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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and was declared a global health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization on 30th January 2020. It has resulted in almost 600 000 deaths to date worldwide. Sudden sensorineural hearing loss is a known complication of a number of viral infections, but there is little in the literature to date on its association with coronavirus disease 2019.
This paper presents the case of a 30-year-old female staff nurse who contracted coronavirus disease 2019 and presented to our department with a significant unilateral sensorineural hearing loss confirmed on audiogram. She was treated with a course of oral steroids, but unfortunately there was no improvement in her hearing.
This case report is important as it highlights the importance of having a low index of suspicion when patients present with a variety of symptoms not previously associated with coronavirus disease 2019. The paper also discusses the controversy surrounding the use of steroids in the management of this disease.
The radiocarbon (14C) calibration curve so far contains annually resolved data only for a short period of time. With accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) matching the precision of decay counting, it is now possible to efficiently produce large datasets of annual resolution for calibration purposes using small amounts of wood. The radiocarbon intercomparison on single-year tree-ring samples presented here is the first to investigate specifically possible offsets between AMS laboratories at high precision. The results show that AMS laboratories are capable of measuring samples of Holocene age with an accuracy and precision that is comparable or even goes beyond what is possible with decay counting, even though they require a thousand times less wood. It also shows that not all AMS laboratories always produce results that are consistent with their stated uncertainties. The long-term benefits of studies of this kind are more accurate radiocarbon measurements with, in the future, better quantified uncertainties.
Introduction: Compared to other areas in Alberta Health Services (AHS), internal data show that emergency departments (EDs) and urgent care centres (UCCs) experience a high rate of workforce violence. As such, reducing violence in AHS EDs and UCCs is a key priority. This project explored staff's lived experience with patient violence with the goal of better understanding its impact, and what strategies and resources could be put in place. Methods: To obtain a representative sample, we recruited staff from EDs and a UCC (n = 6) situated in urban and rural settings across Alberta. As the interviews had the potential to be upsetting, we conducted in-person interviews in a private space. Interviews were conducted with over 60 staff members including RNs, LPNs, unit clerks, physicians, and protective services. Data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously and iteratively until saturation was reached. The analysis involved data reduction, category development, and synthesis. Key phrases and statements were first highlighted. Preliminary labels were then assigned to the data and data was then organized into meaningful clusters. Finally, we identified common themes of participants’ lived experience. Triangulation of sources, independent and team analysis, and frequent debriefing sessions were used to enhance the trustworthiness of the data. Results: Participants frequently noted the worry they carry with them when coming into work, but also said there was a high threshold of acceptance dominating ED culture. A recurring feature of this experience was the limited resources (e.g., no peace officers, scope of security staff) available to staff to respond when patients behave violently or are threatening. Education like non-violent crisis intervention training, although helpful, was insufficient to make staff feel safe. Participants voiced the need for more protective services, the addition of physical barriers like locking doors and glass partitions, more investment in addictions and mental health services (e.g., increased access to psychiatrists or addictions counsellors), and a greater shared understanding of AHS’ zero tolerance policy. Conclusion: ED and UCC staff describe being regularly exposed to violence from patients and visitors. Many of these incidents go unreported and unresolved, leaving the workforce feeling worried and unsupported. Beyond education, the ED and UCC workforce need additional resources to support them in feeling safe coming to work.
