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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 15, Issue 1, 2014

Ethical and Legal Issues

Effect of a Regional Dedicated Psychiatric Emergency Service on Boarding and Hospitalization of Psychiatric Patients in Area Emergency Departments

Introduction: Mental health patients boarding for long hours, even days, in United States emergency departments (EDs) awaiting transfer for psychiatric services has become a considerable and widespread problem. Past studies have shown average boarding times ranging from 6.8 hours to 34 hours. Most proposed solutions to this issue have focused solely on increasing available inpatient psychiatric hospital beds, rather than considering alternative emergency care designs that could provide prompt access to treatment and might reduce the need for many hospitalizations. One suggested option has been the “regional dedicated emergency psychiatric facility,” which serves to evaluate and treat all mental health patients for a given area, and can accept direct transfers from other EDs. This study sought to assess the effects of a regional dedicated emergency psychiatric facility design known at the “Alameda Model” on boarding times and hospitalization rates for psychiatric patients in area EDs. Methods: Over a 30-day period beginning in January 2013, 5 community hospitals in Alameda County, California, tracked all ED patients on involuntary mental health holds to determine boarding time, defined as the difference between when they were deemed stable for psychiatric disposition and the time they were discharged from the ED for transfer to the regional psychiatric emergency service. Patients were also followed to determine the percentage admitted to inpatient psychiatric units after evaluation and treatment in the psychiatric emergency service.Results: In a total sample of 144 patients, the average boarding time was approximately 1 hour and 48 minutes. Only 24.8% were admitted for inpatient psychiatric hospitalization from the psychiatric emergency service. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that the Alameda Model of transferring patients from general hospital EDs to a regional psychiatric emergency service reduced the length of boarding times for patients awaiting psychiatric care by over 80% versus comparable state ED averages. Additionally, the psychiatric emergency service can provide assessment and treatment that may stabilize over 75% of the crisis mental health population at this level of care, thus dramatically alleviating the demand for inpatient psychiatric beds. The improved, timely access to care, along with the savings from reduced boarding times and hospitalization costs, may well justify the costs of a regional psychiatric emergency service in appropriate systems. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):1–6.]

Increasing Suicide Rates Among Middle-age Persons and Interventions to Manage Patients with Psychiatric Complaints: In conjunction with the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published significant data and trends related to suicide rates in the United States (U.S.). Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in U.S. adults, and rates are increasing across all geographic regions. There is a significant increase in the suicide rate among adults in the 35-64 age range. We present findings from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) with commentary on current resources and barriers to psychiatric care. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):11–13.]

Patient Attitudes Regarding Consent for Emergency Department Computed Tomographies

Introduction: Little is known about patient attitudes towards informed consent for computed tomography (CT) in the emergency department (ED). We set out to determine ED patient attitudes about providing informed consent for CTs.Methods: In this cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey study, we evaluated a convenience sample of patients’ attitudes about providing informed consent for having a CT at 2 institutional sites. Historically, at our institutional network, patients received a CT at approximately 25% of their ED visits. The survey consisted of 17 “yes/no” or multiple-choice questions. The primary outcome question was “which type of informed consent do you feel is appropriate for a CT in the Emergency Department?”Results: We analyzed 300 survey responses, which represented a 90% return rate of surveys distributed. Seventy-seven percent thought they should give their consent prior to receiving a CT, and 95% were either comfortable or very comfortable with their physician making the decision regarding whether they needed a CT. Forty percent of the patients felt that a general consent was appropriate before receiving a CT in the ED, while 34% thought a verbal consent was appropriate and 15% percent thought a written consent was appropriate. Seventy-two percent of the ED patients didn’t expect to receive a CT during their ED visit and 30% of the ED patients had previously provided consent prior to receiving a CT. Conclusion: Most patients feel comfortable letting the doctor make the decision regarding the need for a CT. Most ED patients feel informed consent should occur before receiving a CT but only a minority feel the consent should be written and specific to the test. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):14–19.]

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Prognosis for Emergency Physician with Substance Abuse Recovery: 5-year Outcome Study

Introduction: Emergency physicians (EPs) are reported to have a higher rate of substance use disorder (SUD) than most specialties, although little is known about their prognosis. We examined the outcomes of emergency physician compared to other physicians in the treatment of substance use disorders in Physician Health Programs (PHP).

