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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 24, Issue 6, 2023

Behavioral Health

Emergency Department Buprenorphine Quality Improvement and Emergency Physician Knowledge, Attitudes, and Self-Efficacy

Objective: Buprenorphine is an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder that is underused in the emergency department (ED). In this study we evaluated changes in emergency physician knowledge, confidence, and self-efficacy regarding buprenorphine prescribing and working with patients who use drugs after implementation of an ED buprenorphine quality improvement (QI) initiative.

Methods: An anonymous, online survey was administered to emergency physicians staffing four EDs in New England in 2019 and 2020 before and after an ED QI initiative. Survey questions included novel and previously validated questions to assess confidence, knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes about buprenorphine and working with patients who use drugs. Confidence, self-efficacy, and attitude responses were assessed on a Likert scale. Participants received a gift card for survey completion. We analyzed pre- and post- survey responses descriptively and compared them using t-tests. Using logistic regression we evaluated the factors associated with buprenorphine prescribing.

Results: Of 95 emergency physicians, 56 (58.9% response rate) completed the pre-intervention survey and 60 (63.2%) completed the post-survey. There was an increase in the number of X-waivered adult emergency physicians and ED buprenorphine prescribing after program implementation. Physician confidence increased from a mean of 3.4 (SD 0.8) to 3.9 (SD 0.7; scale 1–5, p < 0.01). Knowledge about buprenorphine increased from a mean score of 1.4 (SD 0.7) to 1.7 (SD 0.5, p < 0.01). Physician attitudes and self-efficacy did not change. Post-initiative, increased confidence was associated with higher odds of buprenorphine prescribing (odds ratio 4.4; 95% confidence interval 1.07–18.4).

Conclusion: After an ED QI initiative, buprenorphine prescribing in the ED increased, as did both physician confidence in working with patients who use drugs and their knowledge of buprenorphine. Increased confidence was associated with higher odds of buprenorphine prescribing and should be a focus of future, buprenorphine implementation strategies in the ED.

Impact of Emergency Department-Initiated Buprenorphine on Repeat Emergency Department Utilization

Introduction: Recent studies have demonstrated the promise of emergency department (ED)-initiated buprenorphine/naloxone (bup/nx) for improving 30-day retention in outpatient addiction care programs for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). We investigated whether ED-initiated bup/nx for OUD also impacts repeat ED utilization.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of ED patients discharged with a primary diagnosis of OUD from July 2019–December 2020. Characteristics considered included age, gender, race, insurance status, domicile status, presence of comorbid Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) diagnosis, presenting chief complaint, and provision of a bup/nx prescription and/or naloxone kit. Primary outcomes included repeat ED visit (opioid or non-opioid related) within 30 days, 90 days, and one year. Statistical analyses included bivariate comparison and Poisson regression.

Results: Of 169 participants, the majority were male (67.5%), White (82.8%), uninsured (72.2%), and in opioid withdrawal and/or requesting “detox” (75.7%). Ninety-one (53.8%) received ED-initiated bup/nx, which was independent of age, gender, race, insurance status, presence of comorbid DSM-5 diagnosis, or domicile status. Naloxone was more likely to be provided to patients who received bup/nx (97.8% vs 26.9%; P < 0.001), and bup/nx was more likely to be given to patients who presented with opioid withdrawal and/or requested “detox” (63.3% vs 36.7%; P < 0.001). Bup/nx provision was associated with decreased ED utilization for opioid-related visits at 30 days (P < 0.05). Homelessness and lack of insurance were associated with increased ED utilization for non-opioid-related visits at 90 days(P < 0.01), and again at one year for homelessness (P = 0.008 and p = 0.005, respectively). When controlling for age and domicile status, the adjusted incidence rate ratio for overall ED visits was 0.56 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.33–0.96) at 30 days, 0.43 (95% CI 0.27–0.69) at 90 days, and 0.60 (95%CI 0.39–0.92) at one year, favoring bup/nx provision.

