not be started on concomitant linezolid unless they will be monitored.
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Keywords: pediatric, sepsis, infection, infants, children (PubMed Search)
Sepsis remains the most common cause of death in infants and children worldwide, with pneumonia being the most common cause of pediatric sepsis overall.
Strikingly, however, the mortality rate in pediatric sepsis is significant lower in children (10-20%) as compared to adults (35-50%).
The management of pediatric sepsis has been largely influenced by and extrapolated from studies performed in adults, in part due to difficulties performing clinical trial data in children with critical illness, including sepsis.
A major difference in management of children vs. adults with refractory septic shock with or without refractory hypoxemia from severe respiratory infection is the dramatic survival advantage of children when ECMO rescue therapy is used as compared to adults.
Bottom line: Consider ECMO for refractory pediatric septic shock with respiratory failure – in kids, survival is improved dramatically – consider it early!
For respiratory distress and hypoxia: Infants have a lower FRC and can desaturate very quickly!
Supplemental O2 should be delivered via face mask or nasal cannula or other devices such as high flow nasal cannula or nasopharyngeal CPAP, even if O2 saturation levels appear normal with peripheral monitoring devices
For improved circulation: utilize peripheral IO early
Peripheral IV or IO access can be used for fluid resuscitation, inotrope infusion, and antibiotic delivery when central access is not readily available or obtainable
Initial therapeutic resuscitative end points: hypotension and poor capillary refill may portend imminent cardiovascular collapse!
Antibiotics and source control: Early and aggressive source control is key, just as in adults!
Fluid resuscitation: Support the pump, and fill, but don’t overload the tank!
Inotropes and vasopressors: not just Levo for all!
Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO)
Consider ECMO for refractory pediatric septic shock with respiratory failure – in kids, survival is improved dramatically – consider it early!
Randolph AG & McCulloh RJ. Pediatric sepsis: important considerations for diagnosing and managing severe infections in infants, children, and adolescents. Virulence. 2014: 1;5(1):179-89. doi: 10.4161/viru.27045.
Keywords: Pediatric poisoning, household , fatalities (PubMed Search)
Children less than 5 years of age account for the majority of poisoning exposures in the United States. As expected, accessible household items are the most frequently reported exposures and include cosmetics and personal care products, household cleaning substances, medications, and foreign bodies. Opioids are responsible for the highest incidence of hospitalizations followed by benzodiazepines, sulfonylureas, and cardiovascular drugs (beta & calcium channel blockers, and centrally acting antiadrenergic agents). Rise in buprenorphine use has led to significant increases in pediatric exposures. The most common sources of prescription medications were pills found on the ground, in a purse or bag, night stand, or pillbox. The 2015 American Association of Poison Centers Annual report lists 28 fatalities in children less than 5 year of age. Fatalities occurred from exposures to the following: narcotics (9), disc and button batteries (5), carbon monoxide (4), and other substances (10).
Highlighted AAPC cases include:
Poison prevention education of patients prescribed opioids or other highly toxic "one pill killers" who have young children in their household is recommended and could be potentially life saving.
2015 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Centers' National Poison Data System: 33rd Annual Report. Mowrey JB, et al. Clinical Toxicology, 54:10.924-1109.
Emergency Hospitalizations for Unsupervised Prescription Medication Ingestions by Young Children, Lovegrove MC, et al. Pediatrics. 2014,134 (4) e1009-e1016 .
The Underrecognized Toll of Prescription Opioid Abuse on Young Children. Bailey JE, et al. Ann of Emerg Med. April 2009:53(4): 419-24. doi:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2008.07.015.Epub 2008 Sep 6.
Category: International EM
Keywords: Falls, elderly (PubMed Search)
· Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.
· Each year an estimated 424 000 individuals die from falls globally of which over 80% are in low- and middle-income countries.
· Adults older than 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
· 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention, occur each year.
· Prevention strategies should emphasize education, training, creating safer environments, prioritizing fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk.
Category: Critical Care
DSI, Ketamine, and Apnea
Driver BE, Reardon RF. Apnea after low-dose ketamine sedation during attempted delayed sequence intubation. Ann Emerg Med 2017; 69:34-35.
Keywords: team doctor, sports medicine (PubMed Search)
Physicians are often called upon to serve as a team physician for a local high school in an official or unofficial capacity.
To aid in preparedness for sport-related emergencies, multiple national organizations have defined institutional best practices.
