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Emergency department (ED) patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter (AFF) with underlying occult condition such as sepsis or heart failure, and who are managed with rate or rhythm control, have poor prognoses. Such conditions may not be easy to identify early in the ED evaluation when critical treatment decisions are made. We sought to develop a simple decision aid to quickly identify undifferentiated ED AFF patients who are at high risk of acute underlying illness.
We collected consecutive ED patients with electrocardiogram-proven AFF over a 1-year period and performed a chart review to ascertain demographics, comorbidities, and investigations. The primary outcome was having an acute underlying illness according to prespecified criteria. We used logistic regression to identify factors associated with the primary outcome, and developed criteria to identify those with an underlying illness at presentation.
Of 1,083 consecutive undifferentiated ED AFF patients, 400 (36.9%) had an acute underlying illness; they were older with more comorbidities. Modeling demonstrated that three predictors (ambulance arrival; chief complaint of chest pain, dyspnea, or weakness; CHA2DS2-VASc score greater than 2) identified 93% of patients with acute underlying illness (95% confidence interval [CI], 91–96%) with 54% (95% CI, 50–58%) specificity. The decision aid missed 28 patients; (7.0%) simple blood tests and chest radiography identified all within an hour of presentation.
In ED patients with undifferentiated AFF, this simple predictive model rapidly differentiates patients at risk of acute underlying illness, who will likely merit investigations before AFF-specific therapy.
Make recommendations on approaches to building and strengthening relationships between academic departments or divisions of Emergency Medicine and rural and regional emergency departments.
A panel of leaders from both rural and urban/academic practice environments met over 8 months. Draft recommendations were developed from panel expertise as well as survey data and presented at the 2018 Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Symposium. Symposium feedback was incorporated into final recommendations.
Seven recommendations emerged and are summarized below:
1) CAEP should ensure engagement with other rural stakeholder organizations such as the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.
2) Engagement efforts require adequate financial and manpower resources.
3) Training opportunities should be promoted.
4) The current operational interface between the academic department of Emergency Medicine and the emergency departments in the catchment area must be examined and gaps addressed as part of building and strengthening relationships.
5) Initial engagement efforts should be around projects with common value.
6) Academic Departments should partner with and support rural scholars.
7) Academic departments seeking to build or strengthen relationships should consider successful examples from elsewhere in the country as well as considering local culture and challenges.
These recommendations serve as guidance for building and strengthening mutually beneficial relationships between academic departments or divisions of Emergency Medicine and rural and regional emergency departments.
Atrial fibrillation or flutter (AFF) patients with renal impairment have poor long-term prognosis, but their emergency department (ED) management has not been described. We investigated the association of renal impairment upon outcomes after rate or rhythm control (RRC) including ED-based adverse events (AE) and treatment failure.
This cohort study used an electrocardiogram database from two urban centres to identify consecutive AFF patients and reviewed charts to obtain comorbidities, ED management, including RRC, prespecified AE, and treatment failure. Patients were dichotomized into a normal estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) > 60 mL/min/1.73 m2) or impaired renal function (“low eGFR”). Primary and secondary outcomes were prespecified AEs and treatment failure, respectively. We calculated 1) adjusted excess AE risk for patients with decreased renal function receiving RRC; and 2) adjusted odds ratio of RRC treatment failure.
Of 1,112 consecutive ED AFF patients, 412 (37.0%) had a low eGFR. Crude AE rates for RRC were 27/238 (11.3%) for patients with normal renal function and 26/103 (25.2%) for patients with low eGFR. For patients with low eGFR receiving RRC, adjusted excess AE risk was 13.7%. (95% CI 1.7 to 25.1%). For patients with low eGFR, adjusted odds ratio for RRC failure was 3.07. (95% CI 1.74 to 5.43)
In this cohort of ED AFF patients receiving RRC, those with low eGFR had significantly increased adjusted excess risk of AE compared with patients with normal renal function. Odds of treatment failure were also significantly increased.
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.
Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation within CPR (ECPR) may improve survival for refractory out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We developed a prehospital, emergency department (ED), and hospital-based clinical and educational protocol to improve the key variable of time-to-ECPR (TTE).