Methods: This study used the dataset from a 5-year, longitudinal, cohort study involving 904 physicians with diagnoses of SUD consecutively admitted to one of 16 state PHPs between 1995 and 2001. We compared 56 EPs to 724 other physicians. Main outcome variables were rates of relapse, successful completion of monitoring, and return to clinical practice.

Results: EPs had a higher than expected rate of SUD (odds ratio [OR] 2.7 confidence interval [CI]: 2.1–3.5, p,0.001). Half of each group (49% of EPs and 50% of the others) enrolled in a PHP due to alcohol-related problems. Over a third of each group (38% of EPs and 34% of the others) enrolled due to opioid use. During monitoring by the PHPs, 13% of EPs had at least one positive drug test compared to 22% of the other physicians; however, this difference was not significant (p¼0.13). At the end of the 5-year follow-up period, 71% of EPs and 64% of other physicians had completed their contracts and were no longer required to be monitored (OR 1.4 [CI: 0.8-2.6], p ¼ 0.31). The study found that the proportion of EPs (84%) continuing their medical practice was generally as high as that of other physicians (72%) (OR 2.0 [CI: 1.0–4.1], p ¼ 0.06).

Conclusion: In the study EPs did very well in the PHPs with an 84% success rate in completion and return to clinical practice at 5 years. Of the 3 outcome variables measured, rates of relapse, successful completion of monitoring, and return to clinical practice, EPs had a high rate of success on all variables compared to the other physician cohort. These data support the conclusion that EM physicians do well following treatment of SUD with monitoring in PHPs and generally return to the practice of emergency medicine. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):20–25.]

Technology in Emergency Care

Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices: Recommendations from the Council of Residency Directors Social Media Task Force

Social media has become a staple of everyday life among over one billion people worldwide. A social networking presence has become a hallmark of vibrant and transparent communications. It has quickly become the preferred method of communication and information sharing. It offers the ability for various entities, especially residency programs, to create an attractive internet presence and “brand” the program. Social media, while having significant potential for communication and knowledge transfer, carries with it legal, ethical, personal, and professional risks. Implementation of a social networking presence must be deliberate, transparent, and optimize potential benefits while minimizing risks. This is especially true with residency programs. The power of social media as a communication, education, and recruiting tool is undeniable. Yet the pitfalls of misuse can be disastrous, including violations in patient confidentiality, violations of privacy, and recruiting misconduct. These guidelines were developed to provide emergency medicine residency programs leadership with guidance and best practices in the appropriate use and regulation of social media, but are applicable to all residency programs that wish to establish a social media presence. [West JEmerg Med. 2014;15(1):26–30.]

Betrayed Mood in Public View: Taking a MySpace History

Social networking sites (SNS), the modern mainstay of adolescent expression, may provide vital information to physicians. The Emergency Department (ED) is a setting where SNS may be helpful. A reticent 19-year-old in the ED prompted a search for pertinent information on the Internet, where a profile on relayed a troubled post. The patient was admitted for psychiatric evaluation due to intentional overdose. These SNS may provide a venue for physicians to learn about risky behaviors and life stressors that would help identify underlying medical issues in young adults. We provide a guideline on how to utilize SNS with privacy rights in mind. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):31–34.]

Patient Impression and Satisfaction of a Self-administered, Automated Medical History Taking Device in the Emergency Department

Introduction: We evaluated patient impressions and satisfaction of an innovative self-administered, hand-held touch-screen tablet to gather detailed medical information from emergency department (ED) patients in the waiting room prior to physician contact.

Methods: Adult, medically stable patients presenting to the ED at Los Angeles County Hospital used the PatientTouche system to answer a series of questions about their current history of present illness and past medical/surgical histories in English or Spanish. Patients then completed a survey rating their experience.

Results: Among 173 participants, opinion of PatientTouche was strongly positive; 93.6% (95%CI 90.0–97.3%) felt the physical product was easy to hold and handle, and 97.1% (94.6–99.6%) felt the questions were detailed enough for them to fully describe their condition; 97.8% (95.4–100.0%) felt using PatientTouche would help them organize their thoughts and communicate better with their physician, 94.8% (91.4–98.1%) thought it would improve the quality of their care, and 97.1% (94.6– 99.6%) expressed desire to use the product again in the future.

