Friday, June 24, 2011

Pediatric Sexual History Should Not Be Neglected

I am torn regarding whether 82% represents appropriate performance on history taking in pediatric adolescent (ages 14 - 19) lower abdominal pain/dysuria/vaginal complaint, or whether that remaining 18% represents potentially uncaptured pathology.  Considering that 76% of patients asked regarding sexual history reported sexual activity, and 83% of their subgroup completing anonymous questionnaires reported sexual activity, I think >90% enquiry regarding sexual activity would be a better target.

So, we're doing a pretty good job - but it could be better.

"Sexual history documentation in adolescent emergency department patients."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ceftaroline - The New Wonder Drug

Don't use it.

If you're like me, every journal you pick up nowadays has a three page glossy fold-out of some confident-looking fake doctor showing off the new broad-spectrum magic medicine, ceftaroline fosamil (Teflaro).  600mg IV q12, ask your doctor if you should be receiving Teflaro.

So, finally, when I got a booklet mailed to my house, I gave in and looked at the literature.  And, I was almost legitimately defeated by the literature because most of the recent, relevant published literature regarding outcomes in the phase III written by employees of Forest Laboratories and published in a special "clinical supplement" to an infectious disease journal.  There isn't much data out there that isn't just advertising.

However, my survey of the animal studies, and presuming the human studies aren't blatantly made up, seems to indicate this is a great antibiotic.  It doesn't work against VRE, pseudomonas, ESBL e. coli, ESBL klebsiella, or acinetobacter, but it's active against many strains of MRSA, DNS MRSA, and VISA, along with the other strep and staph we worry about.

Which is exactly why we shouldn't use this antibiotic - it's so good it should be on every hospital's formulary, but locked in a vault with the same key system a nuclear launch requires.  Keep it as third- or fourth-line to prevent additional resistances.  But, don't use it.

Sadly, the article I have for you is just a review of all the manufacturer-supported data - but at least it's not written by them.

"Ceftaroline: a comprehensive update."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Patients Bleed When On Aspirin and Plavix

And they bleed a heck of a lot more on Plavix than Aspirin.  This is probably the first article I've ever read out of Academic Dermatology, and it's mildly relevant to EM in the sense that we perform a lot of minor cutaneous procedures - suturing, I&D, etc.

This is a retrospective review of bleeding associated with minor surgical dermatology, and, the good news, it was rare - at 0.3% of cases on clopidogrel, and even rarer on aspirin alone, and then zero when on neither.  Bleeding doesn't stress us out as much, probably, so this isn't practice changing.  They do importantly mention in their discussion that holding/changing these medications prior to the procedure can be associated with thrombotic complications - I wouldn't be rushing off to give DDAVP to wake any platelets up if I ran into procedural troubles.

"Complications of cutaneous surgery in patients taking clopidogrel-containing anticoagulation."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Public Insurance Places Children At Risk

Determining proper payment for healthcare services is a fascinating problem of substantial complexity, and, with the "Affordable Care Act" and various past and future movements towards public insurance, there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding physician payment - both in the amount (public vs. private insurance) or whether (uncompensated care in hospitals, emergency departments).

This is a very interesting study out of NEJM that is applicable to the 70 to 80% of emergency departments we send home with instructions to "follow-up with X".  They nicely demonstrate that, in Chicago, at least, "follow-up with X" is nearly trivially easy with private insurance, and much more difficult if funded by one of their Medicaid providers for children.  Excepting child psychiatry - which is in shortage - when calling a specialist for follow-up claiming to have private insurance, their research assistants could schedule an appointment well over 90% of the time.  Alternatively, when stating they had public insurance for their child, ability to follow-up ranged from 20 to 57%, depending on the specialty.

Not only that, public insurance patients waited a mean of 42 days for their appointment versus 22 days for private insurance, when they looked at clinics that would even accept that insurance option.

And, the clinical scenarios they presented for follow-up were not just routine new patient appointments - they were pediatric patients with legitimate uncontrolled morbid disease with the potential to significantly worsen and impact their overall health.

I don't have a solution to a complex social, financial, and political problem with complex social, financial, and political obstacles - but the more good articles like this are published, the more likely smart folks will start working on solutions.

"Auditing access to specialty care for children with public insurance."

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Do Not Use Etomidate/Fentanyl For Orthopedic Reduction In Children

Sometimes, when I read a study, I think to myself - great study!  If only they had sufficient enrollment to have power and validity!  When I read this study, I thought, Heavens to Betsy - I am so glad they only subjected 12 patients to etomidate/fentanyl for sedation.

This is comparing ketamine/midazolam to etomidate/fentanyl for procedural sedation and the authors hoped that, perhaps, the shorter duration of action of etomidate would make it a viable alternative.  But, it isn't.  Objective measures of procedural distress favored ketamine, parents favored ketamine, and the practitioners favored ketamine.  Sedation time and recovery time favored etomidate - but at what cost?  18% of the ketamine group had an adverse event (vomiting, emergency reaction), while 50% of the etomidate group did (hypoxemia, etc.)

Propofol/fentanyl may be considered, but not etomidate/fentanyl.

"Ketamine/midazolam versus etomidate/fentanyl procedural sedation for pediatric orthopedic reductions."