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Background: Focal cortical dysplasias (FCDs) are congenital structural abnormalities of the brain, and represent the most common cause of medication-resistant focal epilepsy in children and adults. Recent studies have shown that somatic mutations (i.e. mutations arising in the embryo) in mTOR pathway genes underlie some FCD cases. Specific therapies targeting the mTOR pathway are available. However, testing for somatic mTOR pathway mutations in FCD tissue is not performed on a clinical basis, and the contribution of such mutations to the pathogenesis of FCD remains unknown. Aim: To investigate the feasibility of screening for somatic mutations in resected FCD tissue and determine the proportion and spatial distribution of FCDs which are due to low-level somatic mTOR pathway mutations. Methods: We performed ultra-deep sequencing of 13 mTOR pathway genes using a custom HaloPlexHS target enrichment kit (Agilent Technologies) in 16 resected histologically-confirmed FCD specimens. Results: We identified causal variants in 62.5% (10/16) of patients at an alternate allele frequency of 0.75–33.7%. The spatial mutation frequency correlated with the FCD lesion’s size and severity. Conclusions: Screening FCD tissue using a custom panel results in a high yield, and should be considered clinically given the important potential implications regarding surgical resection, medical management and genetic counselling.
Introduction: There is currently no protocol for the initiation of extra corporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) in out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Atlantic Canada. Advanced care paramedics (ACPs) perform advanced cardiac life support in the prehospital setting often completing the entire resuscitation on-scene. Implementation of ECPR will present a novel intervention that is only available at the receiving hospital, altering how ACPs manage selected patients. Our objective is to determine if an educational program can improve paramedic identification of ECPR candidates. Methods: An educational program was delivered to paramedics including a short seminar and pocket card coupled with simulations of OHCA cases. A before and after study design using a case-based survey was employed. Paramedics were scored on their ability to correctly identify OHCA patients who met the inclusion criteria for our ECPR protocol. Scores before and after the education delivery were compared using a two tailed t-test. A 6-month follow-up is planned to assess knowledge retention. Qualitative data was also collected from paramedics during simulation to help identify potential barriers to implementation of our protocol in the prehospital setting. Results: Nine advanced care paramedics participated in our educational program. Mean score pre-education was 9.7/16 (61.1%) compared to 14/16 (87.5%) after education delivery. The mean difference between groups was 4.22 (CI = 2.65-5.80, p = 0.0003). There was a significant improvement in the paramedics’ ability to correctly identify ECPR candidates after completing our educational program. Conclusion: Paramedic training through a didactic session coupled with a pocket card and simulation appears to be a feasible method of knowledge translation. 6-month retention data will help ensure knowledge retention is achieved. If successful, this pilot will be expanded to train all paramedics in our prehospital system as we seek to implement an ECPR protocol at our centre.
Introduction: Emergency department (ED) staff carry a high risk for the burnout syndrome of increased emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and decreased personal accomplishment. Previous research has shown that task-oriented coping skills were associated with reduced levels of burnout compared to emotion-oriented coping. ED staff at one hospital participated in an intervention to teach task-oriented coping skills. We hypothesized that the intervention would alter staff coping behaviors and ultimately reduce burnout. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff at two regional hospitals were surveyed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS). Surveys were performed before and after the implementation of communication and conflict resolution skills training at the intervention facility (I) consisting of a one-day course and a small group refresher 6 to 15 months later. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis assessed differences in staff burnout and coping styles compared to the control facility (C) and over time. Results: 85/143 (I) and 42/110 (C) ED staff responded to the initial survey. Post intervention 46 (I) and 23(C) responded. During the two year study period there was no statistically significant difference in CISS or MBI scores between hospitals (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .02, F(3,63) = .47, p = .71, partial η2 = .02); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .11, p = .95, partial η2 = .01)) or between pre- and post-intervention groups (CISS: (Pillai's trace = .01, F(3,63) = .22, p = .88, partial η2 = .01); MBI: (Pillai's trace = .09, F(3,63) = 2.15, p = .10, partial η2 = .01)). Conclusion: We were not able to measure improvement in staff coping or burnout in ED staff receiving communication skills intervention over a two year period. Burnout is a multifactorial problem and environmental rather than individual factors may be more important to address. Alternatively, to demonstrate a measurable effect on burnout may require more robust or inclusive interventions.