Conclusion: Initiation of bup/nx in the ED setting was associated with decreased subsequent ED utilization. Socioeconomic factors, specifically health insurance and domicile status, significantly impacted non-opioid-related ED reuse. These findings demonstrate the ED’s potential as an initiation point for bup/nx and highlight the importance of considering the social risk and social need for OUD patients.


Characteristics and Outcomes of Patients in the Emergency Department with Left Ventricular Assist Devices

Introduction: Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are increasingly common among patients with heart failure. The unique physiologic characteristics of patients with LVADs present a challenge to emergency clinicians making treatment and disposition decisions. Despite the increasing prevalence of LVADs, literature describing emergency department (ED) visits among this population is sparse. We aimed to describe clinical characteristics and outcomes among patients with LVADs seen in two quaternary-care EDs in a five-year period. Secondarily, we sought to evaluate mortality rates and ED return rates for bridge to transplant (BTT) and destination therapy (DT) patients.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of adult patients known to have an LVAD who were evaluated in two quaternary-care EDs from 2013–2017. Data were collected from the electronic health record and summarized with descriptive statistics. We assessed patient outcomes with mixed-effects logistic regression models including a random intercept to account for patients with multiple ED visits.

Results: During the five-year study period, 290 ED visits among 107 patients met inclusion criteria. The median patient age was 61 years. The reason for LVAD implantation was BTT in 150 encounters (51.7%) and DT in 140 (48.3%). The most common presenting concerns were dyspnea (21.7%), bleeding (18.6%), and chest pain (11.4%). Visits directly related to the LVAD were infrequent (7.9%). Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator discharge was reported in 3.4% of visits. A majority of patients were dismissed home from the ED (53.8%), and 4.5% required intensive care unit admission. Among all patients, 37.9%returned to the ED within 30 days, with similar rates between DT and BTT patients (32.1 vs 43.3%; P = 0.055). The LVAD was replaced in three cases (1.0%) during hospitalization. No deaths occurred in the ED, and the mortality rate within 30 days was 2.1% among all patients.

Conclusion: In this multicenter cohort study of ED visits among patients with an LVAD, dyspnea, bleeding, and chest pain were the most common presenting concerns. Visits directly related to the LVAD were uncommon. Approximately half of patients were dismissed home, although return ED visits were common.

Epinephrine in Cardiac Arrest: Identifying a Potential Limit for Resuscitation

Introduction: Epinephrine continues to be a fundamental part of the Advanced Cardiac Life Support algorithm despite a lack of evidence that it improves neurologically intact survival. Our aim was both to identify a potential upper limit of epinephrine use in resuscitations and to demonstrate real-world epinephrine use in different patient subgroups.

Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective cohort study, conducted between August 1, 2016–July 1, 2021, of patients with medical cardiac arrest who were administered a known number of epinephrine doses. The primary outcome was neurologically intact discharge defined by a modified Rankin scale ≤3, with secondary outcomes of comparing epinephrine doses by age, rhythm, and emergency medical services vs emergency department administration of epinephrine.

Results: The study included 1,330 patients, with 184 patients (13.8%) surviving to neurologically intact discharge. The primary outcome of neurologically intact discharge was found in 89 (65.4%) patients in the zero epinephrine dose group, 75 (20.0%) in the 1-3 dose group, 15 (4.3%) in the 4-6 dose group, and one (0.002%) in the ≥7 dose group (P < 0.001). Patients received similar amounts of epinephrine when stratified by age, while patients with shockable rhythms received more epinephrine than patients with non-shockable rhythms.

Conclusion: There was a significant decrease in neurologically intact discharge with increasing number of epinephrine doses, and our data suggests that seven or more doses of epinephrine is almost always futile. While further prospective studies are needed, clinicians should consider epinephrine doses when weighing the futility or benefit of continued resuscitation efforts.

