Endemic Infections

Remdesivir for the Treatment of COVID-19: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Musa, A.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the spread of SARS-CoV-2 a global pandemic. To date, coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has spread to over 200 countries, leading to over 1.6 million cases and over 99,000 deaths. Given that there is neither a vaccine nor proven treatment for COVID-19, there is currently an urgent need for effective pharmacotherapy. To address the need for an effective treatment of SARS-CoV-2 during the worldwide pandemic, this systematic review of intravenous (IV) remdesivir was performed. Remdesivir, an anti-viral prodrug originally developed to treat Ebola virus disease, has shown broad spectrum activity against the Coronavirus family. A recent case report reported improvement of clinical symptoms with remdesivir in a patient with COVID-19. After conducting a systematic search of 18 clinical trial registries and three large scientific databases, we identified 86 potentially eligible items. Following removal of duplicates (n = 21), eligible studies were reviewed independently by two authors. After the first round of screening, inter-rater agreement was 98.5% (κ = 0.925). After the second round of full-text screening, inter-rater agreement was 100%. A total of seven ongoing and recruiting clinical trials of remdesivir (100–200 milligrams, intravenous [IV]) were included. We identified the following primary outcomes: patients discharged (n = 2); time to clinical status improvement (n = 2); improved O2 saturation (n = 2); body temperature normalization (n = 2); and clinical status (n = 1). Secondary outcomes in all identified studies included documentation of adverse events. Phase 3 trials are expected to be completed between April 2020–2023. Therefore, despite supportive data from in vitro and in vivo studies, the clinical effectiveness of IV remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19 and potential side effects remain incompletely defined in the human population.

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Diagnostic Accuracy of Point-of-Care Ultrasound for Intussusception in Children Presenting to the Emergency Department: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Lin-Martore, M.

Ileocolic intussusception is a common cause of pediatric bowel obstruction in young children but can be difficult to diagnose clinically due to vague abdominal complaints. If left untreated, it may cause significant morbidity. Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) is a rapid, bedside method of assessment that may potentially aid in the diagnosis of intussusception. The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to determine the diagnostic accuracy of POCUS for children with suspected ileocolic intussusception by emergency physicians (EP).

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Endemic Infections

Update on Neurological Manifestations of SARS-CoV-2

Valiuddin, HM.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the source of COVID-19, causes numerous clinical findings including respiratory and gastrointestinal findings. Evidence is now growing for increasing neurological symptoms. This is thought to be from direct in-situ effects in the olfactory bulb caused by the virus. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptors likely serve as a key receptor for cell entry for most coronaviridae as they are present in multiple organ tissues in the body, notably neurons, and in type 2 alveolar cells in the lung. Hematogenous spread to the nervous system has been described, with viral transmission along neuronal synapses in a retrograde fashion. The penetration of the virus to the central nervous system (CNS) allows for the resulting intracranial cytokine storm, which can result in a myriad of CNS complications. There have been reported cases of associated cerebrovascular accidents with large vessel occlusions, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome, meningoencephalitis, acute necrotizing encephalopathy, epilepsy, and myasthenia gravis. Peripheral nervous system effects such as hyposmia, hypogeusia, ophthalmoparesis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and motor peripheral neuropathy have also been reported. In this review, we update the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 concentrating on the neurological associations that have been described, including broad ranges in both central and peripheral nervous systems.

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Endemic Infections

Emergency Department Management of COVID-19: An Evidence-Based Approach

McManus, NM.

The novel coronavirus, SARs-CoV-2, causes a clinical disease known as COVID-19. Since being declared a global pandemic, a significant amount of literature has been produced and guidelines are rapidly changing as more light is shed on this subject. Decisions regarding disposition must be made with attention to comorbidities. Multiple comorbidities portend a worse prognosis. Many clinical decision tools have been postulated; however, as of now, none have been validated. Laboratory testing available to the emergency physician is nonspecific but does show promise in helping prognosticate and risk stratify. Radiographic testing can also aid in the process. Escalating oxygen therapy seems to be a safe and effective therapy; delaying intubation for only the most severe cases in which respiratory muscle fatigue or mental status demands this. Despite thrombotic concerns in COVID-19, the benefit of anticoagulation in the emergency department (ED) seems to be minimal. Data regarding adjunctive therapies such as steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are variable with no concrete recommendations, although steroids may decrease mortality in those patients developing acute respiratory distress syndrome. With current guidelines in mind, we propose a succinct flow sheet for both the escalation of oxygen therapy as well as ED management and disposition of these patients.