Conclusion: The study was conducted at a largely Hispanic county ED, and only patients with 1 of 6 pre-determined chief complaints participated. We did not include a control group to assess if perceived improvements in communication translated to measurable differences. In this pilot study, patients were highly satisfied with all aspects of the PatientTouche self-administered, hand-held, touch-screen tablet. Importantly, subjects felt it would help them better communicate with their doctor, would improve their overall quality of care and overwhelmingly expressed a desire to use it in the future. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):35–40.]

Sensitivity of Emergency Bedside Ultrasound to Detect Hydronephrosis in Patients with Computed Tomography-proven Stones

Introduction: Non-contrast computed tomography (CT) is widely regarded as the gold standard for diagnosis of urolithiasis in emergency department (ED) patients. However, it is costly, time-consuming and exposes patients to significant doses of ionizing radiation. Hydronephrosis on bedside ultrasound is a sign of a ureteral stone, and has a reported sensitivity of 72-83% for identification of unilateral hydronephrosis when compared to CT. The purpose of this study was to evaluate trends in sensitivity related to stone size and number. Methods: This was a structured, explicit, retrospective chart review. Two blinded investigators used reviewed charts of all adult patients over a 6-month period with a final diagnosis of renal colic. Of these charts, those with CT evidence of renal calculus by attending radiologist read were examined for results of bedside ultrasound performed by an emergency physician. We included only those patient encounters with both CT-proven renal calculi and documented bedside ultrasound results. Results: 125 patients met inclusion criteria. The overall sensitivity of ultrasound for detection of hydronephrosis was 78.4% [95% confidence interval (CI)=70.2-85.3%]. The overall sensitivity of a positive ultrasound finding of either hydronephrosis or visualized stones was 82.4% [95%CI: 75.6%, 89.2%]. Based on a prior assumption that ultrasound would detect hydronephrosis more often in patients with larger stones, we found a statistically significant (p = 0.016) difference in detecting hydronephrosis in patients with a stone ≥6mm (sensitivity=90% [95% CI=82-98%]) compared to a stone <6mm (sensitivity=75% [95% CI=65-86%]). For those with 3 or more stones, sensitivity was 100% [95% CI=63-100%]. There were no patients with stones ≥6mm that had both a negative ultrasound and lack of hematuria.Conclusion: In a population with CT-proven urolithiasis, ED bedside ultrasonography had similar overall sensitivity to previous reports but showed better sensitivity with increasing stone size and number. We identified 100% of patients with stones ≥6mm that would benefit from medical expulsive therapy by either the presence of hematuria or abnormal ultrasound findings. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):96–100.]

Treatment Protocol Assessment

Meta-analysis of Protocolized Goal-Directed Hemodynamic Optimization for the Management of Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock in the Emergency Department.

Introduction: To perform a meta-analysis identifying studies instituting protocolized hemodynamic optimization in the emergency department (ED) for patients with severe sepsis and septic shock.

Methods: We modeled the structure of this analysis after the QUORUM and MOOSE published recommendations for scientific reviews. A computer search to identify articles was performed from 1980 to present. Studies included for analysis were adult controlled trials implementing protocolizedhemodynamic optimization in the ED for patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. Primary outcome data was extracted and analyzed by 2 reviewers with the primary endpoint being short-term mortality reported either as 28-day or in-hospital mortality.

Results: We identified 1,323 articles with 65 retrieved for review. After application of inclusion and exclusion criteria 25 studies (15 manuscripts, 10 abstracts) were included for analysis (n¼9597). The mortality rate for patients receiving protocolized hemodynamic optimization (n¼6031) was 25.8% contrasted to 41.6% in control groups (n¼3566, p,0.0001).

Conclusion: Protocolized hemodynamic optimization in the ED for patients with severe sepsis and septic shock appears to reduce mortality. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):51–59.]

The Shock Index as a Predictor of Vasopressor Use in Emergency Department Patients with Severe Sepsis

Introduction: Severe sepsis is a leading cause of non-coronary death in hospitals across the United States. Early identification and risk stratification in the emergency department (ED) is difficult because there is limited ability to predict escalation of care. In this study we evaluated if a sustained shock index (SI) elevation in the ED was a predictor of short-term cardiovascular collapse, defined as vasopressor dependence within 72 hours of initial presentation.