Climate Change

Sustainable Purchasing Practices: A Comparison of Single-use and Reusable Pulse Oximeters in the Emergency Department

Background: Delivering healthcare requires significant resources and creates waste that pollutes the environment, contributes to the climate crisis, and harms human health. Prior studies have generally shown durable, reusable medical devices to be environmentally superior to disposables, but this has not been investigated for pulse oximetry probes.

Objective: Our goal was to compare the daily carbon footprint of single-use and reusable pulse oximeters in the emergency department (ED).

Methods: Using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), we analyzed greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from pulse oximeter use in an urban, tertiary care ED, that sees approximately 150 patients per day. Low (387 uses), moderate (474 uses), and high use (561 uses), as well as cleaning scenarios, were modelled for the reusable oximeters and compared to the daily use of single-use oximeters (150 uses). We calculated GHG emissions, measured in kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents (kgCO2e), across all life cycle stages using life-cycle assessment software and the ecoinvent database. We also carried out an uncertainty analysis using Monte Carlo methodology and calculated the break-even point for reusable oximeters.

Results: Per day of use, reusable oximeters produced fewer greenhouse gases in low-, moderate-, and high-use scenarios compared to disposable oximeters: 3.9 kgCO2e, 4.9 kgCO2e, 5.7 kgCO2evs 23.4 kgCO2e, respectively). An uncertainty analysis showed there was no overlap in emissions, and a sensitivity analysis found reusable oximeters only need to be used 2.3 times before they match the emissions created by a single disposable oximeter. Use phases associated with the greatest emissions varied between oximeters, with the cleaning phase of reusables responsible for the majority of its GHG emissions (99%) compared to the production phases of the single-use oximeter (74%).

Conclusion: Reusable pulse oximeters generated fewer greenhouse gas emissions per day of use than their disposable counterparts. Given that the pulse oximeter is an ubiquitous piece of medical equipment used in emergency care globally, carbon emissions could be significantly reduced if EDs used reusable rather than single-use, disposable oximeters.

  • 2 supplemental ZIPs

Clinical Practice

Clinical Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Acute Pulmonary Embolism and Adjusted D-dimer for Emergency Department Patients

Introduction: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and acute pulmonary embolism (APE) present a diagnostic challenge in the emergency department (ED) setting. We aimed to identify key clinical characteristics and D-dimer thresholds associated with APE in SARS-CoV-2 positive ED patients.

Methods: We performed a multicenter, retrospective cohort study for adult patients who were diagnosed with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) and had computed tomography pulmonary angiogram (CTPA) performed between March 17, 2020–January 31, 2021. We performed univariate analysis to determine numeric medians, chi-square values for association between clinical characteristic and positive CTPA. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds of a clinical characteristic being associated with a diagnosis of APE.

Results: Of 408 patients who underwent CTPA, 29 (7.1%) were ultimately found to have APE. In multivariable analysis, patients with a body mass index greater than 32 (odds ratio [OR] 4.4, 95%confidence interval [CI] 1.0 -19.3), a heart rate greater than 90 beats per minute (bpm) (OR 5.0, 95% CI 1.0-24.9), and a D-dimer greater than 1,500 micrograms per liter (μg/L) (OR 5.6, 95% CI 1.6-20.2) were significantly associated with pulmonary embolism. In our population that received a D-dimer and was SARS-CoV-2 positive, limiting CTPA to patients with a heart rate over 90 or a D-dimer value over 1500 μg/L would reduce testing 27.2% and not miss APE.

Conclusion: In patients with acute COVID-19 infections, D-dimer at standard cutoffs was not usable.Limiting CTPA using a combination of heart rate greater than 90 bpm or D-dimer greater than 1,500 μg/L would significantly decrease imaging in this population. [West J Emerg Med. 2023;24(4)1–6.]

Euglycemic Diabetic Ketoacidosis: Experience with 44 Patients and Comparison to Hyperglycemic Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Introduction: Euglycemic diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) (glucose <250 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) has increased in recognition since introduction of sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors but remains challenging to diagnose and manage without the hyperglycemia that is otherwise central to diagnosing DKA, and with increased risk for hypoglycemia with insulin use. Our objective was to compare key resource utilization and safety outcomes between patients with euglycemic and hyperglycemic DKA from the same period.

