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We sought to conduct a major objective of the CAEP Academic Section, an environmental scan of the academic emergency medicine programs across the 17 Canadian medical schools.
We developed an 84-question questionnaire, which was distributed to academic heads. The responses were validated by phone by the lead author to ensure that the questions were answered completely and consistently. Details of pediatric emergency medicine units were excluded from the scan.
At eight of 17 universities, emergency medicine has full departmental status and at two it has no official academic status. Canadian academic emergency medicine is practiced at 46 major teaching hospitals and 13 specialized pediatric hospitals. Another 69 Canadian hospital EDs regularly take clinical clerks and emergency medicine residents. There are 31 full professors of emergency medicine in Canada. Teaching programs are strong with clerkships offered at 16/17 universities, CCFP(EM) programs at 17/17, and RCPSC residency programs at 14/17. Fourteen sites have at least one physician with a Master’s degree in education. There are 55 clinical researchers with salary support at 13 universities. Sixteen sites have published peer-reviewed papers in the past five years, ranging from four to 235 per site. Annual budgets range from $200,000 to $5,900,000.
This comprehensive review of academic activities in emergency medicine across Canada identifies areas of strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. CAEP and the Academic Section hope we can ultimately improve ED patient care by sharing best academic practices and becoming better teachers, educators, and researchers.
1) To evaluate whether transient ischemic attack (TIA) management in emergency departments (EDs) of the Nova Scotia Capital District Health Authority followed Canadian Best Practice Recommendations, and 2) to assess the impact of being followed up in a dedicated outpatient neurovascular clinic.
Retrospective chart review of all patients discharged from EDs in our district from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012 with a diagnosis of TIA. Cox proportional hazards models, Kaplan-Meier survival curve, and propensity matched analyses were used to evaluate 90-day mortality and readmission.
Of the 686 patients seen in the ED for TIA, 88.3% received computed tomography (CT) scanning, 86.3% received an electrocardiogram (ECG), 35% received vascular imaging within 24 hours of triage, 36% were seen in a neurovascular clinic, and 4.2% experienced stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death within 90 days. Rates of antithrombotic use were increased in patients seen in a neurovascular clinic compared to those who were not (94% v. 86.3%, p<0.0001). After adjustment for age, sex, vascular disease risk factors, and stroke symptoms, the risk of readmission for stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death was lower for those seen in a neurovascular clinic compared to those who were not (adjusted hazard ratio 0.28; 95% confidence interval 0.08–0.99, p=0.048).
The majority of patients in our study were treated with antithrombotic agents in the ED and investigated with CT and ECG within 24 hours; however, vascular imaging and neurovascular clinic follow-up were underutilized. For those with neurovascular clinic follow-up, there was an association with reduced risk of subsequent stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death.
Several randomized controlled trials have suggested that mild induced hypothermia may improve neurologic outcome in comatose cardiac arrest survivors. This systematic review of randomized controlled trials was designed to determine if mild induced hypothermia improves neurologic outcome, decreases mortality, or is associated with an increased incidence of adverse events.
The following databases were reviewed: Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (Issue 4, 2005), MEDLINE (January 1966 to November 2005), EMBASE (1980 to November 2005), CINAHL (1982 to November 2005) and Web of Science (1989 to November 2005). For each included study, references were reviewed and the primary author contacted to identify any additional studies.
Studies that met inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials of adult patients (>18 years of age) with primary cardiac arrest who remained comatose after return of spontaneous circulation. Patients had to be randomized to mild induced hypothermia (32°C-34°C) or normothermia within 24 hours of presentation. Only studies reporting pre-determined outcomes including discharge neurologic outcome, mortality or significant treatment-related adverse events were included. There were no language or publication restrictions.
Four studies involving 436 patients, with 232 cooled to a core temperature of 32°C-34°C met inclusion criteria. Pooled data demonstrated that mild hypothermia decreased inhospital mortality (relative ratio [RR] 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62-0.92) and reduced the incidence of poor neurologic outcome (RR 0.74; 95% CI, 0.62-0.84). Numbers needed to treat were 7 patients to save 1 life, and 5 patients to improve neurologic outcome. There was no evidence of treatment-limiting side effects.
Therapeutically induced mild hypothermia decreases in-hospital mortality and improves neurologic outcome in comatose cardiac arrest survivors. The possibility of treatment-limiting side effects cannot be excluded.
To examine the safety of emergency department (ED) procedural sedation and analgesia (PSA) and the patterns of use of pharmacologic agents at a Canadian adult teaching hospital.
Retrospective analysis of the PSA records of 979 patients, treated between Aug. 1, 2004, and July 31, 2005, with descriptive statistical analysis. This represents an inclusive consecutive case series of all PSAs performed during the study period.
Hypotension (systolic blood pressure ≤ 85 mm Hg) was documented during PSA in 13 of 979 patients (1.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3%–2.3%), and desaturation (Sao2 ≤ 90) in 14 of 979 (1.4%; CI 0.1%–2.7%). No cases of aspiration, endotracheal intubation or death were recorded. The most common medication used was fentanyl (94.0% of cases), followed by propofol (61.2%), midazolam (42.5%) and then ketamine (2.7%). The most frequently used 2-medication combinations were propofol and fentanyl (P/F) followed by midazolam and fentanyl (M/F), used with similar frequencies 58.1% (569/979) and 41.0% (401/979) respectively. There was no significant difference in the incidence of hypotension or desaturation between the P/F and M/F treated groups. In these patients, 9.1% (90/979) of patients received more than 2 different drugs.
Adverse events during ED PSA are rare and of doubtful clinical significance. Propofol/fentanyl and midazolam/fentanyl are used safely, and at similar frequencies for ED PSA in this tertiary hospital case series. The use of ketamine for adult PSA is unusual in our facility.
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