Introduction: Emergency Departments (EDs) are at high risk of workforce-directed violence (WDV). To address ED violence in Alberta Health Services (AHS), we conducted key informant interviews to identify successful strategies that could be adopted in AHS EDs. Methods: The project team identified potential participants through their ED network; additional contacts were identified through snowball sampling. We emailed 197 individuals from Alberta (123), Canada (46), and abroad (28). The interview guide was developed and reviewed in partnership with ED managers and Workplace Health and Safety. We conducted semi-structured phone interviews with 26 representatives from urban and rural EDs or similar settings from Canada, the United States, and Australia. This interview process received an ARECCI score of 2. Two researchers conducted a content analysis of the interview notes; rural and urban sites were analyzed separately. We extracted strategies, their impact, and implementation barriers and facilitators. Strategies identified were categorized into emergent themes. We aggregated similar strategies and highlighted key or unique findings. Results: Interview results showed that there is no single solution to address ED violence. Sites with effective violence prevention strategies used a comprehensive approach where multiple strategies were used to address the issue. For example, through a violence prevention working group, one site implemented weekly violence simulations, a peer mentorship support team, security rounding, and more. This multifaceted approach had positive results: a decrease in code whites, staff feeling more supported, and the site no longer being on union “concerned” lists. Another promising strategy included addressing the culture of violence by increasing reporting, clarifying policies (i.e., zero tolerance), and establishing flagging or alert systems for visitors with violent histories. Physician involvement and support was highly valued in responding to violence (e.g., support when refusing care, on the code white response team, flagging). Conclusion: Overall, one strategy is not enough to successfully address WDV in EDs. Strategies need to be comprehensive and context specific, especially when considering urban and rural sites with different resources available. We note that few strategies were formally evaluated, and recommend that future work focus on developing comprehensive metrics to evaluate the strategies and define success.
Background: Since January 1, 2016 2358 people have died from opioid poisoning in Alberta. Buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nal) is the recommended first line treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and this treatment can be initiated in emergency departments and urgent care centres (EDs). Aim Statement: This project aims to spread a quality improvement intervention to all 107 adult EDs in Alberta by March 31, 2020. The intervention supports clinicians to initiate bup/nal for eligible individuals and provide rapid referrals to OUD treatment clinics. Measures & Design: Local ED teams were identified (administrators, clinical nurse educators, physicians and, where available, pharmacists and social workers). Local teams were supported by a provincial project team (project manager, consultant, and five physician leads) through a multi-faceted implementation process using provincial order sets, clinician education products, and patient-facing information. We used administrative ED and pharmacy data to track the number of visits where bup/nal was given in ED, and whether discharged patients continued to fill any opioid agonist treatment (OAT) prescription 30 days after their index ED visit. OUD clinics reported the number of referrals received from EDs and the number attending their first appointment. Patient safety event reports were tracked to identify any unintended negative impacts. Evaluation/Results: We report data from May 15, 2018 (program start) to September 31, 2019. Forty-nine EDs (46% of 107) implemented the program and 22 (45% of 49) reported evaluation data. There were 5385 opioid-related visits to reporting ED sites after program adoption. Bup/nal was given during 832 ED visits (663 unique patients): 7 visits in the 1st quarter the program operated, 55 in the 2nd, 74 in the 3rd, 143 in the 4th, 294 in the 5th, and 255 in the 6th. Among 505 unique discharged patients with 30 day follow up data available 319 (63%) continued to fill any OAT prescription after receiving bup/nal in ED. 16 (70%) of 23 community clinics provided data. EDs referred patients to these clinics 440 times, and 236 referrals (54%) attended their first follow-up appointment. Available data may under-report program impact. 5 patient safety events have been reported, with no harm or minimal harm to the patient. Discussion/Impact: Results demonstrate effective spread and uptake of a standardized provincial ED based early medical intervention program for patients who live with OUD.
The transplant representations of patients waiting for a kidney transplantation have been studied recently. Our hypotheses is that these representations can be measured with a questionnaire and differ between recipients from living or cadaveric donor. As result of lack of clinical standardized instrument,we developed the Transplant Representation Questionnaire(TRQ) of 19 items in 4 degrees.
Compare results on the TRQ in patients waiting for a kidney transplantation from cadaveric or living donor.
390 patients included in waiting list for kidney transplantation with cadaveric or living donor were assessed with the TRQ. Since the beginning of the study, 170 patients were transplanted, 148 (87%) with cadaveric donor (CD group), and 22 (13%) with living donor (LD group). The principal component analysis has been performed on 390 patients.
The Principal component analysis of the TRQ has shown 2 factors.The factor “Donor” refers to the recipient concerns about the donor (11 items).The factor “Transplant” refers to the negative attitude of the recipient about the transplanted organ (8 items). The LD group was younger and had more social support than the CD group. It had also higher scores on the “donor” factor and similar scores on the “transplant” factor.
