Endemic Infections

Point-of-care Lung Ultrasound Is Useful to Evaluate Emergency Department Patients for COVID-19

Walsh, P.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be a life-threatening lung disease or a trivial upper respiratory infection depending on whether the alveoli are involved. Emergency department (ED) evaluation of symptomatic patients with normal vital signs is frequently limited to chest auscultation and oro-nasopharyngeal swabs. We tested the null hypothesis that patients being screened for COVID-19 in the ED with normal vital signs and without hypoxia would have a point-of-care lung ultrasound (LUS) consistent with COVID-19 less than 2% of the time.

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Endemic Infections

Underutilization of the Emergency Department During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lucero, AD.

The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the United States (US) prompted widespread containment measures such as shelter-in-place (SIP) orders. The goal of our study was to determine whether there was a significant change in overall volume and proportion of emergency department (ED) encounters since SIP measures began.

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Endemic Infections

Practical Diagnostic Accuracy of Nasopharyngeal Swab Testing for Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Gopaul, R.

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of COVID-19, which has had a devastating international impact. Prior reports of testing have reported low sensitivities of nasopharyngeal polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and reports of viral co-infections have varied from 0–20%. Therefore, we sought to determine the accuracy of nasopharyngeal PCR for COVID-19 and rates of viral co-infection.

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Endemic Infections

In-situ Simulation Use for Rapid Implementation and Process Improvement of COVID-19 Airway Management

Munzer, BW.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic presents unique challenges to frontline healthcare workers. In order to safely care for patients new processes, such as a plan for the airway management of a patient with COVID-19, must be implemented and disseminated in a rapid fashion. The use of in-situ simulation has been used to assist in latent problem identification as part of a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. Additionally, simulation is an effective means for training teams to perform high-risk procedures before engaging in the actual procedure. This educational advance seeks to use and study in-situ simulation as a means to rapidly implement a process for airway management in patients with COVID-19.

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Endemic Infections

Method to Reduce Aerosolized Contaminant Concentration Exposure to Healthcare Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic when Temporary Isolation Systems Are Required

Silich, BA.

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the healthcare system. It has led to the use of temporary isolation systems and less-then-optimum patient placement configurations because of inadequate number of isolation rooms, both of which can compromise provider safety. Three key elements require special attention to reduce the maximum and average aerosolized contaminant concentration exposure to a healthcare worker in any isolation system: flow rate; air changes per hour; and patient placement. This is important because concentration exposures of aerosolized contaminants to healthcare workers in hospitals using temporary isolation systems can reach levels 21–30 times greater than a properly engineered negative pressure isolation room. A working knowledge of these three elements can help create a safer environment for healthcare workers when isolation rooms are not available.

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Endemic Infections

A Video-based Debriefing Program to Support Emergency Medicine Clinician Well-being During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Monette, DL.

Emergency clinicians on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic experience a range of emotions including anxiety, fear, and grief. Debriefing can help clinicians process these emotions, but the coronavirus pandemic makes it difficult to create a physically and psychologically safe space in the emergency department (ED) to perform this intervention. In response, we piloted a video-based debriefing program to support emergency clinician well-being. We report the details of our program and results of our evaluation of its acceptability and perceived value to emergency clinicians during the pandemic.

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Endemic Infections

Physician Wellness During a Pandemic

Fitzpatrick, K.

We are currently in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Research into previous infectious disease outbreaks has shown that healthcare workers are at increased risk for burnout during these dire times, with those on the front lines at greatest risk. The purpose of this prospective study was to determine the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the wellness of emergency physicians (EP).

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Endemic Infections

Effect of an Aerosol Box on Intubation in Simulated Emergency Department Airways: A Randomized Crossover Study

Turner, JS.

The use of transparent plastic aerosol boxes as protective barriers during endotracheal intubation has been advocated during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic. There is evidence of worldwide distribution of such devices, but some experts have warned of possible negative impacts of their use. The objective of this study was to measure the effect of an aerosol box on intubation performance across a variety of simulated difficult airway scenarios in the emergency department.

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Endemic Infections

CODE BLUE-19: Proposal to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in the Emergency Department for Out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest

Nguyen, D.

Resuscitation of cardiac arrest in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients places the healthcare staff at higher risk of exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Unfortunately, COVID-19 status is unknown in most patients presenting to the emergency department (ED), and therefore special attention must be given to protect the healthcare staff along with the other patients. This is particularly true for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients who are transported to the ED. Based on the current data available on transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, we have proposed a protocolized approach to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests to limit risk of transmission.

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Endemic Infections

Preparedness, Adaptation, and Innovation: Approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic at a Decentralized, Quaternary Care Department of Emergency Medicine

Yaffee, AQ.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required healthcare systems to be creative and adaptable in response to an unprecedented crisis. Below we describe how we prepared for and adapted to this pandemic at our decentralized, quaternary-care department of emergency medicine, with specific recommendations from our experience. We discuss our longstanding history of institutional preparedness, as well as adaptations in triage, staffing, workflow, and communications. We also discuss innovation through working with industry on solutions in personal protective equipment, as well as telemedicine and methods for improving morale. These preparedness and response solutions and recommendations may be useful moving forward as we transition between response and recovery in this pandemic as well as future pandemics.

