Episode 32 – Appendicitis

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The Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM)

This week we cover a post from Dr. Rory Spiegel, author of EMnerd, on initial nonoperative management of acute appendicitis based on an article by Salminen et al in JAMA 2015.

  • 530 patients with CT confirmed acute, uncomplicated appendicitis were randomized to operative intervention (n=273 receiving open laparotomies) or non-operative intervention (n=257 receiving antibiotics).
  • 27.3% (n=70, CI 22-33.2%) of patients who received medical management (ertapenem x 3 days then 5 days of levofloxacin) had an appendectomy by the 1 year mark
    • 7 patients (2.7%) in medical management group had complicated appendicitis at one year, 0 had abscesses
    • 45 patients (20.5%) in the operative group had surgical complications

This is a non-inferiority study where the intent  is to demonstrate that an experimental treatment (antibiotics alone) is not substantially worse than a control treatment (immediate surgery). The authors set the non-inferiority margin at 24%, which means that a failure rate (appendectomy by 1 year) >24% would render medical management inferior.

Authors Conclusion: “Among patients with CT-proven, uncomplicated appendicitis, antibiotic treatment did not meet the prespecified criterion for noninferiority compared with appendectomy.”

Spiegel’s Conclusion: “there is a great deal to be determined before this non-invasive strategy can be considered mainstream practice…in what was once considered an exclusively surgical disease, the majority of patients can effectively be managed conservatively. Despite not meeting their own high standards for non-inferiority, the authors demonstrated that for most patients with acute appendicitis, when treated conservatively with antibiotics we can avoid surgical intervention without complications of delays to definitive care.”

More FOAM on non-operative treatment of appendicitis: The SGEM

Core Content
Tintinalli (7e) Chapters 84, 124;  Rosen’s Emergency Medicine (8e) Chapter 93

Appendicitis

Diagnosis:

Diagnosing Acute Appendicitis

Diagnosing Acute Appendicitis

Use of contrast enhanced CT scans controversial.  Rosenalli and the American College of radiology concur that oral contrast is probably not needed but does increase the emergency department length of stay [3-5].

Treatment:

  • Surgical consult
  • Antibiotics:
    • Broad spectrum beta-lactams: ampicillin-sulbactam 3g IV (75 mg/kg IV in peds)  piperacillin-tazobactam 4.5g IV, cefoxitin 2g IV (40 mg/kg IV in peds)  OR metronidazole 500 mg IV + ciprofloxacin 400 mg IV

Other things to consider in special populations in right lower quadrant:

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Tubo-Ovarian Abscess in women

  • Symptoms: vaginal discharge, adnexal or uterine tenderness, lower abdominal pain, cervical motion tenderness, fever
  • Cause: chlamydia and neisseria gonorrhoea most commonly
  • Treatment: ceftriaxone 250 mg IM + doxycycline 100 mg BID x 14 days

Typhlitis (neutropenic enterocolitis) –

  • Symptoms: crampy abdominal pain (often RLQ), abdominal distension, fever, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea
  • Diagnosis: CT scan
  • Treatment: NPO, IV fluids, broad spectrum antibiotics (piperacillin-tazobactam, meropenem, metronidazole) + surgical consult if needed
  • Complications: perforation, gastrointestinal bleeding, sepsis

Generously Donated Rosh Review Questions 

1. A 22-year-old man presents with abdominal pain followed by vomiting for 1 day. His examination is significant for right lower quadrant tenderness to palpation. He has a negative Rovsing sign. 

2. A 22-year-old woman presents with lower abdominal pain and vaginal discharge. She is sexually active with men with inconsistent barrier protection. Her vitals are normal other than temperature of 101°F. On examination, there is yellow cervical discharge, no cervical motion tenderness, but uterine and left adnexal tenderness. An ultrasound does not show any evidence of tubo-ovarian abscess. 

Answers.

1. B. Sensitivity or the true positive rate measures the proportion of actual positives that are correctly identified as such. It is determined by dividing the number of true positives of the test by the number of true positives + false negatives. Tests with a high sensitivity are good for ruling out disease as the test has very few false negatives. A test with high sensitivity is advantageous as a screening tool as it misses very few people with the disease. The onset of pain before vomiting has been found to be as high as 100% sensitive in diagnosing acute appendicitis.Rovsing’s sign (D) (indirect tenderness) describes pain felt in the right lower quadrant upon palpation of the left lower quadrant. This sign signifies the presence of peritoneal irritation and has a sensitivity of 58%. Right lower quadrant pain (C) has a sensitivity of 81% and fever (A) has a sensitivity of 67%.