Knowledge of the following 3 best practice recommendations is important before taking on the role of “Doc covering the game”
1)The written Emergency Action Plan (EAP) – details the standard of emergency care at the particular venue.
2)The availability of life saving equipment: AED – where is it, charged and working?
3)Are the coaches trained in use of the AED and CPR. You can’t be everywhere and often multiple sporting events occur on campus simultaneously. It’s imperative that your first responder (coach or athletic trainer) can perform these tasks until you are able to respond
Please investigate these best practice recommendations before agreeing to serve as the physician for the local high school.
Keywords: rash, fingertip, bulla, nail disorder (PubMed Search)
2) Cohen R, Levy C, Cohen J, Corrard F, Deberdt P, Béchet S, Bonacorsi S, Bidet P. Diagnostic of group A streptococcal blistering
Keywords: adult clonidine overdose (PubMed Search)
Clinical signs and symptoms of clonidine overdose include CNS depression, bradycardia, and miosis. Other effects include early hypertension, followed by hypotension and respiratory depression, especially in children.
Although clonidine overdose in children is well described, frequency of clinical signs/symptoms in adults is not well characterized.
Recently, a retrospective study was performed in a hospital in Australia looking at clonidine overdose in adults.
Among isolated clonidine overdose, patients experienced:
Isbister GK et al. Adult clonidine overdose: prolonged bradycarida and central nervous system depression, but not severe toxicity. Clin Toxicol 2017;55:187-192.
Keywords: CT, MRI, tPA, peripartum, PRES (PubMed Search)
Majerisk JJ. Inherited and Uncommon Causes of Stroke. Continuum 2017;23(1):211–237.
Category: Critical Care
Keywords: lung protective ventilation, ARDS (PubMed Search)
While lung protective ventilatory strategies have long been accepted as vital to the management of patients undergoing mechanical ventilation, the translation of such practices to the Emergency Department is still limited and inconsistent.
Fuller et al employed a protocol ensuring lung-protective tidal volumes, appropriate setting of positive end-expiratory pressure, rapid weaning of FiO2, and elevating the head-of-bed. The authors found the number of patients who had lung protective strategies employed in the Emergency Department increased from 46.0% to 76.7%. This increase in protective strategies was associated with a 7.1% decrease in the rate of pulmonary complications (ARDS and VACs), 14.5% vs 7.4%, and a 14.3% decrease in in-hospital mortality, 34.1% vs 19.6%.
Fuller BM, Ferguson IT, Mohr NM, et al. Lung-Protective Ventilation Initiated in the Emergency Department (LOV-ED): A Quasi-Experimental, Before-After Trial. Ann Emerg Med. 2017;
Keywords: Dilantin, Ataxia (PubMed Search)
Phenytoin is a first line anticonvulsant agent for most seizure disorders with the exception of absence and toxin-induced seizures. It has erratic gastrointestinal absorption with peak serum levels occurring anywhere from 3-12 hours following a single oral dose. 90% of circulating phenytoin is bound to albumin but only the unbound free fraction is active to cross cell membranes and exert pharmacological effect. Measured serum phenytoin levels reflect the total serum concentration of both the free and protein bound portions. Therapeutic range is between 10-20 mg/L. Free phenytoin levels are not often measured but are normally between 1-2 mg/L. Individuals with decreased protein binding (elderly, malnourished, hypoalbuminemia, uremia, and competing drugs) may have clincial toxicity despite a normal total phenytoin level. Toxicity consists of predominantly ocular and neurologic manifestations involving the vestibular and cerebellar systems:
|Plasma level, µg/mL||Clinical manifestations|
|10-20||Occasional mild nystagmus|
|30-40||Ataxia, slurred speech, extrapyramindal effects|
|>50||Coma, rare seizures|
Treatment of overdose is primarily supportive with serial drug level testing and neurologic exams. There is no evidence that gastrointestinal decontamination improves outcome. Routine cardiac monitoring is not necessary for overdose following oral ingestions. Cardiac toxicity is rarely seen and only with parenteral administration.
Phenytoin posisoning. Craig S. Neurocrit Care. 2005;3(2): 161-70.
Severe oral phenytoin overdose does not cause cardiovascular morbidity. Wyte CD, et al. Annals of EM. 1997; 20(5). 508-512.
Cardiac Monitoring after phenytoin overdose. Evers M, et al. Heart & Lung. 1997; 26:325-328.
