Episode 21: Pulmonary Embolism

In this episode on Pulmonary Embolsim we have the triumphant return of Dr. Anil Chopra, the Head of the Divisions of Emergency Medicine at University of Toronto, and Dr. John Foote the CCFP(EM) residency program director at the University of Toronto. We kick it off with Dr. Foote's approach to undifferentiated dyspnea and explanation of Medically Unexplained Dyspea ('MUD') and go on to discuss how best to develop a clinical pre-test probability for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism using risk factors, the value of the PERC rule, Well's criteria and how clinical gestalt plays into pre-test probability. Dr. Chopra tells about the appropriate use of D-dimer to improve our diagnostic accuracy without leading to over-investigation and unwarranted anticoagulation. We then discuss the value of V/Q scan in the workup of PE, and the pitfalls of CT angiography. A discussion of anticoagulation choices follows and the controversies around thrombolysis for submassive PE are reviewed.

Episode 6: Transient Ischemic Attack

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) can be difficult to diagnose. It's unclear who to work up. It's challenging if the patient is already taking blood thinners. Dr. Walter Himmel and Dr. Daniel Selchen discuss the key historical and physical examination maneuvers to determine whether patients with neurologic complaints have had a TIA or whether they have had a TIA mimic. They review the 3 best risk stratification rules including the ABCD2 Score to help us determine who needs to be admitted and who needs timely investigations to reduce vascular morbidity and mortality. The reasoning behind which patients require urgent carotid imaging, echocardiograms and advanced imaging such as CT Angiogram is explained, and the best medication choices are reviewed, as well as the indications for Clopidogrel, Aggrenox, Warfarin, Heparin and carotid endarterectomy in the managment of Transient Ischemic Attack. In the second part of the episode, a simple and practical approach to the patient with dizziness is presented, and a discussion on which patients with dizziness need urgent work-up and treatment for vertebrobasilar TIA.