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Abuse or unintended overdose (OD) of opiates and heroin may result in prehospital and emergency department (ED) care. Prehospital naloxone use has been suggested as a surrogate marker of community opiate ODs. The study objective was to verify externally whether prehospital naloxone use is a surrogate marker of community opiate ODs by comparing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) naloxone administration records to an independent database of ED visits for opiate and heroin ODs in the same community.
A retrospective chart review of prehospital and ED data from July 2009 through June 2013 was conducted. Prehospital naloxone administration data obtained from the electronic medical records (EMRs) of a large private EMS provider serving a metropolitan area were considered a surrogate marker for suspected opiate OD. Comparison data were obtained from the regional trauma/psychiatric ED that receives the majority of the OD patients. The ED maintains a de-identified database of narcotic-related visits for surveillance of narcotic use in the metropolitan area. The ED database was queried for ODs associated with opiates or heroin. Cross-correlation analysis was used to test if prehospital naloxone administration was independent of ED visits for opiate/heroin ODs.
Naloxone was administered during 1,812 prehospital patient encounters, and 1,294 ED visits for opiate/heroin ODs were identified. The distribution of patients in the prehospital and ED datasets did not differ by gender, but it did differ by race and age. The frequency of naloxone administration by prehospital providers varied directly with the frequency of ED visits for opiate/heroin ODs. A monthly increase of two ED visits for opiate-related ODs was associated with an increase in one prehospital naloxone administration (cross-correlation coefficient [CCF]=0.44; P=.0021). A monthly increase of 100 ED visits for heroin-related ODs was associated with an increase in 94 prehospital naloxone administrations (CCF=0.46; P=.0012).
Frequency of naloxone administration by EMS providers in the prehospital setting varied directly with frequency of opiate/heroin OD-related ED visits. The data correlated both for short-term frequency and longer term trends of use. However, there was a marked difference in demographic data suggesting neither data source alone should be relied upon to determine which populations are at risk within the community.
LindstromHA, ClemencyBM, SnyderR, ConsiglioJD, MayPR, MoscatiRM. Prehospital Naloxone Administration as a Public Health Surveillance Tool: A Retrospective Validation Study. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(4):1–5.
Needle thoracostomy is the prehospital treatment for tension pneumothorax. Sufficient catheter length is necessary for procedural success. The authors of this study determined minimum catheter length needed for procedural success on a percentile basis.
A meta-analysis of existing studies was conducted. A Medline search was performed using the search terms: needle decompression, needle thoracentesis, chest decompression, pneumothorax decompression, needle thoracostomy, and tension pneumothorax. Studies were included if they published a sample size, mean chest wall thickness, and a standard deviation or confidence interval. A PubMed search was performed in a similar fashion. Sample size, mean chest wall thickness, and standard deviation were found or calculated for each study. Data were combined to create a pooled dataset. Normal distribution of data was assumed. Procedural success was defined as catheter length being equal to or greater than the chest wall thickness.
The Medline and PubMed searches yielded 773 unique studies; all study abstracts were reviewed for possible inclusion. Eighteen papers were identified for full manuscript review. Thirteen studies met all inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Pooled sample statistics were: n=2,558; mean=4.19 cm; and SD=1.37 cm. Minimum catheter length needed for success at the 95th percentile for chest wall size was found to be 6.44 cm.
A catheter of at least 6.44 cm in length would be required to ensure that 95% of the patients in this pooled sample would have penetration of the pleural space at the site of needle decompression, and therefore, a successful procedure. These findings represent Level III evidence.
ClemencyBM, TanskiCT, RosenbergM, MayPR, ConsiglioJD, LindstromHA. Sufficient Catheter Length for Pneumothorax Needle Decompression: A Meta-Analysis. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(3):15
Specialized knowledge and a scientific body of literature are the foundation of the recognition of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a subspecialty within emergency medicine (EM). Emergency Medical Services research often is presented at national meetings and published in abstract form, but full publication occurs less frequently.
The primary goal of the study was to determine the rate at which EMS-related research presented at selected conferences went on to manuscript publication. A secondary goal was the determination of the time to manuscript publication.
A cross-sectional study of published abstracts from the 2003-2005 national meetings of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM), National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), and the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) was conducted to identify EMS-related abstracts. PubMed (National Center for Biotechnology Information, Bethesda, Maryland USA) was searched using abstract title keywords and authors’ names to determine if the study had been published in a PubMed-indexed journal in the time since presentation and abstract publication.
Abstracts for the five conferences were reviewed for 2003-2005. Six hundred and thirty-five EMS-related abstracts met the inclusion criteria. The total number of EMS abstracts presented and the percent subsequently published as a manuscript were: SAEM 135, 53.3%; ACEP 128, 48.4%; NAEMSP 282, 42.9%; AAMS 66, 33.3%; and NAEMSE 24, 16.7%. The overall rate of publication was 44.3%. The average time to publication was 22.2 months (SD = 16.5 months, range = 0-94 months).
Less than half of EMS abstracts go on to manuscript publication. This may represent missed opportunities for the growth of EMS as a subspecialty.
ClemencyBM, ThompsonJJ, LindstromHA, GurienS, JaisonBA, Grates-SciarrinoAA. Frequency of Manuscript Publication Following Presentation of EMS Abstracts at National Meetings. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(3):1-5.
High-dose intravenous nitroglycerin is a common in-hospital treatment for respiratory distress due to congestive heart failure (CHF) with hypertension. Intravenous (IV) nitroglycerin administration is impractical in the prehospital setting. In 2011, a new regional Emergency Medical Services (EMS) protocol was introduced allowing advanced providers to treat CHF with high-dose oral nitroglycerin. The protocol calls for patients to be treated with two sublingual tabs (0.8 mg) when systolic blood pressure (SBP) was >160 mm Hg, or three sublingual tabs (1.2 mg) when SBP was >200 mm Hg, every five minutes as needed.
To assess the protocol's safety, the incidence of hypotension following prehospital administration of multiple simultaneous nitroglycerin (MSN) tabs by EMS providers was studied.
This study was a retrospective cohort study of patients from a single commercial EMS agency over a 6-month period. Records from patients with at least one administration of MSN were reviewed. For each administration, the first documented vital signs pre- and post-administration were compared. Administrations were excluded if pre- or post-administration vital signs were missing.
One hundred case-patients had at least one MSN administration by an advanced provider during the study period. Twenty-five case-patients were excluded due to incomplete vital signs. Seventy-five case-patients with 95 individual MSN administrations were included for analysis. There were 65 administrations of two tabs, 29 administrations of three tabs, and one administration of four tabs. The mean change in SBP following MSN was -14.7 mm Hg (SD = 30.7; range, +59 to -132). Three administrations had documented systolic hypotension in the post-administration vital signs (97/71, 78/50 and 66/47). All three patients were over 65 years old, were administered two tabs, had documented improved respiratory status, and had repeat SBP of at least 100. The incidence of hypotension following MSN administration was 3.2%.
High-dose oral nitroglycerin administration is a practical alternative to IV nitroglycerin in the prehospital setting when administered by advanced providers. The prehospital protocol for high dose oral nitroglycerin was demonstrated to be safe in the cohort of patients studied. Limitations of the study include the relatively small sample size and the inability to identify hypotension that may have occurred following the cessation of data collection in the field.
Hypotension was rare and self-limited in prehospital patients receiving MSN.