In a single urban health region we involved key prehospital, clinical, and administrative stakeholders over a 2-year period, to develop a regional ECPR program with destination to a single urban tertiary care hospital. We developed clear and reproducible inclusion criteria and processes, including measures of program efficiency. We conducted seminars and teaching modules to paramedics and hospital-based clinicians including monthly simulator sessions, and performed detailed reviews of each treated case in the form of report cards. In this before-and-after study we compared patients with ECPR attempted prior to, and after, protocol implementation. The primary outcome was TTE, defined as the time of initial professional CPR to establishment of extracorporeal circulation. We compared the median TTE for patients in the two groups using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.
Four patients were identified prior to the protocol and managed in an ad hoc basis; for nine patients the protocol was utilized. Overall favourable neurological outcomes among ECPR-treated patients were 27%. The median TTE was 136 minutes (IQR 98 - 196) in the pre-protocol group, and 60 minutes (IQR 49 - 81) minutes in the protocol group (p=0.0165).
An organized clinical and educational protocol to initiate ECPR for patients with OHCA is feasible and significantly reduces the key benchmark of time-to-ECPR flows.
No prior work exists examining the relation between the geographic distribution of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in the city of Vancouver and surrounding areas that may exhibit a clustering of cases. The primary objective of this study was to describe the distribution of OHCA within the Vancouver Coastal Health region using a geographic information system (GIS) analysis and appropriate statistical analyses.
This study was a post-hoc GIS-based analysis of OHCA patients in the city of Vancouver and surrounding areas, using data collected by the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium between September 2007 and December 2011. The kernel density techniques and regression tree analysis using binary recursive partitioning were used.
We examined 1617 cases of OHCA with a mortality rate of 86.5% (95% CI 84.8-88.2). The mean age of OHCA cases was 66.6 years (95% CI 65.7-67.5), and 33.6% (95% CI 31.3-35.9) were female. The proportion with an initial shockable rhythm (VF or pulseless VT) was 22.2% (95% CI 20.2-24.2); 42.3% (95% CI 39.9-44.7) of all cases received bystander CPR, and 49.7% (95% CI 47.3-52.1) were transported to the hospital by paramedics. The rate of survival to hospital discharge with favourable neurological status (FNS) Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) 1 or 2 was 10.4% (8.9-11.9). Distance of transport to the hospital (less than 2.7 km) was a significant predictor of survival with FNS, but income did not predict survival with FNS. Areas with higher proportions of commuters by car demonstrated lower rates of survival with FNS.
This is the first GIS-based study to examine OHCA in a single large Canadian centre. Clustering of OHCA consistent with areas of high population density was observed. Distance of transport was a significant predictor of survival with FNS for patients with OHCA. This may have important implications for future emergency medical services deployment and dispatch decision-making, and public policy initiatives.
1) To identify the strengths and challenges of governance structures in academic emergency medicine (EM), and 2) to make recommendations on principles and approaches that may guide improvements.
Over the course of 9 months, eight established EM leaders met by teleconference, reviewed the literature, and discussed their findings and experiences to arrive at recommendations on governance in academic units of EM. The results and recommendations were presented at the annual Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Symposium, where attendees provided feedback. The updated recommendations were subsequently distributed to the CAEP Academic Section for further input, and the final recommendations were decided by consensus.
The panel identified four governance areas of interest: 1) the elements of governance; 2) the relationships between emergency physicians and academic units of EM, and between the academic units of EM and faculty of medicine; 3) current status of governance in Canadian academic units of EM; and 4) essential elements of good governance. Six recommendations were developed around three themes, including 1) the importance of good governance; 2) the purposes of an academic unit of EM; and 3) essential elements for better governance for academic units of EM. Recommendations included identifying the importance of good governance, recognizing the need to adapt to the different models depending on the local environment; seeking full departmental status, provided it is mutually beneficial to EM and the faculty of medicine (and health authority); using a consultation service to learn from the experience of other academic units of EM; and establishing an annual forum for EM leaders.
Although governance of academic EM is complex, there are ways to iteratively improve the mission of academic units of EM: providing exceptional patient care through research and education. Although there is no one-size-fits-all guide, there are practical recommended steps for academic units of EM to consider.
To describe the current state of academic emergency medicine (EM) funding in Canada and develop recommendations to grow and establish sustainable funding.
