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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Articles In Press

Articles In Press

Articles that have been peer-reviewed, edited and published, but not yet assigned to an issue.

Table of Contents

Articles in Press

Once articles have been accepted for publication but have not yet been assigned to an issue, we place them here.

Original Research (Limit 4000 words)

Emergency Medicine Influencers’ Twitter Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed-methods Analysis

Introduction: The objective of this study was to analyze the messages of influential emergency medicine (EM) Twitter users in the United States (US) during the early stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic by characterizing the themes, emotional tones, temporal viewpoints, and depth of engagement with the tweets.

Methods: We performed a retrospective mixed-methods analysis of publicly available Twitter data derived from the publicly available “Coronavirus Tweet IDs” dataset, March 3, 2020–May 1, 2020. Original tweets and modified retweets in the dataset by 50 influential EM Twitter users in the US were analyzed using linguistic software to report the emotional tone and temporal viewpoint. We qualitatively analyzed a 25% random subsample and report themes.

Results: There were 1315 tweets available in the dataset from 36/50 influential EM Twitter users in the US. The majority of tweets were either positive (455/1315, 34.6%) or neutral (407/1315, 31%) in tone and focused on the present (1009/1315, 76.7%). Qualitative analysis identified six distinct themes, with users most often sharing news or clinical information.

Conclusions: During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, influential EM Twitter users in the US delivered mainly positive or neutral messages, most often pertaining to news stories or information directly relating to patient care. The majority of these messages led to engagement by other users. This study underscores how EM influencers can leverage social media in public health outbreaks to bring attention to topics of importance.


  • 1 supplemental ZIP

Clinical Prediction Tool to Assess the Likelihood of a Positive SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) Polymerase Chain Reaction Test in Patients with Flu-like Symptoms

Introduction: The clinical presentation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) overlaps with many other common cold and influenza viruses. Identifying patients with a higher probability of infection becomes crucial in settings with limited access to testing. We developed a prediction instrument to assess the likelihood of a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, based solely on clinical variables that can be determined within the time frame of an emergency department (ED) patient encounter.

Methods: We derived and prospectively validated a model to predict SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity in patients visiting the ED with symptoms consistent with the disease.

Results: Our model was based on 617 ED visits. In the derivation cohort, the median age was 36 years, 43% were men, and 9% had a positive result. The median time to testing from the onset of initial symptoms was four days (interquartile range [IQR]: 2-5 days, range 0-23 days), and 91% of all patients were discharged home. The final model based on a multivariable logistic regression included a history of close contact (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.47, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.29-4.7); fever (AOR 3.63, 95% CI, 1.931-6.85); anosmia or dysgeusia (AOR 9.7, 95% CI, 2.72-34.5); headache (AOR 1.95, 95% CI, 1.06-3.58), myalgia (AOR 2.6, 95% CI, 1.39-4.89); and dry cough (AOR 1.93, 95% CI, 1.02-3.64). The area under the curve (AUC) from the derivation cohort was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.73-0.85) and AUC 0.7 (95% CI, 0.61-0.75) in the validation cohort (N = 379).

Conclusion: We developed and validated a clinical tool to predict SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity in patients presenting to the ED to assist with patient disposition in environments where COVID-19 tests or timely results are not readily available.

Intracranial Traumatic Hematoma Detection in Children Using a Portable Near-infrared Spectroscopy Device

Introduction: We sought to validate a handheld, near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device for detecting intracranial hematomas in children with head injury.

Methods: Eligible patients were those <18 years old who were admitted to the emergency department at three academic children’s hospitals with head trauma and who received a clinically indicated head computed tomography (HCT). Measurements were obtained by a blinded operator in bilateral frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital regions. Qualifying hematomas were a priori determined to be within the brain scanner’s detection limits of >3.5 milliliters in volume and <2.5 centimeters from the surface of the brain. The device’s measurements were positive if the difference in optical density between hemispheres was >0.2 on three successive scans. We calculated diagnostic performance measures with corresponding exact two-sided 95% Clopper-Pearson confidence intervals (CI). Hypothesis test evaluated whether predictive performance exceeded chance agreement (predictive Youden’s index > 0).

