The latest medical research on Emergency Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about emergency medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Characteristics, presentation and outcomes of music festival patrons with stimulant drug-induced serotonin toxicity.

EMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia

A large number of stimulant drug-associated deaths at music festivals in Australia were reported during the southern hemisphere summer of 2018-2019. This led to the prehospital deployment of healthcare professional-led critical care response teams. We aimed to describe the characteristics, clinical presentation, management and outcomes of music festival patrons with stimulant drug-induced serotonin toxicity managed using this model during the study period.

We performed a retrospective observational study of patients presenting with stimulant drug-induced serotonin toxicity and/or drug-induced hyperthermia who presented between December 2017 and December 2019. Comprehensive follow-up data were collected for those patients who required hospital admission. Data included demographics, clinical features, management and disposition, hospital outcomes and laboratory data, stratified by severity of presentation.

Forty-seven patients were included. Median age was 21.9 years (interquartile range 19.6-22.2). 3,4-Methylenedioxymetamphetamine was the most frequently reported agent ingested (32/47). After stratification, 13 of 47 patients were classified as mild, 20 of 47 as moderate and 14 of 47 as severe. Median presenting temperature in this latter cohort was 41.1°C (40.5-42.0°C). All severely ill patients required intensive care unit admission, with a median hospital stay of 4.63 days (interquartile range 2.08-8.36). End-organ complications were reported in 11 of 14 patients. No mortalities were reported. All patients (13/13) from the mild cohort and 15 of 20 patients from the moderate cohort were treated and discharged on-site.

Severe illness was associated with a high incidence of end-organ impairment. A high proportion of patients without severe disease were able to be successfully managed at the event without transport to hospital. No deaths are reported in this series.

Ultrasound-directed reduction of distal radius fractures in adults: a systematic review.

Emergency Medicine Journal

To conduct a systematic review of the clinical literature to determine whether ultrasound can be used to improve the reduction of distal radius fractures in adults in the ED.

A study protocol was registered on PROSPERO. EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and ClinicalTrials.gov of the US National Library of Medicine were searched for studies evaluating ultrasound-assisted distal radial fracture reductions in comparison with standard care. The primary outcome of interest was manipulation success rates, defined as the proportion of fracture manipulations resulting in acceptable anatomical alignment, with secondary outcome being subsequent surgical intervention rates in ultrasound and standard care group of patients.

248 were screened at title and abstract, and 10 studies were included for a narrative synthesis. The quality of this evidence is limited but suggests ultrasound is accurate in determining distal radius fracture reduction and may improve the quality of reduction compared with standard care. However, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether this affects the rate of subsequent surgical intervention or functional outcome.

There is a lack of evidence that using ultrasound in the closed reduction of distal radius fractures benefits patients. Properly conducted randomised controlled trials with patient-orientated outcomes are crucial to investigate this technology.

Strengthening emergency care knowledge and skills in Uganda and Tanzania with the WHO-ICRC Basic Emergency Care Course.

Emergency Medicine Journal

There is a pressing need for emergency care (EC) training in low-resource settings. We assessed the feasibility and acceptability of training frontline healthcare providers in emergency care with the World Health Organization (WHO)-International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Basic Emergency Care (BEC) Course using a training-of-trainers (ToT) model with local providers.

Quasiexperimental pretest and post-test study of an educational intervention at four first-level district hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda conducted in March and April of 2017. A 2-day ToT course was held in both Tanzania and Uganda. These were immediately followed by a 5-day BEC Course, taught by the newly trained trainers, at two hospitals in each country. Both prior to and immediately following each training, participants took assessments on EC knowledge and rated their confidence level in using a variety of EC skills to treat patients. Qualitative feedback from participants was collected and summarised.

Fifty-nine participants completed the four BEC Courses. All participants were current healthcare workers at the selected hospitals. An additional 10 participants completed a ToT course. EC knowledge scores were significantly higher for participants immediately following the training compared with their scores just prior to the training when assessed across all study sites (Z=6.23, p<0.001). Across all study sites, mean EC confidence ratings increased by 0.74 points on a 4-point Likert scale (95% CI 0.63 to 0.84, p<0.001). Main qualitative feedback included: positive reception of the sessions, especially hands-on skills; request for additional BEC trainings; request for obstetric topics; and need for more allotted training time.

Implementation of the WHO-ICRC BEC Course by locally trained providers was feasible, acceptable and well received at four sites in East Africa. Participation in the training course was associated with a significant increase in EC knowledge and confidence at all four study sites. The BEC is a low-cost intervention that can improve EC knowledge and skill confidence across provider cadres.

Income-related differences in out-of-hours primary care telephone triage: using national registration data.

