Emergency Medical Services

Recommendations for Prehospital Airway Management in Patients with Suspected COVID-19 Infection

Hart, J.

In light of the rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and hospitals nationwide have developed new protocols to address infection control as well as the care of critical patients. Airway management has been particularly difficult; the challenge of quickly establishing an airway in patients must be balanced by the risk of aerosolizing respiratory secretions and putting the provider at risk of infection. Significant attention has been given to developing protocols for the emergency department and critical care units, but little guidance regarding establishing airway and respiratory support for patients in the prehospital setting has been made available. While some of the recommendations can be extrapolated from hospital guidelines, other factors such as environment and available resources make these protocols unfeasible. Through review of current literature the authors established recommendations regarding airway management and the provision of respiratory support to patients developing respiratory failure related to COVID-19.

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Applying a Model of Teamwork Processes to Emergency Medical Services

Fernandez, WG.

Effective teamwork has been shown to optimize patient safety. However, research centered on the critical inputs, processes, and outcomes of team effectiveness in emergency medical services (EMS) has only recently begun to emerge. We conducted a theory-driven qualitative study of teamwork processes—the interdependent actions that convert inputs to outputs—by frontline EMS personnel in order to provide a model for use in EMS education and research.

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Paramedic Pain Management Practice with Introduction of a Non-opiate Treatment Protocol

O’Connor, L.

There is concern about the initiation of opiates in healthcare settings due to the risk of future misuse. Although opiate medications have historically been at the core of prehospital pain management, several states are introducing non-opiate alternatives to prehospital care. Prior studies suggest that non-opiate analgesics are non-inferior to opiates for many acute complaints, yet there is little literature describing practice patterns of pain management in prehospital care. Our goal was to describe the practice patterns and attitudes of paramedics toward pain management after the introduction of non-opiates to a statewide protocol.

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Development and Implementation of a Community Paramedicine Program in Rural United States

Myers, LA.

Community paramedicine (CP) is an innovative care model focused on medical management for patients suffering from chronic diseases or other conditions that result in over-utilization of healthcare services. Despite their value, CP care models are not widely used in United States healthcare settings. More research is needed to understand the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing CP programs. Our objective was to develop a CP program to better meet the needs of complex, high-utilizer patients in a rural setting.

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

Schoeneck, JH.

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).

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

Ranadive, N.

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.

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Suicide Among the Emergency Medical Systems Occupation in the United States

Vigil, NH.

Suicide claimed 47,173 lives in 2017 and is the second leading cause of death for individuals 15–34 years old. In 2017, rates of suicide in the United States (US) were double the rates of homicide. Despite significant research funding toward suicide prevention, rates of suicide have increased 38% from 2009 to 2017. Recent data suggests that emergency medical services (EMS) workers are at a higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts compared to the general public. The objective of this study was to determine the proportionate mortality ratio (PMR) of suicide among firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMT) compared to the general US working population.

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Estimated Cost Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccination for Emergency Medical Services Professionals

Hubble, WK.

Because of their frequent contact with compromised patients, vaccination against influenza is recommended for all healthcare workers. Recent studies suggest that vaccination decreases influenza transmission to patients and reduces worker illness and absenteeism. However, few emergency medical services (EMS) agencies provide annual vaccination, and the vaccination rate among EMS personnel remains low. Reticence among EMS agencies to provide influenza vaccination to their employees may be due in part to the unknown fiscal consequences of implementing a vaccination program. In this study, we sought to estimate the cost effectiveness of an employer-provided influenza vaccination program for EMS personnel.

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Centralized Ambulance Destination Determination: A Retrospective Data Analysis to Determine Impact on EMS System Distribution, Surge Events, and Diversion Status

Bains, G.

