Case of the Week COW #7

CC: Numbness and palpitations

HPI: 21-year-old Female presents to the Emergency Department (ED) complaining of palpitations and left arm weakness with perioral numbness, which began just prior to arrival. The patient states the episode lasted 30 minutes before completely resolving on its own. In the ED, she denies any other complaints except for a mild headache. Patient notes she experienced a similar episode of palpitations yesterday afternoon, while resting, which she described as “skipping beats”. On further questioning, the patient admitted to being hospitalized to a NYC hospital 2 weeks ago where she had a Cardiac Echocardiogram done which showed “hypertrophy.” Patient never followed up with cardiologist as instructed. In the past, a doctor in her country prescribed her an unknown antihypertensive medication, which she took for one year but stopped taking it once she moved to NJ. Denies fever, dizziness, chest pain, and shortness of breath, recent travels, calf pain or swelling.

Physical Exam:

BP 109/72   HR 82     RR 18     SpO2 100% on RA    Temp 97.0F

General: Well appearing female, in non-acute distress

HEENT: NCAT, pupils PERRLA, neck supple

Respiratory: CTA B/L, no wheezing, rales or rhonchi

Cardiac: +S1/S2, no MRG, regular rhythm

Abdomen: soft NT ND

Neuro exam: AAO X 3, No focal deficits

Extremities: no edema, no tenderness or swelling, 5/5 strength in all extremities. Sensory intact

Skin: pink and warm, No diaphoresis, no rashes, lacerations, or abrasions

Pertinent Labs: Troponin 0.308

Pertinent Imaging and other tests:

  • Chest X-Ray: Cardiomegaly with a boot shaped heart, which may indicated right heart failure.
  • CT Head: Normal 
  •  ECG: Normal Sinus Rhythm, Bi-atrial enlargement, RBBB, LVH

Working Diagnosis: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCOM)

ED/Hospital course:  Patient was given 324 mg of ASA and admitted to Telemetry with a diagnosis of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. While still in the ED waiting for a bed on Telemetry the patient had multiple runs of non-sustained V-Tach and Cardiology was consulted. The patient was started on ASA and Metoprolol PO. A 2D ECHO was done which was consistent with HCOM. Patient remained stable on Telemetry for 3 days prior to discharge. The patient’s Troponin was trended daily, 0.308 in the ED, 0.288 on day 1 of admission, and 0.314 on day 2 of admission. Patient was told to follow up with Cardiology Clinic for possible AICD placement planning.

Pearls:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is one of the most common inherited cardiac disorders (affecting ~ 1 in 500 people) and is the number one cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Annual mortality is estimated at 1-2 %.

  • Pathology and Pathophysiology:
    • Dynamic Obstruction of the Left Ventricular Outflow Obstruction (LVOT)
    • Primarily Autosomal Dominant Inheritance
    • Left Ventricular diastolic dysfunction resulting from impaired relaxation and filling of the stiff and hypertrophied left ventricle (often associated with increased filling pressure)
    • Abnormal intramural coronary arteries with thickened walls and narrow lumens
    • Chaotic, disorganized left ventricular architecture (“ cellular disarray’) predisposing to abnormal transmission of electrical impulses and thus serving as a substrate for the formation of arrhythmia.
  • Clinical Manifestation
    • Exertional syncope or pre-syncope – this is the most worrisome symptom, suggesting dynamic LVOT obstruction with or without dysrhythmia, with the potential for sudden cardiac death.
    • Symptoms of pulmonary congestions due to left ventricular dysfunction (e.g. exertional dyspnea, fatigue, orthopnea, paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea)
    • Chest pain – may be typical angina pain due to increased demand (thicker myocardial walls) and reduced supply (aberrant coronary arteries).
    • Palpitations due to supraventricular or ventricular arrhythmias.
  • ECG Features:
    • Left atrial enlargement
    • Left ventricular hypertrophy with associated ST segment / T-wave abnormalities
    • Deep, narrow (“dagger-like”) Q waves in the Lateral (V5-6, I, aVL) and inferior (II, III, aVF) leads. Most common in Lateral vs. Inferior
    • Giant precordial T-wave inversions in apical HCM
    • Signs of WPW (Short PR, delta wave)
    • Dysrhythmias: Atrial Fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, PACs, PVCs, VT

*** Infarction Q Waves are wider with a different morphology compared to HCM.

Pathologic Q Waves:

  • Usually > 40 ms (1mm) wide
  • > 2mm Deep
  • > 25% of depth of QRS Complex
  • Best seen in V1-V3