Emergency Medicine Journal

Telephone triage is used to facilitate efficient and adequate acute care allocation, for instance in out-of-hours primary care services (OPCSs). Remote assessment of health problems is challenging and could be impeded by a patient's ambiguous formulation of his or her healthcare need. Socioeconomically vulnerable patients may experience more difficulty in expressing their healthcare need. We aimed to assess whether income differences exist in the patient's presented symptoms, assessed urgency and allocation of follow-up care in OPCS.

Data were derived from Nivel Primary Care Database encompassing electronic health record data of 1.3 million patients from 28 OPCSs in 2017 in the Netherlands. These were linked to sociodemographic population registry data. Multilevel logistic regression analyses (contacts clustered in patients), adjusted for patient characteristics (eg, age, sex), were conducted to study associations of symptoms, urgency assessment and follow-up care with patients' income (standardised for household size as socioeconomic status (SES) indicator).

The most frequently presented symptoms deduced during triage slightly differed across SES groups, with a larger relative share of trauma in the high-income groups. No SES differences were observed in urgency assessment. After triage, low income was associated with a higher probability of receiving telephone advice and home visits, and fewer consultations at the OPCS.

SES differences in the patient's presented symptom and in follow-up in OPCS suggest that the underlying health status and the ability to express care needs affect the telephone triage process . Further research should focus on opportunities to better tailor the telephone triage process to socioeconomically vulnerable patients.

Sex-related differences in opioid administration in the emergency department: a population-based study.

Emergency Medicine Journal

Sex differences in pain experience and expression may influence ED pain management. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of sex on ED opioid administration.

We conducted a multicentre population-based observational cohort study using administrative data from Calgary's four EDs between 2017 and 2018. Eligible patients had a presenting complaint belonging to one of nine pain categories or an arrival pain score >3. We performed multivariable analyses to identify predictors of opioid administration and stratified analyses by age, pain severity and pain category.

We studied 119 510 patients (mean age 47.4 years; 55.4% female). Opioid administration rates were similar for men and women. After adjusting for age, hospital site, pain category, ED length of stay and pain severity, male sex was not a predictor of opioid treatment (adjusted OR (aOR)=0.93; 95% CI 0.85 to 1.02). However, men were more likely to receive opioids in the categories of trauma (aOR=1.58, 95% CI 1.40 to 1.78), flank pain (aOR=1.24, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.38), headache (aOR=1.18, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.34) and abdominal pain (aOR=1.11, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.18). Pain category appears to be a strong determinant of opioid administration, especially back pain (aOR=6.56, 95% CI 5.99 to 7.19) and flank pain (aOR=6.04, 95% CI 5.48 to 6.65). There was significant variability in opioid provision by ED site (aOR 0.76 to 1.24).

This population-based study demonstrated high variability in opioid use across different settings. Overall, men and women had similar likelihood of receiving opioids; however men with trauma, flank pain, headache and abdominal pain were much more likely to receive opioids. ED physicians should self-examine their analgesic practices with respect to possible sex biases, and departments should introduce evidence-based, indication-specific analgesic protocols to reduce practice variability and optimise opioid analgesia.

Persistent and Widespread Pain Among Blacks Six Weeks after MVC: Emergency Department-based Cohort Study.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

Blacks in the United States experience greater persistent pain than non-Hispanic Whites across a range of medical conditions, but to our knowledge no longitudinal studies have examined the risk factors or incidence of persistent pain among Blacks experiencing common traumatic stress exposures such as after a motor vehicle collision (MVC). We evaluated the incidence and predictors of moderate to severe axial musculoskeletal pain (MSAP) and widespread pain six weeks after a MVC in a large cohort of Black adults presenting to the emergency department (ED) for care.

This prospective, multi-center, cohort study enrolled Black adults who presented to one of 13 EDs across the US within 24 hours of a MVC and were discharged home after their evaluation. Data were collected at the ED visit via patient interview and self-report surveys at six weeks after the ED visit via internet-based, self-report survey, or telephone interview. We assessed MSAP pain at ED visit and persistence at six weeks. Multivariable models examined factors associated with MSAP persistence at six weeks post-MVC.

Among 787 participants, less than 1% reported no pain in the ED after their MVC, while 79.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 77.1 - 82.2) reported MSAP and 28.3 (95% CI, 25.5 - 31.3) had widespread pain. At six weeks, 67% (95% CI, 64, 70%) had MSAP and 31% (95% CI, 28, 34%) had widespread pain. ED characteristics predicting MSAP at six weeks post-MVC (area under the curve = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.72, 0.74) were older age, peritraumatic dissociation, moderate to severe pain in the ED, feeling uncertain about recovery, and symptoms of depression.

These data indicate that Blacks presenting to the ED for evaluation after MVCs are at high risk for persistent and widespread musculoskeletal pain. Preventive interventions are needed to improve outcomes for this high-risk group.

