Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Annals of emergency medicine


Loperamide is an over-the-counter antidiarrheal with μ-opioid agonist activity. Central nervous system opioid effects are not observed after therapeutic oral dosing because of poor bioavailability and minimal central nervous system penetration. However, central nervous system opioid effects do occur after supratherapeutic oral doses. Recently, oral loperamide abuse as an opioid substitute has been increasing among patients attempting to self-treat their opioid addiction. Ventricular dysrhythmias and prolongation of the QRS duration and QTc interval have been reported after oral loperamide abuse. We describe 2 fatalities in the setting of significantly elevated loperamide concentrations.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Opioid, Morphine, Drug addiction, Addiction, Codeine


A 42-year-old man presented to the emergency department (ED) with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation of unknown duration. Interrogation of the patient’s wrist-worn activity tracker and smartphone application identified the onset of the arrhythmia as within the previous 3 hours, permitting electrocardioversion and discharge of the patient from the ED.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Atrial fibrillation, Atrial flutter, Ireland, The Onset, Dublin


The intranasal route for medication administration is increasingly popular in the emergency department and out-of-hospital setting because such administration is simple and fast, and can be used for patients without intravenous access and in situations in which obtaining an intravenous line is difficult or time intensive (eg, for patients who are seizing or combative). Several small studies (mostly pediatric) have shown midazolam to be effective for procedural sedation, anxiolysis, and seizures. Intranasal fentanyl demonstrates both safety and efficacy for the management of acute pain. The intranasal route appears to be an effective alternative for naloxone in opioid overdose. The literature is less clear on roles for intranasal ketamine and dexmedetomidine.

Concepts: Medicine, Intravenous therapy, Opioid, Morphine, Heroin, Naloxone, Midazolam, Ketamine


The study objective was to determine whether intravenous contrast administration for computed tomography (CT) is independently associated with increased risk for acute kidney injury and adverse clinical outcomes.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Radiography, Tomographic reconstruction, Acute kidney injury, Management, Contrast medium, Radiocontrast, Contrast


The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services “meaningful use” incentive programs, in tandem with the boundless additional requirements for detailed reporting of quality metrics, have galvanized hospital efforts to implement hospital-based electronic health records. As such, emergency department information systems (EDISs) are an important and unique component of most hospitals' electronic health records. System functionality varies greatly and affects physician decisionmaking, clinician workflow, communication, and, ultimately, the overall quality of care and patient safety. This article is a joint effort by members of the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Section and the Informatics Section of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The aim of this effort is to examine the benefits and potential threats to quality and patient safety that could result from the choice of a particular EDIS, its implementation and optimization, and the hospital’s or physician group’s approach to continuous improvement of the EDIS. Specifically, we explored the following areas of potential EDIS safety concerns: communication failure, wrong order-wrong patient errors, poor data display, and alert fatigue. Case studies are presented that illustrate the potential harm that could befall patients from an inferior EDIS product or suboptimal execution of such a product in the clinical environment. The authors have developed 7 recommendations to improve patient safety with respect to the deployment of EDISs. These include ensuring that emergency providers actively participate in selection of the EDIS product, in the design of processes related to EDIS implementation and optimization, and in the monitoring of the system’s ongoing success or failure. Our recommendations apply to emergency departments using any type of EDIS: custom-developed systems, best-of-breed vendor systems, or enterprise systems.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Physician, Urgent care, Electronic health record, Trauma center, Emergency department, Medical informatics


We assess the efficacy and safety of tamsulosin compared with placebo as medical expulsive therapy in patients with distal ureteric stones less than or equal to 10 mm in diameter.

Concepts: Medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Placebo, Equals sign, Equality


Urinary catheters are often placed in the emergency department (ED) and are associated with an increased safety risk for hospitalized patients. We evaluate the effect of an intervention to reduce unnecessary placement of urinary catheters in the ED.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Hospital, Intracranial pressure, Catheter, Catheters, Foley catheter, Urinary catheterization, Acute assessment unit


The ability to make a diagnosis is a crucial skill in emergency medicine. Little is known about the way emergency physicians reach a diagnosis. This study aims to identify how and when, during the initial patient examination, emergency physicians generate and evaluate diagnostic hypotheses.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medical terms, Diagnosis, Hospital, Physician, Doctor-patient relationship, Learning, Hippocrates


STUDY OBJECTIVE: Emergency departments (EDs) frequently refer patients for needed outpatient specialty care, but little is known about the dynamics of these referrals when patients are publicly insured. Hence, we explored factors, including the role of ED referrals, associated with specialists' willingness to accept patients covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). METHODS: We conducted semistructured qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of 26 specialists and 14 primary care physicians in Cook County, Illinois, from April to September 2009, until theme saturation was reached. Transcripts and notes were entered into ATLAS.ti and analyzed using an iterative coding process to identify patterns of responses, ensure reliability, examine discrepancies, and achieve consensus through content analysis. RESULTS: Themes that emerged indicate that primary care physicians face considerable barriers getting publicly insured patients into outpatient specialty care and use the ED to facilitate this process. Specialty physicians reported that decisions to refuse or limit the number of patients with Medicaid/CHIP are due to economic strain or direct pressure from their institutions. Factors associated with specialist acceptance of patients with Medicaid/CHIP included high acuity or complexity, personal request from or an informal economic relationship with the primary care physician, geography, and patient hardship. Referral through the ED was a common and expected mechanism for publicly insured patients to access specialty care. CONCLUSION: These exploratory findings suggest that specialists are willing to see children with Medicaid/CHIP if they are referred from an ED. As health systems restructure, EDs have the potential to play a role in improving care coordination and access to outpatient specialty care.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Physician, Pediatrics, Primary care, Physicians, Primary care physician, REFER


We aim to prospectively validate the diagnostic accuracy of the recently developed 0-h/1-h algorithm, using high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) for the early rule-out and rule-in of acute myocardial infarction.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiac muscle, Cardiac arrest, Infarction, Troponin, Necrosis