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Beyond Buprenorphine: Models of Follow-up Care for Opioid Use Disorder in the Emergeny Department

Martin, A.

Recent evidence shows that emergency physicians (EP) can help patients obtain evidence-based treatment for Opioid Use Disorder by starting medication for addiction treatment (MAT) directly in the Emergency Department (ED). Many EDs struggle to provide options for maintenance treatment once patients are discharged from the ED. Health systems around the country are in need of a care delivery structure to link ED patients with OUD to care following initiation of buprenorphine. This paper reviews the three most common approaches to form effective partnerships between EDs and primary care/addiction medicine services: the Project Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and Referral to Treatment (ASSERT) model, Bridge model, and ED-Bridge model.

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Plastic Surgery Complications: A Review for Emergency Clinicians

Montrief, T.

The number of aesthetic surgical procedures performed in the United States is increasing rapidly. Over 1.5 million surgical procedures and over three million nonsurgical procedures were performed in 2015 alone. Of these, the most common procedures included surgeries of the breast and abdominal wall, specifically implants, liposuction, and subcutaneous injections. Emergency clinicians may be tasked with the management of postoperative complications of cosmetic surgeries including postoperative infections, thromboembolic events, skin necrosis, hemorrhage, pulmonary edema, fat embolism syndrome, bowel cavity perforation, intra-abdominal injury, local seroma formation, and local anesthetic systemic toxicity. This review provides several guiding principles for management of acute complications. Understanding these complications and approach to their management is essential to optimizing patient care.

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A Case for Risk Stratification in Survivors of Firearm and Interpersonal Violence in the Urban Environment

Walker, GN.

The emergency department (ED) serves as the main source of care for patients who are victims of interpersonal violence. As a result, emergency physicians across the nation are at the forefront of delivering care and determining dispositions for many at-risk patients in a dynamic healthcare environment. In the majority of cases, survivors of interpersonal violence are treated and discharged based on the physical implications of the injury without consideration for risk of reinjury and the structural drivers that may be at play. Some exceptions may exist at institutions with hospital-based violence intervention programs (HVIPs). At these institutions, disposition decisions often include consideration of a patient’s risk for repeat exposure to violence. Ideally, HVIP services would be available to all survivors of interpersonal violence, but a variety of current constraints limit availability. Here we offer a scoping review of HVIPs and our perspective on how risk-stratification could help emergency physicians determine which patients will benefit most from HVIP services and potentially reduce re-injury secondary to interpersonal violence.

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Review of the Basics of Cognitive Error in Emergency Medicine: Still No Easy Answers

Hartigan, S.

Emergency physicians (EP) make clinical decisions multiple times daily. In some instances, medical errors occur due to flaws in the complex process of clinical reasoning and decision-making. Cognitive error can be difficult to identify and is equally difficult to prevent. To reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from errors in critical thinking, it has been proposed that we train physicians to understand and maintain awareness of their thought process, to identify error-prone clinical situations, to recognize predictable vulnerabilities in thinking, and to employ strategies to avert cognitive errors. The first step to this approach is to gain an understanding of how physicians make decisions and what conditions may predispose to faulty decision-making. We review the dual-process theory, which offers a framework to understand both intuitive and analytical reasoning, and to identify the necessary conditions to support optimal cognitive processing. We also discuss systematic deviations from normative reasoning known as cognitive biases, which were first described in cognitive psychology and have been identified as a contributing factor to errors in medicine. Training physicians in common biases and strategies to mitigate their effect is known as debiasing. A variety of debiasing techniques have been proposed for use by clinicians. We sought to review the current evidence supporting the effectiveness of these strategies in the clinical setting. This discussion of improving clinical reasoning is relevant to medical educators as well as practicing EPs engaged in continuing medical education.

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Critical Care

Sternal Intraosseous Devices: Review of the Literature

Laney, JA.

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.

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Assessing Violence Risk in Adolescents in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Systematic Review and Clinical Guidance

Mroczkowski, MM.

Violence risk assessment is one of the most frequent reasons for child and adolescent psychiatry consultation with adolescents in the pediatric emergency department (ED). Here we provide a systematic review of risk factors for violence in adolescents using the risk factor categories from the MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment study. Further, we provide clinical guidance for assessing adolescent violence risk in the pediatric ED.