Introduction: Burnout includes emotional exhaustion (EE), depersonalization (DP) and personal accomplishment (PA). Emergency Department (ED) staff have high levels of burnout that may be responsive to communication skills training. We surveyed ED staff perception of need and efficacy before and after an intervention using an established conflict resolution methodology. Methods: ED physicians, nurses and support staff were surveyed at two regional hospitals using the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) and a communications questionnaire to establish the perceived need for communication skill training. Participants from one center were provided with a communications intervention (Crucial Conversations®, VitalSmarts®), and a refresher course 6-15 months later. The survey was then repeated at both sites and course participant feedback was elicited. Results: MBI results were high (mean EE = 25.25 (high > 25), 95% CI = 22.5-28; DP = 11.6 (high > 8), 95% CI = 10.1-13.2; PA = 35.85 (low <34), 95% CI = 34.3-37.4). Initially 82% of intervention and 77% of control site participants responded that “attending an educational session about ways to communicate better would help the participants at work”. Post intervention group responses to “The program will be helpful to me in communicating more effectively in my work environment” were: 75% “strongly agree” and 25% “agree”. No rating below “agree” was assigned by any of the participants. Participants preferred facilitated small group simulations and advocated for earlier career implementation. Conclusion: There was a perceived need for and impact from communication skills training for ED staff with high measured burnout. Training may be best implemented in small group simulated encounters and in health professional education curriculum or as part of work orientation.
Introduction: Although use of point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols for patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the Emergency Department (ED) is widespread, our previously reported SHoC-ED study showed no clear survival or length of stay benefit for patients assessed with PoCUS. In this analysis, we examine if the use of PoCUS changed fluid administration and rates of other emergency interventions between patients with different shock types. The primary comparison was between cardiogenic and non-cardiogenic shock types. Methods: A post-hoc analysis was completed on the database from an RCT of 273 patients who presented to the ED with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP <100 or shock index > 1) and who had been randomized to receive standard care with or without PoCUS in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Shock categories and diagnoses recorded at 60 minutes after ED presentation, were used to allocate patients into subcategories of shock for analysis of treatment. We analyzed actual care delivered including initial IV fluid bolus volumes (mL), rates of inotrope use and major procedures. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: Although there were expected differences in the mean fluid bolus volume between patients with non-cardiogenic and cardiogenic shock, there was no difference in fluid bolus volume between the control and PoCUS groups (non-cardiogenic control 1878 mL (95% CI 1550 – 2206 mL) vs. non-cardiogenic PoCUS 1687 mL (1458 – 1916 mL); and cardiogenic control 768 mL (194 – 1341 mL) vs. cardiogenic PoCUS 981 mL (341 – 1620 mL). Likewise there were no differences in rates of inotrope administration, or major procedures for any of the subcategories of shock between the control group and PoCUS group patients. The most common subcategory of shock was distributive. Conclusion: Despite differences in care delivered by subcategory of shock, we did not find any significant difference in actual care delivered between patients who were examined using PoCUS and those who were not. This may help to explain the previously reported lack of outcome difference between groups.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound has been reported to improve diagnosis in non-traumatic hypotensive ED patients. We compared diagnostic performance of physicians with and without PoCUS in undifferentiated hypotensive patients as part of an international prospective randomized controlled study. The primary outcome was diagnostic performance of PoCUS for cardiogenic vs. non-cardiogenic shock. Methods: SHoC-ED recruited hypotensive patients (SBP < 100 mmHg or shock index > 1) in 6 centres in Canada and South Africa. We describe previously unreported secondary outcomes relating to diagnostic accuracy. Patients were randomized to standard clinical assessment (No PoCUS) or PoCUS groups. PoCUS-trained physicians performed scans after initial assessment. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses including shock category were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes. Final diagnosis was determined by independent blinded chart review. Standard statistical tests were employed. Sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate difference. Results: 273 patients were enrolled with follow-up for primary outcome completed for 270. Baseline demographics and perceived category of shock were similar between groups. 11% of patients were determined to have cardiogenic shock. PoCUS had a sensitivity of 80.0% (95% CI 54.8 to 93.0%), specificity 95.5% (90.0 to 98.1%), LR+ve 17.9 (7.34 to 43.8), LR-ve 0.21 (0.08 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 85.6 (18.2 to 403.6) and accuracy 93.7% (88.0 to 97.2%) for cardiogenic shock. Standard assessment without PoCUS had a sensitivity of 91.7% (64.6 to 98.5%), specificity 93.8% (87.8 to 97.0%), LR+ve 14.8 (7.1 to 30.9), LR- of 0.09 (0.01 to 0.58), Diagnostic OR 166.6 (18.7 to 1481) and accuracy of 93.6% (87.8 to 97.2%). There was no significant difference in sensitivity (-11.7% (-37.8 to 18.3%)) or specificity (1.73% (-4.67 to 8.29%)). Diagnostic performance was also similar between other shock subcategories. Conclusion: As reported in other studies, PoCUS based assessment performed well diagnostically in undifferentiated hypotensive patients, especially as a rule-in test. However performance was similar to standard (non-PoCUS) assessment, which was excellent in this study.
