New Sickle Cell Disease Management Rapid Reviews Video

Our EM Cases feature Rapid Reviews Videos is growing! The latest release covers the main episode on Emergency Management of Sickle Cell Disease with John Foote and Richard Ward. In this video Michelle Yee reviews the key questions on history when assessing patients with sickle cell disease, the complications of sickle cell disease, an approach to pain and symptom management, and common misconceptions/pitfalls in emergency management of sickle cell disease pain crisis....

Episode 74 Opioid Misuse in Emergency Medicine

Pain leads to suffering. Opioid misuse leads to suffering. We strive to avoid both for our patients. On the one hand, treating pain is one of the most important things we do in emergency medicine to help our patients and we need to be aggressive in getting our patients' pain under control in a timely, effective, sustained and safe fashion. This was the emphasis 10-20 years ago after studies showed that we were poor at managing pain and our patients were suffering. On the other hand, opioid dependence, addiction, abuse and misuse are an enormous public health issue. Opioid misuse in Emergency Medicine has become a major problem in North America over the past 10 years at least partly as a reaction to the years that we were being told that we were failing at pain management. As Dr. Reuben Strayer said in his SMACC talk on the topic: “Opioid misuse explodes in our face on nearly every shift, splattering the entire department with pain and suffering, and addiction and malingering and cursing and threats and hospital security, and miosis and apnea and naloxone and cardiac arrest.” So how do we strike a balance between managing [...]

Best Case Ever 41 Opiate Misuse and Physician Compassion

Opiate misuse is everywhere. Approximately 15-20% of ED patients in the US are prescribed outpatient opiates upon discharge. In Ontario, about 10 people die accidentally from prescription opiates every week. Between 1990 and 2010, drug overdose deaths in the US increased by almost four fold, eclipsing the rate of death from motor vehicle collisions in 2009. This was driven by deaths related to prescription opiates, which now kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined. Opiates are the most prescribed class of medication in the US. In 2010, one out of every eight deaths among persons aged 25 to 34 years was opiate-related. Four out of 5 new heroin users report that their initial drug was a prescription opiate. In Ontario, three times the people died from opiate overdose than from HIV in 2011. Yet, we are expected to treat pain aggressively in the ED. Dr. Reuben Strayer, the brains behind the fantastic blog EM Updates tells his Best Case Ever, in which he realizes the importance of physician compassion in approaching the challenging drug seekers and malingerers that we manage in the ED on a regular basis. This Best Case Ever is in anticipation of an upcoming main episode in which Dr. Strayer and toxicologist Dr. David Juurlink discuss how to strike a balance between managing pain effectively and providing the seed for perpetuating a drug addiction or feeding a pre-existing drug addiction, and how we best take care of our patients who we suspect might have a drug misuse problem.

Episode 70 End of Life Care in Emergency Medicine

Most of us in North America live in cultures that almost never talk about death and dying. And medical progress has led the way to a shift in the culture of dying, in which death has been medicalized. While most people wish to die at home, every decade has seen an increase in the proportion of deaths that occur in hospital. Death is often seen as a failure to keep people alive rather than a natural dignified end to life. This is at odds with what a lot of people actually want at the end of their lives: 70% of hospitalized Canadian elderly say they prefer comfort measures as apposed to life-prolonging treatment, yet as many as ⅔ of these patients are admitted to ICUs. Quality End of Life Care in Emergency Medicine is not widely taught. Most of us are not well prepared for death in our EDs – and we should be. There’s no second chance when it comes to a bad death like there is if you screw up a central line placement, so you need the skills to do it right the first time. To recognize when comfort measures and compassion are what will be best for our patients, is just as important as knowing when to intervene and treat aggressively in a resuscitation. Emergency physicians should be able to recognize not only the symptoms and patterns that are common in the last hours to days of life, but also understand the various trajectories over months or years toward death, if they’re going to provide the high quality end of life care that patients deserve. So, with the help of Dr. Howard Ovens, a veteran emergency physician with over 25 years of experience who speaks at national conferences on End of Life Care in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Paul Miller, an emergency physician who also runs a palliative care unit at McMaster University and Dr. Shona MacLachlan who led the palliative care stream at the CAEP conference in Edmonton this past June, we'll help you learn the skills you need to assess dying patients appropriately, communicate with their families effectively, manage end of life symptoms with confidence and much more...

