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Febrile seizures are the most common type of childhood seizure and are categorized as simple or complex. Complex febrile seizures (CFSs) are defined as events that are focal, prolonged (> 15 minutes), or recurrent. The management of CFS is poorly defined. The objective of this study was to determine the degree of variability in the emergency department evaluation of children with CFSs.
An online survey questionnaire was developed and sent to physicians identified via the listserv of the emergency medicine section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the pediatric emergency medicine discussion list. The questionnaire consisted of five hypothetical case vignettes describing children under 5 years of age presenting with a CFS. Following review of the first four vignettes, participants were asked if they would (1) obtain blood and urine for evaluation; (2) perform a lumbar puncture; (3) perform neurologic imaging while the child was in the emergency department; (4) admit the child to the hospital; or (5) discharge with follow-up as an outpatient, with either the primary care provider or a neurologist. The final vignette determined if antiepileptic medication would be prescribed by the physician on discharge.
Of the 353 physicians who participated, 293 (83%) were pediatric emergency medicine attending physicians and 60 (17%) were pediatric emergency medicine fellows. Overall, 54% of participants indicated that they would obtain blood for evaluation, 62% would obtain urine, 34% would perform a lumbar puncture, and 36% would perform neurologic imaging. The overall hypothetical admission rate for the case vignettes was 42%.
This study indicates that extensive variability exists in the emergency department approach to patients with CFS. Our findings suggest that optimal management for CFS remains unclear and support the potential benefit of future prospective studies on this subject.
Buckle fractures are the most common wrist fractures in children, yet there is little literature regarding their management. This study examined the management of these fractures and attitudes toward their immobilization by pediatric emergency department (ED) physicians and pediatric orthopedic surgeons.
A standardized survey was mailed to all pediatric orthopedic surgeons and pediatric ED physicians at 8 Canadian children’s hospitals.
Eighty-seven percent of physicians responded, including 33 of 39 pediatric orthopedic surgeons and 84 of 96 pediatric ED physicians. Sixty-four percent of respondents believe that wrist buckle fractures always need to be immobilized; pain control was most frequently cited for this belief. Physicians who did not believe that all buckle fractures need to be immobilized indicated that these fractures are inherently stable and have a low risk of refracture. Forty-eight percent of the orthopedic surgeons prefer below-elbow casts, 30% prefer a combination (splint and cast) and 12% prefer backslabs. Sixty percent of ED physicians “usually or always” use casts and 31% “usually or always” use backslabs. Although there was variation among the orthopedic surgeons regarding the recommended length of immobilization, most (70%) recommended 2 to 4 weeks, although some (12%) treated only until pain free. ED physicians showed greater diversity regarding length of immobilization.
Although many physicians believe that wrist buckle fractures need to be immobilized, a significant number do not. There is substantial variability in the type and length of immobilization used. This variability suggests that the optimal management strategy for wrist buckle fractures is unclear and should be determined in future prospective studies.
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