A panel of eight leaders from different EM academic units was assembled. Using mixed methods (including a literature review, sharing of professional experiences, a survey of current EM academic heads, and data previously collected from an environmental scan), 10 recommendations were drafted and presented at an academic symposium. Attendee feedback was incorporated, and the second set of draft recommendations was further distributed to the Canadian Association Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Academic Section for additional comments before being finalized.
Recommendations were developed around the funding challenges identified and solutions developed by academic EM university-based units across Canada. A strategic plan was seen as integral to achieving strong funding of an EM unit, especially when it aligned with departmental and institutional priorities. A business plan, although occasionally overlooked, was deemed an important component for planning and sustaining the academic mission. A number of recommendations surrounding philanthropy consisted of creating partnerships with existing foundations and engaging multiple stakeholders and communities. Synergy between academic and clinical EM departments was also viewed as an opportunity to ensure integration of common missions. Education and networking for current and future leaders were also viewed as invaluable to ensure that opportunities are optimized through strong leadership development and shared experiences to further the EM academic missions across the country.
These recommendations were designed to improve the financial circumstances for many Canadian EM units. There is a considerable wealth of resources that can contribute to financial stability for an academic unit, and an annual networking meeting and continuing education on these issues will facilitate more rapid implementation of these recommendations.
A panel of emergency medicine (EM) leaders endeavoured to define the key elements of leadership and its models, as well as to formulate consensus recommendations to build and strengthen academic leadership in the Canadian EM community in the areas of mentorship, education, and resources.
The expert panel comprised EM leaders from across Canada and met regularly by teleconference over the course of 9 months. From the breadth of backgrounds and experience, as well as a literature review and the development of a leadership video series, broad themes for recommendations around the building and strengthening of EM leadership were presented at the CAEP 2015 Academic Symposium held in Edmonton, Alberta. Feedback from the attendees (about 80 emergency physicians interested in leadership) was sought. Subsequently, draft recommendations were developed by the panel through attendee feedback, further review of the leadership video series, and expert opinion. The recommendations were distributed to the CAEP Academic Section for further feedback and updated by consensus of the expert panel.
The methods informed the panel who framed recommendations around four themes: 1) leadership preparation and training, 2) self-reflection/emotional intelligence, 3) academic leadership skills, and 4) gender balance in academic EM leadership. The recommendations aimed to support and nurture the next generation of academic EM leaders in Canada and included leadership mentors, availability of formal educational courses/programs in leadership, self-directed education of aspiring leaders, creation of a Canadian subgroup with the AACEM/SAEM Chair Development Program, and gender balance in leadership roles.
These recommendations serve as a roadmap for all EM leaders (and aspiring leaders) to build on their success, inspire their colleagues, and foster the next generation of Canadian EM academic leaders.
Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR), while resource-intensive, may improve outcomes in selected patients with refractory out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We sought to identify patients who fulfilled a set of ECPR criteria in order to estimate: (1) the proportion of patients with refractory cardiac arrest who may have benefited from ECPR; and (2) the outcomes achieved with conventional resuscitation.
We performed a secondary analysis from a 52-month prospective registry of consecutive adult non-traumatic OHCA cases from a single urban Canadian health region serving one million patients. We developed a hypothetical ECPR-eligible cohort including adult patients <60 years of age with a witnessed OHCA, and either bystander CPR or EMS arrival within five minutes. The primary outcome was the proportion of ECPR-eligible patients who had refractory cardiac arrest, defined as termination of resuscitation pre-hospital or in the ED. The secondary outcome was the proportion of EPCR-eligible patients who survived to hospital discharge.
Of 1,644 EMS-treated OHCA, 168 (10.2%) fulfilled our ECPR criteria. Overall, 54/1644 (3.3%; 95% CI 2.4%-4.1%) who were ECPR-eligible had refractory cardiac arrest. Of ECPR-eligible patients, 114/168 (68%, 95% CI 61%-75%) survived to hospital admission, and 70/168 (42%; 95% CI 34-49%) survived to hospital discharge.
In our region, approximately 10% of EMS-treated cases of OHCA fulfilled our ECPR criteria, and approximately one-third of these (an average of 12 patients per year) were refractory to conventional resuscitation. The integration of an ECPR program into an existing high-performing system of care may have a small but clinically important effect on patient outcomes.
