Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#FOAMed Digest No. 3: You Need Me On That Wall

Emergency Medicine physicians practice in a unique environment. We must synthesize plans for  diagnosis, management, and disposition while utilizing input from almost every subspecialty, and the ED is the ultimate proving ground for diagnostic tests and treatment modalities of every sort. Unsurprisingly, a fair deal of controversy and debate exists regarding the optimum management of patients. (For reference, see any Trauma Case Conference featuring Drs. Schuerer and Aubin.) The “best evidence” is often poor evidence. We in Emergency Medicine retain the rebellious spirit of our founders, and are always looking for new and innovative techniques. Some physicians are too quick to jump on the bandwagon, and others lag behind the curve when it comes to adopting new practices.

The selections this time around are not meant to tell you the best way to do things. The algorithms and practice patterns suggested are not universally adopted, written in textbooks, or taught as part of any standard curriculum. They are meant to promote thought, to prompt you to read the primary literature for yourself, to encourage you to seek the opinions of other experts on the subject, and to form your own conclusions. Hopefully they will inspire you to suggest new ideas to your seniors and attendings during your next shift – or even question ideas you think are unsound. Maybe, just maybe, they will even inspire a new research or QI project. FOAMed is by design perfectly adapted to assist you in this quest.

Ramblers, let’s get ramblin’.

Three Stars:

1. Ken Milne at the Skeptic’s Guide to Emergency Medicine pretty much sets the bar when it comes to FOAMed of the latest EBM topics. He asks his clinical questions in the PICO format, he applies a rigorous quality checklist when analyzing the available literature, and includes in his discussion other FOAMed experts (including on occasion our very own Chris R. Carpenter, a.k.a. “Captain Cranium”). This episode he turns his skeptical eye to a topic sure to generate heated discussions for years to come: tPA for stroke.

2. If there’s anyone that looms larger in the ED Critical Care world than Weingart, it’s Resuscitationist Extraordinaire Cliff Reid. His lecture from the SMACC Gold conference hit resuscitation dogma like an A-bomb, leaving irradiated bits of unfounded practice patterns strewn about the Outback countryside.
(EXTRA CREDIT: Reid’s talk from the original SMACC conference, “Making Things Happen,” should be required viewing for anyone wanting to be a Trauma Senior someday.)

3. If pediatric surgeons have come to accept ultrasound as a stand-alone diagnostic method for appendicitis, maybe there’s hope that someday ultrasound can also be used as a radiation-sparing technique for diagnosis of small bowel obstruction. Academic Life in EM has an excellent run-down of the technique and comparative research studies.
(EXTRA CREDIT: The book Evidence-Based Emergency Care, authored in part by our own Captain Cranium Chris R. Carpenter, has a chapter dedicated to the inferiority of plain films for SBO diagnosis. You can read it for free online via Becker Library.)

Oldie But Goodie:

I think here in a few more years this will reach “accepted standard practice” level, and maybe even “textbook” level, but it’s not there yet. It should be: there’s good evidence to show kayexelate doesn’t work, and may even cause harm. Let Weingart and the PaperChase fellows from EM:RAP give you the ammunition you need to stand up to any pesky floor seniors.

F(FN)OAMed:

In a very enlightening segment from this month’s EM:RAP, Rob Orman interviews a community ED practitioner, Dr. Cameron Berg, regarding his hospital’s new Accelerated Diagnostic Protocol for low-risk chest pain. While his exact algorithm hasn’t been externally validated and probably isn’t ready for prime-time at our shop, the evidence-based and pragmatic approach is certainly worth considering. And he provides links to almost all of his references in the show notes!

The Gunner Files:

1. The “Research & Reviews” segment on Life in the Fast Lane is worth checking out every week. A group of some of the brightest minds in the FOAMed world get together and spoon-feed us summaries some of the most relevant, practice-changing, or downright strangest papers in the EM literature.

2. Josh Farkas over at PulmCrit wrote an excellent piece laying out his argument for super-high-flow NC (think 30-45L!) as an acceptable method of preoxygenation before RSI. It’s also got a good rundown of apneic oxygenation using NC (which we all should be doing every time), and an enlightening counterpoint from the grand maester of ED Critical Care, Scott Weingart.

3. Pediatric EM expert Sean Fox provides an excellent summary of the neonatal ALTE on his blog Pediatric EM Morsels.

4. Two EM airway heavyweights, Rich Levitan and Reuben Strayer, slug it out in the ultimate Direct Laryngoscopy vs Video Laryngoscopy debate, posted to the Prehospital and Retrieval Medicine podcast hosted by Minh Le Cong.

5. All of us will be the bearer of the -07 phone at some point, and that means you better have your act together when discussing decision-making capacity. Bill Johnston, EMT-P and author of the excellent blog Prehospital Wisdom, shares his fundamentally sound and no-bullshit method for determining capacity in the field.

In the words of Ken Milne: “Meet ‘em, greet ‘em, treat ‘em, and street ‘em!”

Sam Smith, PGY-3

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