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One in four cases of acute aortic syndrome are missed. This national survey examined Canadian Emergency physicians’ opinion on risk stratification, the need for a clinical decision aid to risk stratify patients, and the required sensitivity of such a tool.
We surveyed 1,556 members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. We used a modified Dillman technique with a prenotification email and up to three survey attempts using electronic mail. Physicians were asked 21 questions about demographics, importance of certain high-risk features, investigation options, threshold for investigation, and if a clinical decision tool is required
We had a response rate of 32%. Respondents were 66% male, and 49% practicing >10 years, with 59% in an academic teaching hospital. A total of 93% reported a need for a clinical decision aid to risk stratify for acute aortic syndrome. A total of 99.6% of physicians were pragmatic accepting a non-zero miss-rate, two-thirds accepting <1%, and the remaining accepting a higher miss-rate.
Our national survey determined that emergency physicians would use a highly sensitive clinical decision aid to determine which patients are at low, medium, or high-risk for acute aortic syndrome. The majority of clinicians have a low threshold (<1%) for investigating for acute aortic syndrome, but accept that a zero miss-rate is not feasible.
A 47-year-old homeless male presents to the emergency department (ED) with right lower extremity swelling, erythema and pain. He has diabetes mellitus, and had one prior episode of cellulitis three months ago affecting the same leg. He has a history of medication noncompliance. At triage, his temperature is 38.3°C but the remaining vital signs are unremarkable. On examination of the affected leg, there is an approximately 10 × 10 cm area of erythema, induration and increased warmth. There is mild tenderness to palpation and you wonder if there is a small degree of fluctuance. There is no lymphangitis, crepitus, necrosis or pain out of proportion to clinical findings.
Enhanced skills training in emergency medicine through the Canadian College of Family Physicians, CCFP(EM), has existed since the 1980s. Accreditation standards define what every program “must” and “should” have, yet little is known on what is currently done across Canada. Our objectives were to 1) describe major components of CCFP(EM) programs and 2) determine how curricular components are taught.
After a rigorous development process (expert content development, cognitive reviews, and pilot testing), a survey questionnaire was administered to all 17 CCFP(EM) program directors using a modified Dillman technique.
All (17/17) program directors responded. Programs are similar in core clinical rotations conducted and provide ultrasound courses for basic skills (trauma, abdominal aortic aneurysm, intrauterine pregnancy). Variation exists for offering independent ultrasound certification (77%), advanced scanning (18%), and protected time for scanning (53%). All programs utilize high fidelity simulation. Some programs use in situ simulation (18%) and carry out a simulation boot camp (41%). Most centres require an academic project, which is a quality assurance project (53%) and/or a critical appraisal of the literature (59%). Publication or national conference presentations are required by 12% of programs. Competency-based curricula include simulation for rare procedures (88%), direct observations (65%), and a “transition to practice” curriculum (24%). All programs maintain strong connections to family medicine.
This study demonstrates the diverse structures of CCFP(EM) programs across Canada. Programs have similar clinical rotations, ultrasound, and simulation requirements. Variation exists in administrative structure and financial resources of programs, academic project requirements, and programs’ competency-based curricula.
We wished to determine the impact of emergency department (ED) mobility assessments for older patients on hospitalization, return visits, future falls, and frailty.
We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PEDro, and OTseeker (September 2016). Two independent reviewers identified studies of patients ≥65 years with ED physical mobility assessments and outcomes of hospitalization, return to ED, falls, and frailty. Language was not restricted. Only clinical trials and observational studies were included.
We identified 1,365 unique citations. Nine studies (six cohort and three cross-sectional) met full inclusion criteria. Patients (n=2,513) with mean age 75-85 years, admitted to hospital and discharged, underwent these ED evaluations: Timed Up and Go (TUG), Get Up and Go, tandem walk, and a gait assessment. Study quality was moderate to poor. Tandem walk did not predict falls at 90 days. TUG was not associated with return to the ED/hospitalization at 90 days. Get Up and Go was associated with hospital admission but not return to ED visits at 1 or 3 months. Due to clinical heterogeneity in study populations and outcomes, a meta-analysis was not undertaken.
Despite multiple guidelines recommending a mobility assessment prior to ED discharge for older patients, we found that such assessments were neither associated with nor predictive of adverse outcomes. Robust research is required to guide clinicians on the utility of physical mobility assessments in older ED patients.
In 2011, Canada had a foreign-born population of approximately 6,775,800. They represented 20.6% of the total population. Immigrants possess characteristics that reduce the use of primary care. This is thought to be, in part, due to a lower education level, employment, and better health status. Our objective was to assess whether, in an immigrant population without a primary care physician, similar socioeconomic factors would also reduce the likelihood of using the emergency department compared to a non-immigrant population without primary care.
Data regarding individuals ≥ 12 years of age from the Canadian Community Health Survey from 2007 to 2008 were analysed (n=134,073; response rate 93%). Our study population comprised 15,554 individuals identified without a primary care physician who had a regular place for medical care. The primary outcome was emergency department as a regular care access point. Socioeconomic variables included employment, health status, and education. Covariates included chronic health conditions, mobility, gender, age, and mental health. Weighted logistic regression models were constructed to evaluate the importance of individual risk factors.