Methods: Retrospective dual-centered cross-sectional study using patients identified in the Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Medicine sepsis registry.

Results: We included 295 patients in the study with 47.5% (n¼140) having a sustained SI elevation in the ED. Among patients with a sustained SI elevation, 38.6% (54 of 140) required vasopressors within 72 hours of ED admission contrasted to 11.6% (18 of 155) without a sustained SI elevation (p¼0.0001; multivariate modeling OR 4.42 with 95% confidence intervals 2.28-8.55). In the SI elevation group the mean number of organ failures was 4.0 6 2.1 contrasted to 3.2 6 1.6 in the non-SI elevation group (p¼0.0001).

Conclusion: ED patients with severe sepsis and a sustained SI elevation appear to have higher rates of short-term vasopressor use, and a greater number of organ failures contrasted to patients without a sustained SI elevation. An elevated SI may be a useful modality to identify patients with severe sepsis at risk for disease escalation and cardiovascular collapse. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):60–66.]

Predictors of Unattempted Central Venous Catheterization in Septic Patients Eligible for Early Goal-directed Therapy

Introduction: Central venous catheterization (CVC) can be an important component of the management of patients with severe sepsis and septic shock. CVC, however, is a time- and resource-intensive procedure associated with serious complications. The effects of the absence of shock or the presence of relative contraindications on undertaking central line placement in septic emergency department (ED) patients eligible for early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) have not been well described. We sought to determine the association of relative normotension (sustained systolic blood pressure >90 mmHg independent of or in response to an initial crystalloid resuscitation of 20 mL/kg), obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥30), moderate thrombocytopenia (platelet count <50,000 per μL), and coagulopathy (international normalized ratio ≥2.0) with unattempted CVC in EGDT-eligible patients. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of 421 adults who met EGDT criteria in 5 community EDs over a period of 13 months. We compared patients with attempted thoracic (internal jugular or subclavian) CVC with those who did not undergo an attempted thoracic line. We also compared patients with any attempted CVC (either thoracic or femoral) with those who did not undergo any attempted central line. We used multivariate logistic regression analysis to calculate adjusted odd ratios (AORs). Results: In our study, 364 (86.5%) patients underwent attempted thoracic CVC and 57 (13.5%) did not. Relative normotension was significantly associated with unattempted thoracic CVC (AOR 2.6 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.6-4.3), as were moderate thrombocytopenia (AOR 3.9; 95% CI, 1.5-10.1) and coagulopathy (AOR 2.7; 95% CI, 1.3-5.6). When assessing for attempted catheterization of any central venous site (thoracic or femoral), 382 (90.7%) patients underwent attempted catheterization and 39 (9.3%) patients did not. Relative normotension (AOR 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2-4.5) and moderate thrombocytopenia (AOR 3.9; 95% CI, 1.5-10.3) were significantly associated with unattempted CVC, whereas coagulopathy was not (AOR 0.6; 95% CI, 0.2-1.8). Obesity was not significantly associated with unattempted CVC, either thoracic in location or at any site. Conclusion: Septic patients eligible for EGDT with relative normotension and those with moderate thrombocytopenia were less likely to undergo attempted CVC at any site. Those with coagulopathy were also less likely to undergo attempted thoracic central line placement. Knowledge of the decision-making calculus at play for physicians considering central venous catheterization in this population can help inform physician education and performance improvement programs. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):67–75.]

Emergency Department Operations

Importance of Hospital Entry: Walk-in STEMI and Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Introduction: Patients with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) require rapid identification and triage to initiate reperfusion therapy. Walk-in STEMI patients have longer treatment times compared to emergency medical service (EMS) transported patients. While effective triage of large numbers of critically ill patients in the emergency department is often cited as the reason for treatment delays, additional factors have not been explored. The purpose of this study was to evaluate baseline demographic and clinical differences between walk-in and EMS-transported STEMI patients and identify factors associated with prolonged door to balloon (D2B) time in walk-in STEMI patients.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of 136 STEMI patients presenting to an urban academic teaching center from January 2009 through December, 2010. Baseline demographics, mode of hospital entry (walk-in versus EMS transport), treatment times, angiographic findings, procedures performed and in-hospital clinical events were collected. We compared walk-in and EMS-transported STEMI patients and identified independent factors of prolonged D2B time for walk-in patients using stepwise logistic regression analysis.