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Human Trafficking in the Emergency Department: Improving Our Response to a Vulnerable Population

Tiller, MD, et al.

We stress the importance of meeting the needs of the patient while prioritizing the safety of all involved. Additionally, the protocol provides a list of resources for the patient beyond medical care such as emergency housing, legal assistance, and food pantries. The overall purpose of this protocol is to provide coordinated response so that all providers may be consistent in caring for this vulnerable population.

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Critical Care

Anticoagulation Reversal and Treatment Strategies in Major Bleeding: Update 2016

Volume 17, Issue 3, May 2016
Steve Christos, DO, MS et al.

Anticoagulation is the mainstay of medical treatment, prevention and reduction of recurrent venous thromboembolism, stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation, and it reduces the incidence of recurrent ischemic events and death in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Options for anticoagulation have been steadily increasing. Physicians need to be aware of the clinical profile of anticoagulation agents, reversal agents and treatment strategies in the face of major bleeding.

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Survey of Individual and Institutional Risk Associated with the Use of Social Media

Volume 17, Issue 3, May 2016
Manish Garg, MD, et al.

Introduction: Residents and faculty in emergency medicine (EM) residency programs might
be unaware of the professional and legal risks associated with the use of social media (SM).
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The objective of this study was to identify and characterize the types and reported incidence of
unprofessional SM behavior by EM residents, faculty, and nurses and the concomitant personal
and institutional risks.
Methods: This multi-site study used an 18-question survey tool that was distributed electronically
to the leaders of multiple EM residency programs, members of the Council of Emergency Medicine
Residency Directors (CORD), and the residents of 14 EM programs during the study period May
to June 2013.
Results: We received 1,314 responses: 772 from residents and 542 from faculty. Both
groups reported encountering high-risk-to-professionalism events (HRTPE) related to SM use
by residents and non-resident providers (NRPs), i.e., faculty members and nurses. Residents
reported posting of one of the following by a resident peer or nursing colleague: identifiable
patient information (26%); or a radiograph, clinical picture or other image (52%). Residents
reported posting of images of intoxicated colleagues (84%), inappropriate photographs (66%),
and inappropriate posts (73%). Program directors (PDs) reported posting one of the following by
NRPs and residents respectively: identifiable patient information (46% and 45%); a radiograph,
clinical picture or other image (63% and 58%). PDs reported that NRPs and residents posted
images of intoxicated colleagues (64% and 57%), inappropriate photographs (63% and 57%), or
inappropriate posts (76% and 67%). The directors also reported that they were aware of or issued
reprimands or terminations at least once a year (30% NRPs and 22% residents). Residents were
more likely to post photos of their resident peers or nursing colleagues in an intoxicated state
than were NRPs (p=0.0004). NRPs were more likely to post inappropriate content (p=0.04) and
identifiable patient information (p=0.0004) than were residents.
Conclusion: EM residents and faculty members cause and encounter HRTPE frequently while
using SM; these events present significant risks to the individuals responsible and their associated
institution. Awareness of these risks should prompt responsible SM use and consideration of
CORD’s Social Media Task Force recommendations.

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Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs: Aspects of the One-Percenter Culture for Emergency Department Personnel to Consider

Volume 15, Issue 4, July 2014
Anand N. Bosmia, BA et al.

Outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) are an iconic element of the criminal landscape in the United States, the country of their origin. Members of OMGs may present to the emergency department (ED) as a result of motor vehicle accidents or interpersonal violence. When one member of an OMG is injured, other members and associates are likely to arrive in the ED to support the injured member.

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Ethical and Legal Issues

Assessment of the Acute Psychiatric Patient in the Emergency Department: Legal Cases and Caveats

Volume 15, Issue 3, May 2014
Benjamin Good, MD et al.

Assessment of the acute psychiatric emergency is challenging and fraught with error. This paper, using legal cases, will discuss the assessment of new onset psychiatric illness, exacerbation of chronic psychiatric disease, and the suicidal patient. We will share diagnostic caveats, medical clearance, and suicide assessment tools.

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Injury Outcomes

Tackling the Global Challenge: Humanitarian Catastrophes

Volume 15, Issue 2, March 2014
Kenneth V. Iserson, MD, MBA et al.