Results: A total of 464 patients were enrolled and 344 met inclusion for primary data analysis: 10.5% (36/344) had evidence of a hematoma on HCT, and 4.7% (16/344) had qualifying hematomas. The handheld brain scanner demonstrated a sensitivity of 58.3% (21/36) and specificity of 67.9% (209/308) for hematomas of any size. For qualifying hematomas the scanner was designed to detect, sensitivity was 81% (13/16) and specificity was 67.4% (221/328). Predictive performance exceeded chance agreement with a predictive Youden’s index of 0.11 (95% CI, 0.10 – 0.15; P < 0.001) for all hematomas, and 0.09 (95% CI, 0.08 – 0.12; P < 0.001) for qualifying hematomas.

Conclusion: The handheld brain scanner can non-invasively detect a subset of intracranial hematomas in children and may serve an adjunctive role to head-injury neuroimaging decision rules that predict the risk of clinically significant intracranial pathology after head trauma.

  • 2 supplemental PDFs

Climate Change Adaptation: Prehospital Data Facilitate the Detection of Acute Heat Illness in India

Introduction: Extreme heat is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, and the incidence of acute heat illness (AHI) will likely increase secondary to anthropogenic climate change. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of AHI are critical; however, relevant diagnostic and surveillance tools have received little attention. In this exploratory cross-sectional and diagnostic accuracy study, we evaluated three tools for use in the prehospital setting: 1) case definitions; 2) portable loggers to measure on-scene heat exposure; and 3) prevalence data for potential AHI risk factors.

Methods: We enrolled 480 patients who presented to emergency medical services with chief complaints consistent with AHI in Ahmedabad, India, from April–June 2016 in a cross-sectional study. We evaluated AHI case definition test characteristics in reference to trained prehospital provider impressions, compared on-scene heat index measured by portable loggers to weather station measurements, and identified AHI behavioral and environmental risk factors using logistic regression.

Results: The case definition for heat exhaustion was 23.8% (12.1-39.5%) sensitive and 93.6% (90.9-95.7%) specific. The positive and negative predictive values were 33.5% (20.8-49.0%) and 90.1% (88.5-91.5%), respectively. Mean scene heat index was 6.7°C higher than the mean station heat index (P < 0.001), and station data systematically underestimated heat exposure, particularly for AHI cases. Heat exhaustion cases were associated with on-scene heat index ≥ 49°C (odds ratio [OR] 2.66 [1.13–6.25], P = 0.025) and a history of recent exertion (OR 3.66 [1.30–10.29], P = 0.014), while on-scene air conditioning was protective (OR 0.29 [0.10–0.85], P = 0.024).

Conclusion: Systematic collection of prehospital data including recent activity history and presence of air conditioning can facilitate early AHI detection, timely intervention, and surveillance. Scene temperature data can be reliably collected and improve heat exposure and AHI risk assessment. Such data may be important elements of surveillance, clinical practice, and climate change adaptation.

  • 5 supplemental PDFs
  • 1 supplemental file

Paramedic-performed Prehospital Point-of-care Ultrasound for Patients with Undifferentiated Dyspnea: A Pilot Study

Introduction: Thoracic ultrasound is frequently used in the emergency department (ED) to determine the etiology of dyspnea, yet its use is not widespread in the prehospital setting. We sought to investigate the feasibility and diagnostic performance of paramedic acquisition and assessment of thoracic ultrasound images in the prehospital environment, specifically for the detection of B-lines in congestive heart failure (CHF).

Methods: This was a prospective observational study of a convenience sample of adult patients with a chief complaint of dyspnea. Paramedics participated in a didactic and hands-on session instructing them how to use a portable ultrasound device. Paramedics assessed patients for the presence of B-lines. Sensitivity and specificity for the presence of bilateral B-lines and any B-lines were calculated based on discharge diagnosis. Clips archived to the ultrasound units were reviewed and paramedic interpretations were compared to expert sonologist interpretations.