Results: Walk-in patients (n=51) were more likely to be Latino and presented with a higher heart rate, higher systolic blood pressure, prior history of diabetes mellitus and were more likely to have an elevated initial troponin value, compared to EMS-transported patients. EMS-transported patients (n=64) were more likely to be white and had a higher prevalence of left main coronary artery disease, compared to walk-in patients. Door to electrocardiogram (ECG), ECG to catheterization laboratory (CL) activation and D2B times were significantly longer for walk-in patients. Walk-in patients were more likely to have D2B time > 90 minutes, compared to EMS- transported patients; odds ratio 3.53 (95% CI 1.03, 12.07), p = 0.04.  Stepwise logistic regression identified hospital entry mode as the only independent predictor for prolonged D2B time.

Conclusion: Baseline differences exist between walk-in and EMS-transported STEMI patients undergoing primary PCI. Hospital entry mode was the most important predictor for prolonged treatment times for primary PCI, independent of age, Latino ethnicity, heart rate, systolic blood pressure and initial troponin value. Prolonged door to ECG and ECG to CL activation times are modifiable factors associated with prolonged treatment times in walk-in STEMI patients. In addition to promoting the use of EMS transport, efforts are needed to rapidly identify and expedite the triage of walk-in STEMI patients. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):81–87.]

A Comparison of Procedural Sedation for the Reduction of Dislocated Total Hip Arthroplasty

Introduction: Various types of sedation can be used for the reduction of a dislocated total hip arthroplasty. Traditionally, an Opiate/Benzodiazepine combination has been employed. The use of other pharmacologic agents, such as Etomidate and Propofol, has more recently gained popularity. Currently no studies directly comparing these sedation agents have been carried out.  The purpose of this study is to compare differences in reduction and sedation outcomes including recovery times of these three different sedation agents.

Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed examining 198 patient’s charts who presented with dislocated total hip arthroplasty at two academic affiliated medical centers. The patients were organized into groups according to the type of sedation agent used during their reduction. The percentages of reduction and sedation complications were calculated along with overall recovery times. Reduction complications included fracture, skin or neurovascular injury, and failure of reduction requiring general anesthesia. Sedation complications included use of bag-valve mask and artificial airway, intubation, prolonged recovery, use of a reversal agent, and inability to achieve sedation. The data were then compared for each sedation agent.

Results: The reduction complications rates found were 8.7% in the Propofol group, 24.68% in the Etomidate, and 28.85% in the Opiate/Benzodiazepine groups. The reduction complication rate in the Propofol group was significantly different than those of the other two agents (p≤0.01). Sedation complications were found to happen 7.25% of the time in the Propofol group, 11.69% in the Etomidate group, and 21.25% in the Opiate/ Benzodiazepine group with Propofol having complication rates significantly different than that of the Opiate/Benzodiazepine group (p=0.02). Average lengths of recovery were 25.17 minutes for Propofol, 30.83 minutes for Etomidate, and 44.35 minutes for Opiate/ Benzodiazepine with Propofol averaging a significantly less recovery time than the Opiate/Benzodiazepine group (p=0.05).

Conclusions: For the purpose of reducing a dislocated total hip arthroplasty under conscious sedation, Propofol appears to have fewer complications and a trend of more rapid recovery than both Etomidate and Opiate/Benzodiazepine. Etomidate does appear to have some advantages over Opiate/Benzodiazepine regarding sedation complications and recovery time; however its rate of reduction complications was similar. This preliminary data supports the use of Propofol as the first line agent for procedural sedation of dislocated total hip arthroplasty as it may lead to few complications and shorter stays in the emergency department.

The July Effect: Is Emergency Department Length of Stay Greater at the Beginning of the Hospital Academic Year?