2.This patient presents with signs and symptoms consistent with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and should be treated with ceftriaxone 250 mg IM and 2 weeks of doxycycline. PID is an ascending infection beginning in the cervix and vagina and ascending to the upper genital tract. Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis are most commonly implicated. It can present with a myriad of symptoms although lower abdominal pain is the most common. Other symptoms include fever, cervical or vaginal discharge and dyspareunia. Pelvic examination reveals cervical motion tenderness (CMT), adnexal tenderness and vaginal or cervical discharge. Inadequately treated PID can lead to tubo-ovarian abscess, chronic dyspareunia and infertility. Due to the variable presentation and serious sequelae, the CDC recommends empiric treatment of all sexually active women who present with pelvic or abdominal pain and have any one of the following: 1) CMT, 2) adnexal tenderness or 3) uterine tenderness. Treatment should cover the most common organisms and typically consists of a third generation cephalosporin (ceftriaxone) and a prolonged course of doxycycline. Patients with systemic manifestations or difficulty tolerating PO should be admitted for management.Ceftriaxone and azithromycin (A) are used in the treatment of cervicitis or urethritis. Clindamycin (C) and metronidazole (D) are used in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis.
References:

1.Salminen P, Paajanen H, Rautio T, et al. Antibiotic Therapy vs Appendectomy for Treatment of Uncomplicated Acute Appendicitis: The APPAC Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2015;313(23):2340

2. Horst JA, Trehan I, Warner BW et al. Can Children With Uncomplicated Acute Appendicitis Be Treated With Antibiotics Instead of an Appendectomy? Ann Emerg Med. 2015;66:(2)119-22

3.”Acute Appendicitis.” Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide.  7th ed. pp 574-581.

4. “Acute Appendicitis” Rosen’s Emergency Medicine. 8th ed. pp. 1225-1232.e2

5. ACR Appropriateness Criteria.  American College of Radiology. 2013.

6. Cohen B, Bowling J, Midulla P, et al. The non-diagnostic ultrasound in appendicitis: is a non-visualized appendix the same as a negative study? J Pediatr Surg. 2015;50:(6)923-7

7. Ashdown HF, D’Souza N, Karim D, Stevens RJ, Huang A, Harnden A. Pain over speed bumps in diagnosis of acute appendicitis: diagnostic accuracy study. BMJ. 2012;345:e8012.

8. Bundy DG, Byerley JS, Liles EA. Does This Child Have Appendicitis? 2009;298(4):438–451.

Episode 31 – Vasopressors

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The Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM)

This week we cover posts from the Wessex ICS site, The Bottom Line, which is an excellent source for breakdown of recent and important trials. This site is great for reviews of high impact trials in critical care. We cover their post on a systematic review of peripheral pressor complications and then we delve into a recent prospective trial by Cardenas-Garcia and colleagues that came up at SMACC.

The Bottom Line on the Loubani paper

  • Systematic review of the literature 1946-Jan 2014 (does not include most recent trial)
  • Outcome – local tissue injury or extravasation: 325 separate events, 318/325 peripheral pressors
    • Signal that distal lines are not ideal for running pressors: 204 events (local tissue injury) were distal to the antecubital fossa/popliteal fossa (90% of events)
    • Signal that duration of pressors running peripherally may impact likelihood of adverse event. Increasing number of events were reported at the 6-12 hour mark (n=9) then 12-24 hour (n=18) and then almost all >24 hour

The Cardenas-Garcia Paper

  • Single arm consecutive study of ICU patients
  • ICU fellows and attendings determined if peripheral pressors were warranted and then initiated the following protocol:
    • Vein diameter >4 mm measured with ultrasonography and PIV confirmed with US before pressors started
    • Upper extremity only, contralateral to the blood pressure cuff
    • IV size 20 gauge or 18 gauge
    • No hand, wrist, or antecubital fossa PIV access position
    • Blood return from the PIV access prior to VM administration
    • Assessment of PIV access function q 2h as per nursing protocol
    • Immediate alert by nursing staff to the medical team if line extravasation, with prompt initiation of local treatment
    • 72 hours maximum duration of PIV access use
  • N=734 patients
  • 19/783 peripheral vasopressor administrations with infiltration of site (2%) with no events of local tissue injury

The take home: If a patient needs vasopressors, you can start them through a good, proximal peripheral IV.  Sometimes patient or situation factors delay central lines, this doesn’t mean it needs to delay patient’s therapy.  Know what to do in the event of infiltration (see this EMCrit post).

Core Content
Tintinalli (7e) Chapter 24

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 11.14.51 AM

Panchal et al – Phenylephrine bolus dosing in peri-intubation period

Central line technique from Dr. Reuben Strayer – Wire through catheter vs wire through needle

Generously Donated Rosh Review Questions 

1.