Results: A total of 63 paramedics completed both didactic and hands-on training, and 22 performed ultrasounds in the field. There were 65 patients with B-line findings recorded and a discharge diagnosis for analysis. The presence of bilateral B-lines for diagnosis of CHF yielded a sensitivity of 80.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 51.4-94.7%) and specificity of 72.0% (95% CI, 57.3-83.3), while presence of any B-lines was 93.3% sensitive (95% CI, 66.0-99.7%), and 50% specific (95% CI, 35.7-64.2%) for CHF. Paramedics archived 117 ultrasound clips of which 63% were determined to be adequate for interpretation. Comparison of paramedic and expert sonologist interpretation of images showed good inter-rater agreement for detection of any B-lines (k = 0.60; 95% CI, 0.36-0.84).

Conclusion: This observational pilot study suggests that prehospital lung ultrasound for B-lines may aid in identifying or excluding CHF as a cause of dyspnea. The presence of bilateral B-lines as determined by paramedics is reasonably sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of CHF and pulmonary edema, while the absence of B lines is likely to exclude significant decompensated heart failure. The study was limited by being a convenience sample and highlighted some of the difficulties related to prehospital research. Larger funded trials will be needed to provide more definitive data.

Importance of Mentoring on Workplace Engagement of Emergency Medicine Faculty: A Multi-institutional Study

Introduction: Mentoring in emergency medicine (EM) has not been well studied despite a larger body of literature that has described the value of mentoring in academic medicine on career satisfaction and scholarly output. Over half of all EM faculty nationally are of junior faculty ranks. The aim of this study was to identify the frequency and types of mentoring in EM, how types of mentoring in EM differ by gender, and how mentoring correlates with workplace satisfaction for EM faculty.

Methods: Using descriptive statistics and chi-squared analysis, we analyzed data from a cohort of medical schools participating in the Association of American Medical Colleges StandPoint Faculty Engagement Survey.

Results: A total of 514 EM faculty from 26 medical schools replied to the survey. Nearly 80% of EM faculty reported receiving some sort of mentoring; 43.4% reported receiving formal mentoring; 35.4% reported receiving only informal mentoring; and 21.2% received no mentoring at all. Women EM faculty received formal mentoring at lower rates than men (36.2% vs 47.5%) even though they were more likely to report that formal mentoring is important to them. Workplace satisfaction was highest for faculty receiving formal mentoring; informally or formally mentored faculty reported higher workplace satisfaction than faculty who are not mentored at all. Unmentored faculty are less likely to stay at their medical school than those formally mentored (69.8 % vs 80.4%).

Conclusion: Institutions and department chairs should focus on mentoring EM faculty, particularly women, to increase engagement and reduce attrition.

Rate of Decompensation of Normoxic Emergency Department Patients with SARS-CoV-2

Introduction: As of October 30, 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected over 44 million people worldwide and killed over 1.1 million people. In the emergency department (ED), patients who need supplemental oxygen or respiratory support are admitted to the hospital, but the course of normoxic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection is unknown. In our health system, the policy during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was to admit all patients with abnormal chest imaging (CXR) regardless of their oxygen level. We also admitted febrile patients with respiratory complaints who resided in congregate living. We describe the rate of decompensation among patients admitted with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection but who were not hypoxemic in the ED.

Methods: This is a retrospective observational study of patients admitted to our health system between March 1–May 5, 2020 with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection. We queried our registry to find patients who were admitted to the hospital but had no recorded oxygen saturation of <92% in the ED and received no supplemental oxygen prior to admission. Our primary outcome was decompensation at 72 hours, defined by the need for respiratory support (oxygen, high-flow nasal cannula, non-invasive ventilation, or intubation).

Results: A total of 840 patients met our inclusion criteria. Of those patients, 376 (45%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Sixty patients (7.1%) with suspected COVID-19 required respiratory support at 72 hours including 27 (3%) of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive patients. Among the 376 patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, 54 patients (14%) had normal CXR in the ED. One-third of patients with normal CXRs decompensated at 72 hours. Seven SARS-CoV-2 positive patients in our cohort died during their hospitalization, of whom five had normal CXRs on admission.