Introduction: There has been concern of increased emergency department (ED) length of stay (LOS) during the months when new residents are orienting to their roles. This so-called “July Effect” has long been thought to increase LOS, and potentially contribute to hospital overcrowding and increased waiting time for patients. The objective of this study is to determine if the average ED LOS at the beginning of the hospital academic year differs for teaching hospitals with residents in the ED, when compared to other months of the year, and as compared to non-teaching hospitals without residents.Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of a nationally representative sample of 283,621 ED visits from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS), from 2001 to 2008. We stratified the sample by proportion of visits seen by a resident, and compared July to the rest of the year, July to June, and July and August to the remainder of the year. We compared LOS for teaching hospitals to non-teaching hospitals. We used bivariate statistics, and multivariable regression modeling to adjust for covariates.Results: Our findings show that at teaching hospitals with residents, there is no significant difference in mean LOS for the month of July (275 minutes) versus the rest of the year (259 min), July and August versus the rest of the year, or July versus June. Non-teaching hospital control samples yielded similar results with no significant difference in LOS for the same time periods. There was a significant difference found in mean LOS at teaching hospitals (260 minutes) as compared to non-teaching hospitals (185 minutes) throughout the year (p<0.0001).Conclusion: Teaching hospitals with residents in the ED have slower throughput of patients, no matter what time of year. Thus, the “July Effect” does not appear to a factor in ED LOS. This has implications as overcrowding and patient boarding become more of a concern in our increasingly busy EDs. These results question the need for additional staffing early in the academic year. Teaching hospitals may already institute more robust staffing during this time, preventing any significant increase in LOS. Multiple factors contribute to long stays in the ED. While patients seen by residents stay longer in the ED, there is little variability throughout the academic year. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):88–93.]


Impact of Learners on Emergency Medicine Attending Physician Productivity

Introduction: Several prior studies have examined the impact of learners (medical students or residents) on overall emergency department (ED) flow as well as the impact of resident training level on the number of patients seen by residents per hour. No study to date has specifically examined the impact of learners on emergency medicine (EM) attending physician productivity, with regards to patients per hour (PPH). We sought to evaluate whether learners increase, decrease, or have no effect on the productivity of EM attending physicians in a teaching program with one student or resident per attending.Methods: This was a retrospective database review of an urban, academic tertiary care center with 3 separate teams on the acute care side of the ED. Each team was staffed with one attending physician paired with either one resident, one medical student or with no learners. All shifts from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2010 were reviewed using an electronic database. We predefined a shift as “Resident” if > 5 patients were seen by a resident, “Medical Student” if any patients were seen by a medical student, and “No Learners” if no patients were seen by a medical student or resident. Shifts were removed from analysis if more than one learner saw patients during the shift. We further stratified resident shifts by EM training level or off-service rotator. For each type of shift, the total number of patients seen by the attending physician was then divided by 8 hours (shift duration) to arrive at number of patients per hour. Results: We analyzed a total of 7,360 shifts with 2,778 removed due to multiple learners on a team. For the 2,199 shifts with attending physicians with no learners, the average number of PPH was 1.87(95% confidence interval [CI] 1.86,1.89).  For the 514 medical student shifts, the average PPH was 1.87(95% CI 1.84,1.90), p = 0.99 compared with attending with no learner. For the 1,935 resident shifts, the average PPH was 1.99(95% CI 1.97,2.00). Compared with attending physician with no learner, attending physicians with a resident saw more PPH (1.99 vs 1.87, p< 0.005). There was no statistically significant difference found between EM1: 1.98PPH, EM2: 1.99PPH, EM3: 1.99PPH, and off-service rotators: 1.99PPH. Conclusion: EM attending physicians paired with a resident in a one-on-one teaching model saw statistically significantly more patients per hour (0.12 more patients per hour) than EM attending physicians alone. EM attending physicians paired with a medical student saw the same number of patients per hour compared with working alone. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):41–44.]

Correlation of the Emergency Medicine Resident In-Service Examination with the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine Part I

Introduction: Eligible residents during their fourth postgraduate year (PGY-4) of emergency medicine (EM) residency training who seek specialty board certification in emergency medicine may take the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM) Part 1 Board Certifying Examination (AOBEM Part 1). All residents enrolled in an osteopathic EM residency training program are required to take the EM Resident In-service Examination (RISE) annually. Our aim was to correlate resident performance on the RISE with performance on the AOBEM Part 1. The study group consisted of osteopathic EM residents in their PGY-4 year of training who took both examinations during that same year.

Methods: We examined data from 2009 to 2012 from the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). The NBOME grades and performs statistical analyses on both the RISE and the AOBEM Part 1. We used the RISE exam scores, as reported by percentile rank, and compared them to both the score on the AOBEM Part 1 and the dichotomous outcome of passing or failing. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was generated to depict the relationship.