“Humanitarian catastrophes,” conflicts and calamities generating both widespread human suffering and destructive events, require a wide range of emergency resources. This paper answers a number of questions that humanitarian catastrophes generate: Why and how do the most-developed countries—those with the resources, capabilities, and willingness to help—intervene in specific types of disasters? What ethical and legal guidelines shape our interventions? How well do we achieve our goals? It then suggests a number of changes to improve humanitarian responses, including better NGO-government cooperation, increased research on the best disaster response methods, clarification of the criteria and roles for humanitarian (military) interventions, and development of post-2015 Millennium Development Goals with more accurate progress measures.

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Emergency Department Access Healthcare Utilization

New Drugs and Devices from 2011 – 2012 That Might Change Your Practice

To be honest, I thought this would be a lost cause. Even after skipping a New Drugs and Devices essay in 2012, I figured that I would have to search long and hard to find 10 new things that emergency practitioners needed to know about. Although there were no true blockbuster medications for emergency physicians, I nonetheless found 10 medicines that we probably should know, along with a new device that may change the way we work up patients with palpitations, and a clever new delivery system for subcutaneous epinephrine.

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Ethical and Legal Issues

Integrated Model of Palliative Care in the Emergency Department

An integrated model of palliative care in the emergency department (ED) of an inner city academic teaching center utilized existing hospital resources to reduce hospital length of stay (LOS) and reduce overall cost. Benefits related to resuscitation rates, intensity of care, and patient satisfaction are attributed to the ED-based palliative team’s ability to provide real time consults, and utilize InterQual criteria to admit to a less costly level of care or transfer directly to home or hospice.

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Ethical and Legal Issues

Medical-legal Issues in the Agitated Patient: Cases and Caveats

Volume 14, Issue 5, September 2013
Jessica Thomas, MD, et al.

More than any other area of emergency medicine, legal issues are paramount when caring for an agitated patient. It is imperative to have a clear understanding of these issues to avoid exposure to liability. These medico-legal issues can arise at the onset, during, and at discharge of care and create several duties. At the initiation of care, the doctor has a duty to evaluate for competence and the patient’s ability to consent. Once care has begun, patients may require restraint if they become combative or violent.

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Emergency Department Operations

Measuring Power in an Emergency Department to Improve Processes and Decrease the Length of Stay to their Optimum Value

Volume 14, Issue 5, September 2013
Bert A. Silich, MD, MS

Many emergency departments (EDs) compare themselves to national productivity benchmarks, such as the average patients/hour or relative value units (RVUs)/hour. Making these comparisons does not provide a tool to determine which processes need improvement, most urgently, within the ED to improve efficiency. Furthermore, there has been no clear means to determine how to set reasonable goals based on the capabilities of the particular ED under study.

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Prehospital Care

In-flight Medical Emergencies

Author Affiliation Amit Chandra, MD, MSc  University of Botswana School of Medicine, Botswana Shauna Conry, MD  CEP America, United States Introduction Discussion Abstract Introduction: Research and data regarding in-flight medical emergencies during commercial air travel are lacking. Although volunteer medical professionals are often called upon to assist, there are no guidelines or best practices to […]

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Prehospital Care

Reducing Ambulance Diversion at Hospital and Regional Levels: Systemic Review of Insights from Simulation Models

Author Affiliation M. Kit Delgado, MD, MS  Stanford University, Division of Emergency Medicine, Stanford, California Lesley J. Meng, HBA, BMSc  Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York City, New York Mary P. Mercer, MD, MPH  University of California San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California Jesse M. Pines, MD, MBA, MSCE […]

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Patient Communication

Death Notification in the Emergency Department: Survivors and Physicians

When patients die in the emergency department (ED), emergency physicians (EP) must disclose the bad news to family members. The death is often unexpected and the act of notification can be difficult. Many EPs have not been trained in the skill of communicating death to family members. This article reviews the available literature regarding ED death notification training and proposes future directions for educational interventions to improve physician communication in ED death disclosure.

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Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients: In conjunction with the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published significant data and trends related to the national public health burden associated with trauma and injury. In the United States (U.S.), injury is the leading cause of death for persons aged 1–44 years. In 2008, approximately 30 million injuries resulted in an emergency department (ED) evaluation; 5.4 million (18%) of these patients were transported by Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMS providers determine the severity of injury and begin initial management at the scene.

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Contact Information

WestJEM/ Department of Emergency Medicine
UC Irvine Health

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Suite 640
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.