Current guidelines emphasize that emergency department (ED) patients at low risk for potential ischemic chest pain cannot be discharged without extensive investigations or hospitalization to minimize the risk of missing acute coronary syndrome (ACS). We sought to derive and validate a prediction rule that permitted 20 to 30% of ED patients without ACS safely to be discharged within 2 hours without
further provocative cardiac testing.
This prospective cohort study enrolled 1,669 chest pain patients in two blocks in 2000–2003 (development cohort) and 2006 (validation cohort). The primary outcome was 30-day ACS diagnosis. A recursive partitioning model incorporated reliable and predictive cardiac risk factors, pain characteristics, electrocardiographic findings, and cardiac biomarker results.
In the derivation cohort, 165 of 763 patients (21.6%) had a 30-day ACS diagnosis. The derived prediction rule was 100.0% sensitive and 18.6% specific. In the validation cohort, 119 of 906 patients (13.1%) had ACS, and the prediction rule was 99.2% sensitive (95% CI 95.4–100.0) and 23.4% specific (95% CI 20.6–26.5). Patients have a very low ACS risk if arrival and 2-hour troponin levels are normal, the initial electrocardiogram is nonischemic, there is no history of ACS or nitrate use, age is < 50 years, and defined pain characteristics are met. The validation of the rule was limited by the lack of consistency in data capture, incomplete follow-up, and lack of evaluation of the accuracy, comfort, and clinical sensibility of this clinical decision rule.
The Vancouver Chest Pain Rule may identify a cohort of ED chest pain patients who can be safely
discharged within 2 hours without provocative cardiac testing. Further validation across other centres with consistent application and comprehensive and uniform follow-up of all eligible and enrolled patients, in addition to measuring and reporting the accuracy of and comfort level with applying the rule and the clinical sensibility, should be completed prior to adoption and implementation.
Our primary objective was to determine the effectiveness of 3 immobilization methods (circumferential casting [CC], volar–dorsal splinting [VDS] and modified sugar-tong [MST] splinting) in maintaining the position of displaced distal radius fractures after successful closed reduction. Our secondary objective was to assess long-term functional outcomes associated with immobilization with fibreglass splinting versus standard CC in patients maintaining initial nonoperative reductions.
We conducted a prospective randomized single-blind controlled trial in patients over 18 years of age who presented to the emergency department with a displaced fracture of the distal radius requiring closed reduction. The primary outcome was loss of reduction (defined as radiologic slippage or the need for surgical fixation during the 3–4 week primary immobilization period after initial successful reduction). Secondary outcomes included DASH (disabilities of the arm, shoulder and hand) score, return to work, activities of daily living, wrist pain, range of motion and grip strength assessed at 8 weeks and 6 months.
Thirty participants were randomly assigned to receive MST splinting, 31 to receive VDS and 40 to receive CC. Baseline characteristics were similar among groups. Radiographic loss of reduction occurred in 16% (95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1%–28.9%) of participants in the VDS group, 20% (95% CI 7.6%–32.4%) in the CC group and 30% (95% CI 13.6°%–46.4°%) in the MST splinting group (p = 0.17). Based on multivariate analysis of variance, functional outcomes at 8 weeks were similar among groups (p = 0.89). DASH scores at 8 weeks and 6 months were similar among groups, based on 1-way analysis of variance (p > 0.25).
Rates of loss in anatomic position were not statistically significant among the 3 types of dressings used. However, there was a clinically important trend of increased loss of reduction with the use of MST splinting. Functional outcomes at 8 weeks and 6 months were not significantly different between CC, VDS and MDS splinting. Ease of application and familiarity with use should guide clinical decisions when choosing a dressing type for displaced Colles fractures.
We sought to estimate the period prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) and evaluate risk factors for MRSA SSTI in an emergency department (ED) population.
We carried out a cohort study with a nested case–control design. Patients presenting to our ED with a wound culture and a discharge diagnosis of SSTI between January 2003 and September 2004 were dichotomized as MRSA positive or negative. Fifty patients with MRSA SSTI matched by calendar time to 100 controls with MRSA-negative SSTI had risk factors assessed using multivariate conditional logistic regression.
