Friday, December 16, 2011

Your Residents Would Love a Wiki

It's not a terribly profound paper - along the lines of "we did this and we liked it" sort of thing - but it is a relevant educational application of wikis in medicine.

The BIDMC Internal Medicine department undertook an initiative to essentially convert all their little handbooks and service guides to an online reference.  They chose the wiki interface so anyone could update information or add pages while allowing updates to be tracked and rolled back as necessary.  They promoted it during their intern orientation and made a significant effort both to get people to update it and use it.  And, for the most part, they were successful.  Most residents (92%) thought it was useful, it was mostly used to find phone numbers and rotation specific clinical information, and, overall, about half of the PGY-2 and -3s updated the site during the 2009-10 year.

It probably takes a lot of effort and requires just the right collaborative environment, but there are a lot of residencies, departments, or other clinical organizations that could also probably benefit from something similar - particularly if there are a lot of rotating students/residence between difference services or sites.

"Adoption of a wiki within a large internal medicine residency program: a 3-year experience"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why Aren't You Using Nitrous Yet?

Another massive study reviewing adverse events encountered during procedural sedation - this time with nitrous oxide given in concentrations up to 70%.  It is odd that resistance is encountered regarding high concentrations of nitrous oxide - considering 30% O2 is still greater than the fraction of inspired oxygen on room air - but this, and other studies like it, should help allay any concerns.

Out of their 7,802 nitrous administrations, they recorded 9 "potentially serious" adverse events - eight desaturations and one potential aspiration event requiring oropharyngeal suctioning.  More importantly, a reasonable percentage of these administrations were in children with comorbid diseases or potentially serious illness that needed sedation for significant procedures - LP, CT scans, NG/G-tube placement, and "other" that included EMGs and botulinium toxin injections.  Their rates of serious events are similar to other published series where either zero or <1% potentially serious events occurred - except for the study that reported 30% adverse events, but included "euphoria" and "dreaming" as adverse events.

This is not, however, an ED-only study, and one of the limitations is that they don't specifically record whether they are able to successfully complete the intended procedure with this method - however, one would imagine, if it didn't work the first 7,000 times, they wouldn't have kept doing it...

"Safety of High-Concentration Nitrous Oxide by Nasal Mask for Pediatric Procedural Sedation"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

High-Sensitivity Troponin Dead End

Another article trying to work the unworkable - the balance between sensitivity and specificity.

From New Zealand, an attempt to evaluate the Roche Laboratories hsTnT assay in the interests of performing accelerated rule outs in the ED - looking at any combination of initial value, 2-hour value, delta between 0-2 hour value, etc.  And, essentially, any strategy you choose is wrong.

On one hand, you can get up to 91.4% specific for their gold  standard of AMI by requiring a hsTnT  >14 ng/L and a 20% delta change at 2 hours - but your sensitivity will drop to 72%.  Conversely, you can have sensitivity of 98.8% - which is the point of these hsTnT testing strategies - but your specificity drops to 56.4%.  Unless you're doing something intelligent with all those false positives that isn't harmful, expensive, or invasive, the costs of zero-miss are, once again, too high.

"High-sensitivity troponin T for early rule-out of myocardial infarction in recent onset chest pain"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Do It - Lytics for STEMI

PCI is fabulous - but only if you get them to the balloon in 90 minutes or less - otherwise, we should be giving thrombolytics for STEMI.  Unlike stroke, and even though many of these studies are manufacturer-supported, we have literally hundreds of thousands of patients randomized to tenecteplase, alteplase, streptokinase, etc. in combination with every different antiplatelet agent under the sun.  I still don't know whether prasugrel and lytics go together, but I'm sure we'll have GUSTO-10,000 soon enough.

Why do I bring this up?  Because it turns out we're terrible at transferring patients to PCI-capable centers fast enough.  This is a retrospective, observational study of CMS OP-3, the door-in, door-out quality measure for STEMI patients receiving transfer.  A grand total of 9.7% patients in this review of 13,776 patient encounters met the quality standard of transfer within 30 minutes.

If you agree with the literature that says a DIDO time >30 minutes is associated with a 56% increased odds for in-hospital mortality, this could be important.

Lytics.  Just do it.

In fact, depending on the recency of symptoms, the location of the infarct, and whether we're off-hours for cath lab activation, I'll give full-dose lytics on arrival while awaiting cath lab transport.  Your mileage may vary, depending on your cardiology team.

"National Performance on Door-In to Door-Out Time Among Patients Transferred for Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention"