Journal: International journal of emergency medicine
BACKGROUND: A high index of suspicion is required to make this diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis (CP) in patients presenting with cirrhosis and volume overload, as they can otherwise go misdiagnosed for years. METHODS: Case report. FINDINGS: A 51 year-old man with a history of presumed alcoholic cirrhosis presented to the emergency department with anasarca. Abdominal ultrasound with Doppler demonstrated a nodular cirrhotic liver, but no evidence of portal hypertension or ascites. The chest x-ray, however, was significant for a right-sided pleural effusion and pericardial calcification, suggestive of (CP). Transthoracic echocardiogram and ECG-gated computerized tomography scan of the chest without IV contrast confirmed the diagnosis. The patient was referred to thoracic surgery for definitive pericardiectomy. CONCLUSION: The diagnosis of CP is often neglected by admitting physicians, who usually attribute the symptoms to another disease process. Although a multimodality approach is necessary for the diagnosis of CP, this case highlights the utility of chest x-ray, a relatively non-invasive and inexpensive test, in expediting the diagnosis.
BACKGROUND: Mental health related presentations are common in Australian emergency departments (EDs). We sought to better understand ED staff knowledge and levels of confidence in treating people with mental health related problems using qualitative methods. METHODS: This was a qualitative learning needs analysis of Australian emergency doctors and nurses regarding the assessment and management of mental health presentations. Participants were selected for semi-structured telephone interview using criterion-based sampling. Recruitment was via the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and College of Emergency Nursing Australasia membership databases. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic framework analysis was used to identify perceived knowledge gaps and levels of confidence among participants in assessing and managing patients attending EDs with mental health presentations. RESULTS: Thirty-six staff comprising 20 doctors and 16 nurses consented to participate. Data saturation was achieved for four major areas where knowledge gaps were reported. These were: assessment (risk assessment and assessment of mental status), management (psychotherapeutic skills, ongoing management, medication management and behaviour management), training (curriculum and rotations), and application of mental health legislation. Participants' confidence in assessing mental health patients was affected by environmental, staff, and patient related factors. Clinicians were keen to learn more about evidence based practice to provide better care for this patient group. Areas where clinicians felt the least confident were in the effective assessment and management of high risk behaviours, providing continuity of care, managing people with dual diagnosis, prescribing and effectively managing medications, assessing and managing child and adolescent mental health, and balancing the caseload in ED. CONCLUSION: Participants were most concerned about knowledge gaps in risk assessment, particularly for self-harming patients, violent and aggressive patients and their management, and distinguishing psychiatric from physical illness. Staff confidence was enhanced by better availability of skilled psychiatric support staff to assist in clinical decision-making for complex cases and via the provision of a safe ED environment. Strategies to enhance the care of patients with mental health presentations in Australian emergency departments should address these gaps in knowledge and confidence.
BACKGROUND: The mortality rate of patients complicated with sepsis-associated organ failure remains high in spite of intensive care treatment. The purpose of this study was to define the duration of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) before organ failure (DSOF) and determine the value of DSOF as a prognostic factor in septic patients. METHODS: This retrospective cohort study was conducted in an 11-bed medical and surgical intensive care unit (ICU) in a university hospital. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality of the septic patients. RESULTS: One hundred ten septic patients with organ failure and/or shock were enrolled in this study. The in-hospital mortality rate was 36.9%. The median DSOF was 28.5 h. As a metric variable, DSOF was a statistically significant prognostic factor according to univariate analysis (survivor: 74.7 +/- 9.6 h, non-survivor: 58.8 +/- 16.5 h, p = 0.015). On the basis of the ROC curve, we defined an optimal cutoff of 24 h, with which we divided the patients as follows: group 1 (n = 50) comprised patients with a DSOF <=24 h, and group 2 (n = 60) contained patients with a DSOF >24 h. There were statistically significant differences in the in-hospital mortality rate between the two groups (52.0% vs. 25.0%, p = 0.004). Furthermore, by multivariate analysis, DSOF <=24 h (odds ratio: 5.89, 95% confidence interval: 1.46-23.8, p = 0.013) was a significant independent prognostic factor. CONCLUSION: DSOF may be a useful prognostic factor for severe sepsis.
Lung ultrasound is an effective tool for diagnosing pneumonia in developed countries. Diagnostic accuracy in resource-limited countries where pneumonia is the leading cause of death is unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity of bedside lung ultrasound compared to chest X-ray for pneumonia in adults presenting for emergency care in a low-income country.
The objective of this paper is to evaluate the response times and outcome of patients in two groups of patients attended by permanently (PS) and temporarily stationed ambulances (TS) (fluid deployment).
The goal of this article was to provide an overview of the literature available on carbon dioxide intoxication. Articles were included based on their focus on medical or physiological effects of carbon dioxide. Studies related to decompression sickness were excluded. Mechanisms of carbon dioxide poising (both as an asphyxiant and as a toxicant) were described. Our review suggested that precautions are needed when handling dry ice or while working in confined spaces. Pre-hospital responders also need to pay attention for the possible diagnosis of CO2 intoxication for their own safety. When confronted with a victim, he/she should be removed from the dangerous area as fast as possible and oxygen should be administered. Without adequate treatment, victims may show acute reduced cognitive performance, respiratory failure, and circulatory arrest. Therefore, carbon dioxide poisoning is a rare but not to miss diagnosis in the emergency department.
Angioedema is a common presentation in the emergency department (ED). Airway angioedema can be fatal; therefore, prompt diagnosis and correct treatment are vital.
Pre-hospital laryngoscopic endotracheal intubation (ETI) is potentially a life-saving procedure but is a technique difficult to acquire. This study aimed to obtain a recommendation for the number of times ETI should be practiced by constructing the learning curve for endotracheal intubation by paramedics, as well as to report the change in the frequency of complications possibly associated with intubation over the training period.
Typical emergency department (ED) shifts are physically demanding. The aim of this study was to assess the hydration status of ED physicians and nurses by the end of their shifts.
The treatment of acute pain in the emergency department is not always optimal. Peripheral nerve blocks using “blind” or nerve stimulator techniques have substantial disadvantages. Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia may provide quick, safe, and effective pain relief in patients with proximal femoral fractures with severe pain. However, no evidence exists on emergency physician-performed ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia in these patients in Dutch emergency departments. We hypothesized that emergency physicians can be effectively trained to safely perform and implement ultrasound-guided femoral nerve blocks, resulting in effective pain relief in patients with proximal femoral fractures.