Conclusion: Sixty (7.1%) of suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized at 72 hours required respiratory support despite being normoxic in the ED. Further research should look to identify the normoxic SARS-CoV-2 patients at risk for decompensation.

Diabetes Patient Surveillance in the Emergency Department: Proof of Concept and Opportunities

Introduction: The purpose of this study was to characterize the at-risk diabetes and prediabetes patient population visiting emergency department (ED) and urgent care (UC) centers in upstate South Carolina.

Methods: We conducted this retrospective study at the largest non-profit healthcare system in South Carolina, using electronic health record (EHR) data of patients who had an ED or UC visit between February 2, 2016–July 31, 2018. Key variables including International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision codes, laboratory test results, family history, medication, and demographic characteristics were used to classify the patients as healthy, having prediabetes, having diabetes, being at-risk for prediabetes, or being at-risk for diabetes. Patients who were known to have diabetes were classified further as having controlled diabetes, management challenged, or uncontrolled diabetes. Population analysis was stratified by the patient’s annual number of ED/UC visits.

Results: The risk stratification revealed 4.58% unique patients with unrecognized diabetes and 10.34% of the known patients with diabetes considered to be suboptimally controlled. Patients identified as diabetes management challenged had more ED/UC visits. Of note, 33.95% of the patients had unrecognized prediabetes/diabetes risk factors identified during their ED/UC with 87.95% having some form of healthcare insurance.

Conclusion: This study supports the idea that a single ED/UC unscheduled visit can identify individuals with unrecognized diabetes and an at-risk prediabetes population using EHR data. A patient’s ED/UC visit, regardless of their primary reason for seeking care, may be an opportunity to provide early identification and diabetes disease management enrollment to augment the medical care of our community.

Acute Kidney Injury After CT in Emergency Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Propensity Score-matched Analysis

Introduction: Acute kidney injury (AKI) after intravenous contrast administration for computed tomography (CT) occurs infrequently, but certain patients may be susceptible. This study evaluated AKI incidence among emergency department (ED) patients with pre-existing chronic kidney disease (CKD) undergoing CT exams.

Methods: This retrospective cohort study in an integrated healthcare system included ED patients previously diagnosed with CKD stages 3-5 (estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 milliliters per minute per 1.73 meters squared over at least three months), undergoing CT exams with or without intravenous contrast, from January 1, 2013–December 31, 2017. We excluded patients with CT prior to (30 days) or following (14 days) index CT and missing serum creatinine (sCr) measurements. We applied propensity score matching, and then multivariable regression adjustment for post-CT ED disposition and ED diagnosis, to calculate adjusted risk of AKI. Secondary patient-centered outcomes included 30-day mortality, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) diagnosis, and dialysis initiation.

Results: Among 103,573 eligible ED patients undergoing CT, propensity score matching yielded 5,589 pairs. Adjusted risk ratio (ARR) for AKI was higher overall for contrast-enhanced CT (1.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.43-1.79). However, secondary outcomes were infrequent: 19/5,589 non-contrast vs 40/5,589 contrast patients with new dialysis initiation at 30 days (adjusted risk 0.3% vs 0.7%; adjusted risk reduction 0.4%; 95% CI, 0.1%-0.7%).

Conclusion: In ED patients with chronic kidney disease undergoing CT, intravenous contrast was associated with higher overall adjusted risk of AKI, but patient-centered secondary outcomes were rare. The clinical significance of transient kidney injury after CT is unclear, although patients with advanced chronic kidney disease appear to have elevated risk.

  • 1 supplemental file

Utility Of An Emergency Department Clinical Protocol For Early Identification of Coronavirus Infection

Introduction: We assessed the utility of an emergency department (ED) protocol using clinical parameters to rapidly distinguish likelihood of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) infection; the applicability aimed to stratify infectious-risk pre-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results and accurately guide early patient cohorting decisions.

