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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Validity and reliability of the South African Triage Scale in prehospital providers.

BMC Emergency Medicine

Not applicable.

This is a prospective, assessment-based validation study among WCG EMS providers from March to September 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Participants completed an assessment containing 50 clinical vignettes by calculating the three components - triage early warning score (TEWS), discriminators (pre-defined clinical conditions), and a final SATS triage color. Responses were scored against gold standard answers. Validity was assessed by calculating over- and under-triage rates compared to gold standard. Inter-rater reliability was assessed by calculating agreement among EMS providers' responses.

A total of 102 EMS providers completed the assessment. The final SATS triage color was accurately determined in 56.5%, under-triaged in 29.5%, and over-triaged in 13.1% of vignette responses. TEWS was calculated correctly in 42.6% of vignettes, under-calculated in 45.0% and over-calculated in 10.9%. Discriminators were correctly identified in only 58.8% of vignettes. There was substantial inter-rater and gold standard agreement for both the TEWS component and final SATS color, but there was lower inter-rater agreement for clinical discriminators.

This is the first assessment of SATS as used by EMS providers for prehospital triage. We found that SATS generally under-performed as a triage tool, mainly due to the clinical discriminators. We found good inter-rater reliability, but poor validity. The under-triage rate of 30% was higher than previous reports from the in-hospital setting. The over-triage rate of 13% was acceptable. Further clinically-based and qualitative studies are needed.

Can indicators of myocardial damage predict carbon monoxide poisoning outcomes?

BMC Emergency Medicine

Carbon monoxide causes electrical, functional, and morphological changes in the heart. It is unclear, however, whether the indicators of myocardial damage can predict the patient's prognosis after carbon monoxide poisoning. This retrospective study aimed to investigate the relationship between the carboxyhemoglobin level and electrocardiographic (ECG) changes and whether the ECG changes and troponin I levels are related to the patient's prognosis after carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carboxyhemoglobin, troponin I, and ECG parameters were measured in 70 patients with carbon monoxide poisoning. The QT and RR intervals were measured for each ECG lead in all patients, and the corrected QT interval and corrected QT dispersion were calculated.

The correlation between the maximum corrected QT interval and the carboxyhemoglobin level was significant (P = 0.0072, R2 = 0.1017), as were the relationships between QT dispersion and carboxyhemoglobin (P < 0.001, R2 = 0.2358) and the corrected QT dispersion and carboxyhemoglobin (P < 0.001, R2 = 0.2613). The multivariate logistic analysis showed that the significant predictors of sequential disability were corrected QT dispersion (P = 0.0042), and troponin I level (P = 0.0021).

Patients' prognosis following carbon monoxide poisoning can be predicted based on corrected QT dispersion and the troponin I level. Patients with myocardial damage should be monitored not only for their cardiovascular outcome but also for their neurological outcome and their prognosis.

Post-traumatic spinal hematoma in ankylosing spondylitis.

Emergency Radiology

The purpose of this study is to examine the incidence, location, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) and spinal subdural hematoma (SSH) in post-traumatic ankylosing spondylitis (AS) patients.

A total of 2256 consecutive referrals for urgent and emergency MRI scans of the spine over a period of eight years and nine months were manually reviewed for any mentions indicating axial ankylosis and post-traumatic spinal hematoma. We found 164 patients with ankylosed spines complicated by spinal fracture, of whom 32 had AS. Of the 132 excluded patients, 80 had diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). The primary outcome was the presence of spinal hematoma, and the secondary outcome was spinal canal narrowing and spinal cord impingement. Two musculoskeletal radiologists and one fellow in musculoskeletal radiology reviewed the images for the presence of spinal hematoma and related signal characteristics, blinded to one another and initial reports.

Of 28 post-traumatic AS patients, 19 had SEHs and five had spinal SSHs. There was a statistically significant difference between Frankel grades before and after surgery in respect of neurological improvement (p = 0.008). Patients who had radiologically proven spinal cord impingement showed more severe neurological deficits (p = 0.012). Hematomas with T1 heterogeneity showed a significantly increased delay (p = 0.047) between injury and imaging, while other signal characteristics were only approximate.

Both SEH and SSH are common complications in post-traumatic AS patients. Patients benefit from surgery, but the relevance of spinal hematoma as a separate factor causing neurological deficit remains unclear.

Utility of susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) and pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pCASL) in diagnosis of falcine venous thrombosis in a child with transient ischemic attack.

Emergency Radiology

Pediatric stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) are uncommon but true emergencies with a wide differential diagnosis. Diagnostic imaging plays...

Preparing junior radiology residents for overnight call via peer-led, hands-on simulation.

Emergency Radiology

The aim of this study was to assess the perceived value and impact of a hands-on mock call simulation program on resident confidence with interpretation of emergency department overnight call cases.

