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.
Research Pioneers in Emergency Medicine-Reflections on Their Paths to Success and Advice to Aspiring Researchers: A Qualitative Study
From: Coates WC, et al. Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Jun;73(6):555-564
Research in basic, translational, and clinical emergency medicine has made great strides since the formalization of emergency medicine as a specialty. Our objective is to identify and analyze strategies used by emergency medicine research pioneers to inform further advancement of research in emergency medicine, particularly for aspiring researchers and those in emerging areas, using emergency medicine medical education as one example.
This was a prospective, grounded-theory, qualitative study, using a constructivist/interpretivist paradigm. Leading basic science, translational, and clinical emergency medicine researchers who completed residency before 1995 were eligible for structured interviews. Thematic coding followed an iterative process until saturation was reached. A theoretic model was developed and analyzed.
Research pioneers valued advanced methodological training and mentorship. Barriers to funding were lack of recognition of emergency medicine as a specialty, absence of a research history, and lack of training and funding resources. Deliberate interventions to improve emergency medicine research included educational sessions at national meetings, external (to emergency medicine) mentor pairings, targeted funding by emergency medicine organizations, and involvement with funding agencies. Pioneers facilitate research excellence by serving as mentors and allocating funds or protected time to develop researchers. To advance emerging subfields of research in emergency medicine, pioneers recommend advanced methodological training that is specific to the area, deliberate mentorship, and the formation of research consortia to conduct generalizable outcomes-based studies.
Research pioneers in emergency medicine cite mentorship, advanced skills obtained through fellowship or graduate degrees, deliberate collaboration with experienced researchers, support from emergency medicine organizations, and forming networks as the cornerstones of success.
Reproduced with permission
Pain management practices surrounding lumbar punctures in children: A survey of Canadian emergency physicians
From: Poonai N, et al. CJEM. 2019 Mar;21(2):199-203
Lumbar punctures (LPs) are painful for children, and analgesia is recommended by academic societies. However, less than one-third of pediatric emergency physicians (EPs) adhere to recommendations. We assessed the willingness to provide analgesia among pediatric and general EPs and explored patient and provider-specific barriers.
We surveyed physicians in the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) or Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) databases from May 1 to August 1, 2016, regarding hypothetical scenarios for a 3-week-old infant, a 3-year-old child, and a 16-year-old child requiring an LP. The primary outcome was the willingness to provide analgesia. Secondary outcomes included the type of analgesia, reasons for withholding analgesia, and their perceived competence performing LPs.
For a 3-week old infant, 123/144 (85.4%) pediatric EPs and 231/262 (88.2%) general EPs reported a willingness to provide analgesia. In contrast, the willingness to provide analgesia was almost universal for a 16-year-old (144/144 [100%] of pediatric EPs and 261/262 [99.6%] of general EPs) and a 3-year-old (142/144 [98.6%] of pediatric EPs and 256/262 [97.7%] of general EPs). For an infant, the most common barrier cited by pediatric EPs was the perception that it produced additional discomfort (13/21, 61.9%). The same reason was cited by general EPs (12/31, 38.7%), along with unfamiliarity surrounding analgesic options (13/31, 41.9%).
Compared to a preschool child and adolescent, the willingness to provide analgesia for an LP in a young infant is suboptimal among pediatric and general EPs. Misconceptions and the lack of awareness of analgesic options should be targets for practice-changing strategies.
Reproduced with permission
Differences in emergency department care of adults with a first epileptic seizure versus a recurrent seizure: a study of the ACESUR (Acute Epileptic Seizures in the Emergency Department) register
Fernández Alonso C, et al. Emergencias. 2019 Abr;31(2):91-98
To describe the characteristics of care received by patients who come to the emergency department with a first epileptic seizure versus a recurrent seizure in a patient with diagnosed epileps.
Material and methods
ACESUR (Acute Epileptic Seizures in the Emergency Department) is a prospective multicenter, multipurpose registry of cases obtained by systematic sampling on even days in February and July 2017 and on odd days in April and October 2017. Patients were aged 18 years or older and had an emergency department diagnosis of epileptic seizure. We recorded clinical variables and details related to care given during each patient's visit, including whether the event was a first or recurrent seizure.
A total of 664 patients attended by 18 Spanish emergency departments were entered into the ACESUR registry. Two hundred twenty-nine (34.5%) were first seizures and 435 (65.5%) were recurrences. Patients who were attended for first seizures were older, consulted for a wider variety of reasons, and were transported in ambulances (P<.001, all comparisons). Care received differed between patients with first seizures versus recurrent seizures. Specific complementary testing was more likely in patients with first seizures (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 13.94; 95% CI, 29-26.7; P<.001), and they were more often hospitalized or stayed longer in the emergency department, (aOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.11-2.58; P=.015). Pharmacologic treatment did not differ between the groups, either in the acute phase or for prevention (aOR, 1.40; 95% CI, 0.94-2.09; P=.096). Antiepileptic drugs were given to 100 patients (43.7%) after a first seizure and were restarted or changed in 142 patients with recurrent seizure (32.6%).
The clinical characteristics of adults attended for a first epileptic seizure differ from those of patients with diagnosed epilepsy who were attended for recurrent seizures in Spain. The care received also differs.
Reproduced with permission
Major incident triage and the evaluation of the Triage Sort as a secondary triage method
Vassallo J, et al. Emerg Med J. 2019 May;36(5):281-286
A key principle in the effective management of major incidents is triage, the process of prioritising patients on the basis of their clinical acuity. In many countries including the UK, a two-stage approach to triage is practised, with primary triage at the scene followed by a more detailed assessment using a secondary triage process, the Triage Sort. To date, no studies have analysed the performance of the Triage Sort in the civilian setting. The primary aim of this study was to determine the performance of the Triage Sort at predicting the need for life-saving intervention (LSI).
Using the Trauma Audit Research Network (TARN) database for all adult patients (>18 years) between 2006 and 2014, we determined which patients received one or more LSIs using a previously defined list. The first recorded hospital physiology was used to categorise patient priority using the Triage Sort, National Ambulance Resilience Unit (NARU) Sieve and the Modified Physiological Triage Tool-24 (MPTT-24). Performance characteristics were evaluated using sensitivity and specificity with statistical analysis using a McNemar's test.
127 233patients (58.1%) had complete data and were included: 55.6% men, aged 61.4 (IQR 43.1-80.0 years), ISS 9 (IQR 9-16), with 24 791 (19.5%) receiving at least one LSI (priority 1). The Triage Sort demonstrated the lowest accuracy of all triage tools at identifying the need for LSI (sensitivity 15.7% (95% CI 15.2 to 16.2) correlating with the highest rate of under-triage (84.3% (95% CI 83.8 to 84.8), but it had the greatest specificity (98.7% (95% CI 98.6 to 98.8).
Within a civilian trauma registry population, the Triage Sort demonstrated the poorest performance at identifying patients in need of LSI. Its use as a secondary triage tool should be reviewed, with an urgent need for further research to determine the optimum method of secondary triage.
Reproduced with permission
About the blog curator
Stevan Bruijns is the editor-in-chief for AfJEM. Providing access to resource appropriate research for those working in low and middle income settings is one of his passions. Others include keeping his four chickens out of the family veg patch.