Introduction: Emergency Department (ED) staff burnout correlates with psychological coping strategies used by Emergency department health professionals (EDHPs). Staff at two urban referral EDs in New Brunswick took part in a survey of burnout and coping strategies after one ED experienced an influx of new physicians and a newly renovated ED in 2011. Six years later, ED crowding and EDHP staffing problems became prevalent at both EDs. We compared levels of burnout at two urban referral EDs to determine if burnout and coping worsened over time. Methods: An anonymous survey of all EDHPs at 2 urban referral EDs was performed in 2011 and in 2017. A demographics questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI, measuring emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment), and the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations (CISS, measuring task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented coping styles) were collected. Descriptive statistics and linear regression models examined relationships over time and between the two hospitals. Results: Burnout scores were similar both at the two facilities and in 2011 (n=153) and 2017 (n=127). There were no differences between samples or EDs for important factors. Emotion-oriented coping was associated with higher levels of burnout, while task-oriented coping was inversely correlated with burnout. Experiencing professional stress was a significant predictor of emotional exhaustion, while those working longer years in their current department had higher emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. By 2017, both EDs had experienced significant nursing staff turnover (50%) compared to 2011. Conclusion: Burnout scores remained consistent after 6 years at these two urban referral EDs. Given the evidence that increased years of service is associated with increased burnout, high staff turnover rate at both EDs could explain how scores remained constant. Staff turnover may represent a way these ED systems cope in a challenging environment. In 2017, task-oriented copers continued to score lower while emotionally-oriented copers showed higher burnout risk, and experiencing professional stress remains a strong predictor of burnout.
Background: No standardized method of resident operative-case logging exists. Our study sought to develop a standardized form used by residents to log operative-cases. Methods: Members of the Canadian Neurosurgery Research Collaborative (CNRC), a national resident-led research organization have created a standardized document based on the current Royal College objectives for operative procedures (section 5). Modifications to structure and content will be guided via consensus from Canadian neurosurgery program-directors. Results: Program directors in each CNRC collaborative institution will be asked to modify the standardized form. The CNRC currently involves thirteen of the fourteen Canadian neurosurgery residency programs. Additional consensus, if necessary, can be reached at the Royal College meeting for program directors of neurosurgery March 20th 2017. Conclusions: A standardized operative-case log represents the first step in a prospective study towards compiling operative volume of all Canadian neurosurgical residents over one academic year. Such data will be essential to guide informed decisions with regard to Royal College requirements as Canadian neurosurgical programs transition to a competency based framework.
Introduction: Almost every domain of quality is reduced in crowded emergency departments (ED), with significant challenges around the definition, measurement and interventions for ED crowding. We wished to determine if a combination of 3 easily measurable variables could perform as well as standard tools (NEDOCS score and a NEDOCS-derived LOCAL tool) in predicting ED crowding at a tertiary hospital with 57,000 visits per year. Methods: Over a 2-week period, we recorded ED crowding predictor variables and calculated NEDOCS and LOCAL scores. These were compared every 2 hours to a reference standard Physician Visual Analog Scale (range 0 to 10) impression of crowding to determine if any combination of variables outperformed NEDOCS and LOCAL (crowded=5 or greater). Five numeric variables performed well under univariate analysis: i) Total ED Patients; ii) Patients in ED beds + Waiting Room; iii) Boarded Patients; iv) Waiting Room Patients; v) Patients in beds To Be Seen. These underwent multivariate, log regression with stratification and bootstrapping to account for incomplete data and seasonal and daily effect. Results: 143 out of a possible 168 observations were completed. Two different combinations of 3 variables outperformed NEDOCS and LOCAL. The most powerful combination was: Boarded Patients; plus Waiting Room Patients; plus Patients in beds To Be Seen, with Sensitivity 81% and Specificity 76% (r=0.844, β=0.712, p<0.0001, strong positive correlation). This compared favourably with NEDOCS and LOCAL, each with Sensitivity 71% and Specificity 64%[PA1] (r=0.545 and r=0.640 respectively). We will also present a sensitivity and specificity analysis of all combinations of predictor variables, using various reference standard cut-offs for crowding. Conclusion: A combination of 3 easily measurable ED variables (Boarded Patients; plus Waiting Room Patients; plus Patients in beds To Be Seen) performed better than the validated NEDOCS tool and a NEDOCS-derived LOCAL score at predicting ED crowding. Work is on going to design a simple tool that can predict crowding in real time and facilitate early interventions. Correlation with ED system and clinical outcomes should be studied in different ED environments.