Methods: This is a retrospective review of adult emergency department patients in DKA at an academic medical center. Patients were included if they were >18 years old, met criteria for DKA on initial laboratories (pH ≤7.30, serum bicarbonate ≤18 millimoles per liter [mmol/L], anion gap ≥10), and were managed via a standardized DKA order set. Patients were divided into euglycemic (<250 milligrams per deciliter [mg/dL]) vs hyperglycemic (≥250 mg/dL) cohorts by presenting glucose. We extracted and analyzed patient demographics, resource utilization, and safety outcomes. Etiologies of euglycemia were obtained by manual chart review. For comparisons between groups we used independent-group t-tests for continuous variables and chi-squared tests for binary variables, with alpha 0.05.

Results: We identified 629 patients with DKA: 44 euglycemic and 585 hyperglycemic. Euglycemic patients had milder DKA on presentation (higher pH and bicarbonate, lower anion gap; P < 0.05) and lower initial glucose (195 vs 561 mg/dL, P < 0.001) and potassium (4.3 vs 5.3 mmol/L, P < 0.001). Etiologies of euglycemia were insulin use prior to arrival (57%), poor oral intake with baseline insulin use (29%), and SGLT2 inhibitor use (14%). Mean time on insulin infusion was shorter for those with euglycemic DKA: 13.5 vs 19.4 hours, P = 0.003. Mean times to first bicarbonate >18 mmol/L and first long-acting insulin were similar. Incidence of hypoglycemia (<70 mg/dL) while on insulin infusion was significantly higher for those with euglycemic DKA (18.2 vs 4.8%, P = 0.02); incidence of hypokalemia (<3.3 mmol/L) was 27.3 vs 19.1% (P = 0.23).

Conclusion: Compared to hyperglycemic DKA patients managed in the same protocolized fashion, euglycemic DKA patients were on insulin infusions 5.9 hours less, yet experienced hypoglycemia over three times more frequently. Future work can investigate treatment strategies for euglycemic DKA to minimize adverse events, especially iatrogenic hypoglycemia.

Population Health

Beyond the Basics: A Novel Approach to Integrating a Social Determinants of Health Curriculum into an Emergency Medicine Course

Background: Our aim was to implement and evaluate a novel social determinants of health (SDoH) curriculum into the required fourth-year emergency medicine (EM) course at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine with the goal to teach students how to assess and address SDoH in clinical practice. The objectives were as follows:Assess the SDoH, risk factors, and barriers to healthcare facing patients from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds in the ED.Examine how social work consult services operate in the ED setting and how to identify appropriate referrals, resources, and treatment plans for patients in the ED.Examine and interpret the impact health disparities have on patients in the ED and develop potential solutions to reduce these disparities to improve health outcomes.Analyze the experiences and lessons learned and use them to inform future patient interactions.

Curricular Design: The curriculum was developed by a workgroup that considered the following: scope; target learners; overall structure; instructional and delivery methods; and session scheduling. The curriculum consisted of four components that took place over the four-week EM course. Students completed a required end-of-course survey. Survey results underwent a mixed-methods analysis to assess student attitudes and the impact of the curriculum.

Impact/Effectiveness: We received a 78.7% (74/94) completion rate for the 2021-2022 academic year. Of all respondents, 92% (68/74) indicated that they would apply lessons learned from the SDoH components of the curriculum; 74% (54/74) rated the SDoH curriculum as good, very good, or excellent; and 81% (60/74) felt that the EM course increased their understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to the practice of medicine. The thematic analyses revealed four main themes: 1) general comments; 2) course design; 3) interprofessional collaboration; and 4) expanding the scope of the curriculum.