Results: We studied a total of 409 residents over the 4-year period. The RISE percentile score correlated strongly with the AOBEM Part 1 score for residents who took both exams in the same year (r¼0.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.54 to 0.66). Pass percentage on the AOBEM Part 1 increased by resident percent decile on the RISE from 0% in the bottom decile to 100% in the top decile. ROC analysis also showed that the best cutoff for determining pass or fail on the AOBEM Part 1 was a 65th percentile score on the RISE.

Conclusion: We have shown there is a strong correlation between a resident’s percentile score on the RISE during their PGY-4 year of residency training and first-time success on the AOBEM Part 1 taken during the same year. This information may be useful for osteopathic EM residents as an indicator as to how well prepared they are for the AOBEM Part 1 Board Certifying Examination. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):45–50.]

Should Osteopathic Students Applying to Allopathic Emergency Medicine Programs Take the USMLE Exam?

Introduction: Board scores are an important aspect of an emergency medicine (EM) residency application. Residency directors use these standardized tests to objectively evaluate an applicant’s potential and help decide whether to interview a candidate. While allopathic (MD) students take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), osteopathic (DO) students take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX). It is difficult to compare these scores. Previous literature proposed an equation to predict USMLE based on COMLEX. Recent analyses suggested this may no longer be accurate. DO students applying to allopathic programs frequently ask whether they should take USMLE to overcome this potential disadvantage. The objective of the study is to compare the likelihood to match of DO applicants who reported USMLE to those who did not, and to clarify how important program directors consider it is whether or not an osteopathic applicant reported a USMLE score. Methods: We conducted a review of Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) and National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) data for 2010-2011 in conjunction with a survey of EM residency programs. We reviewed the number of allopathic and osteopathic applicants, the number of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score, and the percentage of successful match. We compared the percentage of osteopathic applicants who reported a USMLE score who matched compared to those who did not report USMLE. We also surveyed allopathic EM residency programs to understand how important it is that osteopathic (DO) students take USMLE. Results: There were 1,482 MD students ranked EM programs; 1,277 (86%, 95% CI 84.3-87.9) matched. There were 350 DO students ranked EM programs; 181 (52%, 95% CI 46.4-57.0) matched (difference=34%, 95% CI 29.8-39.0, p<0.0001). There were 208 DO students reported USMLE; 126 (61%, 95% CI 53.6-67.2) matched. 142 did not report USMLE; 55 (39%, 95% CI 30.7-47.3) matched (difference=22%, 95% CI 11.2-32.5, p<0.0001). Survey results: 39% of program directors reported that it is extremely important that osteopathic students take USMLE, 38% stated it is somewhat important, and 22% responded not at all important. Conclusion: DO students who reported USMLE were more likely to match. DO students applying to allopathic EM programs should consider taking USMLE to improve their chances of a successful match. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):101–106.]

Diagnostic Acumen

Diagnosis of Necrotizing Fasciitis with Bedside Ultrasound: the STAFF Exam

The early diagnosis of necrotizing fasciitis is often ambiguous. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, while sensitive and specific modalities, are often time consuming or unavailable. We present a case of necrotizing fasciitis that was rapidly diagnosed using bedside ultrasound evaluating for subcutaneous thickening, air, and fascial fluid (STAFF). We propose the STAFF ultrasound exam may be beneficial in the rapid evaluation of unstable patients with consideration of necrotizing fasciitis, in a similar fashion to the current use of a focused assessment with sonography for trauma exam in the setting of trauma. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):111–113.]

  • 2 supplemental videos

Recurrent Priapism from Therapeutic Quetiapine

Priapism is rarely related to use of non-erectile related medications. The objective was to educate about the multiple possible causes of priapism and to provide treatment recommendations for the different types of priapism. We present the case of a 43 year-old African American male with a history of schizoaffective disorder who presented to our emergency department multiple times over a three year period with priapism, each episode related to the ingestion of quetiapine. Following penile aspiration and intercavernosal injection of phenylephrine, this patient had resolution of his priapism. This case demonstrates an unusual case of recurrent priapism. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):114–116.]

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Table of Contents February 2014


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Masthead February 2014