Episode 68 Emergency Management of Sickle Cell Disease

A recent needs assessment completed in Toronto found that Emergency providers are undereducated when it comes to the Emergency Management of Sickle Cell Disease. This became brutally apparent to me personally, while I was researching this topic. It turns out that we’re not so great at managing these patients. Why does this matter? These are high risk patients. In fact, Sickle Cell patients are at increased risk for a whole slew of life threatening problems. One of the many reasons they are vulnerable is because people with Sickle Cell disease are functionally asplenic, so they’re more likely to suffer from serious bacterial infections like meningitis, osteomyelitis and septic arthritis. For a variety of reasons they’re also more likely than the general population to suffer from cholycystitis, priapism, leg ulcers, avascular necrosis of the hip, stroke, acute coronary syndromes, pulmonary embolism, acute renal failure, retinopathy, and even sudden exertional death. And often the presentations of some of these conditions are less typical than usual. Those of you who have been practicing long enough, know that patients with Sickle Cell Disease can sometimes present a challenge when it comes to pain management, as it’s often difficult to discern whether they’re malingering or not. It turns out that we’ve probably been under-treating Sickle Cell pain crisis pain and over-diagnosing patients as malingerers. Then there are the sometimes elusive Sickle Cell specific catastrophes that we need to be able to pick up in the ED to prevent morbidity, like Aplastic Crisis for example, where prompt recognition and swift treatment are paramount. A benign looking trivial traumatic eye injury can lead to vision threatening hyphema in Sickle Cell patients and can be easy to miss. In this episode, with the help of Dr. Richard Ward, Toronto hematologist and Sickle Cell expert, and Dr. John Foote, the Residency Program Director for the CCFP(EM) program at the University of Toronto, we’ll deliver the key concepts, pearls and pitfalls in recognizing some important sickle cell emergencies, managing pain crises, the best fluid management, appropriate use of supplemental oxygen therapy, rational use of transfusions and more...

Best Case Ever 17: Geriatric Emergency Medicine

As a bonus to Episode 34 on Geriatric Emergency Medicine, Dr. Don Melady, one of Canada's leading educators in Geriatric EM, tells us about his Best Case Ever in which a simple fall turns out to be a multi-facited complicated case with a simple solution. In the related Episode 34 on Geriatric Emergency Medicine Dr. Melady and Dr. Jacques Lee cover an approach to geriatric Delirium, managing agitation, indications for CT head in the delirious older person, management of recurrent falls, pearls in the assessment of the 'Weak & Dizzy' geriatric patient, key drug interactions, pain management, atypical ACS and pearls in Geriatric abdominal pain presentations.

Episode 19 Part 1: Pediatric Abdominal Pain and Appendicitis

In Part 1 of this Episode on Pediatric Abdominal Pain, Dr. Anna Jarvis, "the mother of pediatric emergency medicine" & Dr. Stephen Freedman, one of the world's pre-eminent pediatric EM researchers, discuss the nuances of the history, physical and work up of Pediatric Abdominal Pain & Appendicitis and key pearls on how to distinguish serious surgical causes from the very common diagnosis of gastroenteritis. An in-depth discussion on the pearls of the history, physical exam, lab tests, imaging including serial ultrasounds vs CT abdomen, clinical decision rules such as the Alvarado Score, best analgesics and antibiotics in pediatric appendicitis follows.

Episode 5: Renal Colic, Toxicology Update & Body Packers

This Episode is a potpourri of topics - Renal Colic, Toxicology Update & Body Packers. Dr. Lisa Thurgur and Dr. Paul Rosenberg discuss the common presentation of Renal Colic, with perspectives on the mixed evidence for medical expulsive therapy, the overuse of imaging studies and when we need to worry about the patient who presents with excruciating flank pain. Next, Dr. Thurgur gives us an update on the three most important recent advances in Toxicology for emergency physicians - Lipid Emulsion Therapy, Hydroxocobalamin and Insulin therapy for Calcium Channel Blocker toxicity. Finally, Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Thurgur discuss the 'ins and outs' of body packers. They review the management of both asymptomatic and symptomatic body backers, highlighting common errors and key therapeutic moves to prevent death.