Conclusion: Social medicine integration into core EM courses is a generalizable approach to experiential and collaborative exposure to the social determinants of health. Of student respondents, 92% indicated they will use lessons learned from this curriculum in their future practice. This can improve the way future generations of physicians identify SDoH and address the social needs that affect their patients, thereby advancing and promoting health equity.

Implementation and Impacts of California Senate Bill 1152 on Homeless Discharge Protocols

Introduction: In recent decades, there has been a growing focus on addressing social needs in healthcare settings. California has been at the forefront of making state-level investments to improve care for patients with complex social and medical needs, including patients experiencing homelessness (PEH). Examples include Medicaid 1115 waivers such as the Whole Person Care pilot program and California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM). To date, California is also the only state to have passed a legislative mandate to address concerns related to the hospital discharge of PEH who lack sufficient resources to support self-care. To this end, California enacted Senate Bill 1152 (SB 1152), a unique legislative mandate that requires hospitals to standardize comprehensive discharge processes for PEH by providing (and documenting the provision of) social and preventive services. Understanding the implementation and impact of this law will help inform California and other states considering legislative investments in healthcare activities to improve care for PEH.

Methods: To understand health system stakeholders’ perceived impact of SB 1152 on hospital discharge processes and key barriers and facilitators to SB 1152’s implementation, we conducted 32 semi-structured interviews with key informants across 16 general acute care hospitals in Humboldt and Los Angeles counties. Study data were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research.

Results: Participants perceived several positive impacts of SB 1152, including streamlined services, increased accountability, and more staff awareness about homelessness. In parallel, participants also underscored concerns about the law’s limited scope and highlighted multiple implementation challenges, including lack of clarity about accountability measures, scarcity of implementation supports, and gaps in community resources.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that SB 1152 was an important step toward the goal of more universal safe discharge of PEH. However, there are also several addressable concerns. Recommendations to improve future legislation include adding targeted funding for social care staff and improving implementation training. Participants’ broader concerns about the parallel need to increase community resources are more challenging to address in the immediate term, but such changes will also be necessary to improve the overall health outcomes of PEH.

Prospective Cohort Study of Emergency Department Visit Frequency and Diagnoses Before and During COVID-19 Pandemic in Urban, Low-Income, US- and Foreign-Born Mothers in Boston, MA

Background: The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic fundamentally changed how populations interface with the healthcare system. Despite historical spikes in US mortality during the pandemic, emergency department (ED) visits were paradoxically low. This is a concerning phenomenon that raises a red flag regarding access to care, especially among vulnerable populations. In this study we sought to understand how ED utilization evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic among traditionally understudied, low-income, racially diverse US- and foreign-born mothers.

Methods: This is a secondary analysis of a pre-existing dataset of 3,073 participants enrolled in the Boston Birth Cohort at birth and followed prospectively. We obtained ED visit diagnoses from 2019 and 2020 via electronic health records, categorized according to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, and compared them using graph plots, chi-square, and negative binomial regression.

Results: The number of ED visits decreased by 29.1% (P < 0.001) from 2019 (1,376) to 2020 (976). However, visits for infectious and parasitic diseases, including COVID-19, increased by 90.6% (32:61) with COVID-19 accounting for 77% of those visits in 2020 (47/61). Mental health-related visits increased by 40.9%(44:62), with diagnoses of alcohol use disorder increasing by 183% (6:17). Regression analysis showed 50% less ED utilization among foreign- vs US-born participants; however, the increase in infectious diseases visits was greater among foreign-born compared to US-born mothers (185% vs 26%, P = 0.01), while the increase in mental health diagnoses was greater among US-born mothers (69% vs −33%, P = 0.10).

Conclusion: Despite a decrease in total ED visits during the pandemic, there was an increase in COVID-19- (immigrant > US born) and mental health- (US-born only) related visits. Our findings demonstrate that EDs remain a critical access point for care for minority populations and have implications for preparedness, resources, and services of EDs in urban settings to better address the needs of communities. However, alternative avenues for healthcare services for these populations, particularly during health crises, warrant further investigation.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP

Critical Care

Prognostic Accuracy of SpO2-based Respiratory Sequential Organ Failure Assessment for Predicting In-hospital Mortality

Introduction: In this study we aimed to investigate the prognostic accuracy for predicting in-hospital mortality using respiratory Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores by the conventional method of missing-value imputation with normal partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2)- and oxygen saturation (SpO2)-based estimation methods.

Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective cohort study of patients with suspected infection in the emergency department. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. We compared the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUROC) and calibration results of the conventional method (normal value imputation for missing PaO2) and six SpO2-based methods: using methods A, B, PaO2 is estimated by dividing SpO2 by a scale; with methods C and D, PaO2 was estimated by a mathematical model from a previous study; with methods E, F, respiratory SOFA scores was estimated by SpO2 thresholds and respiratory support use; with methods A, C, E are SpO2-based estimation for all PaO2 values, while methods B, D, F use such estimation only for missing PaO2 values.

Results: Among the 15,119 patients included in the study, the in-hospital mortality rate was 4.9%. The missing PaO2was 56.0%. The calibration plots were similar among all methods. Each method yielded AUROCs that ranged from 0.735–0.772. The AUROC for the conventional method was 0.755 (95%confidence interval [CI] 0.736–0.773). The AUROC for method C (0.772; 95% CI 0.754–0.790) was higher than that of the conventional method, which was an SpO2-based estimation for all PaO2 values. The AUROC for total SOFA score from method E (0.815; 95% CI 0.800–0.831) was higher than that from the conventional method (0.806; 95% CI 0.790–0.822), in which respiratory SOFA was calculated by the predefined SpO2 cut-offs and oxygen support.

Conclusion: In non-ICU settings, respiratory SOFA scores estimated by SpO2 might have acceptable prognostic accuracy for predicting in-hospital mortality. Our results suggest that SpO2-based respiratory SOFA score calculation might be an alternative for evaluating respiratory organ failure in the ED and clinical research settings.

  • 4 supplemental ZIPs
  • 1 supplemental file


Quality Improvement Curriculum for Intensive Care Unit Upgrades

Patients admitted to the hospital ward from the emergency department (ED) occasionally decompensate and require transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU). An emergency medicine (EM) curriculum focused on review of these ICU upgrade cases could improve resident knowledge related to patient acuity, critical illness, and appropriate disposition. Furthermore, initial identification of critical pathology in the ED and earlier admission to the ICU could reduce delays in care and improve patient outcomes.

We performed a retrospective analysis to determine the effectiveness of a resident quality improvement curriculum evaluating cases where patients require transfer from the inpatient floor to the ICU within 12 hours of admission from the ED. We compared postgraduate year 2 (PGY-2) EM residents who participated in the ICU upgrades curriculum during their first year to PGY-2 EM residents who did not participate in the curriculum.

Analysis of the 242 qualifying ICU upgrade cases from July 2019–October 2021 showed post-curriculum residents were responsible for an average of 1.0 upgrades per resident compared to an average of 1.54 upgrades per resident (P = 0.12) for pre-curriculum residents. Although there was no statistically significant difference in ICU upgrades between the groups, there was a trend toward decreased ICU upgrade cases for residents who participated in the curriculum. Common reasons for ICU upgrade included worsening respiratory distress requiring higher level of respiratory support, recurrent hypotension after initial intravenous fluid resuscitation requiring vasopressor support, and declining mental status.

This retrospective study showed no significant difference in the number of ICU upgrades for residents who completed the ICU upgrades curriculum compared to residents who were not enrolled in the course. However, the study was likely underpowered to detect a significant difference in the groups, and there was a trend toward reduced ICU upgrades for residents who completed the curriculum. ICU upgrade cases were frequently associated with worsening respiratory status, hypotension, and mental status. These findings highlight the importance of reassessment of vital signs and mental status prior to determining disposition from the ED. Additional, larger studies are needed to better determine the curriculum’s impact on resident proficiency in recognizing critical illness and reducing ICU upgrades.