A five-session course was implemented in June of 2018 for rising PGY-3/R2 residents to mimic the experience of overnight call with indirect supervision. Sessions were led by senior residents in the program and consisted of timed, independent interpretation of 15-20 high-yield cases per day which highlighted "do-not miss" critical findings and simulated workflow interruptions including phone calls, consultations, and questions from technologists. IRB-approved, and anonymous pre- and post-course surveys were administered to participants which assessed residents' degree of confidence in interpretation of on-call cases and comparison of the mock call experience with existing preparatory strategies. Survey responses were analyzed using McNemar's test and Mann-Whitney U test.

Our survey response rate was 91% (29/32). After completing the mock call simulation, there was a significant increase in the mean Likert score of resident confidence levels and feelings of preparedness from 4.59 to 7.38 (p < 0.01). The majority of respondents (72.4% [21/29]) felt that the mock call simulation was "extremely useful." One hundred percent of respondents indicated that the mock call simulation should be implemented for the following year.

Implementation of a hands-on mock call simulation significantly improves the confidence levels of radiology residents before assuming on-call responsibilities and may serve as an adjunct to existing preparatory strategies.

Spontaneous bilateral orbital subperiosteal hemorrhage resulting from thoracoabdominal crush injury.

Emergency Radiology

Orbital subperiosteal hemorrhage in the absence of facial fractures is uncommon. We report an unusual case of spontaneous bilateral orbital subperi...

SECUre: a multicentre survey of the safety of emergency care in UK emergency departments.

Emergency Medicine Journal

According to safety theory, frontline staff are often best informed to identify problems that threaten safety in their workplace. Surveying emergency department (ED) staff is a straightforward method for investigating risks, identifying solutions and evaluating interventions. This study's aim was to validate an ED safety questionnaire specifically for use in the UK and provide an overview of safety culture and risks.

An ED safety questionnaire developed in the USA was modified then validated using 33 RCEM (Royal College of Emergency Medicine) patient safety leads (calculating content validity index). The resulting 39 multiple-choice questionnaire was used in a multicentre survey. 110 participants were randomly selected from each site. A minimum 40% response rate per site reduced non-response bias. Cronbach's alpha was calculated across five categories as an estimate of reliability. Simple descriptive statistics were used to identify risks or good practice. χ2 test compared individual sites' results with national results to highlight outlier questions (ie, the department's strengths and weaknesses). χ2 was also used to identify significant differences between responses from nurses and doctors.

1060 participants were recruited across 18 sites. Cronbach's alpha was adequate (0.65 to 0.8). Analysis highlighted risks posed by interruptions, negative effects of targets, deficient mental healthcare (especially compared with critical care) and ED crowding. The study also revealed encouraging safety culture, such as effective doctor-nurse communication, and identified sites that were positive outliers overall or for specific questions. Comparing doctors and nurses' responses suggests additional support is needed for nursing staff.

This study provides the first step towards assessing ED safety culture and describing risks in the UK. Identifying outlier sites provides opportunities to learn from excellence. Repeat application of the survey will enable monitoring of safety interventions on a local and national level.

Pediatric scaphoid fracture: diagnostic performance of various radiographic views.

Emergency Radiology

The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate the performance of different radiographic views in the identification of scaphoid fractures in children.

This case-control study compared 4-view radiographic examinations of the wrist between children with scaphoid fracture and age- and sex-matched children without fractures performed between January 2008 and July 2019. After randomization, each examination was reviewed 3 times, at least 1 week apart, first using each view separately and later using multiple views without (3-view) and with the posteroanterior (PA) scaphoid view (4-view), to determine the presence or absence of a scaphoid fracture. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) were calculated with inter-rater agreement.

The study group of 58 children (48 boys and 10 girls; mean age 13.1 ± 2.1 years) included 29 with scaphoid fractures (8 corner, 9 distal pole, 10 waist, and 2 proximal pole) and 29 without fractures. Multiple views had higher sensitivity (3-view, 93.0%; 4-view, 96.5%) for fracture identification when compared to individual views (41.0-89.6%). The oblique view was 100% specific for the identification of a scaphoid fracture, but it lacked sensitivity. The PA scaphoid view had the highest sensitivity (89.6%) and NPV (90%) when compared to other individual views and its inclusion in the 4-view examinations produced the highest inter-rater agreement (93%, κ = 0.86).

Multiple radiographic views of the wrist with the inclusion of a PA scaphoid view (4-view) produced the highest sensitivity, NPV, and inter-rater agreement for the identification of a scaphoid fracture in children.

Role of C-reactive protein in effective utilization of emergent MRI for spinal infections.

Emergency Radiology

Emergent spinal MRI is recommended for patients with back pain and red flags for infection. However, many of these studies are negative due to low prevalence of spinal infections. Our purpose was to assess if C-reactive protein (CRP) can be used to guide effective utilization of emergent MRI for spinal infections.