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Endemic Infections

Telemedicine to Decrease Personal Protective Equipment Use and Protect Healthcare Workers

Ribeira, R.

Infectious disease outbreaks, such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), place tremendous strain on availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and frontline healthcare providers. Readily available PPE can substantially reduce the rate of infection in healthcare workers and the spread of the illness.1,2 The lack of adequate PPE places providers at increased risk of infection, increases healthcare worker stress, and decreases staffing as providers fall ill. We know that inadequate PPE and risk of becoming infected are primary concerns of healthcare providers during pandemics, serving as key drivers in their willingness to work.3,4 Therefore, it is imperative that efforts are undertaken to minimize the threat facing them and their families.5 Here, we describe an emergency department (ED) effort to safely limit PPE use and decrease the risk of illness to providers by implementing telemedicine to care for patients already within our department walls.

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Endemic Infections

CEdRIC: Strategy for Patient Education During COVID-19 Triage

Pétré, B.

The current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is forcing healthcare systems around the word to organise care differently than before. Prompt detection and effective triage and isolation of potentially infected and infectious patients are essential to preventing unnecessary community exposure. Since there are as yet no medications to treat or vaccines to prevent COVID-19, prevention focuses on self-management strategies, creating patient education challenges for physicians doing triage and testing. This article describes a five-step process for effectively educating, at discharge, patients who are suspected of being infectious and instructed to self-isolate at home. We are proposing the CEdRIC strategy as a practical, straightforward protocol that meets patient education and health psychology science requirements. The main goal of the CEdRIC process is to give patients self-management strategies aimed at preventing complications and disease transmission. The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging clinicians to rapidly teach their patients self-management strategies while managing the inherent pressures of this emergency situation. The CEdRIC strategy is designed to deliver key information to patients and standardize the discharge process. CEdRIC is currently being tested at triage centres in Belgium. Formal assessment of its implementation is still needed.

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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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Patients Presenting with Bull-related Injuries to a Southern Indian Emergency Department

Nagarajan, S.

Bull-related injuries are commonly observed in rural areas of India as result of the animal’s use in sporting events as well as for agricultural purposes. These patients need early resuscitation due to complications from severe injuries. Previous work examining the epidemiology of bull-related injuries is limited, with most studies focusing on injuries in Spain and Latin America. There is scant literature examining the prevalence of such injuries in India. The objective of this study was to evaluate the demographic and clinical characteristics of bull-related injuries at a hospital in Tamil Nadu, India.

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Emergency Medicine Challenges in Ecuador

Patiño, AM.

Emergency medicine (EM) was recognized as a specialty in Ecuador in 1993. Currently, there are two four-year EM residency programs and an estimated 300 residency-trained emergency physicians countrywide. This study describes the current challenges in EM in Ecuador.

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Critical Care

Minimizing Pulse Check Duration Through Educational Video Review

Yamane, D.

The American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) recommend pulse checks of less than 10 seconds. We assessed the effect of video review-based educational feedback on pulse check duration with and without point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS).

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Emergency Department Operations

Accuracy of Hemolyzed Potassium Levels in the Emergency Department

Wilson, M.

In the emergency department (ED), pseudohyperkalemia from hemolysis may indirectly harm patients by exposing them to increased length of stay, cost, and repeat blood draws. The need to repeat hemolyzed potassium specimens in low-risk patients has not been well studied. Our objective was to determine the rate of true hyperkalemia among low-risk, adult ED patients with hemolyzed potassium specimens.

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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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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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A Social Network Analysis of the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine Special Issue in Educational Research and Practice

Cyrus, JW.

Scholarship and academic networking are essential for promotion and productivity. To develop education scholarship, the Council of Emergency Medicine Directors (CORD) and Clerkship Directors of Emergency Medicine (CDEM) created an annual Special Issue in Educational Research and Practice of the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. The objective of this study was to evaluate the network created by the special Issue, and explore changes within the network over time.

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Characterization of Regional Poison Center Utilization Through Geospatial Mapping

Olives, TD.

Penetrance is the annual rate of human exposure calls per 1000 persons, a measure that historically describes poison center (PC) utilization. Penetrance varies by sociodemographic characteristics and by geography. Our goal in this study was to characterize the geospatial distribution of PC calls and describe the contribution of geospatial mapping to the understanding of PC utilization.

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Evolving from Morbidity and Mortality to a Case-based Error Reduction Conference: Evidence-based Best Practices from the Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors

Chathampally, Y.

Morbidity and mortality conferences are common among emergency medicine residency programs and are an important part of quality improvement initiatives. Here we review the key components of running an effective morbidity and mortality conference with a focus on goals and objectives, case identification and selection, session structure, and case presentation.

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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.