Emergency medical services (EMS) systems can become impacted by sudden surges that can occur throughout the day, as well as by natural disasters and the current pandemic. Because of this, emergency department crowding and ambulance “bunching,” or surges in ambulance-transported patients at receiving hospitals, can have a detrimental effect on patient care and financial implications for an EMS system. The Centralized Ambulance Destination Determination (CAD-D) project was initially created as a pilot project to look at the impact of an active, online base hospital physician and paramedic supervisor to direct patient destination and distribution, as a way to improve ambulance distribution, decrease surges at hospitals, and decrease diversion status.

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Outcomes Associated with Lower Doses of Ketamine by Emergency Medical Services for Profound Agitation

Coffey, SK.

Ketamine is commonly used to treat profound agitation in the prehospital setting. Early in ketamine’s prehospital use, intubation after arrival in the emergency department (ED) was frequent. We sought to measure the frequency of ED intubation at a Midwest academic medical center after prehospital ketamine use for profound agitation, hypothesizing that intubation has become less frequent as prehospital ketamine has become more common and prehospital dosing has improved.

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Clinical, Operational, and Socioeconomic Analysis of EMS Bypass of the Closest Facility for Pediatric Asthma Patients

Finlay, E.

Pediatric hospital care is becoming increasingly regionalized, with fewer facilities providing inpatient care for common conditions such as asthma. That trend has major implications for emergency medical services (EMS) medical care and operations because EMS historically transports patients to the closest facility. This study describes EMS transport patterns of pediatric asthma patients in greater depth, including an analysis of facility bypass rates and the association of bypass with demographics and clinical outcomes.

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Keeping the Fire House Running: A Proposed Approach to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19 Among Public Safety Personnel

Katzer, MD, et al.

Across the world, efforts are underway to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. These include social distancing efforts such as working from home and meeting via teleconferences.8 The nature of public safety both necessitates that first-responder personnel be present at the station and requires vigilance to keep them healthy to provide essential services to the community. As a result, the fire station represents a front line in the COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

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Challenges Related to the Implementation of an EMS-Administered, Large Vessel Occlusion Stroke Score

Lawner, DO, MS, EMT-P, et al.

Timely access to interventional therapy has been linked to improved stroke outcomes. Accurate triage depends upon the use of a validated screening tool in addition to several emergency medical system (EMS)-specific factors. This study examines the integration of a modified Rapid Arterial oCcclusion Evaluation (mRACE) score into an existing stroke treatment protocol.

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Prehospital Trauma Scene and Transport Times for Pediatric and Adult Patients

Ashburn, MD, et al.

Increased out-of-hospital time is associated with worse outcomes in trauma. Sparse literature exists comparing prehospital scene and transport time management intervals between adult and pediatric trauma patients. National Emergency Medical Services guidelines recommend that trauma scene time be less than 10 minutes. The objective of this study was to examine prehospital time intervals in adult and pediatric trauma patients.

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Qualitative Research of Violent Incidents Toward Young Paramedics in the Czech Republic

Knor, MD, PhD, et al.

We conducted this study to explore the process of violence against EMS providers, using the Strauss/Corbin systematic approach of grounded theory to create a paradigm model. The participants in this research included personnel who had at least two years experience in the EMS systems of the city of Prague and the Central Bohemian Region, and who had been victims of violence.

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Safety of Tiered-Dispatch for 911 Calls for Abdominal Pain

Abramson, MD, et al.

Under this system, patients reporting a chief complaint of abdominal pain received the closest BLS ambulance dispatched alone emergency if located within three miles of the incident. The objective of this study was to determine the safety of BLS-only dispatch to abdominal pain by determining the frequency of time-sensitive events.

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Impact of an Extraglottic Device on Pediatric Airway Management in an Urban Prehospital System

Ostermayer, MD, et al.

Increasingly, emergency medical services (EMS) systems are deploying prehospital extraglottic airways (EGA) for primary pediatric airway management, yet little is known about their efficacy. We evaluated the impact of a pediatric prehospital airway management protocol change, inclusive of EGAs, on airway management and patient outcomes in children in cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

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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
Email: editor@westjem.org


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.