Risk Factors for Unplanned Transfer to the ICU after ED Admission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marleen Boerma MD
Department of Emergency Medicine
Elisabeth-Tweesteden Hospital
Tilburg, The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Unplanned Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission has been used as a surrogate marker of adverse events, and is used by the Australian Council of Healthcare Accreditation as a reportable quality indicator. If we can identify independent variables predicting deterioration which require ICU transfer within 24 hours after emergency department (ED) admission, direct ICU admission should be considered. This may improve patient safety and reduce adverse events by appropriate disposition of patients presenting to the ED.

This study shows that there were significantly more hypercapnia patients in the ICU admission group (n=17) compared to the non-ICU group (n=5)(p=0.028). There were significantly greater rates of tachypnea in septic patients (p=0.022) and low oxygen saturation for patients with pneumonia (p=0.045). The level of documentation of respiratory rate was poor.

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Fentanyl Laced Heroin Contributing To Spike In Heroin Overdoses in Miami-Dade County

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alexander Diaz Bode

M.D. Candidate
University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Miami, FL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our country is in the midst of an opiate epidemic. This is particularly evident in the emergency department (ED), which continues to see an alarmingly large number heroin overdose. With the shutdown of “pill-mills”, where opioid prescriptions would be prescribed indiscriminately, Florida has seen particularly large increases in opiate use and overdose. In Miami, we noticed that during the summer of 2016, there was a disproportionate increase in heroin overdose being treated at our hospital relative to previous years. Our recently published study showed that fentanyl or fentanyl analog laced heroin likely contributed to this massive spike in heroin overdose observed during the summer of 2016.

Fentanyl and its synthetic analogs are opioid receptor agonists that bind with hundreds of times higher affinity than diamorphine, aka heroin. Naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan®, is used to reverse heroin overdose in the ED. This drug works by competitively inhibiting the opioid receptor, effectively “knocking off” the bound heroin. Using naloxone dosing as a surrogate marker of heroin purity, our study found that during the investigated spike there was a disproportionate increase in the amount of naloxone used in our ED to reverse overdose relative to the increase in opiate overdose. This indicated that a stronger opioid receptor agonist, such as fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, likely was involved in the massive spike in overdose observed during the summer of 2016.

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How Does Emergency Room Crowding Affect Care of Septic Patients?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Department of Emergency Medicine Philadelphia, PA

Dr. Anish Agarwal

Anish Agarwal, MD, MPH
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Department of Emergency Medicine
Philadelphia, PA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The morbidity and mortality of severe sepsis has been well studied and documented. An aggressive approach to protocolized care for patients suffering from severe sepsis and septic shock has been shown to improve mortality and should be started as early in the time course of a patient’s presentation. Emergency departments (ED) are designed to deliver time-sensitive therapies, however, they also may suffer from crowding due to multiple factors.

This study aimed to assess the impact of ED crowding upon critical interventions in the treatment of severe sepsis including time to intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and overall delivery of a protocolized bundle of care. The study found that as ED crowding increased, time to critical therapies significantly increased and the overall implementation of procotolized care decreased. More specifically as ED occupancy and total patient hours within the ED increased, time to intravenous fluids decreased and time to antibiotics increased as occupancy, hours, and boarding increased.

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Many CT Scans Can Be Avoided During ER Evaluation of Head Trauma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adam L. Sharp MD MS Research Scientist/Emergency Physician Kaiser Permanente Southern California Kaiser Permanente Research Department of Research & Evaluation Pasadena, CA 91101

Dr. Adam Sharp

Adam L. Sharp MD MS
Research Scientist/Emergency Physician
Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Kaiser Permanente Research
Department of Research & Evaluation
Pasadena, CA 91101

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Millions of head computed tomography (CT) scans are ordered annually in U.S. emergency Departments (EDs), but the extent of avoidable imaging is poorly defined. Ensuring appropriate use is important to ensure patient outcomes and limited resources are optimized. A large number of stake holders have highlighted the need to reduce “unnecessary” CT scanning as part of their recommendations for the Choosing Wisely campaign. However, despite calls for improved stewardship, the extent of avoidable CT use among adults with minor trauma in community EDs is not known.

The Canadian CT Head Rule (CCHR) is perhaps the most studied of many validated decision instruments designed to assist providers in evaluating patients with minor head trauma. This study aims to describe the scope of overuse of CT imaging by ED providers in cases where application of the CCHR could have avoided imaging.

Secondarily, we sought to describe the extent to which avoidable CTs, if averted, would have resulted in “missed” intracranial hemorrhages requiring a neurosurgical intervention.

