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Over the past decade, Emergency Medical Service (EMS) systems decreased backboard use as they transition from spinal immobilization (SI) protocols to spinal motion restriction (SMR) protocols. Since this change, no study has examined its effect on the neurologic outcomes of patients with spine injuries.
The object of this study is to determine if a state-wide protocol change from an SI to an SMR protocol had an effect on the incidence of disabling spinal cord injuries.
This was a retrospective review of patients in a single Level I trauma center before and after a change in spinal injury protocols. A two-step review of the record was used to classify spinal cord injuries as disabling or not disabling. A binary logistic regression was used to determine the effects of protocol, gender, age, level of injury, and mechanism of injury (MOI) on the incidence of significant disability from a spinal cord injury.
A total of 549 patients in the SI period and 623 patients in the SMR period were included in the analysis. In the logistic regression, the change from an SI protocol to an SMR protocol did not demonstrate a significant effect on the incidence of disabling spinal injuries (OR: 0.78; 95% CI, 0.44 - 1.36).
This study did not demonstrate an increase in disabling spinal cord injuries after a shift from an SI protocol to an SMR protocol. This finding, in addition to existing literature, supports the introduction of SMR protocols and the decreased use of the backboard.
Survival rates following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) increase two to three times when cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is started by bystanders, as compared to starting CPR when Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrives. Municipalities that have implemented dispatcher-assisted bystander CPR programs have seen increased rates of bystander CPR. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation instructions are given for victims of all ages, but it is unknown if offering instructions results in similar rates of EMS-documented bystander CPR across the age continuum in these municipalities.
The aim of this study was to determine if there is a difference in EMS-documented bystander CPR rates based on the age group of the OHCA victim when dispatcher CPR instructions are available in the community.
This was a three-year, retrospective chart review of OHCA patients in two municipalities within a single county that provided dispatcher-assisted CPR instructions. Bystander CPR and patient age were determined based on EMS documentation. Age was stratified into three groups: child (0-12 years), adult (13-54 years), and geriatric (≥55 years). Chi square was used to compare the rate of bystander CPR in each age group.
During the study period, 1,993 patients were identified as being in OHCA at the time of EMS arrival. The overall bystander CPR rate was 10%. The highest rate of bystander CPR was in the child age group (19%). The lowest rate of bystander CPR was in the geriatric age group (9%). There was a statistically significant difference between age groups (P≤.01).
The rate of EMS-documented bystander CPR was low, even though these municipalities provided dispatcher-assisted CPR instructions. The highest rates of bystander CPR were observed in children (0-12 years). Future investigations should determine why this occurs and if there are opportunities to modify dispatcher coaching based on patient age so that bystander CPR rates improve.
WeinmeisterKL, LernerEB, GuseCE, AteyyahKA, PirralloRG. Dispatcher CPR Instructions Across the Age Continuum. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(3):342–345.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the reliability and validity of three computerized neurocognitive assessment tools (CNTs; i.e., ANAM, DANA, and ImPACT) for assessing mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in patients recruited through a level I trauma center emergency department (ED). Methods: mTBI (n=94) and matched trauma control (n=80) subjects recruited from a level I trauma center emergency department completed symptom and neurocognitive assessments within 72 hr of injury and at 15 and 45 days post-injury. Concussion symptoms were also assessed via phone at 8 days post-injury. Results: CNTs did not differentiate between groups at any time point (e.g., M 72-hr Cohen’s d=−.16, .02, and .00 for ANAM, DANA, and ImPACT, respectively; negative values reflect greater impairment in the mTBI group). Roughly a quarter of stability coefficients were over .70 across measures and test–retest intervals in controls. In contrast, concussion symptom score differentiated mTBI vs. control groups acutely), with this effect size diminished over time (72-hr and day 8, 15, and 45 Cohen’s d=−.78, −.60, −.49, and −.35, respectively). Conclusions: The CNTs evaluated, developed and widely used to assess sport-related concussion, did not yield significant differences between patients with mTBI versus other injuries. Symptom scores better differentiated groups than CNTs, with effect sizes weaker than those reported in sport-related concussion studies. Nonspecific injury factors, and other characteristics common in ED settings, likely affect CNT performance across trauma patients as a whole and thereby diminish the validity of CNTs for assessing mTBI in this patient population. (JINS, 2017, 23, 293–303)