Methods: We performed this prospective study over a two-month period during the initial surge of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in a busy urban ED of patients presenting with respiratory symptoms who were admitted for in-patient care. Per protocol, each patient received assessment consisting of five clinical parameters: presence of fever; hypoxia; cough; shortness of breath/dyspnea; and performance of a chest radiograph to assess for bilateral pulmonary infiltrates. All patients received nasopharyngeal COVID-19 PCR testing.

Results: Of 283 patients studied, 221 (78%) were PCR+ and 62 (22%) PCR-. Chest radiograph revealed bilateral pulmonary infiltrates in 85%, which was significantly more common in PCR+ (94%) vs PCR- (52%) patients (P < 0.0001). The rate of manifesting all five positive clinical parameters was significantly greater in PCR+ (63%) vs PCR- (6.5%) patients (P < 0.0001). For PCR+ outcome, the presence of all five positive clinical parameters had a specificity of 94%, positive predictive value of 98%, and positive likelihood ratio of 10.

Conclusions: Using an ED protocol to rapidly assess five clinical parameters accurately distinguishes likelihood of COVID-19 infection prior to PCR test results, and can be used to augment early patient cohorting decisions.

Ultrasound Hypotension Protocol Time-motion Study Using the Multifrequency Single Transducer Versus a Multiple Transducer Ultrasound Device

Introduction: Ultrasound hypotension protocols (UHP) involve imaging multiple body areas, each with different transducers and imaging presets. The time for task switching between presets and transducers to perform an UHP has not been previously studied. A novel hand-carried ultrasound (HCU) has been developed that uses a multifrequency single transducer to image areas of the body (lung, heart, abdomen, superficial) that would typically require three transducers using a traditional cart-based ultrasound (CBU) system. Our primary aim was to compare the time to complete UHPs with a single transducer HCU to a multiple transducer CBU.

Methods: We performed a randomized, crossover feasibility trial in the emergency department of an urban, safety-net hospital. This was a convenience sample of non-hypotensive emergency department patients presenting during a two-month period of time. Ultrasound hypotension protocols were performed by emergency physicians (EP) on patients using the HCU and the CBU. The EPs collected UHP views in sequential order using the most appropriate transducer and preset for the area/organ to be imaged. Time to complete each view, time for task switching, total time to complete the examination, and image diagnostic quality were recorded.

Results: A total of 29 patients were scanned by one of eight EPs. When comparing the HCU to the CBU, the median time to complete the UHP was 4.3 vs 8.5 minutes (P <0.0001), respectively.  When the transport and plugin times were excluded, the median times were 4.1 vs 5.8 minutes (P <0.0001), respectively. There was no difference in the diagnostic quality of images obtained by the two devices.

Conclusion: Ultrasound hypotension protocols were performed significantly faster using the single transducer HCU compared to a multiple transducer CBU with no difference in the number of images deemed to be diagnostic quality.

Performance of Emergency Heart Failure Mortality Risk Grade in the Emergency Department

Introduction: The purpose of this study was to validate and assess the performance of the Emergency Heart Failure Mortality Risk Grade (EHMRG) to predict seven-day mortality in US patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) with acute congestive heart failure (CHF) exacerbation.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review on patients presenting to the ED with acute CHF exacerbation between January 2014–January 2016 across eight EDs in New York. We identified patients using codes from the International Classification of Diseases, 9th and 10 Revisions, or who were diagnosed with CHF in the ED. Inclusion criteria were patients ≥ 18 years of age who presented to the ED for acute CHF. Exclusion criteria included the following: end-stage renal disease related heart failure; < 18 years of age; pregnancy; palliative care; renal failure; and “do not resuscitate” directive. The primary outcome was seven-day mortality. We used mixed-effects logistic regression models to estimate C-statistics and continuous net reclassification index for events and nonevents.

Results: We identified 3,320 ED visits associated with suspected CHF among 2,495 unique patients. Of the 3,320 ED visits, 94.7% patients were admitted to the hospital and 3.4% were discharged. The median age was 78.6 (interquartile range 68.01 - 86.76). There was an overall seven-day mortality of 2%, an inpatient mortality rate of 2.4%, and no mortality among the discharge group. Adding EHMRG to the risk prediction model improved the C-statistic (from 0.748 to 0.772) and led to a higher degree of reclassification for both events and nonevents.