Category: International EM
Keywords: Antibiotic resistance, bacterial pathogens (PubMed Search)
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published their first ever list of antibiotic-resistant "priority pathogens". These 12 families of bacterial pathogens have the potential to be a significant threat to human health.
These bacteria are divided in critical, high and medium priority pathogens.
The critical pathogens requiring R & D for new antibiotics are:
1. Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
2. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
3. Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing
Keywords: stress fracture, runner (PubMed Search)
22yo college track athlete presents with 3 weeks of gradual onset groin and thigh pain, worse with running, better with rest.
Stress fractures are a common cause of groin pain in athletes, particularly in long distance runners
Fractures occur in the pubic rami and femoral neck
Ask about a sudden change in training regimens
PE: check for tenderness to deep palpation over the pubic ramus. Ask athlete to stand and support full weight on affected leg or perform one legged hop on affected side. Pain out of proportion to physical examination findings.
Imaging: XR usually negative. Bone scans can be positive as early as 4 to 8 days after symptom onset. MRI used to diagnose and rule out other causes of groin pain.
Treatment: Rest for 4 to 6 weeks. Consider making patient non weight bearing if walking causes pain especially with femoral neck fractures on the superior side. Inferior side neck fractures may benefit from prophylactic fixation.
Groin Injuries (Athletic Pubalgia) and return to play. Elattar et al., Sports Health Aug 2016.
Keywords: headache, migraine, intravenous fluids, IVF (PubMed Search)
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Category: Critical Care
Preoxygenation in Critically Ill Patients
Mosier JM, Hypes CD, Sackles JC. Understanding preoxygenation and apneic oxygenation during intubation in the critically ill. Intensive Care Med. 2017; 43:226-8.
Keywords: Beers list, iatrogenic, medications, pharmacology (PubMed Search)
The Beers' Criteria lists 34 classes of medications that may be potentially inappropriate for geriatric patients due to a high risk of complications including increased risk for falls. When prescribing medications from the emergency department in geriatric patients, try to avoid these categories if other options are available.
The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging. Identifying Medications that Older Adults Should Avoid or Use with Caution: the 2012 American Geriatrics Society Updated Beers Criteria. 2012. Retrieved on March 5th, 2017 from: http://www.americangeriatrics.org/files/documents/beers/BeersCriteriaPublicTranslation.pdf
Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Keywords: NSAID, diazepam, back pain (PubMed Search)
The addition of diazepam to naproxen for patients with acute, nontraumatic, nonradicular lower back pain did not improve pain or functional outcomes at 1 week or 3 months after ED discharge compared to placebo.
Study design: single-center, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
Citation: Friedman BW, Irizarry E, Solorzano C, et al. Diazepam is no better than placebo when added to naproxen for acute low back pain. Ann Emerg Med 2017. PMID 28187918
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Keywords: EDS, Excited Delirium (PubMed Search)
Excited delirium syndrome (EDS) is a life-threatening condition caused by a variety of factors including drug intoxication. EDS is defined as altered mental status, hyperadrenergic state, and combativeness or aggressiveness. It is characterized by tolerance to significant pain, tachypnea, diaphoresis, severe agitation, hyperthermia, non-compliance or poor awareness to direction from police or medical personnel, lack of fatigue, superhuman strength, and inappropriate clothing for the current environment. These patients are at high risk for sudden death. Toxins associated with this syndrome include:
Ketamine at 4mg/kg dose can be given by intramuscular route and has been demonstrated to be safe and effective treatment for EDS.
Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About Synthetic Cannabinoids: Not So Nice Spice Kemp, Ann M. et al. The American Journal of Medicine , Volume 129 , Issue 3 , 240 - 244.
Synthetic cannabinoid drug use as a cause or contributory cause of death. Labay, LM. et al. Forensic Science International , Volume 260 , 31 - 39.
Sudden Death Due To Acute Cocaine Toxicity—Excited Delirium in a Body Packer. Sheilds, LB, Rolf CM, et al. J Forensic Sci, 2015. 60: 1647–1651.
Excited Delirium and Sudden Death: A Syndromal Disorder at the Extreme End of the Neuropsychiatric Continuum. Mash, DC.Frontiers in Physiology. 2016; 7:435.
Prehospital Ketamine is a Safe and Effective Treatment for Excited Delirium in a Community Hospital Based EMS System, Scaggs, TR, Glass, DM, et al. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. 2016 31(5), 563–569.