The sample of 15,554 (immigrants n=1,767) consisted of 57.3% male and 42.7% female respondents from across Canada. Immigrants were less likely than Canadian-born respondents to use the emergency department as a regular access point for health care (odds ratio=0.48 [95% CI 0.40 – 0.57]). Adjusting for health, education, or employment had no effect on this reduced tendency (odds ratio=0.47 [95% CI 0.38 – 0.58]).
In a Canadian population without a primary care physician, immigrants are less likely to use the emergency department as a primary access point for care than Canadian-born respondents. However, this effect is independent of previously reported social and economic factors that impact use of primary care. Immigration status is an important but complex component of racial and ethnic disparity in the use of health care in Canada.
In 2008–2009, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported over 30,000 cases of sepsis hospitalizations in Canada, an increase of almost 4,000 from 2005. Mortality rates from severe sepsis and septic shock continue to remain greater than 30% in Canada and are significantly higher than other critical conditions treated in the emergency department (ED). Our group formed a multidisciplinary sepsis committee, conducted an ED process of care analysis, and developed a quality improvement protocol. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of this sepsis management bundle on patient mortality.
This before and after study was conducted in two large Canadian tertiary care EDs and included adult patients with suspected severe infection that met at least two systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria. We studied the implementation of a sepsis bundle including triage flagging, RN medical directive, education campaign, and a modified sepsis protocol. The primary outcomes were 30-day all-cause mortality and sepsis protocol use.
We included a total of 167 and 185 patients in the pre- and post-intervention analysis, respectively. Compared to the pre-intervention group, mortality was significantly lower in the post-intervention group (30.7% versus 17.3%; absolute difference, 13.4%; 95% CI 9.8–17.0; p=0.006). There was also a higher rate of sepsis protocol use in the post-intervention group (20.3% versus 80.5%, absolute difference 60.2%; 95% CI 55.1–65.3; p<0.001). Additionally, we found shorter time-intervals from triage to MD assessment, fluid resuscitation, and antibiotic administration as well as lower rates of vasopressor requirements and ICU admission.
The implementation of our multidisciplinary ED sepsis bundle, including improved early identification and protocolized medical care, was associated with improved time to achieve key therapeutic interventions and a reduction in 30-day mortality. Similar low-cost initiatives could be implemented in other EDs to potentially improve outcomes for this high-risk group of patients.
We surveyed Canadian emergency physicians to determine how skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are managed and which risk factors were felt to be important in predicting failure with oral antibiotics.
We performed an electronic survey of physician members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) using the modified Dillman method.
The survey response rate was 36.9% (n=391) amongst CAEP members. There was a lack of consensus regarding management of SSTIs. CAEP respondents identified 14 risk factors for predicting treatment failure with oral antibiotics, including hypotension, tachypnea, and patient reported severity of pain >8 of 10.
The survey demonstrates significant variability regarding physician management of SSTIs, and we have identified several perceived risk factors for treatment failure with oral antibiotics that should be assessed in future studies.
A pilot study was undertaken to find significance of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and cancer antigen (CA 15.3) in breast cancer patients.
Materials and methods
Total 70 patients with breast cancer were divided into triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and non-TNBC depending on oestrogen receptors, progesterone receptors or HER-2/neu receptors status. Serum CA 15.3 and VEGF levels were evaluated with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at the time of diagnosis and were correlated with age, tumour size and stage of the disease in both the groups. Spearman's test was used to find the correlation.
VEGF levels were found to be >400 pg/ml in 27 patients, 19 (54·33%) of them were TNBC and only 8 (22·87%) non-TNBC. Mean values of the VEGF were, 784·34 pg/ml in TNBC and 334·60 pg/ml non-TNBC patients, respectively. CA 15.3 level was found to be higher in non-TNBC group (60·72 U/ml) than in TNBC group (45·24 U/ml). In all patients significant correlation was found between serum CA 15.3 level and tumour size and stage of the disease. In non-TNBC patients significant correlation was seen between CA 15.3 values and stage of the disease, but VEGF had no correlation with any of the disease parameters. In TNBC patients, there was no correlation between CA 15.3 level and any of the disease parameters but VEGF showed a significant correlation with both tumour size and stage of the disease.
Expression profile of VEGF was high in TNBC than non-TNBC patients. VEGF serves to be a better biomarker as compared with CA 15.3 in TNBC patients.
The response of late-sown mustard (Brassica juncea L.) to four rates of irrigation (ratio of irrigation depth to cumulative pan evaporation, ID:CPE = 0·2, 0·4, 0·6 and 0·8) and nitrogen (0, 30, 60 and 90 kg/ha) was investigated at Haryana Agricultural University, India, in the winter seasons of 1986/87 and 1987/88. Increases in the amounts of water and N fertilizer applied increased leaf water potential, stomatal conductance, light absorption, leaf area index, seed yield and evapotranspiration and decreased canopy temperature. Water-use efficiency was highest for the 0·4 ID:CPE irrigation treatment in both seasons, and for the 60 kg N/ha N treatment in 1986/87 and the 90 kg N/ha treatment in 1987/88. The combination of 0·6 ID:CPE with 60 kg N/ha gave a significantly higher seed yield than lower rates and equalled that from the highest irrigation and N treatment combinations. The amount of water used by the mustard crop decreased with increasing soil depth irrespective of treatment. In the deeper soil layers, the percentage of total moisture use was greater under less irrigated than under more frequently irrigated plots. Leaf area index showed a significant positive linear relationship with evapotranspiration and light absorption and a negative linear relationship with canopy temperature. Seed yield was linearly related to leaf area index and light absorption coefficient.
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