Answer. C. Norepinephrine is considered the vasopressor of choice for treatment of septic shock.   Norepinephrine acts primarily as an α-adrenergic agonist, causing vasoconstriction that results in an increase in blood pressure. It also has β-adrenergic properties, which causes an increase in cardiac output and heart rate. The combination of α-adrenergic and β-adrenergic properties benefits patients who have septic shock. Norepinephrine also has a short duration of action, which allows for rapid adjustment of dosing in response to changes in a patient’s hemodynamic status. Dopamine (A) was once widely used in the treatment of septic shock, but studies have shown that it has no advantage over norepinephrine and its use is associated with a higher death rate. Epinephrine (B) has both α-adrenergic and β-adrenergic properties and has a greater affinity for alpha- and beta-receptors than norepinephrine. Its use is associated with a higher rate of cardiac dysrhythmias and a decrease in splanchnic blood flow. Phenylephrine (D) is a pure α-adrenergic agent that causes vasoconstriction and impairment of tissue blood flow throughout the body, most notably in the splanchnic circulation.

FOAMcastini – Dr. Jerome Hoffman on ACEP’s tPA Clinical Policy

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In a prior FOAMcastini, we covered the updated ACEP tPA clinical policy. As residents, we sought perspectives from experts, the FOAMcast brain trust (Drs. Anand Swaminathan, Ken Milne, Ryan Radecki, and David Newman).  We (Jeremy) also interviewed Dr. Jerry Hoffman, faculty at UCLA.

In this interview, Dr. Jerry Hoffman, a public skeptic and author of peer reviewed critiques of tPA provides interesting perspective on more than thrombolysis but on the future of guidelines (referencing this paper) and science in Emergency Medicine.

A few of Dr. Hoffman’s articles on the topic:

Ensuring the integrity of clinical practice guidelines: a tool for protecting patients.

How is more negative evidence being used to support claims of benefit: The curious case of the third international stroke trial (IST-3).

Thrombolysis for stroke: policy should be based on science, and not on politics, money or fear of malpractice.

Stroke thrombolysis: we need new data, not more reviews.

Against: And just what is the emperor of stroke wearing?

Thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke – Tissue plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke: Is the CAEP Position Statement too negative?

FOAMcastini – ACEP tPA Clinical Policy

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In a prior FOAMcastini, we covered a draft of an ACEP clinical policy on tPA for acute ischemic stroke.  This came in the wake of years of controversy over the aggressive position taken in the 2012 clinical policy.  In June ACEP released the final version of this policy.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.42.07 PM

Per the policy within 3 hours:

  • NNT of 8 for excellent functional outcomes; 95% [CI] 4-31
    • Paucity of patients presenting with mild stroke (NIHSS score 0 to 4)
  • NNH of 17 for symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage; 95% CI 12-34

While FOAMcast is not an interview style podcast, we felt compelled to get some perspective on Emergency Physicians a little more experienced than ourselves.  Here we interview:

Dr. Ryan Radecki (@emlitofnote), Assistant Professor, University of Texas – Houston

  • See his response to the policy on his blog here

Dr. David Newman (#draftnewman), Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital

Dr. Anand Swaminathan (@EMSwami), Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, NYU

Dr. Ken Milne (@thesgem), Chief of Staff at South Huron Hospital

FOAMcastini – SMACC Day 3

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We are bringing you pearls from conferences we attend including SMACC (#smaccUS).  This conference was amazing and we enjoyed meeting everyone.  We look forward to seeing y’all at SMACC in Dublin June 13-16, 2016 and hope you check out the Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) lectures from SMACC, in podcast form, until then.

Things in medicine aren’t always engineered to help us succeed. Engineering the environment smarter may make care safer. – Kevin Fong

  • Medication vials often look quite similar and in a busy, heated moment this may lead to medication errors.  Check out the EZdrugID project.
EZdrugID

Photo: Dr. Nicholas Chrimes

Analgesia, there’s more to it than medicine – Jeremy Faust

  • Distraction is a good thing.  Doing a painful procedure such as injecting local anesthetic? Distract the patient in tactile fashion by lightly scratching the patient proximal to the procedure. Alternative, music and videos can distract children and adults.
  • Calm music may reduce perception of pain.
  • Take advantage of child life, if you have them [AHRQ]!

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a problem – Mark Wilson (see this blog post)

  • The score doesn’t have intrinsic meaning. A GCS score can be associated with mortality ranging from 20-57%, depending on the individual components [Healey]
  • We’re really bad at assigning correct GCS scores to patients, even when we have cheat sheets [Feldman]
  • The interrater reliability of the GCS is abysmal [Bledsoe, Gill]
  • Describe the patient’s exam!