As compared to patients waiting for transplantation with cadaveric donor, patients waiting for transplantation with living donor have more concerns about the donor, and similar representations of their future transplant. Our preliminary results should be confirmed in more powerful studies. Further studies will assess prospectively the transplant representations after transplantation.
This study was conducted to investigate the corticotropic axis in anorexia nervosa. In 93 female inpatients who met DSM-III-R criteria for anorexia nervosa, subsample (n = 64) with DSM-III criteria was also considered. Using stepwise regression analysis, this study examined the relationship between independent variables ie, age, body mass index, scores on depression scales and postdexamethasone serum cortisol, considered as a dependent variable. In patients who met DSM-III criteria, 16.7% of the variance of serum cortisol can be explained. The main predictors are depressive retardation, emaciation and age. Using stepwise logistic regression the main categorical predictors of the test suppression vs non suppression are of the same nature. The condition of realisation of DST are discussed.
Opioid peripheral abnormalities were described in anorexia nervosa (AN). Until now no data have been published on cerebral activity of opioid system in these subjects. Diprenorphine is a ligand with non-specific binding to opiates receptors μ, κ and δ.
To evaluate in vivo brain opioid receptors binding potential (BP) in patients with lean and recovered from restrictive-type AN by comparison with controls and the relationship with eating-related psychochological and hormonal traits.
In 17 lean restrictive-type AN patients, 15 recovered AN subjects and 15 age-matched controls we assessed in vivo [11C]Diprenorphine binding by brain positron emission tomography and eating-related psychopathological traits. Inter-groups differences in [11C]Diprenorphine binding were evaluated by voxel-based analyses.
Lean restrictive AN and recovered AN patients presented with similar decreased [11C]Diprenorphine binding in bilateral medial frontal cortex and temporo-parietal cortex. We noted a lower BP in hypothalamo-pituitary structures and also in anterior cingulate gyrus in lean AN patients. Additionally, only recovered AN patients presented with a decreased [11C]Diprenorphine binding in caudate nuclei and putamen. Direct correlations were found between the anterior cingulate gyrus BP and mean cortisol and between the left amygdala [11C]Diprenorphine binding and eating concern score.
The opioid system is widely affected in AN even after recovery in regions known to be involved in the neurocircuitry of addiction and support the hypothesis of an organic dysfunction in AN.
Psychological stress is associated with accelerated cellular aging and increased risk for aging-related diseases, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unclear.
We examined the effect of stress on a DNA methylation age predictor that was shown to correlate strongly with chronological age across human tissues (Horvath 2013). Genome-wide DNA methylation was measured in peripheral blood using the 450K Illumina array in three independent cohorts: the Grady Trauma Project/GTP (N=366); a panic disorder case/control sample recruited at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry/MPI-P (N=318); and the Conte Center for the Psychobiology of Early-Life Trauma/Conte (N=42). Age acceleration was calculated by subtracting chronological age from age predicted by DNA methylation. Psychiatric symptomatology and stressors were assessed using standard questionnaires.
DNA methylation age strongly correlated with chronological age in all samples (r=0.9, p=2.5x10<sup>-133</sup>). Cumulative lifetime stress but not childhood or current stress predicted age acceleration in GTP (p=0.012) and MPI-P (p=0.021). Moreover, epigenetic age acceleration predicted depression (GTP: p=0.002; Conte: p=0.014) and panic disorder (p=0.007). In secondary analyses, we examined the effect of lifetime stress on individual CpGs of the DNA methylation age predictor. After correcting for multiple comparisons, we identified in both GTP and MPI-P a stress-regulated CpG near MCAM, a gene implicated in aging-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancers.
Cumulative lifetime stress, but not childhood or current stress, and psychiatric phenotypes are associated with accelerated epigenetic aging. Our findings may explain the accelerated cellular aging and increased disease risk associated with chronic stress and psychiatric disorders.