Limited data exist comparing the performance of computerized neurocognitive tests (CNTs) for assessing sport-related concussion. We evaluated the reliability and validity of three CNTs—ANAM, Axon Sports/Cogstate Sport, and ImPACT—in a common sample. High school and collegiate athletes completed two CNTs each at baseline. Concussed (n=165) and matched non-injured control (n=166) subjects repeated testing within 24 hr and at 8, 15, and 45 days post-injury. Roughly a quarter of each CNT’s indices had stability coefficients (M=198 day interval) over .70. Group differences in performance were mostly moderate to large at 24 hr and small by day 8. The sensitivity of reliable change indices (RCIs) was best at 24 hr (67.8%, 60.3%, and 47.6% with one or more significant RCIs for ImPACT, Axon, and ANAM, respectively) but diminished to near the false positive rates thereafter. Across time, the CNTs’ sensitivities were highest in those athletes who became asymptomatic within 1 day before neurocognitive testing but was similar to the tests’ false positive rates when including athletes who became asymptomatic several days earlier. Test–retest reliability was similar among these three CNTs and below optimal standards for clinical use on many subtests. Analyses of group effect sizes, discrimination, and sensitivity and specificity suggested that the CNTs may add incrementally (beyond symptom scores) to the identification of clinical impairment within 24 hr of injury or within a short time period after symptom resolution but do not add significant value over symptom assessment later. The rapid clinical recovery course from concussion and modest stability probably jointly contribute to limited signal detection capabilities of neurocognitive tests outside a brief post-injury window. (JINS, 2016, 22, 24–37)
Mass casualty triage is the process of prioritizing multiple victims when resources are not sufficient to treat everyone immediately. No national guideline for mass casualty triage exists in the United States. The lack of a national guideline has resulted in variability in triage processes, tags, and nomenclature. This variability has the potential to inject confusion and miscommunication into the disaster incident, particularly when multiple jurisdictions are involved. The Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage were developed to be a national guideline for mass casualty triage to ensure interoperability and standardization when responding to a mass casualty incident. The Core Criteria consist of 4 categories: general considerations, global sorting, lifesaving interventions, and individual assessment of triage category. The criteria within each of these categories were developed by a workgroup of experts representing national stakeholder organizations who used the best available science and, when necessary, consensus opinion. This article describes how the Model Uniform Core Criteria for Mass Casualty Triage were developed.
(Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2011;5:129-137)
Public health and the emergency care community must work together to effectively achieve a state of community-wide disaster preparedness. The identification of model communities with good working relationships between their emergency care community and public health agencies may provide useful information on establishing and strengthening relationships in other communities. Seven model communities were identified: Boston, Massachusetts; Clark County, Nevada; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Erie County, New York; Louisville, Kentucky; Livingston County, New York; and Monroe County, New York. This article describes these communities and provides a summary of common findings. Specifically, we recommend that communities foster respectful working relationships between agency leaders, hold regular face-to-face meetings, educate each other on their expertise and roles during a disaster, develop response plans together, work together on a day-to-day basis, identify and encourage a leader to facilitate these relationships, and share resources. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2007;1:142–145)
Mass casualty triage is a critical skill. Although many systems exist to guide providers in making triage decisions, there is little scientific evidence available to demonstrate that any of the available systems have been validated. Furthermore, in the United States there is little consistency from one jurisdiction to the next in the application of mass casualty triage methodology. There are no nationally agreed upon categories or color designations. This review reports on a consensus committee process used to evaluate and compare commonly used triage systems, and to develop a proposed national mass casualty triage guideline. The proposed guideline, entitled SALT (sort, assess, life-saving interventions, treatment and/or transport) triage, was developed based on the best available science and consensus opinion. It incorporates aspects from all of the existing triage systems to create a single overarching guide for unifying the mass casualty triage process across the United States. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2008;2(Suppl 1):S25–S34)
This chapter presents a description of the triage systems. These systems include Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START), Homebush Triage Standard, CareFlight Triage, Triage Sieve, the Sacco Triage Method, the CESIRA Protocol, MASS Triage, and Military/NATO Triage. The chapter provides a brief discussion of the Sort, Assess, Lifesaving measures, Treat/Transport (SALT) system. SALT begins with a global sorting of patients to prioritize them for individual assessment. The chapter discusses the secondary triage systems SAVE and Triage Sort, as well as the pediatric specific systems, JumpSTART and the Pediatric Triage Tape. There are two categories of outcomes that could be used in assessing how triage affects patient outcome: patient-based scoring systems and resource based systems. Specific attention to chemical, biological, and radiological/nuclear (CBRN) events is a critical component of state of the art triage systems and must be considered when choosing a triage methodology.