Conclusion: The EHMRG can be used as a valuable and effective screening tool in the US while considering disposition decision for patients with acute CHF exacerbation. Emergency medical services transport and metolazone use is much higher in the US population as compared to the Canadian population. We observed minimal to no short-term mortality among discharged CHF patients from the ED.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Increased Emergency Department Hallway Length of Stay is Associated with Development of Delirium

Introduction: Our study aimed to determine 1) the association between time spent in the emergency department (ED) hallway and the development of delirium and 2) the hospital location of delirium development.

Methods: This single-center, retrospective chart review included patients 18+ years old admitted to the hospital after presenting, without baseline cognitive impairment, to the ED in 2018. We identified the Delirium group by the following: key words describing delirium; orders for psychotropics, special observation, and restraints; or documented positive Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) screen. The Control group included patients not meeting delirium criteria. We used a multivariable logistic regression model, while adjusting for confounders, to assess the odds of delirium development associated with percentage of ED LOS spent in the hallway.

Results: A total of 25,156 patients met inclusion criteria with 1920 (7.6%) meeting delirium criteria. Delirium group vs. Control group patients spent a greater percentage of time in the ED hallway (median 50.5% vs 10.8%, P<0.001); had longer ED LOS (median 11.94 vs 8.12 hours, P<0.001); had more ED room transfers (median 5 vs 4, P<0.001); and had longer hospital LOS (median 5.0 vs 4.6 days, P<0.001). Patients more frequently developed delirium in the ED (77.5%) than on inpatient units (22.5%). The relative odds of a patient developing delirium increased by 3.31 times for each percent increase in ED hallway time (95% confidence interval, 2.85, 3.83).

Conclusion: Patients with delirium had more ED hallway exposure, longer ED LOS, and more ED room transfers. Understanding delirium in the ED has substantial implications for improving patient safety.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Provider Antibody Serology Study of Virus in the Emergency Room (PASSOVER) Study: Special Population COVID-19 Seroprevalence

Introduction: Limited data on the seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) among healthcare workers (HCW) are publicly available. In this study we sought to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in a population of HCWs in a pediatric emergency department (ED).

Methods: We conducted this observational cohort study from April 14–May 13, 2020 in a pediatric ED in Orange County, CA. Asymptomatic HCW ≥18 years of age were included in the study. Blood samples were obtained by fingerstick at the start of each shift. The inter-sampling interval was ≤96 hours. The primary outcome was positive seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 as determined with an antibody fast detection kit (Colloidal Gold, Superbio, Timisoara, Romania) for the SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin M/immunoglobulin G (IgM/IgG) antibody.

Results: A total of 143 HCWs participated in the study. Overall SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 10.5% (n = 15). Positive seroprevalence was classified as IgG only (4.9%), IgM+IgG (3.5%), or IgM only (2.1%). SARS-CoV-2 was detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction RT-PCR in 0.7% of the overall study population (n = 1). Samples obtained on Day 1 indicated seropositivity in 4.2% of the study population (n = 6). Subsequent seroconversion occurred in 6.3% of participants (n = 9). The rate of seroconversion was linear with a rate of approximately one new case every two days, starting at Day 9 of the study.

Conclusion: We observed a linear rate of seroconversion to SARS-CoV-2–positive status among asymptomatic HCWs who underwent daily symptom surveys and temperature screens in an environment with universal source control. Rapid antibody testing may be useful for screening for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity in high-risk populations, such as HCWs in the ED.

Review Article (Limit 4000 words)

Sternal Intraosseous Devices: Review of the Literature

Introduction: The intraosseous (IO) route is one of the primary means of vascular access in critically ill and injured patients. The most common sites used are the proximal humerus, proximal tibia, and sternum. Sternal IO placement remains an often-overlooked option in emergency and prehospital medicine. Due to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq the use of sternal IOs have increased.

Methods: The authors conducted a limited review, searching PubMed and Google Scholar databases for “sternal IO,” “sternal intraosseous,” and “intraosseous” without specific date limitations. A total of 47 articles were included in this review.

