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An evidence-based emergency department (ED) atrial fibrillation and flutter (AFF) pathway was developed to improve care. The primary objective was to measure rates of new anticoagulation (AC) on ED discharge for AFF patients who were not AC correctly upon presentation.
This is a pre-post evaluation from April to December 2013 measuring the impact of our pathway on rates of new AC and other performance measures in patients with uncomplicated AFF solely managed by emergency physicians. A standardized chart review identified demographics, comorbidities, and ED treatments. The primary outcome was the rate of new AC. Secondary outcomes were ED length of stay (LOS), referrals to AFF clinic, ED revisit rates, and 30-day rates of return visits for congestive heart failure (CHF), stroke, major bleeding, and death.
ED AFF patients totalling 301 (129 pre-pathway [PRE]; 172 post-pathway [POST]) were included; baseline demographics were similar between groups. The rates of AC at ED presentation were 18.6% (PRE) and 19.7% (POST). The rates of new AC on ED discharge were 48.6 % PRE (95% confidence interval [CI] 42.1%-55.1%) and 70.2% POST (62.1%-78.3%) (20.6% [p<0.01; 15.1-26.3]). Median ED LOS decreased from 262 to 218 minutes (44 minutes [p<0.03; 36.2-51.8]). Thirty-day rates of ED revisits for CHF decreased from 13.2% to 2.3% (10.9%; p<0.01; 8.1%-13.7%), and rates of other measures were similar.
The evidence-based pathway led to an improvement in the rate of patients with new AC upon discharge, a reduction in ED LOS, and decreased revisit rates for CHF.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is increasingly used to treat a variety of neurological conditions (e.g. movement disorders and chronic pain). This prospective study was designed to detect electrocardiogram (ECG) artifacts induced by deep brain stimulation and to investigate which factors (patient disease, electrode position within the brain or type of stimulation) produced these artifacts.
Twelve patients (four women, eight men) with deep brain stimulators were enrolled in the study. Patients were selected to represent the common indications for DBS (Parkinson's disease, tremor, dystonia), the common electrode locations (pallidum, thalamus, subthalamic nucleus) and the two types of stimulation (monopolar, bipolar). Patients had one ECG with the DBS turned 'on'and another with the DBS turned 'off'. The ECGs were then randomized and read by a cardiologist blinded to the status of the patient and DBS and artifacts were noted to be either present or absent.
The six patients using monopolar stimulation all had artifacts on their electrocardiograms. These artifacts were severe enough to interfere with ECG interpretation. There were no artifacts detected in the six patients using bipolar stimulation. Electrode location and patient disease appeared to have no effect on ECG artifact.
Deep brain stimulation can cause ECG artifacts when monopolar settings are used. These artifacts are not present with bipolar settings or when the DBS is turned 'off'. Knowledge of these potential ECG artifacts and how to avoid them is essential to facilitate accurate ECG interpretation.