Anosognosia is a common symptom in patients with dementia, although data on prevalence vary widely. It is associated with decreased compliance to medical diagnosis and treatment. The rejection of assistance challenges professionals as well as caring relatives.
Anosognosia increases with progression of disease but is also found in early stages. The underlying mechanisms are not completely understood; past studies described an association with executive dysfunction.
Our study aims to identify the frequency of anosognosia in our memory clinic.
We evaluated disease awareness using the Clinical Insight Rating Scale in 124 patients presenting with diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease in our memory clinic. We correlated the degree of awareness with standardized cognitive, affective, and functional parameters.
One hundred and fourteen patients (90.9%) showed decreased awareness, in 51.7% of our sample awareness was seriously impaired or even entirely lacking. In accordance with the literature, anosognosia correlated significantly with the result of the Mini-Mental-Staus-Examination as indicator of global cognitive functioning (r = −0.291, P < 0.05) and with the need for assistance in everyday-life (r = .364, P < 0.05). We found no correlation with depressive symptoms or age.
The phenomenon of anosognosia is frequent in the setting of a memory clinic and has special impact on clinical practice as it is well correlated with executive functioning and global cognition and, thus, is a relevant factor for the initiation of medical care for patients with dementia.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Pathological gambling is a behavioural addiction with negative economic, social, and psychological consequences. Identification of contributing genes and pathways may improve understanding of aetiology and facilitate therapy and prevention. Here, we report the first genome-wide association study of pathological gambling. Our aims were to identify pathways involved in pathological gambling, and examine whether there is a genetic overlap between pathological gambling and alcohol dependence.
Four hundred and forty-five individuals with a diagnosis of pathological gambling according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders were recruited in Germany, and 986 controls were drawn from a German general population sample. A genome-wide association study of pathological gambling comprising single marker, gene-based, and pathway analyses, was performed. Polygenic risk scores were generated using data from a German genome-wide association study of alcohol dependence.
No genome-wide significant association with pathological gambling was found for single markers or genes. Pathways for Huntington's disease (P-value = 6.63 × 10−3); 5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase signalling (P-value = 9.57 × 10−3); and apoptosis (P-value = 1.75 × 10−2) were significant. Polygenic risk score analysis of the alcohol dependence dataset yielded a one-sided nominal significant P-value in subjects with pathological gambling, irrespective of comorbid alcohol dependence status.
The present results accord with previous quantitative formal genetic studies which showed genetic overlap between non-substance- and substance-related addictions. Furthermore, pathway analysis suggests shared pathology between Huntington's disease and pathological gambling. This finding is consistent with previous imaging studies.
Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS) plays an important role in addressing shortcomings in optimal healthcare delivery. However, there is little published guidance available for emergency department (ED) teams with respect to developing their own QIPS programs. We sought to create recommendations for established and aspiring ED leaders to use as a pathway to better patient care through programmatic QIPS activities, starting internally and working towards interdepartmental collaboration.
An expert panel comprised of ten ED clinicians with QIPS and leadership expertise was established. A scoping review was conducted to identify published literature on establishing QIPS programs and frameworks in healthcare. Stakeholder consultations were conducted among Canadian healthcare leaders, and recommendations were drafted by the expert panel based on all the accumulated information. These were reviewed and refined at the 2018 CAEP Academic Symposium in Calgary using in-person and technologically-supported feedback.
Recommendations include: creating a sense of urgency for improvement; engaging relevant stakeholders and leaders; creating a formal local QIPS Committee; securing funding and resources; obtaining local data to guide the work; supporting QIPS training for team members; encouraging interprofessional, cross-departmental, and patient collaborations; using an established QIPS framework to guide the work; developing reward mechanisms and incentive structures; and considering to start small by focusing on a project rather than a program.
