Testing of Low-Risk Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department With Chest Pain

From Circulation:

The management of low-risk patients presenting to emergency departments is a common and challenging clinical problem entailing 8 million emergency department visits annually. Although a majority of these patients do not have a life-threatening condition, the clinician must distinguish between those who require urgent treatment of a serious problem and those with more benign entities who do not require admission. Inadvertent discharge of patients with acute coronary syndrome from the emergency department is associated with increased mortality and liability, whereas inappropriate admission of patients without serious disease is neither indicated nor cost-effective. Clinical judgment and basic clinical tools (history, physical examination, and electrocardiogram) remain primary in meeting this challenge and affording early identification of low-risk patients with chest pain. Additionally, established and newer diagnostic methods have extended clinicians’ diagnostic capacity in this setting. Low-risk patients presenting with chest pain are increasingly managed in chest pain units in which accelerated diagnostic protocols are performed, comprising serial electrocardiograms and cardiac injury markers to exclude acute coronary syndrome. Patients with negative findings usually complete the accelerated diagnostic protocol with a confirmatory test to exclude ischemia. This is typically an exercise treadmill test or a cardiac imaging study if the exercise treadmill test is not applicable. Rest myocardial perfusion imaging has assumed an important role in this setting. Computed tomography coronary angiography has also shown promise in this setting. A negative accelerated diagnostic protocol evaluation allows discharge, whereas patients with positive findings are admitted. This approach has been found to be safe, accurate, and cost-effective in low-risk patients presenting with chest pain

Coma Scales Evaluated

From Neurocritical Care:

Numerous scoring scales have been proposed and validated to evaluate coma for rapid pre-hospital assessment and triage, disease severity, and prognosis for morbidity and mortality. These scoring systems have been predicated on core features that serve as a basis for this review and include ease of use, inter-rater reliability, reproducibility, and predictive value. Here we review the benefits and limitations of the most popular coma scoring systems. The methods include search of Medline, databases, and manual review of article bibliographies. Few of the many available coma scales have gained widespread approval and popularity. The best known and widely accepted scale is the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The Reaction Level Scale (RLS85) has utility and proven benefit, but little acceptance outside of Scandinavia. The newer Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR) score provides an attractive replacement for all patients with fluctuating levels of consciousness and is gradually gaining wide acceptance.

One family grieves, another rejoices after tragic identity mix-up

From CNN:

The identities of two women involved in a horrific car crash in Arizona last week were mixed up, with one family receiving news that their daughter had died when in fact she was undergoing treatment for her injuries while another family kept watch at her side for six days.

Procedural Sedation in the ED, Part I

From The Central Line:

It seems the government and other specialties are trying hard to make sedation as difficult as possible in the ED.

We must persevere to provide the best procedural sedation for the maximal comfort and safety for our patients. This brief lecture was originally posted on the defunct EMCrit Lecture Site on 8/7/2009.

I’m reposting it here so that I can post part II sometime this week.

This episode, Part I, covers general concepts on sedation as well as ketamine and etomidate/fentanyl.