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Journal: The American journal of emergency medicine


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has long been recognized as the leading cause of traumatic death and disability. Tremendous advances in surgical and intensive care unit management of the primary injury, including maintaining adequate oxygenation, controlling intracranial pressure, and ensuring proper cerebral perfusion pressure, have resulted in reduced mortality. However, the secondary injury phase of TBI is a prolonged pathogenic process characterized by neuroinflammation, excitatory amino acids, free radicals, and ion imbalance. There are no approved therapies to directly address these underlying processes. Here, we present a case that was intentionally treated with substantial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3FA) to provide the nutritional foundation for the brain to begin the healing process following severe TBI. Recent animal research supports the use of n-3FA, and clinical experience suggests that benefits may be possible from substantially and aggressively adding n-3FA to optimize the nutritional foundation of severe TBI patients and must be in place if the brain is to be given the opportunity to repair itself to the best possible extent. Administration early in the course of treatment, in the emergency department or sooner, has the potential to improve outcomes from this potentially devastating public health problem.

Concepts: Nutrition, Fatty acid, Traumatic brain injury, Intracranial pressure, Omega-3 fatty acid, Neurology, Cerebral perfusion pressure, Neurotrauma


STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine whether patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) experience longer wait times to see a physician after arrival to an emergency department (ED) compared to patients with long bone fracture and patients presenting with all other possible conditions (General Patient Sample), and to attempt to disentangle the effects of race and disease status on any observed differences. METHODS: A cross-sectional, comparative analysis of year 2003 through 2008 data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a nationally representative sample of nonfederal emergency department visits in the United States. Our primary outcome was wait time (in minutes) to see a physician after arrival to an ED. A generalized linear model was used to examine ratios of wait times comparing SCD visits to the two comparison groups. RESULTS: SCD patients experienced wait times 25% longer than the General Patient Sample, though this difference was explained by the African-American race of the SCD patients. SCD patients waited 50% longer than did patients with long bone fracture even after accounting for race and assigned triage priority. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with SCD presenting to an ED for care experience longer wait times than other groups, even after accounting for assigned triage level. The African-American race of the SCD patients, and their status as having SCD itself, both appear to contribute to longer wait times for these patients. These data confirm patient anecdotal reports and are in need of intervention.

Concepts: Health care provider, Bone fracture, Patient, Hospital, United States, Physician, Sickle-cell disease, Sickle


Pharmacological properties of the sufentanil sublingual tablet 30mcg (SST 30mcg) could offer potential analgesic advantages in settings requiring noninvasive, acute pain management. The feasibility of using SST 30mcg for moderate-to-severe pain management in the emergency department (ED) was evaluated.

Concepts: Opioid, Pain, Suffering, Pain management, Dublin


ST elevation (STE) on the electrocardiogram (ECG) may be due to acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or other nonischemic pathologies such as left ventricular aneurysm (LVA). The objective of this study was to validate 2 previously derived ECG rules to distinguish AMI from LVA. The first rule states that if the sum of T-wave amplitudes in leads V1 to V4 divided by the sum of QRS amplitudes in leads V1 to V4 is greater than 0.22, then acute ST-segment elevation MI is predicted. The second rule states that if any 1 lead (V1-V4) has a T-wave amplitude to QRS amplitude ratio greater than or equal to 0.36, then acute ST-segment elevation MI is predicted.

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiology, Acute coronary syndrome, Ventricular fibrillation, Electrocardiography, QRS complex, Ventricular aneurysm


Low-dose ketamine (LDK) may be useful for treatment for opioid-tolerant patients. We conducted a survey of patients and their treating clinicians regarding LDK for analgesia.

Concepts: Patient, Hospital, Physician, Doctor-patient relationship, Analgesic, Ketamine


The primary objective was to determine the relationship between advanced age and need for admission from an emergency department (ED) observation unit. The secondary objective was to determine the relationship between initial ED vital signs and admission.

Concepts: Vital signs, Gerontology, Ageing, Primary education, Gymnasium


Red cell distribution width (RDW) is associated with mortality in both the general population and in patients with certain diseases. However, the relationship between RDW and mortality in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of RDW with mortality in patients with CAP.

Concepts: Medical terms, Pneumonia, Demography, The Association, Red blood cell distribution width


Health care support occupations have an assault-injury rate nearly 10 times the general sector. Emergency departments (EDs) are at greatest risk of such events.

Concepts: Time, Health care, Health


OBJECTIVE: The axillary vein is an easily accessible vessel that can be used for ultrasound-guided central vascular access and offers an alternative to the internal jugular and subclavian veins. The objective of this study was to identify which transducer orientation, longitudinal or transverse, is better for imaging the axillary vein with ultrasound. METHODS: Emergency medicine physicians at an inner-city academic medical center were asked to cannulate the axillary vein in a torso phantom model. They were randomized to start with either the longitudinal or transverse approach and completed both sequentially. Participants answered questionnaires before and after the cannulation attempts. Measurements were taken regarding time to completion, success, skin punctures, needle redirections, and complications. RESULTS: Fifty-seven operators with a median experience of 85 ultrasound procedures (interquartile range, 26-120) participated. The frequency of first-attempt success was 39 (0.69) of 57 for the longitudinal method and 21 (0.37) of 57 for the transverse method (difference, 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12-0.51 [P = .001]); this difference was similar regardless of operator experience. The longitudinal method was associated with fewer redirections (difference, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.8-2.7 [P = .0002]) and skin punctures (difference, 0.3; 95% CI, -2 to +0.7 [P = .07]). Arterial puncture occurred in 2 of 57 longitudinal and 7 of 57 transverse attempts; no pleural punctures occurred. For successful attempts, the time spent was 24 seconds less for the longitudinal method (95% CI, 3-45 [P = .02]). CONCLUSIONS: The longitudinal method of visualizing the axillary vein during ultrasound-guided venous access is associated with greater first-attempt success, fewer needle redirections, and a trend of fewer arterial punctures compared with the transverse orientation.

Concepts: Blood vessel, Artery, Vein, Internal jugular vein, Subclavian vein, Subclavian artery, Axillary vein


BACKGROUND: Stylet use during endotracheal intubation (ETI) is variable across medical specialty and geographic location; however, few objective data exist regarding the impact of stylet use on ETI performance. OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the impact of stylet use on the time required to perform ETI in cases of simulated difficult airways in novice and experienced providers. METHODS: We performed a prospective, randomized observational study of experienced (attending anesthesiologists and emergency physicians) vs inexperienced airway providers (emergency medical technician, paramedic and medical students) comparing the use of stylet vs no stylet in random order using a simulated difficult airway. The primary outcome was attempt time for each of 6 attempts defined as entry of the laryngoscope in the mouth until successfully passing the endotracheal tube past the vocal cords. We analyzed the data using descriptive statistics including means with SDs and t tests. We used generalized estimating equations to evaluate potential changes in the attempt time over multiple attempts. RESULTS: There were 23 providers per group. The mean (SD) inexperienced attempt time in seconds was 25.88 (28.46) and 10.50 (5.47) for experienced providers (P < .0001). Stylet use did not alter attempt time for either group. When adjusting for stylet use, the attempt time did not change over repeated intubations (P = .541). When adjusting for experience status, inexperienced intubators had shorter attempt times with each successive trial, whereas experienced intubators attempt times remained constant (P < .001). CONCLUSION: Stylet use does not improve attempt time in a simulated difficult airway model for either inexperienced or experienced intubators.

Concepts: Medicine, Endotracheal tube, Experience, Philosophy of science, Intubation, Emergency medical services, Emergency medical technician, Oropharyngeal airway