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tPA Plus Mechanical Thrombectomy in Acute Ischemic Stroke?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Vitor Mendes Pereira MD MSc Division of Neuroradiology - Joint Department of Medical Imaging Division of Neurosurgery - Department of Surgery Toronto Western Hospital - University Health Network Associate Professor of Radiology and Surgery University of Toronto

Dr. Vitor Mendes Pereira

Vitor Mendes Pereira MD MSc
Division of Neuroradiology – Joint Department of Medical Imaging
Division of Neurosurgery – Department of Surgery
Toronto Western Hospital – University Health Network
Associate Professor of Radiology and Surgery
University of Toronto 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study is a pooled analysis of two large prospective stroke studies that evaluated the effectiveness of mechanical thrombectomy (MT) using one of the stent retrievers (Solitaire device ) in patients with acute ischemic stroke related to large vessel occlusion(LVO). It is known (after 5 randomized controlled trials in 2015) that IV rtPA alone failed to demonstrated benefit when compared to MT associated or not to rtPA. A question is still open: what it is the real benefit of IV rtPA in the context of LVO, particularly in centres that can offer mechanical thrombectomy within 60 minutes after qualifying imaging?

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Children Can Choke to Death on Grapes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Jamie G Cooper

Consultant in Emergency Medicine
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Aberdeen UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jamie Cooper Consultant in Emergency Medicine Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Aberdeen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Choking in children can be fatal and regularly grapes can be the cause. We believe that public awareness of the choking hazard posed by grapes (and other similarly shaped foods, such as cherry tomatoes) is not wide spread. By publishing this article we aimed to highlight the problem to health professionals who look after children and also to the public at large in an attempt to reduce the number of future episodes. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: With parental consent we published the cases of three small children who suffered choking episodes as a result of whole grapes, two of whom died as a result. In each case it was not possible to dislodge the grape using first aid techniques. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Small children are at risk from choking because they have smaller airways, reduced ability to chew foods, underdeveloped swallowing coordination and can be easily distracted when eating. Grapes are a healthy and popular snack but are ideally suited to cause airway obstruction, particularly if inhaled whole. Small children (up to 5 years) should always be supervised by adults while eating; and grapes should be halved, or ideally quartered, before consumption. We hope that by drawing attention to this issue that consideration will be given at a political level to wider dissemination of this information so as to prevent further occurrences. MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community. Citation: BMJ The choking hazard of grapes: a plea for awareness Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions. More Medical Research Interviews on MedicalResearch.com

Grapes
Wikipedia image

Response: Choking in children can be fatal and regularly grapes can be the cause.  We believe that public awareness of the choking hazard posed by grapes (and other similarly shaped foods, such as cherry tomatoes) is not wide spread.  By publishing this article we aimed to highlight the problem to health professionals who look after children and also to the public at large in an attempt to reduce the number of future episodes.

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Emergency Department Use High Among CKD Patients, Primarily for Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Paul E Ronksley, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Community Health Sciences Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary Calgary Canada

Dr. Paul E Ronksley

Paul E Ronksley, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Community Health Sciences
Cumming School of Medicine
University of Calgary
Calgary Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Prior studies have observed high resource use among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is related to the medical complexity of this patient population. However, there has been limited exploration of how patients with CKD use the emergency department (ED) and whether utilization is associated with disease severity. While the ED is essential for providing urgent or emergent care, identifying ways of improving ED efficiency and decreasing wait times has been recognized as a priority in multiple countries. Improving coordination and management of care for patients with multiple chronic conditions (the norm for CKD) in an outpatient setting may meet health care needs and ultimately improve patient experience and outcomes while reducing the burden currently placed on the ED. However, this requires an understanding of ED use among patients with CKD and the proportion of use that is amenable to outpatient care. Using a large population-based cohort we explored how rates of ED use vary by kidney disease severity and the proportion of these events that are potentially preventable by high quality ambulatory care.

We identified all adults (≥18 years) with eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73m2 (including dialysis-dependent patients) in Alberta, Canada between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011. Patients with CKD were linked to administrative data to capture clinical characteristics and frequency of ED encounters, and followed until death or end of study (March 31, 2013). Within each CKD category we calculated adjusted rates of overall  emergency departmentt use, as well as rates of potentially preventable ED encounters (defined by 4 CKD-specific ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSCs); heart failure, hyperkalemia, volume overload, malignant hypertension).