A list of 10 recommendations is presented as guiding principles for the establishment and sustainable deployment of QIPS activities in EDs throughout Canada and abroad. ED leaders are encouraged to implement our recommendations in an effort to improve patient care.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) crowding is a pervasive problem and is associated with adverse patient outcomes. Yet, there are no widely accepted, universal ED crowding metrics. The objective of this study is to identify ED crowding metrics with the strongest association to the risk of ED revisits within 72 hours, which is a patient-oriented adverse outcome. Methods: Crowding metrics, patient characteristics and outcomes were obtained from administrative data for all ED encounters from 2011-2014 for three adult EDs in Calgary, AB. The data were randomly divided into three partitions for cross-validation, and further divided by CTAS category 1, 2/3 and 4/5. Twenty unique ED crowding metrics were calculated and assigned to each patient seen on each calendar day or shift, to standardize the exposure. Logistic regression models were fitted with 72h ED revisit as the dependent variable, and an individual crowding metric along with a common list of confounders as independent variables. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) for the 72h return visits were obtained for each crowding metric. The strength of associations between 72h revisits and crowding metrics were compared using Akaike's Information Criterion and Akaike weights. Results: This analysis is based on 1,149,939 ED encounters. Across all CTAS groups, INPUT metrics (ED census, ED occupancy, waiting time, EMS offload delay, LWBS%) were only weakly associated with the risk of 72h re-visit. Among THROUGHPUT metrics, ED Length of Stay and MD Care Time had similar adjusted ORs for 72h ED re-visit (range 0.99-1.15). Akaike weights ranging from 0.3/1.00 to 0.4/1.00 indicate that both THROUGHPUT metrics are reasonable predictors of 72h ED re-visits. All OUTPUT metrics (boarding time, # of boarded patients, % of beds occupied by boarded patients, hospital occupancy) had statistically significant ORs for 72h ED re-visits. The median boarding time had the highest adjusted OR for 72h ED re-visit (adjusted OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.33-1.47) and highest Akaike weight (0.97/1.00) compared to all other OUTPUT metrics, indicating that median boarding time had the strongest association with 72h re-visits. Conclusion: ED THROUGHPUT and OUTPUT metrics had consistent associations with 72h ED re-visits, while INPUT metrics had little to no association with 72h re-visits. Median boarding time is the strongest predictor of 72h re-visits, indicating that this may be the most meaningful measure of ED crowding.
Background: Buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nal) is a partial opioid agonist/antagonist and recommended first line treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Emergency departments (EDs) are a key point of contact with the healthcare system for patients living with OUD. Aim Statement: We implemented a multi-disciplinary quality improvement project to screen patients for OUD, initiate bup/nal for eligible individuals, and provide rapid next business day walk-in referrals to addiction clinics in the community. Measures & Design: From May to September 2018, our team worked with three ED sites and three addiction clinics to pilot the program. Implementation involved alignment with regulatory requirements, physician education, coordination with pharmacy to ensure in-ED medication access, and nurse education. The project is supported by a full-time project manager, data analyst, operations leaders, physician champions, provincial pharmacy, and the Emergency Strategic Clinical Network leadership team. For our pilot, our evaluation objective was to determine the degree to which our initiation and referral pathway was being utilized. We used administrative data to track the number of patients given bup/nal in ED, their demographics and whether they continued to fill bup/nal prescriptions 30 days after their ED visit. Addiction clinics reported both the number of patients referred to them and the number of patients attending their referral. Evaluation/Results: Administrative data shows 568 opioid-related visits to ED pilot sites during the pilot phase. Bup/nal was given to 60 unique patients in the ED during 66 unique visits. There were 32 (53%) male patients and 28 (47%) female patients. Median patient age was 34 (range: 21 to 79). ED visits where bup/nal was given had a median length of stay of 6 hours 57 minutes (IQR: 6 hours 20 minutes) and Canadian Triage Acuity Scores as follows: Level 1 – 1 (2%), Level 2 – 21 (32%), Level 3 – 32 (48%), Level 4 – 11 (17%), Level 5 – 1 (2%). 51 (77%) of these visits led to discharge. 24 (47%) discharged patients given bup/nal in ED continued to fill bup/nal prescriptions 30 days after their index ED visit. EDs also referred 37 patients with OUD to the 3 community clinics, and 16 of those individuals (43%) attended their first follow-up appointment. Discussion/Impact: Our pilot project demonstrates that with dedicated resources and broad institutional support, ED patients with OUD can be appropriately initiated on bup/nal and referred to community care.
