Current Issue: Volume 23 Issue 6

Post-abortion Complications: A Narrative Review for Emergency Clinicians

Rachel E. Bridwell, MD

An abortion is a procedure defined by termination of pregnancy, most commonly performed in the first or second trimester. There are several means of classification, but the most important includes whether the abortion was maternally “safe” (performed in a safe, clean environment with experienced providers and no legal restrictions) or “unsafe” (performed with hazardous materials and techniques, by person without the needed skills, or in an environment where minimal medical standards are not met). Complication rates depend on the procedure type, gestational age, patient comorbidities, clinician experience, and most importantly, whether the abortion is safe or unsafe. Safe abortions have significantly lower complication rates compared to unsafe abortions. Complications include bleeding, retained products of conception, retained cervical dilator, uterine perforation, amniotic fluid embolism, misoprostol toxicity, and endometritis. Mortality rates for safe abortions are less than 0.2%, compared to unsafe abortion rates that range between 4.7–13.2%. History and physical examination are integral components in recognizing complications of safe and unsafe abortions, with management dependent upon the diagnosis. This narrative review provides a focused overview of post-abortion complications for emergency clinicians.

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Accuracy of Point-of-care Ultrasound in Diagnosing Acute Appendicitis During Pregnancy

Désirée Abgottspon, MD

Acute appendicitis is the most common non-obstetrical surgical emergency in pregnancy. Ultrasound is the imaging tool of choice, but its use is complicated due to anatomical changes during pregnancy and depends on the clinician’s expertise. In this study, our aim was to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in suspected appendicitis in pregnant women.

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Unexpected ICU Transfer and Mortality in COVID-19 Related to Hospital Volume

Cassidy M. Dahn, MD

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) illness continues to affect national and global hospital systems, with a particularly high burden to intensive care unit (ICU) beds and resources. It is critical to identify patients who initially do not require ICU resources but subsequently rapidly deteriorate. We investigated patient populations during COVID-19 at times of full or near-full (surge) and non-full (non-surge) hospital capacity to determine the effect on those who may need a higher level of care or deteriorate quickly, defined as requiring a transfer to ICU within 24 hours of admission to a non-ICU level of care, and to provide further knowledge on this high-risk group of patients.

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Gender Evaluation and Numeric Distribution in Emergency Medicine Residencies (GENDER): A Retrospective Analysis of Gender Ratios Among Residents and Residency Directors from 2014–2017

Ryan Gibney, MD

While females make up more than half of medical school matriculants, they only comprise about one third of emergency medicine (EM) residents. We examined EM residency cohorts with entering years of 2014–2017 to estimate the ratio of males to females among residents and program leadership to determine what correlation existed, if any, between program leadership and residency gender distributions.

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Trends of Regional Anesthesia Studies in Emergency Medicine: An Observational Study of Published Articles

Tou-Yuan Tsai, MD

Regional anesthesia (RA) has become a prominent component of multimodal pain management in emergency medicine (EM), and its use has increased rapidly in recent decades. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of data on how RA practice has evolved in the specialty. In this study we sought to investigate how RA has been implemented in EM by analyzing trends of published articles and to describe the characteristics of the published research.

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Bedside Fluorescence Microangiography for Frostbite Diagnosis in the Emergency Department

Sarah M. Raleigh, MD

Frostbite leads to progressive ischemia eventually causing tissue necrosis if not quickly reversed. Patients with frostbite tend to present to the emergency department (ED) for assessment and treatment. Acute management includes rewarming, pain management, and (when indicated) thrombolytic therapy. Thrombolytic therapy in severe frostbite injury may decrease rates of amputation and improve patient outcomes. Fluorescence microangiography (FMA) has been used to distinguish between perfused and non-perfused tissue. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential role of FMA in the acute care of patients with frostbite, specifically its role as a tool to identify perfusion deficit following severe frostbite injury, and to explore its role in time to tissue plasminogen activator (tPA).

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Chief Complaints, Underlying Diagnoses, and Mortality in Adult, Non-trauma Emergency Department Visits: A Population-based, Multicenter Cohort Study

Michael Dan Arvig, MD, PhD

Knowledge about the relationship between symptoms, diagnoses, and mortality in emergency department (ED) patients is essential for the emergency physician to optimize treatment, monitoring, and flow. In this study, we investigated the association between symptoms and discharge diagnoses; symptoms and mortality; and we then analyzed whether the association between symptoms and mortality was influenced by other risk factors.

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Effects of Emergency Transfer Coordination Center on Length of Stay of Critically Ill Patients in the Emergency Department

Sun Wook Moon, MD

Critically ill patients are frequently transferred from other hospitals to the emergency departments (ED) of tertiary hospitals. Due to the unforeseen transfer, the ED length of stay (LOS) of the patient is likely to be prolonged in addition to other potentially adverse effects. In this study we sought to confirm whether the establishment of an organized unit — the Emergency Transfer Coordination Center (ETCC) — to systematically coordinate emergency transfers would be effective in reducing the ED LOS of transferred, critically ill patients.

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Quantifying Compassion Fatigue in Ancillary and Clinical Staff in an Adult Emergency Department

Melissa Bales, BSN, RN

Emergency department (ED) staff are at a high risk for compassion fatigue (CF) due to a work environment that combines high patient acuity, violence, and other workplace stressors. This multifaceted syndrome has wide-ranging impacts which, if left untreated, can lead to adverse mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. However, the majority of studies examining CF look solely at clinicians; as a result, there is little information on the impact of CF across other roles involved in supporting patient care. We conducted this study to establish the prevalence of CF across both clinical and non-clinical roles in the adult ED setting.

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High-risk Return Visits to United States Emergency Departments, 2010–2018

Dean-An Ling, MD

Although factors related to a return visit to the emergency department (ED) have been reported, only a few studies have examined “high-risk” ED revisits with serious adverse outcomes. In this study we aimed to describe the incidence and trend of high-risk ED revisits in United States EDs and to investigate factors associated with these revisits.

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Racial Disparities in Opioid Analgesia Administration Among Adult Emergency Department Patients with Abdominal Pain

Angela F. Jarman, MD, MPH

Racial disparities in pain management have been reported among emergency department (ED) patients. In this study we evaluated the association between patients’ self-identified race/ethnicity and the administration of opioid analgesia among ED patients with abdominal pain, the most common chief complaint for ED presentations in the United States.

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2021 SAEM Consensus Conference Proceedings: Research Priorities for Developing Emergency Department Screening Tools for Social Risks and Needs

Jacqueline Furbacher, MD

The Emergency Department (ED) acts as a safety net for our healthcare system. While studies have shown increased prevalence of social risks and needs among ED patients, there are many outstanding questions about the validity and use of social risks and needs screening tools in the ED setting.

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Reducing COVID-19 Health Inequities by Identifying Social Needs and Clinical Deterioration of Discharged Emergency Department Patients

Eleanor Graber, MS, PA-C

The decision to discharge a patient from the hospital with confirmed or suspected coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is fraught with challenges. Patients who are discharged home must be both medically stable and able to safely isolate to prevent disease spread. Socioeconomically disadvantaged patient populations in particular may lack resources to safely quarantine and are at high risk for COVID-19 morbidity.

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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.