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High Treatment Failure Rates Among Elderly With Purulent Skin Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John P. Haran, MD Assistant Professor Department of Emergency Medicine University of Massachusetts Medical School UMass Memorial Medical Group Worcester, MA

Dr. John P. Haran

John P. Haran, MD
Assistant Professor
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMass Memorial Medical Group
Worcester, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 2014, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) updated their guidelines for the management of skin and soft tissue infection in response to high MRSA infection rates as well as high treatment failure rates for skin and soft tissue infections. Greater than 1 in 5 patients treated for a skin abscess will fail initial treatment.

Historically antibiotics have been shown to be unnecessary in the treatment of uncomplicated purulent infections. This notion has been recently challenges when authors published a randomized control trial using trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazone in the NEJM that demonstrated a minimal increase in cure rates for outpatient treatment of uncomplicated skin purulent skin infections. In this study they did not follow IDSA-guidelines nor model or stratify their analysis. It is possible their findings may be due to at-risk patient groups that did not receive antibiotics. Many widely used clinical decision rules incorporate age into their decision algorithms, however the IDSA did not do this with their recent guidelines.

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Tamsulosin (Flomax) Improves Passage of Some Kidney Stones

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ralph Wang, MD, MAS

Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Medical expulsive therapy, most notably tamsulosin, has been studied extensively to improve stone passage in patients diagnosed with ureteral stone. Prior trials and meta-analyses have identified a benefit. In fact, tamsulosin is
recommended by the American Urologic Association for patients diagnosed with ureteral stones < 10mm that do not require intervention. However, recent well-conducted multi-center randomized trials have not found any improvement in stone passage.

Thus we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all double blinded, placebo controlled randomized trials of tamsulosin to determine whether it improves stone passage.

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Uninsured Kids More Likely To Be Transferred From Emergency Departments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yunru Huang Ph.D. Candidate in epidemiology Department of Pediatrics University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA

Yunru Huang and Dr. James Marcin (left)

Yunru Huang
Ph.D. Candidate in epidemiology
Department of Pediatrics
University of California
Davis, Sacramento, CA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Each year, more than 27 million children seek care in emergency departments (EDs) in the United States. Many EDs, however, are not fully equipped with the recommended pediatric supplies and may not have access to the pediatric specialists and resources needed to provide definitive care. As a result, many children receiving treatment in EDs of hospitals with limited pediatric resources are transferred to another hospital’s ED or inpatient unit for admission.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) requires hospitals to make decisions on patient transfer and admission independent of insurance status. That is, the decision to transfer a patient to another hospital for admission should only depend upon clinical factors or the need for specialty services. However, patterns observed in the medical literatures have suggested that a child’s insurance status could be associated with transfer and admission decisions. These studies have been limited to single institutions and/or have been limited to specific conditions._ENREF_14 Whether or not transfer decisions among pediatric patients are related to insurance status has yet to be studied on a national level and across a variety of diagnoses.

We used Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2012 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample data and sought to investigate the relationships between insurance status and odds of transfer relative to local admission among pediatric patients receiving care in the ED.

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Nurse-Initiated Protocols Can Improve Timeliness of Care in an Urban Emergency Department

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Mathew Douma, RN BSN ENC(C) CNCC(C)
Emergency Department, Royal Alexandra Hospital
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Masters of Nursing Student
University of Toronto, Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Many emergency departments experience crowding, which is typically defined as a situation where demands for service exceed the ability of the emergency department to provide quality care in a timely fashion. Typically when patients are waiting in a waiting room they do not undergo diagnostics or treatments. In an effort to speed the process up and reduce the amount of time the patient spends in the emergency department, some facilities have created protocols for diagnostics or treatments typically outside the traditional scope of practice of nursing staff.

Our emergency department had protocols like this for almost 15 years, though we had never evaluated their effectiveness. So an interdisciplinary group in our emergency department updated them and then we set out to evaluate them.

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Opportunities for Improvement in Pediatric Resuscitation Across US EDs

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Marc Auerbach, MD, FAAP, MSc
Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Emergency Medicine) and of Emergency Medicine
Co-chair INSPIRE (International Network for Simulation Based Pediatric Innovation Research and Education)
Director, Pediatric Simulation
Yale Center for Medical Simulation;

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Severely ill infants and children present to any of over 5000 United States Emergency Departments every day. A direct comparison of the quality of resuscitative care across EDs is challenging due to the low frequency of these high stakes events in individual EDs. This study utilized in-situ simulation-based measurement to compare the quality of resuscitative care delivered to two infants and one child by 58 distinct interprofessional teams across 30 EDs. Composite quality scores correlated with annual pediatric patient volume, with higher volume departments demonstrating higher scores.

The pediatric readiness score measures compliance with guidelines created by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emergency Nurses Association. The pediatric readiness score correlated with composite quality scores measured by simulation.

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