Simulation-based Comparison of British and Australian Advanced Life Support Guidelines

Introduction: Cardiac arrest is a major health concern that has been linked to poor disease outcomes. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a critical protocol for restoring spontaneous circulation. The guidelines used by medical staff differ across different countries. A comparison of these guidelines can help in designing more efficient Advanced Life Support (ALS) protocols. The goal in this study was to compare the guidelines for interruption of compression during CPR (hands-off time) for ALS protocols provided by Australian and United Kingdom (UK) resuscitation councils.

Methods: The author designed a simulation-based study using a mannequin and a defibrillator, and then recruited six participants. Three participants were certified ALS practitioners who followed UK guidelines, and three were certified ALS practitioners who followed Australian guidelines. Each participant received a random task assignment for each scenario, as a team leader, performer of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or assistant. The team leader and the chest compressor were unaware of the shockability of each case’s rhythm. Eight minutes total were spent on 10 CPR trials, each lasting four cycles. A video of the simulation was recorded for automated timekeeping. An independent sample t-test was used to compare the amount of hands-off time (seconds) throughout each cycle between two procedures. For purposes of calculating statistical significance, a 0.05 P-value was employed.

Results: The mean duration of second cycle hands-off time (seconds) in the UK ALS protocol was statistically significantly longer than the Australian ALS (t = −2.100; P = 0.05). For shockable rhythms, the hands-off time of the UK ALS protocol was significantly longer than Australian ALS protocol, as reflected in the second cycle (t = −0.621; P < 0.001), third cycle (t = −8.083; P < 0.001), and fourth cycle (t = −5.814; p < 0.001), while the difference in the first cycle between groups was not statistically significant. (t = −0.258; P = 0.803).

Conclusion: This simulation-based study demonstrated that the UK ALS guidelines led to an increased duration of hands-off time during the second cycle. The hands-off time in the shockable rhythms was also higher during the second, third, and fourth cycles in the UK ALS protocol compared to the Australian ALS protocol. These points must be focused on in future revisions of the UKALS guidelines. For better results, it is critical to limit hands-off time between chest compression cycles.

Endemic Infections

Survey of Vaccine Hesitancy in Patients Visiting Three Tertiarycare Emergency Departments in Southeast Louisiana

Objectives: Vaccine hesitancy has been a barrier to achieving herd immunity during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Having low socioeconomic status and education levels, and being a person of color, are associated with higher COVID-19 infection risk and worse outcomes. These same groups are associated with higher vaccine hesitancy. The state of Louisiana has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. In this study we aimed to identify demographic, perspective, and health behavior factors associated with vaccine hesitancy in emergency departments (ED) in Southeast Louisiana.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was distributed at three tertiary-care hospital EDs. Patients >18 years old and not in acute distress were recruited between April–July 2021. The 37-item questionnaire addressed socioeconomic demographics, social determinants of health, COVID-19 safety practices, thoughts and perceptions on COVID-19 and vaccines, sources of COVID-19 and vaccine information, and trust in the healthcare system.

Results: Overall, 247 patients completed our survey. Of those, 29.6% reported they were vaccine hesitant. These respondents were significantly more likely, when compared to vaccine-acceptant respondents, to never have married, to have some college education, make less than <$25,000 in household earnings yearly, be unsure whether vaccines prevent disease, not have discussed the COVID-19 vaccine with their primary care doctor, and to prefer to do their own research for COVID-19 vaccine information.Weobserved no statistically significant differences based on gender, race/ethnicity, parental status, area of living, or their perceived risk of needing hospitalization for treatment or dying from the virus.

Conclusion: Vaccine hesitancy was associated with multiple socioeconomic factors, perspectives, and beliefs. Vaccine-hesitant individuals were more uncertain about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, the feasibility of obtaining the vaccine, and its efficacy. Public health interventions aimed at these findings and improving public trust in healthcare systems are needed to increase vaccine acceptance.