Results: Sternal IOs are currently FDA approved for ages 12 and older. Sternal IO access offers several anatomical, pharmacokinetic, hemodynamic, and logistical advantages over peripheral intravenous and other IO points of access. Sternal IO use carries many of the same risks and limitations as the humeral and tibial sites. Sternal IO gravity flow rates are sufficient for transfusing blood and resuscitation. In addition, studies demonstrated they are safe during active CPR.

Conclusion: The sternal IO route remains underutilized in civilian settings. When considering IO vascular access in adults or older children, medical providers should consider the sternum as the recommended IO access, particularly if the user is a novice with IO devices, increased flow rates are required, the patient has extremity trauma, or administration of a lipid soluble drug is anticipated.

Educational Advances (Limit 4000 words)

Help Us Help You: Engaging Emergency Physicians to Identify Organizational Strategies to Reduce Burnout

Introduction: Burnout is a major threat to patient care quality and physician career longevity in emergency medicine. We sought to develop and implement a quality improvement process to engage emergency department (ED) faculty in identifying sources of burnout and generating interventions targeted at improving the work environment.

Methods: In this prospective interventional study conducted at a large, urban, academic medical center, we surveyed a 60-person faculty group using the Professional Fulfilment Index (PFI), as well as burnout-relevant questions from the American Medical Association’s Mini-Z survey and the Maslach-Leiter framework for organizational burnout, in order to identify organizational sources of burnout. We assessed the relationship between burnout scores and responses to the Maslach-Leiter framework using univariate regression analysis. In a two-hour facilitated session, we shared survey results and led the group in a process using the six Maslach-Leiter domains to develop a rank-ordered list of interventions to reduce burnout in each domain.

Results: In total, 47 of 60 faculty (78.3%) completed the survey and 45 faculty (75%) attended the discussion session. Of the 47 survey respondents, 14 (30%) met criteria for moderate to severe burnout. The respondents’ answers to the Maslach-Leiter organizational burnout domain questions were significantly correlated with their burnout scores (P <0.001). Session attendees generated 31 potential interventions for process improvement, which were analyzed and thematically organized. Common intervention themes included reducing documentation burden, receiving more positive feedback on patient care, improving ease of obtaining consults, decreasing ED crowding, and increasing intrafaculty social connection. Interventions were subsequently reviewed and scored based on relative importance and feasibility to create a departmental action plan for process improvement.

Conclusion: Using the Maslach-Leiter organizational burnout framework, in conjunction with a facilitated solution-oriented faculty discussion, led to the creation of a departmental agenda focused on organizational solutions for augmenting professional fulfillment and reducing burnout. We propose that this process can be used by healthcare organizations to engage physicians and others in efforts to improve their work experiences, which in turn is likely also to support the provision of higher quality of care.

Systems of Medicine (Limit 4000 words)

Establishment of an Alternate Care Site (ACS) in Imperial County During COVID-19

Imperial County is in southern California, one of the state’s two counties at the international United States-Mexico border. The county is one of the most resource-limited in the state, with only two hospitals serving its 180,000 citizens, and no tertiary care centers. A significant portion of the population cared for at the local hospitals commutes from Mexicali, a large city of 1.2 million persons, just south of Imperial County’s ports of entry. Since May 2020, following an outbreak in Mexicali, Imperial County has seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, quickly outpacing its local resources. In response to this surge an alternate care site (ACS) was created as part of a collaboration between the California State Emergency Medical Service Authority (EMSA) and the county. In the first month of operations (May 26–June 26, 2020) the ACS received 106 patients with an average length of stay of 3.6 days. The average patient age was 55.5 years old with a range of 19-95 years. Disposition of patients included 25.5% sent to the emergency department for acute care needs, 1.8% who left against medical advice, and 72.7% who were discharged home or to a skilled nursing facility. There were no deaths on site. This study shares early experiences, challenges, and innovations created with the implementation of this ACS. Improving communication with local partners was the single most significant step in overcoming initial barriers.