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has become an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). Current established protocols (e.g. RUSH and ACES) were developed by expert user opinion, rather than objective, prospective data. Recently the SHoC Protocol was published, recommending 3 core scans; cardiac, lung, and IVC; plus other scans when indicated clinically. We report the abnormal ultrasound findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, to assess if the recommended 3 core SHoC protocol scans were chosen appropriately for this population. Methods: Recruitment occurred at seven centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1) who were randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care with no PoCUS) groups. All scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians within one hour of arrival in the ED. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. A threshold incidence for positive findings of 10% was established as significant for the purposes of assessing the appropriateness of the core recommendations. Results: 138 patients had a PoCUS screen completed. All patients had cardiac, lung, IVC, aorta, abdominal, and pelvic scans. Reported abnormal findings included hyperdynamic LV function (59; 43%); small collapsing IVC (46; 33%); pericardial effusion (24; 17%); pleural fluid (19; 14%); hypodynamic LV function (15; 11%); large poorly collapsing IVC (13; 9%); peritoneal fluid (13; 9%); and aortic aneurysm (5; 4%). Conclusion: The 3 core SHoC Protocol recommendations included appropriate scans to detect all pathologies recorded at a rate of greater than 10 percent. The 3 most frequent findings were cardiac and IVC abnormalities, followed by lung. It is noted that peritoneal fluid was seen at a rate of 9%. Aortic aneurysms were rare. This data from the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients, supports the use of the prioritized SHoC protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of patients with undifferentiated hypotension in the emergency department (ED). While PoCUS protocols have been shown to improve early diagnostic accuracy, there is little published evidence for any mortality benefit. We report the findings from our international multicenter randomized controlled trial, assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on survival and key clinical outcomes. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 7 centres in North America (4) and South Africa (3). Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 or shock index>1), randomized to PoCUS or control (standard care and no PoCUS) groups. Demographics, clinical details and study findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. The primary outcome measure was 30-day/discharge mortality. Secondary outcome measures included diagnostic accuracy, changes in vital signs, acid-base status, and length of stay. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers test, and continuous data by Student T test and multi-level log-regression testing. (GraphPad/SPSS) Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no difference between groups for the primary outcome of mortality; PoCUS 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%) vs. Control 32/129 (24.8%; 95% CI 14.3-35.3%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.869 to 1.15; p=1.00). There were no differences in the secondary outcomes; ICU and total length of stay. Our sample size has a power of 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Other secondary outcomes are reported separately. Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We did not find any mortality or length of stay benefits with the use of a PoCUS protocol, though a larger study is required to confirm these findings. While PoCUS may have diagnostic benefits, these may not translate into a survival benefit effect.
Introduction: Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) protocols are commonly used to guide resuscitation for emergency department (ED) patients with undifferentiated non-traumatic hypotension. While PoCUS has been shown to improve early diagnosis, there is a minimal evidence for any outcome benefit. We completed an international multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) to assess the impact of a PoCUS protocol on key resuscitation markers in this group. We report diagnostic impact and mortality elsewhere. Methods: The SHoC-ED1 study compared the addition of PoCUS to standard care within the first hour in the treatment of adult patients presenting with undifferentiated hypotension (SBP<100 mmHg or a Shock Index >1.0) with a control group that did not receive PoCUS. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. 4 North American, and 3 South African sites participated in the study. Resuscitation outcomes analyzed included volume of fluid administered in the ED, changes in shock index (SI), modified early warning score (MEWS), venous acid-base balance, and lactate, at one and four hours. Comparisons utilized a T-test as well as stratified binomial log-regression to assess for any significant improvement in resuscitation amount the outcomes. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. There was no significant difference in mean total volume of fluid received between the control (1658 ml; 95%CI 1365-1950) and PoCUS groups (1609 ml; 1385-1832; p=0.79). Significant improvements were seen in SI, MEWS, lactate and bicarbonate with resuscitation in both the PoCUS and control groups, however there was no difference between groups. Conclusion: SHOC-ED1 is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard of care in hypotensive ED patients. No significant difference in fluid used, or markers of resuscitation was found when comparing the use of a PoCUS protocol to that of standard of care in the resuscitation of patients with undifferentiated hypotension.