Emergency Department Patients Who Leave Before Treatment Is Complete.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

Emergency department (ED) patients who leave before treatment is complete (LBTC) represent medicolegal risk and lost revenue. We sought to examine LBTC return visits characteristics and potential revenue effects for a large healthcare system.

This retrospective, multicenter study examined all encounters from January 1-December 31, 2019 at 18 EDs. The LBTC patients were divided into left without being seen (LWBS), defined as leaving prior to completed medical screening exam (MSE), and left subsequent to being seen (LSBS), defined as leaving after MSE was complete but before disposition. We recorded 30-day returns by facility type including median return hours, admission rate, and return to index ED. Expected realization rate and potential charges were calculated for each patient visit.

During the study period 626,548 ED visits occurred; 20,158 (3.2%) LBTC index encounters occurred, and 6745 (33.5%) returned within 30 days. The majority (41.7%) returned in <24 hours with 76.1% returning in 10 days and 66.4% returning to index ED. Median return time was 43.3 hours, and 23.2% were admitted. Urban community EDs had the highest 30-day return rate (37.8%, 95% confidence interval, 36.41-39.1). Patients categorized as LSBS had longer median return hours (66.0) and higher admission rates (29.8%) than the LWBS cohort. There was a net potential realization rate of $9.5 million to the healthcare system.

In our system, LSBS patients had longer return times and higher admission rates than LWBS patients. There was significant potential financial impact for the system. Further studies should examine how healthcare systems can reduce risk and financial impacts of LBTC patients.

The Utility of Pain Scale to Assess Verifiable vs Non-Verifiable Pain in United States Emergency Departments.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

We sought to examine the utility of self-reported pain scale by comparing emergency department (ED) triage pain scores of self-reported but non-verifiable painful conditions with those of verifiable painful conditions using a large, nationally representative sample.

We analyzed the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) 2015. Verifiable painful conditions were identified based on the final diagnoses in the five included International Classification of Diseases 9th revision codes. Non-verifiable painful conditions were identified by the five main reasons for visit. Only adults 18 years of age or older were included. The primary outcome variable was the pain scale from 0 to 10 at triage. We performed descriptive and multivariate analyses to investigate the relationships between the pain scale and whether the painful condition was verifiable, controlling for patient characteristics.

There were 55 million pain-related adult ED visits in 2015. The average pain scale was 6.49. For verifiable painful diagnoses, which were about 24% of the total visits, the average was 6.27, statistically significantly lower than that for non-verifiable painful conditions, 6.56. Even after controlling for the confounding of patient characteristics and comorbidities, verifiable painful diagnoses still presented less pain than those with non-verifiable painful complaints. Older age, female gender, and urban residents had significantly higher pain scores than their respective counterparts, controlling for other confounding factors. Psychiatric disorders were independently associated with higher pain scores by about a half point.

Self-reported pain scales obtained at ED triage likely have a larger psychological component than a physiological one. Close attention to clinical appropriateness and overall patient comfort are more likely to lead to better health outcomes and patient experiences than focusing on self-reported pain alone.

Four-factor Prothrombin Complex Concentrate for Reversal of Factor Xa Inhibitors versus Warfarin in Life-threatening Bleeding.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

Factor Xa (fXa) inhibitor reversal for life-threatening bleeding is controversial due to a lack of high-quality evidence. The purpose of this study was to determine the hemostatic efficacy of four-factor prothrombin complex concentrate (4F-PCC) for the reversal of fXa inhibitors compared to warfarin for life-threatening bleeding.

This was a multicenter, retrospective cohort study at two academic medical centers between January 1, 2014-December 31, 2019, which included patients who presented to the emergency department with a life-threatening bleed necessitating anticoagulation reversal with 4F-PCC. The primary endpoint was achievement of hemostatic efficacy after 4F-PCC administration.

Of the 525 patients who had an order for 4F-PCC during the study period, 148 patients met the criteria for inclusion (n = 48 fXa inhibitor group; n = 100 warfarin group). Apixaban (52.1%) and rivaroxaban (45.8%) were the most commonly used fXa inhibitors. Effective hemostasis was similar between groups (79.2% fXa inhibitor group vs 85% warfarin group, p = 0.38). This was consistent across all types of bleeding. Thrombotic events were rare in both groups (2% vs 3%).

This multicenter, retrospective cohort study demonstrated that using 4F-PCC for treatment of life-threatening bleeding produced effective hemostasis in patients on fXa inhibitors and warfarin.

Diagnostic Uncertainty in Dyspneic Patients with Cancer in the Emergency Department.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

Dyspnea is the second most common symptom experienced by the approximately 4.5 million patients with cancer presenting to emergency departments (ED) each year. Distinguishing pneumonia, the most common reason for presentation, from other causes of dyspnea is challenging. This report characterizes the diagnostic uncertainty in patients with dyspnea and pneumonia presenting to an ED by establishing the rates of co-diagnosis, co-treatment, and misdiagnosis.

