The AfJEM blog
Every quarter, the African Journal of Emergency Medicine, in partnership with several other regional emergency medicine journals, publishes abstracts from each respective journal. Abstracts are not necessarily linked to open access papers, but where green access is available it is linked to. Click 'Read More' to read further.
Emergency Department Management of Out-of-Hospital Laryngeal Tubes
Driver BE, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2019;74(3):403-409
Laryngeal tubes are commonly used by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel for out-of-hospital advanced airway management. The emergency department (ED) management of EMS-placed laryngeal tubes is unknown. We seek to describe ED airway management techniques, success, and complications of patients receiving EMS laryngeal tubes.
Using a keyword text search of ED notes, we identified patients who arrived at our ED with a laryngeal tube from 2010 through 2017. We performed structured chart and video reviews for all eligible patients. In our ED, emergency physicians perform all airway management, and there is no protocol dictating airway management for patients arriving with a laryngeal tube. Using descriptive methods, we report the techniques, success, and complications of ED airway management.
We analyzed data on 647 patients receiving out-of-hospital laryngeal tubes, including 472 (73%) with cardiac arrest from medical causes, 75 (21%) with cardiac arrest from trauma, and 100 (15%) with other conditions. For 580 patients (89%), emergency physicians exchanged the laryngeal tube for a definitive airway in the ED. Of the 67 patients not intubated in the ED, 66 died in the ED without further airway management. Of the 580 patients intubated in the ED, orotracheal intubation was the first method attempted for 578 (>99%) and was successful on the first attempt for 515 of 578 (89%). Macintosh video laryngoscopy (88% of initial attempts) and a bougie (68% of initial attempts) were commonly used adjuncts. For 345 of 578 patients (60%), the laryngeal tube was removed before intubation attempts. For 112 of 578 patients (19%), the first intubation attempt occurred with the deflated laryngeal tube left in place. Three patients (<1%) required a surgical airway.
In this cohort, emergency physicians successfully exchanged an out-of-hospital laryngeal tube for an endotracheal tube, using commonly available airway management techniques. ED clinicians should be familiar with techniques for exchanging out-of-hospital extraglottic airways for an endotracheal tube.
Reproduced with permission
Paramedics providing palliative care at home: A mixed-methods exploration of patient and family satisfaction and paramedic comfort and confidence
Carter AJE, et al. CJEM. 2019;21(4):513-522
Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home was launched in two provinces, including a new clinical practice guideline, database, and paramedic training. The aim of this study was to evaluate patient/family satisfaction and paramedic comfort and confidence.
In Part A, we gathered perspectives of patients/families via surveys mailed at enrolment and telephone interviews after an encounter. Responses were reported descriptively and by thematic analysis. In Part B, we surveyed paramedics online pre- and 18 months post-launch. Comfort and confidence were scored on a 4-point Likert scale, and attitudes on a 7-point Likert scale, reported as the median (interquartile range [IQR]); analysis with Wilcoxon ranked sum/thematic analysis of free text.
In Part A, 67/255 (30%) enrolment surveys were returned. Three themes emerged: fulfilling wishes, peace of mind, and feeling prepared for emergencies. In 18 post-encounter interviews, four themes emerged: 24/7 availability, paramedic professionalism and compassion, symptom relief, and a plea for program continuation. Thematic saturation was reached with little divergence. In Part B, 235/1255 (18.9%) pre- and 267 (21.3%) post-surveys were completed. Comfort with providing palliative care without transport improved post launch (p = < 0.001) as did confidence in palliative care without transport (p = < 0.001). Respondents strongly agreed that all paramedics should be able to provide basic palliative care.
After implementation of the multifaceted Paramedics Providing Palliative Care at Home Program, paramedics describe palliative care as important and rewarding. The program resulted in high patient/family satisfaction; simply registering provides peace of mind. After an encounter, families particularly noted the compassion and professionalism of the paramedics.
Reproduced with permission
Cardioversion in recent onset atrial fibrillation
Fernández de Simón A, et al. Emergencias. 2019;31:227-233
To analyze heart rate control in hospital emergency departments and outcomes in patients with recent onset atrial fibrillation (AF) so that targets for improvement can be identified.
Multicenter, prospective observational cross-sectional study in a representative sample of 124 hospitals of the Spanish health services, based on records in the HERMES-AF database (Hospital Emergency Department Management Strategies for AF) for May 23 to June 5, 2011. Patients with symptomatic AF within 48 hours of onset were enrolled when the decision was made to attempt restoration of sinus rhythm.
We included 337 patients. Chemical cardioversion was used in 311 (92.3%) and electrical cardioversion in 52 (15%), after drugs had failed in half the cases. Sinus rhythm was restored in 278 patients (82.5%), and symptoms resolved in 94%. Adverse effects were recorded in 0.9% but none were serious. Amiodarone was independently associated with a lower rate of restored sinus rhythm (odds ratio [OR], 0.442; 95% CI, 0.238–0.823; P=.01) than electrical cardioversion (OR, 4.0; 95% CI, 1.2–13.3; P=.024). The use of class Ic antiarrhythmic agents was associated with a higher percentage of discharges in less than 6 hours (OR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.6–4.3; P<.001), and amiodarone was associated with hospital stays longer than 24 hours (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.5–4.8; P<.003).
Emergency department restoration of sinus rhythm in patients with AF is safe, effective, and associated with clinical benefits. Quality of care could be improved by replacing the use of amiodarone with faster and more effective treatments such as electrical cardioversion or the use of class Ic agents.
Reproduced with permission
Triaging the triage: reducing waiting time to triage in the emergency department at a tertiary care hospital in New Delhi, India
Kumar A, et al. Emerg Med J. 2019;36(9):558-563
Prolonged wait times prior to triage outside the emergency department (ED) were a major problem at our institution, compromising patient safety. Patients often waited for hours outside the ED in hot weather leading to exhaustion and clinical deterioration. The aim was to decrease the median waiting time to triage from 50 min outside ED for patients to <30 min over a 4-month period.
A quality improvement (QI) team was formed. Data on waiting time to triage were collected between 12 pm and 1 pm. Data were collected by hospital attendants and recorded manually. T1 was noted as a time of arrival outside the ED, and T2 was noted as the time of first medical contact. The QI team used plan-do-study-act cycles to test solutions. Change ideas to address these gaps were tested during May and June 2018. Change ideas were focused on improving the knowledge and skills of staff posted in triage and reducing turnover of triage staff. Data were analysed using run chart rules.
Within 6 weeks, the waiting time to triage reduced to <30 min (median, 12 min; IQR, 11 min) and this improvement was sustained for the next 8 weeks despite an increase in patient load.
The authors demonstrated that people new to QI could use improvement methods to address a specific problem. It was the commitment of the frontline staff, with the active support of senior leadership in the department that helped this effort succeed.
Reproduced with permission