Introduction: Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED). Early endoscopy within 24 hours has been shown to reduce re-bleeding rates and lower mortality. However, low-risk patients can often be managed through outpatient follow-up. The aim of this study was to compare the timing and appropriateness of endoscopy and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use in a tertiary care ED setting for low- and high-risk patients determined using the Glasgow Blatchford Score (GBS). Methods: Retrospective chart review was conducted to examine the management of patients presenting with an UGIB in 2016 to the University of Alberta Hospital ED. TANDEM and Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) databases were used to identify patients using specific ICD-10 codes and the CEDIS presenting complaints of vomiting blood or blood in stool/melena. Patients with GBS 0-3 were categorized as low-risk and those with GBS > 3 were considered high-risk with appropriateness of and time to endoscopy, disposition of patient at 24 hours, and use of PPIs determined for each group. Results: A total of 400 patients were included. A total of 319/400 patients (80%) underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). EGD was performed within 24 hours in 37% of patients (29/78) with GBS 0 to 3 and in 77% (248/322) with GBS greater than 3. Of the remaining high-risk patients, 11% (36/322) underwent EGD after 24 hours and 12% (38/322) did not undergo EGD. The endoscopic diagnoses were peptic ulcer disease (PUD) in 41% of patients (130/319), esophagitis in 18% (56/319), and varices in 14% (45/319). PPIs (data available 375/400) were administered (mainly intravenously) to 93% (279/300) of high-risk and 79% (59/75) of low-risk patients. Data on patient disposition showed 60/322 (19%) high-risk patients were discharged from the ED within 24 hours and only 31/60 (52%) of these underwent EGD before discharge. Of 29 low-risk patients undergoing EGD within 24 hours, 9 (31%) were admitted, 17 (59%) were discharged from ED, and 3 (10%) were kept for observation in the ED greater than 24 hours. Of low-risk patients, 76% (59/78) were discharged from the ED within 24 hours. Conclusion: A majority of patients presenting with UGIB appropriately received endoscopy within 24 hours. 19% of high-risk patients were discharged from the ED. Earlier discharge for low-risk patients can be improved as only 76% of low-risk patients were discharged from the ED within 24 hours. As expected, PPI use was high in these patients.
Introduction: Mental health and addiction presentations are on the increase in Canadian Emergency Departments (EDs) and are placing strains on existing resources. The purpose of this study is to examine practice variations and opportunities for improved mental health (MH) consultation practices across four adult EDs. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of administrative data from Alberta Health Services (AHS) at urban Calgary Zone EDs from 2015 to 2018 regarding MH consults requested and patients admitted to inpatient psych. Individual MD and overall referral rates as well as admission rates for patients consulted to MH were considered. Time of day and patient ETOH level were also examined as potential influencing factors. CEDIS codes were used to identify MH complaints. Results: 73,536 MH related visits were included, 29,228 received a MH consult with 10,648 admitted to an inpatient MH unit (36.4%). The admission rate among consults requested varied considerably among the 200 MDs who evaluated more than 50 patients with MH complaints; median 35.9%, IQR – 25.0 to 47.5. The average consultation rate for ETOH positive patients was 28.4% median 26.35%, IQR – 21.2 to 35.0% During regular working hours (08:00-17:00), there were 33,599 MH visits, 15,035 received a psych consult with 5,976 admitted to an inpatient MH unit. The admission rate among consults was 39.8%. For the remaining hours(17:01-07:59) there were 39,939 MH visits, 14,191 received a psych consult with 4,672 admitted to an inpatient MH unit. The admission rate among consults was 32.9%. Conclusion: Varying MD thresholds for MH consultation are reflected in a wide range of admission rates among patients consulted for MH evaluation in the ED. ETOH and timing of presentation are factors which modulate the likelihood of admission. There may be opportunities to improve MH referrals from the ED by providing consultation feedback to providers.