Large-scale Implementation of a COVID-19 Remote Patient Monitoring Program

Introduction: We implemented a large-scale remote patient monitoring (RPM) program for patients diagnosed with coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) at a not-for-profit regional healthcare system. In this retrospective observational study, patients from nine emergency department (ED) sites were provided a pulse oximeter and enrolled onto a monitoring platform upon discharge.

Methods: The RPM team captured oxygen saturation (SpO2), heart rate, temperature, and symptom progression data over a 16-day monitoring period, and the team engaged patients via video call, phone call, and chat within the platform. Abnormal vital signs were flagged by the RPM team, with escalation to in-person care and return to ED as appropriate. Our primary outcome was to describe study characteristics: patients enrolled in the COVID-19 RPM program; engagement metrics; and physiologic and symptomatic data trends. Our secondary outcomes were return-to-ED rate and subsequent readmission rate.

Results: Between December 2020–August 2021, a total of 3,457 patients were referred, and 1,779 successfully transmitted at least one point of data. Patients on COVID-19 RPM were associated with a lower 30-day return-to-ED rate (6.2%) than those not on RPM (14.9%), with capture of higher acuity patients (47.7% of RPM 30-day returnees were subsequently hospitalized vs 34.8% of non-RPM returnees).

Conclusion: Our program, one of the largest studies to date that captures both physiologic and symptomatic data, may inform others who look to implement a program of similar scope. We also share lessons learned regarding barriers and disparities in enrollment and discuss implications for RPM in other acute disease states.

  • 1 supplemental ZIP


Is Two Better Than Three? A Systematic Review of Two-bag Intravenous N-acetylcysteine Regimens for Acetaminophen Poisoning

Introduction: Acetaminophen poisoning is commonly treated by emergency physicians. First-line therapy is N-acetylcysteine (NAC), traditionally administered intravenously via a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved three-bag protocol in which each bag has a unique concentration and infusion duration. Recently, simplified, off-label two-bag NAC infusion protocols have become more common. The purpose of this review is to summarize the effectiveness and safety of two-bag NAC.

Methods: We undertook a comprehensive search of PubMed, EMBASE, and MEDLINE from inception to December 13, 2022, for articles describing human acetaminophen poisonings treated with two-bag NAC, defined as any regimen involving two discrete infusions in two separate bags. Outcomes included effectiveness (measured by incidence of liver injury); incidence of non-allergic anaphylactoid reactions (NAAR); gastrointestinal, cutaneous, and systemic reactions; treatments for NAARs; incidence of NAC-related medication errors; and delays or interruptions in NAC administration.

Results: Twelve articles met final inclusion, 10 of which compared two-bag NAC to the three-bag regimen. Nine articles evaluated the two-bag/20-hour regimen, a simplified version of the FDA-approved three-bag regimen in which the traditional first and second bags are combined into a single four-hour infusion. Nine articles assessed comparative effectiveness of two-bag NAC in terms of liver injury, most commonly assessed for by incidence of hepatotoxicity (aspartate aminotransferase or alanine aminotransferase >1,000 international units per liter). No difference in liver injury was observed between two-bag and three-bag regimens. Of nine articles comparing incidence of NAARs, eight demonstrated statistically fewer NAARs with two-bag regimens, and one showed no difference. In seven articles evaluating treatment for NAARs (antihistamines, corticosteroids, epinephrine), all showed that patients received fewer medications for NAARs with two-bag NAC. Three articles evaluated NAC-related medication errors; two demonstrated no difference, while one study evaluating only children showed fewer errors with two-bag NAC. Two studies evaluated delays and/or interruptions in NAC infusions; both favored two-bag NAC.

Conclusion: For patients with acetaminophen poisoning, two-bag NAC regimens appear to have similar outcomes to the traditional three-bag regimen in terms of liver injury. Two-bag NAC regimens are associated with fewer adverse events and fewer treatments for those events than the three-bag regimen and fewer interruptions in antidotal therapy.