The objective of this study was to determine providers' opinions of SALT Triage after receiving training and using it during a simulated mass-casualty incident.
A survey was conducted of trainees in a disaster course. Trainees were given a-30 minute lecture on SALT (sort, assess, life-saving interventions, treatment and/or transport) Triage and then used it during a drill. After the drill, trainees were asked to complete the survey. Results were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Thirty trainees (11 medical doctors (MDs), six registered nurses (RNs), eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs), one RN/EMTs, four other) participated in the course. Of these participants, 67% had prior drill experience (mean: 10 drills) and 37% had prior mass-casualty incident experience (mean: four experiences). Prior to the drill: 7% reported that they felt very confident using SALT Triage, 33% were confident, 30% were somewhat confident, and 30% were not confident. After the drill: none reported not feeling confident using SALT Triage, 27% were at the same level of confidence, 73% felt more confident, and none felt less confident. Before the drill: 52% of respondents felt SALT Triage was easier to use than their current disaster triage protocol, 44% felt it was similar, and 4% felt it was more difficult. After the drill: 67% did not change how easy they felt SALT Triage was to use, 26% thought it was easier to use, and 3% thought it was similar.
Providers felt confident using SALT triage after a 30-minute training session and found it was similar or easier to use than their current triage protocol. Using SALT Triage during a drill improved confidence.
The effectiveness of a tiered emergency medical services system often hinges upon the ability of initial care providers with little or no formal training to identify emergent patient needs and determine the best means to meet those needs.
To determine if out-of-hospital emergency care providers consistently make appropriate triage, transportation, and destination decisions; and to determine if experience and training have an effect on these decisions.
A survey consisting of 14 patient-care scenarios was administered to certified and non-certified out-of-hospital emergency-care providers (n = 311) from 20 randomly selected EMS agencies. These agencies were part of EMS systems that utilize one, two, and three tiered responses by ambulance and fire-based commercial, municipal, and volunteer agencies. Participants were asked to select the most appropriate mode of transport and destination facility using the assumption that they had responded to each scenario in a basic life support ambulance. Answers included transporting the patient to various receiving facilities or requesting a more advanced-level unit to respond to the scene. Transport times to receiving facilities and estimated times of arrival for advanced-level units were provided with each choice. Eight emergency physicians unanimously had agreed upon the most appropriate answer for each scenario. A two-tailed t-test was used to compare the scores of the certified and non-certified groups; and Spearman's Correlation Coefficients were used to test the effects of experience and training.
Non-certified providers (n = 108) had a mean score of 32.6% or 4.6 (SD = 1.84) correct answers; certified providers (n = 203) had a mean score of 41.1% or 5.76 (SD = 2.12) correct answers (p < 0.000001). Spearman's Correlation Coefficients were: 1) individual provider level - (0.3978); 2) agency provider level - (0.2741); 3) hours workea per week - (0.2505); 4) years in EMS - (- 0.0821); 5) commercial or volunteer provider - (0.2398); 6) agency call volume - (0.2012); 7) agency location - (0.0685), and 8) transporting versus non-transporting agency - (0.2523).
A need exists for further education of out-of-hospital emergency care providers with respect to triage, transportation, and destination decisions. Provider experience and level of certification do not appear to affect these critical patient-care decisions.
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