Introduction: Acute aortic syndrome (AAS) is a time sensitive aortic catastrophe that is often misdiagnosed. There are currently no Canadian guidelines to aid in diagnosis. Our goal was to adapt the existing American Heart Association (AHA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC) diagnostic algorithms for AAS into a Canadian evidence based best practices algorithm targeted for emergency medicine physicians. Methods: We chose to adapt existing high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPG) previously developed by the AHA/ESC using the GRADE ADOLOPMENT approach. We created a National Advisory Committee consisting of 21 members from across Canada including academic, community and remote/rural emergency physicians/nurses, cardiothoracic and cardiovascular surgeons, cardiac anesthesiologists, critical care physicians, cardiologist, radiologists and patient representatives. The Advisory Committee communicated through multiple teleconference meetings, emails and a one-day in person meeting. The panel prioritized questions and outcomes, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to assess evidence and make recommendations. The algorithm was prepared and revised through feedback and discussions and through an iterative process until consensus was achieved. Results: The diagnostic algorithm is comprised of an updated pre test probability assessment tool with further testing recommendations based on risk level. The updated tool incorporates likelihood of an alternative diagnosis and point of care ultrasound. The final best practice diagnostic algorithm defined risk levels as Low (0.5% no further testing), Moderate (0.6-5% further testing required) and High ( >5% computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, trans esophageal echocardiography). During the consensus and feedback processes, we addressed a number of issues and concerns. D-dimer can be used to reduce probability of AAS in an intermediate risk group, but should not be used in a low or high-risk group. Ultrasound was incorporated as a bedside clinical examination option in pre test probability assessment for aortic insufficiency, abdominal/thoracic aortic aneurysms. Conclusion: We have created the first Canadian best practice diagnostic algorithm for AAS. We hope this diagnostic algorithm will standardize and improve diagnosis of AAS in all emergency departments across Canada.
Introduction: Acutely painful osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) are common in elderly individuals. Most OVCFs result from falls or routine activities, such as lifting objects or bending. OVCFs are associated with increased hospitalization, mortality and reduced quality of life. Calcitonin has been studied as an alternative or adjunct to opioid or non-opioid analgesia for treating acute pain associated with OVCFs. This review evaluates current evidence on the benefits and harms of calcitonin related to OVCFs. Methods: We registered our review protocol on PROSPERO (CRD42018084850) and conducted our study in compliance with PRISMA guidelines. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, clinical trials registries, conference papers and reference lists of included studies. Eligible studies evaluated the effect of calcitonin on pain scores in adults ≥60 years-old with a recent OVCF ( <45 days prior). Two reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data and allocated bias in duplicate. Data were pooled for meta-analysis using standard mean difference (SMD) and a random-effects model. Heterogeneity was evaluated with I2 and sensitivity analyses were performed. The certainty of evidence was assessed with GRADE criteria. Our primary outcome was pain; secondary outcomes include mobility and adverse events. Results: 1180 articles were screened, 11 eligible studies were identified and 9 (627 participants) were pooled for meta-analysis. Pain at rest was lower in the calcitonin group than the control group at week 1 (SMD -1.11, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.95 to -0.26, I2 = 92%). Sensitivity analysis showed that the route of administration influenced this effect: the SMD for calcitonin nasal spray was -1.88 (95% CI -2.31 to -1.44, I2 = 53%) compared to -0.35 (95% CI -0.86 to 0.17, I2 = 60%) for intramuscular injection. Improvements in mobility were observed at week 4 (SMD -0.48, 95% CI -0.79 to -0.17, I2 = 45%). The risk of adverse events was increased with calcitonin (Risk Ratio 2.72, 95% CI 0.90 to 8.17, I2 = 41%) and consisted of flushing, headache, dizziness and gastrointestinal effects. The overall certainty of evidence was downgraded to low due to concerns over risk of bias and inconsistency between studies. Conclusion: Calcitonin, particularly as a nasal spray, is beneficial and safe for treating acute pain associated with OVCFs. Further studies are needed to improve the certainty of evidence.