Review Article

Current Understanding of the Neurobiology of Agitation

Miller, CWT.

Managing agitation in the clinical setting is a challenge that many practitioners face regularly. Our evolving understanding of the etiological factors involved in aggressive acts has better informed our interventions through pharmacologic and behavioral strategies. This paper reviews the literature on the neurobiological underpinnings of aggressive behaviors, linking psychopathology with proposed mechanisms of action of psychiatric medications shown to be effective in mitigating agitation.

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Endemic Infections

Brief Review of Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine Toxicity and Management

Lebin, JA.

As of April 21, 2020, more than 2.5 million cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, have been reported in 210 countries and territories, with the death toll at 171,810. Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have gained considerable media attention as possible therapies, resulting in a significant surge in demand. In overdose, both medications can cause severe, potentially life-threatening effects. Here, we present a brief overview of the pharmacology of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, manifestations of toxicity, and treatment considerations.

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Emergency Department Operations

Sepsis Alerts in Emergency Departments: A Systematic Review of Accuracy and Quality Measure Impact

Hwang, MI.

For early detection of sepsis, automated systems within the electronic health record have evolved to alert emergency department (ED) personnel to the possibility of sepsis, and in some cases link them to suggested care pathways. We conducted a systematic review of automated sepsis-alert detection systems in the ED.

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Endemic Infections

The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Worker Wellness: A Scoping Review

Shreffler, J.

At the heart of the unparalleled crisis of COVID-19, healthcare workers (HCWs) face several challenges treating patients with COVID-19: reducing the spread of infection; developing suitable short-term strategies; and formulating long-term plans. The psychological burden and overall wellness of HCWs has received heightened awareness in news and research publications. The purpose of this study was to provide a review on current publications measuring the effects of COVID-19 on wellness of healthcare providers to inform interventional strategies. Between April 6–May 17, 2020, we conducted systematic searches using combinations of these keywords and synonyms in conjunction with the controlled vocabulary of the database: “physician,” “wellness, “wellbeing,” “stress,” “burnout,” “COVID-19,” and “SARS-CoV-2.” We excluded articles without original data, research studies regarding the wellness of non-healthcare occupations or the general public exclusively, other outbreaks, or wellness as an epidemic. A total of 37 studies were included in this review. The review of literature revealed consistent reports of stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in HCWs as a result of COVID-19. We describe published data on HCW distress and burnout but urge future research on strategies to enhance HCW well-being.

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Evidence-Based Heatstroke Management in the Emergency Department

Rublee, C.

Climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat events, which disproportionately impact the health of vulnerable populations. Heatstroke, the most serious heat-related illness, is a medical emergency that causes multiorgan failure and death without intervention. Rapid recognition and aggressive early treatment are essential to reduce morbidity and mortality. The objective of this study was to evaluate current standards of care for the emergent management of heatstroke and propose an evidence-based algorithm to expedite care.

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Societal Impact on Emergency Care

A Scoping Review of Current Social Emergency Medicine Research

Shah, R.

Social emergency medicine (EM) is an emerging field that examines the intersection of emergency care and social factors that influence health outcomes. We conducted a scoping review to explore the breadth and content of existing research pertaining to social EM to identify potential areas where future social EM research efforts should be directed.

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Provider Workforce

Wellness: Combating Burnout and Its Consequences in Emergency Medicine

Stehman, MD, et al.

Outside of EM, the most successful interventions focus on changes to systems rather than to individual physicians. Within EM, the number of well-structured interventions that have been studied is limited. Future work to achieve the desired culture of wellness within EM requires establishment of a consistent endpoint that serves as a surrogate for clinical significance, addressing contributors to burnout at all levels, and integrating successful interventions into the fabric of EM.

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Oncologic Emergencies: Immune-Based Cancer Therapies and Complications

Long, MD, et al.

Cancer therapies have undergone several recent advancements. Current cancer treatments include immune-based therapies comprised of checkpoint inhibitors, and adoptive immunotherapy; each treatment has the potential for complications that differ from chemotherapy and radiation. This review evaluates immune-based therapies and their complications for emergency clinicians.

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Risk Factors Associated with Emergency Department Recidivism in the Older Adult

Sheikh, MD.

Our objective was to review risk factors predictive of older adult recidivism in the emergency department. Certain risk factors and themes commonly occurred in the literature. These recurring factors included increasing age, male gender, certain diagnoses (abdominal pain, traumatic injuries, and respiratory complaints), psychosocial factors (depression, anxiety, poor social support, and limited health literacy), and poor general health (cognitive health and physical functioning).

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Nicotine Gateway Effects on Adolescent Substance Use

Ren, MS, et al.

The growing use of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems (“vaping”) among teenagers represents a major public health concern. Smoking is not only the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, but epidemiological, clinical, and preclinical data have also shown that adolescent exposure to tobacco or nicotine can lead to subsequent abuse of nicotine and other substances.

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Critical Care

Emergency Reversal of Anticoagulation

Yee, DO, et al.

A working knowledge of hemostasis and the reversal of anticoagulation and antiplatelet drugs is required for every emergency department provider. This article reviews these topics and presents the currently recommended strategies for dealing with bleeding in the anticoagulated patient.

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Sepsis in Pregnancy: Recognition and Resuscitation

Bridwell, MD, et al.

The normal physiologic changes of pregnancy complicate evaluation for sepsis and subsequent management. Previous sepsis studies have specifically excluded pregnant patients. This narrative review evaluates the presentation, scoring systems for risk stratification, diagnosis, and management of sepsis in pregnancy.

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Legalized Cannabis in Colorado Emergency Departments: A Cautionary Review of Negative Health and Safety Effects

Roberts, MD.

Cannabis research may offer novel treatment of seizures, spasticity from multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, chronic pain, improvements in cardiovascular outcomes, and sleep disorders. Progress has been slow due to absent standards for chemical composition of cannabis products and limitations on research imposed by federal classification of cannabis as illegal.

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Critical Care

Evaluation and Management of Angioedema in the Emergency Department

Long, MD, et al.

Angioedema is defined by non-dependent, non-pitting edema that affects several different sites and is potentially life-threatening due to laryngeal edema. This narrative review provides emergency physicians with a focused overview of the evaluation and management of angioedema.

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Critical Care

Alternatives to Rapid Sequence Intubation: Contemporary Airway Management with Ketamine

Merelman, BS, et al.

Ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, can be used to facilitate two alternatives to RSI to augment airway safety in these scenarios: delayed sequence intubation – the use of ketamine to allow airway preparation and preoxygenation in the agitated patient; and ketamine-only breathing intubation, in which ketamine is used without a paralytic to facilitate ETI as the patient continues to breathe spontaneously.

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Endemic Infections

Challenging the One-hour Sepsis Bundle

Kalantari, DO, et al.

Our purpose here is to highlight the areas where evidence is only as strong as the methodological constructs of the research used. This article is a narrative review of the available, limited evidence on which the one-hour bundle was based.

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Contact Information

WestJEM/ Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Irvine Health

3800 W Chapman Ave Ste 3200
Orange, CA 92868, USA
Phone: 1-714-456-6389


ISSN: 1936-900X
e-ISSN: 1936-9018

ISSN: 2474-252X

Our Philosophy

Emergency Medicine is a specialty which closely reflects societal challenges and consequences of public policy decisions. The emergency department specifically deals with social injustice, health and economic disparities, violence, substance abuse, and disaster preparedness and response. This journal focuses on how emergency care affects the health of the community and population, and conversely, how these societal challenges affect the composition of the patient population who seek care in the emergency department. The development of better systems to provide emergency care, including technology solutions, is critical to enhancing population health.