Introduction/Innovation Concept: University Departments of Emergency Medicine are responsible for the supervision of research and other scholarly projects for fellows, residents and students, though often lack resources to provide adequate input and oversight. Many departments cover large geographical areas and several programs. We piloted new research committee structures and processes to improve oversight and output of research projects. Methods: We created an interactive group supervision tool based around formation of a collaborative research committee, with rotating chairs from each program, to provide supervision and face to face interaction, and direction for research learners. Included were all Dalhousie University adult and pediatric emergency medicine residency and fellowship programs, as well as trauma and EMS programs across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In addition to providing expertise in clinical trial coordination, database management, research administration, grant applications and Research Ethics Board submissions, we have completed a 2-year pilot of our interactive group supervision tool for research projects. Curriculum, Tool, or Material: The interactive tool consists of a structured PICOD form; allocation of topic and research mentors; standardized yearly milestones from project development through presentation and publication; and regular video-conferenced and in-person interactive group sessions involving several project leads, as well as program research directors, researchers, and co-ordinators. To date, all participating program learners have engaged with the tool, with positive feedback from learners, supervisors and program directors. Conclusion: We report our development of a regional collaborative interactive group supervision tool, that maximizes expert resources in the provision of research and scholarly project supervision.
Introduction: Point of care ultrasonography (PoCUS) is an established tool in the initial management of hypotensive patients in the emergency department (ED). It has been shown rule out certain shock etiologies, and improve diagnostic certainty, however evidence on benefit in the management of hypotensive patients is limited. We report the findings from our international multicenter RCT assessing the impact of a PoCUS protocol on diagnostic accuracy, as well as other key outcomes including mortality, which are reported elsewhere. Methods: Recruitment occurred at 4 North American and 3 Southern African sites. Screening at triage identified patients (SBP<100 mmHg or shock index >1) who were randomized to either PoCUS or control groups. Scans were performed by PoCUS-trained physicians. Demographics, clinical details and findings were collected prospectively. Initial and secondary diagnoses were recorded at 0 and 60 minutes, with ultrasound performed in the PoCUS group prior to secondary assessment. Final chart review was blinded to initial impressions and PoCUS findings. Categorical data was analyzed using Fishers two-tailed test. Our sample size was powered at 0.80 (α:0.05) for a moderate effect size. Results: 258 patients were enrolled with follow-up fully completed. Baseline comparisons confirmed effective randomization. The perceived shock category changed more frequently in the PoCUS group 20/127 (15.7%) vs. control 7/125 (5.6%); RR 2.81 (95% CI 1.23 to 6.42; p=0.0134). There was no significant difference in change of diagnostic impression between groups PoCUS 39/123 (31.7%) vs control 34/124 (27.4%); RR 1.16 (95% CI 0.786 to 1.70; p=0.4879). There was no significant difference in the rate of correct category of shock between PoCUS (118/127; 93%) and control (113/122; 93%); RR 1.00 (95% CI 0.936 to 1.08; p=1.00), or for correct diagnosis; PoCUS 90/127 (70%) vs control 86/122 (70%); RR 0.987 (95% CI 0.671 to 1.45; p=1.00). Conclusion: This is the first RCT to compare PoCUS to standard care for undifferentiated hypotensive ED patients. We found that the use of PoCUS did change physicians’ perceived shock category. PoCUS did not improve diagnostic accuracy for category of shock or diagnosis.
Aberrant emotional biases have been reported in bipolar disorder (BD), but results are inconsistent. Despite the clinical relevance of chronic mood variability in BD, there is no previous research investigating how the extent of symptom fluctuations in bipolar disorder might relate to emotional biases. This exploratory study investigated, in a large cohort of bipolar patients, whether instability in weekly mood episode symptoms and other clinical and demographic factors were related to emotional bias as measured in a simple laboratory task.
Participants (N = 271, BDI = 206, BDII = 121) completed an ‘emotional categorization and memory’ task. Weekly self-reported symptoms of depression and mania were collected prospectively. In linear regression analyses, associations between cognitive bias and mood variability were explored together with the influence of demographic and clinical factors, including current medication.
Greater accuracy in the classification of negative words relative to positive words was associated with greater instability in depressive symptoms. Furthermore, greater negative bias in free recall was associated with higher instability in manic symptoms. Participants diagnosed with BDII, compared with BDI, showed overall better word recognition and recall. Current antipsychotic use was associated with reduced instability in manic symptoms but this did not impact on emotional processing performance.
Emotional processing biases in bipolar disorder are related to instability in mood. These findings prompt further investigation into the underpinnings as well as clinical significance of mood instability.