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Sedation-assisted Orthopedic Reduction in Emergency Medicine: The Safety and Success of a One Physician/One Nurse Model

  • Author(s): Vinson, David R
  • Hoehn, Casey
  • et al.
Abstract

Introduction: Much of the emergency medical research on sedation-assisted orthopedic reductions has been undertaken with two physicians—one dedicated to the sedation and one to the procedure. Clinical practice in community emergency departments (EDs), however, often involves only one physician, who both performs the procedure and simultaneously oversees the crendentialed registered nurse who administers the sedation medication and monitors the patient. Although the dual-physician model is advocated by some, evidence in support of its superiority is lacking. Methods: In this electronic health records review we describe sedation-assisted closed reductions of major joints and forearm fractures in three suburban community EDs. The type of procedure and sedation medication, need for specialty assistance, success rates, and intervention-requiring adverse events are reported. Results: During the 18-month study period, procedural sedation was performed 457 times on 442 patients undergoing closed reduction for shoulder dislocations (n=111), elbow dislocations (n=29), hip dislocations (n=101), and forearm fractures (n=201).  In the vast majority of this cohort (98.4% [435/442]), a single emergency physician simultaneously managed both the procedural sedation and the initial orthopedic reduction without the assistance of a second physician. The reduction was successful or satisfactory in 96.6% (425/435; 95% confidence interval [CI], 95.8-98.8%) of these cases, with a low incidence of intervention-requiring adverse events (2.8% [12/435]; 95% CI, 1.5-4.8%).Conclusion: Sedation-assisted closed reduction of major joint dislocations and forearm fractures can be performed effectively and safely in the ED using a one physician/one nurse model. A policy that requires a separate physician (or nurse anesthetist) to administer medications for all sedation-assisted ED procedures appears unwarranted. Further research is needed to determine which specific clinical scenarios might benefit from a dual-physician approach. [West J Emerg Med.2013;14(1):47-54.]

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