Shift work is disruptive – Haney Mallemat

  • Microsleep is dangerous, yet fairly common in the over tired provider
  • Replacing traditional night shifts with “casino shifts” may help.  These are often comprised of 2 short shifts from 10p-4a and 4a-10a with the notion that each provider would get sleep during the “anchor period” of the Circadian cycle, 2am-6am.  Small studies have shown this feasible, preferred by many, and perhaps perceived [Croskerry, Dukelow]

FOAMcastini – SMACC Day 2

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We are bringing you pearls from conferences we attend including SMACC (#smaccUS).  The plenary, facilitated by the brilliant Dr. Victoria Brazil, focused on the impaired provider. At SMACC we’ve heard time and time again – we are fallible, we make mistakes.

Dying – Dr. Ashley Shreves

  • What often presume what our patients want without asking them.  When dying patients are asked what they want, it comes down to dignity. 1) Being clean 2) Naming a decision maker and then other top priorities essentially come down to healthcare providers listening [Steinhauser et al]
  • We don’t ask patients about their code statuses appropriately. First, we often spend almost no time doing this.  One study of hospitalists found that code status discussions lasted, on average, one minute. Further, that one minute was spent mostly focused on procedures [Anderson et al]
  • Communicate!

Evidence Based Medicine – The consensus of these cage matches was that evidence isn’t all equal; the existence of data doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good data.

  • The Randomized Control Trial (RCT) has problems – Drs. Paul Young and Simon Finfer
    • Beware the Fragility Index – small effects in RCTs
    • Caution with Base Rate Neglect – we jump to inappropriate conclusions.  For example, pretend you have tested positive for a typically fatal disease.  The test is accurate 95% of the time.  Most people would conclude that there was a 95% chance they have the disease – a death sentence. Yet, one would need to know the prevalence of the disease in the general population to determine the actual likelihood that the test was correct.  If the prevalence of the disease is 1 in 1000, the likelihood that you actually have the disease based on this test is <2%.
  • We should read the primary literature, but we can’t read all of it. Use FOAM (judiciously) – Drs. Rory Spiegel and Ken Milne
    • Due to the volume of literature, we have to make some decisions on what to read (Systematic reviews? Meta-analyses? RCTs? Case Reports?)

Impact Apnea

  • Severe traumatic brain injury can cause apnea which leads to a spiral of hypoxia (and thus cell death) and hypercapnea (with cerebral vasodilation causing cerebral edema) which can result in poor neurologic outcome.
  • The key?  Resuscitate these patients as a hypoxic arrest. These are patients that need an airway and need oxygen.

FOAMcastini – SMACC Day 1

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We are bringing you pearls from conferences we attend including SMACC (#smaccUS).  The overarching theme to Day 1 at SMACC?  Use your team- to keep you in check and for feedback.  Our cases and errors are opportunities for reflection. Dr. Cliff Reid reminded us to follow up our patients and outcomes and learn from it all, without letting our egos get in the way.   Dr. Simon Carley (St. Emlyn’s) gave a powerful talk on learning from mistakes later in the day; you will definitely want to listen to these when they come out.

The sub theme?  Experts don’t need algorithms and tests. But the novices? That’s another story.

TraumaWeingart.  We won’t delve into his thoughts on ATLS here (hint: ATLS isn’t for experts).

  • Ignore the first automated blood pressure, it’s probably wrong.  Get a manual blood pressure.
  • Giving 3 units of blood in one hour? Prepare for massive transfusion, that means FFP, platelets, everything
  • If you go down the massive transfusion pathways, give an ampule of calcium every 4-6 units of plasma to combat the transfusion induced hypocalcemia from citrate.
  • The Shock Index (HR/SBP), isn’t as exciting as we once thought. It may be a guide, but not reliably so.

Pain – Strayer

  • Analgesia doesn’t = opiates.  Think about local analgesia.
  • Pain as the “5th vital sign” – probably more harmful than helpful [Gussow]
  • In fact, in 2009, there were

Polypharmacy – Juurlink

  • Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and ace-inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers, used in combination can lead to hyperkalemia and, in some cases, death [Juurlink et al]
  • Acetaminophen, at just 2 grams/day, can elevate the INR in patients on warfarin [Pinson]. Acetaminophen is still probably the analgesic of choice, but something to be aware of

Sepsis 

  • Lactate is not a measure of tissue hypoxia/anaerobic metabolism [Marik et al]
  • Too much fluid is not a good thing = iatrogenic salt water drowning [Marik et al]
  • Patients may need vasopressors.  If they do, don’t delay based on central access.  Vasopressors are ok through good peripheral lines for a day or so. [Loubani et al, Mayo et al] However, we should probably place the lines when we’re safely able.
    • Of note, this does require strict protocols. Ex: Mayo study had stringent inclusion criteria
Mayo et al

Mayo et al