Visits by individuals ≥18 years old with cancer who presented with a complaint of dyspnea were identified using the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey between 2012-2014 and analyzed for rates of co-diagnosis, co-treatment (treatment or diagnosis for >1 of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and heart failure), and misdiagnosis of pneumonia. Additionally, we assessed rates of diagnostic uncertainty (co-diagnosis, co-treatment, or a lone diagnosis of dyspnea not otherwise specified [NOS]).

Among dyspneic cancer visits (1,593,930), 15.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.1-20.5%) were diagnosed with pneumonia, 22.5% (95% CI, 16.7-29.7%) with COPD, and 7.4% (95% CI 4.7-11.4%) with heart failure. Dyspnea NOS was diagnosed in 32.3% (95% CI, 25.7-39.7%) of visits and as the only diagnosis in 23.1% (95% CI, 16.3-31.6%) of all visits. Co-diagnosis occurred in 4.0% (95% CI, 2.0-7.6%) of dyspneic adults with cancer and co-treatment in 12.1% (95% CI, 7.5-18.9%). Agreement between emergency physician and inpatient documentation for presence of pneumonia was 57.7% (95% CI, 37.0-76.1%).

Diagnostic uncertainty remains a significant concern in patients with cancer presenting to the ED with dyspnea. Clinical uncertainty among dyspneic patients results in both misdiagnosis and under-treatment of patients with pneumonia and cancer.

Effect of Blood Pressure Variability on Outcomes in Emergency Patients with Intracranial Hemorrhage.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

Patients with spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) have high mortality and morbidity, which are associated with blood pressure variability. Additionally, blood pressure variability is associated with acute kidney injury (AKI) in critically ill patients, but its association with sICH patients in emergency departments (ED) is unclear. Our study investigated the association between blood pressure variability in the ED and the risk of developing AKI during sICH patients' hospital stay.

We retrospectively analyzed patients with sICH, including those with subarachnoid and intraparenchymal hemorrhage, who were admitted from any ED and who received an external ventricular drain at our academic center. Patients were identified by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9). Outcomes were the development of AKI, mortality, and being discharged home. We performed multivariable logistic regressions to measure the association of clinical factors and interventions with outcomes.

We analyzed the records of 259 patients: 71 (27%) patients developed AKI, and 59 (23%) patients died. Mean age (± standard deviation [SD]) was 58 (14) years, and 150 (58%) were female. Patients with AKI had significantly higher blood pressure variability than patients without AKI. Each millimeter of mercury increment in one component of blood pressure variability, SD in systolic blood pressure (SBPSD), was significantly associated with 2% increased likelihood of developing AKI (odds ratio [OR] 1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.005-1.03, p = 0.007). Initiating nicardipine infusion in the ED (OR 0.35, 95% CI, 0.15-0.77, p = 0.01) was associated with lower odds of in-hospital mortality. No ED interventions or blood pressure variability components were associated with patients' likelihood to be discharged home.

Our study suggests that greater SBPSD during patients' ED stay is associated with higher likelihood of AKI, while starting nicardipine infusion is associated with lower odds of in-hospital mortality. Further studies about interventions and outcomes of patients with sICH in the ED are needed to confirm our observations.

Evidence-Based Heatstroke Management in the Emergency Department.

Western Journal of Emergency Medicine

Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events, which disproportionately impact the health of vulnerable populations. Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a medical emergency that causes multiorgan failure and death without intervention. Rapid recognition and aggressive early treatment are essential to reduce morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to evaluate current standards of care for the emergent management of heatstroke and propose an evidence-based algorithm to expedite care.

We systematically searched PubMed, Embase, and key journals, and reviewed bibliographies. Original research articles, including case studies, were selected if they specifically addressed the recognition and management of heatstroke in any prehospital, emergency department (ED), or intensive care unit population. Reviewers evaluated study quality and abstracted information regarding demographics, scenario, management, and outcome.

In total, 63 articles met full inclusion criteria after full-text review and were included for analysis. Three key themes identified during the qualitative review process included recognition, rapid cooling, and supportive care. Rapid recognition and expedited external or internal cooling methods coupled with multidisciplinary management were associated with improved outcomes. Delays in care are associated with adverse outcomes. We found no current scalable ED alert process to expedite early goal-directed therapies.

Given the increased risk of exposure to heat waves and the time-sensitivity of the condition, EDs and healthcare systems should adopt processes for rapid recognition and management of heatstroke. This study proposes an evidence-based prehospital and ED heat alert pathway to improve early diagnosis and resource mobilization. We also provide an evidence-based treatment pathway to facilitate efficient patient cooling. It is hoped that this protocol will improve care and help healthcare systems adapt to changing environmental conditions.