Period prevalence of MRSA SSTI was 54.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 50.2%–59.4%). The monthly period prevalence increased from 21% in January 2003 to 68% in September 2004 (p < 0.01). Risk factors for MRSA SSTI were injection drug use (IDU) (odds ratio [OR] 4.6, 95% CI 1.4–16.1), previous MRSA infection and colonization (OR 6.4, 95% CI 2.1–19.8), antibiotics in 8 weeks preceding index visit (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.2–8.1), diabetes mellitus (OR 4.1, 95% CI 1.4–12.1), abscess (OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.8–17.1) and admission to hospital in previous 12 months (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.1–11.2).
The period prevalence of MRSA SSTI between January 2003 and September 2004 was 54.8% at our institution. There was a marked increase in the monthly period prevalence from the beginning to the end of the study. Risk factors are IDU, previous MRSA infection and colonization, prescriptions for antibiotics in previous 8 weeks and admission to hospital in the preceding 12 months. On the basis of local prevalence and risk factor patterns, emergency physicians should consider MRSA as a causative agent for SSTI.
Le 11 septembre 2001, les auteurs participaient à une rencontre sur des essais cliniques à New York. De concert avec leurs collègues chercheurs, ils ont participé à l’opération de sauvetage pendant les 16 premières heures suivant le pire acte de terrorisme de l’histoire moderne. Le présent article résume leur expérience.
Almost all North American cities have first responder programs. To date there is no published documentation of the roles first responders play, nor of the frequency and type of interventions they perform. Many urban stakeholders question the utility and safety of routinely dispatching large vehicles emergently to calls that may not require their services. Real world data on first responder interventions will help emergency medical services (EMS) directors and planners determine manpower requirements, assess training needs, and optimize dispatch protocols to reduce the rate of inappropriate “code 3” (lights and siren) responses.
Our objectives were to determine how often first responders arrive first on scene, to estimate the time interval between first response and EMS response, and to examine the frequency and type of interventions performed by first responders.
In a prospective observational study, trained observers were assigned to fire department first responder (FDFR) units. These observers recorded on-scene times for FDFR and EMS units, and documented the performance of first responder interventions.
FDFRs arrived first on scene in 49% of code 3 calls. They performed critical interventions in 18% of calls attended and 36% of calls where they arrived first. Oxygen administration was the most frequent critical intervention, yet occult hypoxemia was common and compliance with oxygen administration protocols was poor.
First responders perform critical interventions during a minority of code 3 calls, even when “critical” is defined generously. Many “lights and siren” dispatches are unnecessary. Future research should attempt to identify dispatch criteria that more accurately predict the need for first responder intervention. First responder training and continuous quality improvement (CQI) should focus on interventions that are performed with some regularity, particularly oxygen administration.
Chaque année, 100 000 Canadiens sont hospitalisés pour des syndromes coronariens aigus (SCA) (infarctus aigu du myocarde et angine instable); un aussi grand nombre de patients sont hospitalisés pour que soit finalement «écarté» le diagnostic de SCA. Le diagnostic de SCA doit être rapide et exact afin de réduire le taux de mortalité et de prévenir la progression de l’angine instable vers un infarctus du myocarde. En même temps, on doit limiter les coûts inutiles liés au traitement de ces patients. Malheureusement, aucune épreuve ou stratégie particulières ne permettent d’identifier de façon définitive tous les patients atteints de SCA. Les unités de douleur thoracique à l’urgence, de plus en plus populaires, permettent de réduire le nombre d’hospitalisations aux unités de soins critiques en appliquant des protocoles diagnostiques intensifs au département d’urgence. Mais ces unités diminuent-elles les coûts ou ne font-elles qu’augmenter la proportion de patients soumis à des épreuves? Plutôt que de soumettre tous les patients au même processus diagnostique, les urgentologues devraient classer les patients selon leur risque parmi l’une des trois catégories suivantes : ceux dont la probabilité de SCA est faible qui nécessitent un minimum d’épreuves à l’urgence; ceux qui présentent des signes évidents de SCA et qui doivent être hospitalisés; et ceux dont la probabilité de SCA est intermédiaire et qui doivent subir différentes épreuves.
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