316/960 (33%) MRIs performed for infection by the emergency department over 75-month period had CRP levels obtained at presentation, after excluding patients receiving antibiotic or had spinal surgery in < 1 month. An MRI was considered positive when there was imaging evidence of spinal infection confirmed on follow-up by surgery/biopsy/drainage or definitive therapy. A CRP of ≤ 10 mg/L was considered normal and > 100 mg/L as highly elevated.

CRP was normal in 95/316 (30%) and abnormal in 221/316 (70%) patients. MRI was positive in 43/316 (13.6%) patients, all of whom had abnormal CRP. CRP (p < 0.001) and intravenous drug use (IVDU; p = 0.002) were independently associated with a positive MRI. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analysis showed AUC of 0.76 for CRP, slightly improving with IVDU. Sensitivity, specificity, and negative predictive values for CRP level cut-off: 10 mg/L, 100%, 35%, and 100%, and 100 mg/L, 58%, 70% and 91%, respectively.

Abnormal CRP, although extremely sensitive, lacks specificity in predicting a positive MRI for spinal infection unless highly elevated. However, a normal CRP (absent recent antibiotic or surgery) makes spinal infection unlikely, and its routine use as a screening test can help reducing utilization of emergent MRI for this purpose.

Safety and image quality of MR-conditional external fixators for 1.5 Tesla extremity MR.

Emergency Radiology

To evaluate the safety and image quality of extremity MR examinations performed with two MR conditional external fixators located in the MR bore.

Single-center retrospective study of a prospectively maintained imaging dataset that evaluated MR examinations of extremities in patients managed with external fixations instrumentation and imaged on a single 1.5T MR scanner. The fixation device was one of two MR-conditional instrumentation systems: DuPuy Synthes (aluminum, stainless steel, carbonium and Kevlar) or Dolphix temporary fixation system (PEEK-CA30). Safety events were recorded by the performing MR radiologic technologist. A study musculoskeletal radiologist assessed all sequences to evaluate for image quality, signal- and contrast-to-noise ratios (SNR/CNR), and injury patterns/findings.

In the 13 men and 9 women with a mean age of 42 years (range 18 to 72 years), most patients (19/22 patients; 86%) were involved with trauma resulting in extremity injury requiring external fixation. MR examinations included 19 knee, 2 ankle, and 1 elbow examinations. There were no adverse safety events, heating that caused patient discomfort, fixation dislodgement/perturbment, or early termination of MR examinations. All examinations were of diagnostic quality. Fat-suppressed proton density sequences had significantly higher SNR and CNR compared to STIR (p = 0.01 to 0.04). The lower SNR of STIR and increased quality of fat-suppressed proton density during the study period led to the STIR sequence being dropped in standard MR protocol.

MR of the extremity using the two study MR conditional external fixators within the MR bore is safe and feasible.

Emergency radiologic approach to mastoid air cell fluid.

Emergency Radiology

Mastoid air cell fluid is a commonly seen, but often dismissed finding. Given the location of the mastoid portion of the temporal bone and its loca...

A comparison of the demographics, injury patterns and outcome data for patients injured in motor vehicle collisions who are trapped compared to those patients who are not trapped.

Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resusc

Motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) are a common cause of major trauma and death. Following an MVC, up to 40% of patients will be trapped in their vehicle. Extrication methods are focused on the prevention of secondary spinal injury through movement minimisation and mitigation. This approach is time consuming and patients may have time-critical injuries. The purpose of this study is to describe the outcomes and injuries of those trapped following an MVC: this will help guide meaningful patient-focused interventions and future extrication strategies.

We undertook a retrospective database study using the Trauma Audit and Research Network database. Patients were included if they were admitted to an English hospital following an MVC from 2012 to 2018. Patients were excluded when their outcomes were not known or if they were secondary transfers.

This analysis identified 426,135 cases of which 63,625 patients were included: 6983 trapped and 56,642 not trapped. Trapped patients had a higher mortality (8.9% vs 5.0%, p < 0.001). Spinal cord injuries were rare (0.71% of all extrications) but frequently (50.1%) associated with other severe injuries. Spinal cord injuries were more common in patients who were trapped (p < 0.001). Injury Severity Score (ISS) was higher in the trapped group 18 (IQR 10-29) vs 13 (IQR 9-22). Trapped patients had more deranged physiology with lower blood pressures, lower oxygen saturations and lower Glasgow Coma Scale, GCS (all p < 0.001). Trapped patients had more significant injuries of the head chest, abdomen and spine (all p < 0.001) and an increased rate of pelvic injures with significant blood loss, blood loss from other areas or tension pneumothorax (all p < 0.001).

Trapped patients are more likely to die than those who are not trapped. The frequency of spinal cord injuries is low, accounting for < 0.7% of all patients extricated. Patients who are trapped are more likely to have time-critical injuries requiring intervention. Extrication takes time and when considering the frequency, type and severity of injuries reported here, the benefit of movement minimisation may be outweighed by the additional time taken. Improved extrication strategies should be developed which are evidence-based and allow for the expedient management of other life-threatening injuries.