 

Post by Tyler Manis, MD, PGY4

ACEP Now Review on LVADs

Check out this excellent review on managing patients with LVADs from this month’s ACEP Now publication which was written by our own Dr. Yenisleidy Paez Perez, DO PGY-3 and one of our newly graduated residents, Dr. Terrance McGovern, DO. The article is entitled ‘How to Manage Emergency Department Patients with Left Ventricular Assist Devices.” Click the link below to be forwarded to the article.

http://www.acepnow.com/article/manage-emergency-department-patients-left-ventricular-assist-devices/

Breaking Bad News

One of the hardest roles of the emergency physician is giving bad news to a patient or their family members. Difficult topics that are often challenging for physicians to discuss include reporting the death of a family member or giving the diagnosis of a terminal illness. The optimal way to relay these topics is yet to be determined and each practitioner typically develops their own communication style. Some choose to deliver the message in a direct and succinct manner while others prefer a more drawn out and complete explanation. The Emergency Department provides a unique environment as there is often little time to develop any rapport with the patient and their family. This can make communicating these topics more challenging. In addition, breaking bad news involves more than just the verbal component of actually giving the bad news. It also requires the ability to respond effectively to patient’s and family’s emotional reactions and the dilemma of how to give hope when the situation is bleak.

Jurkovich et al studied the characteristics and methods of delivering bad news from the perspective of surviving family members. The chart below details the importance of various elements rated by respondents in the study. The attitude and clarity of the message delivered by the provider were deemed to be most important, while the attire of the provider had little importance to the respondents.

The duty of breaking bad news can be improved by understanding these characteristics and methods and then applying a step-wise method to effectively communicate and counsel patient’s and/or their families. In a recent Wednesday conference, Dr. Flannery, one of our core faculty attendings, introduced us to the SPIKES protocol for breaking bad news. The purpose of the protocol is to help the clinician fulfill the essential goals of gathering information, providing intelligible information, and supporting the patient or family by reducing their emotional impact and isolation. When we are informing our patients of an unfortunate diagnosis, the protocol also calls for collaborating in developing a strategy or treatment plan for the future. From the Emergency Department standpoint, this means guiding patients to the correct consultant for further workup and treatment options.

During our Wednesday conference, we broke into small groups and practiced situations that would be considered difficult to give bad news. The experience was positive and allowed us to give each other constructive criticism on ways to improve our approach to giving bad news. As a senior resident, I have unfortunately been involved in many of these situations throughout my residency. I have learned that despite the challenges involved in delivering bad news, there is also tremendous gratification in providing a therapeutic presence during a patient or family’s greatest need.

References:
1. Jurkovich et al. Giving bad news: the family perspective. J Trauma. May 2000
2. Baile W.F. et al. SPIKES – A Six-Step Protocol for Delivering Bad News: Application to the Patient with Cancer. The Oncologist. June 12, 2000.

EM Conference Pearls (8/2/17)

Pearl’s from Wed conference August 2nd 2017:

Agenda:
– Asthma/COPD: Baldino
– Sepsis Core Measures: Patel
– Pulmonary cases: Patel
– Medical student pearls (from Mike Taylor, one of our students)


Dr. Baldino: Asthma/COPD

-All that wheezes is not asthma (or COPD).
-Use diagnostics to rule out mimics such as pneumonia or ptx.
-Get the CXR in COPD exacerbation, not routinely in simple asthma exacerbation.
-Good evidence and NNT’s for benefit of ipratropium, systemic steroids, magnesium,  and BiPAP.
-Intubation last resort for asthma.  Remember to adjust I to E ratio on vent.
-Steroids at discharge for asthma/COPD.  Antibiotics at discharge for COPD.
-Discharge with a plan! (and a spacer)


Dr. Patel: Sepsis Core Measures

-Sepsis core measures are from CMS, not from SSC guidelines or Sepsis 3.0. They are not necessarily rooted in great evidence, but we have to follow them!
-Remember the 3 and 6 hour severe sepsis and septic shock bundles. Timing is based on presentation time (when chart displays severe sepsis, septic shock), not door time.  To make your life easy, just use door time to meet the metrics.
-The focused exam for septic shock can now just be documented with one statement, which is in Medhost.  Make sure to click that.
-Fluids from the field count (as your 30 cc/kg), as long as it is given as a bolus and documented on the chart.
-Antibiotic choice and timing both looked at for core measures. For choice, best to go with a monotherapy agent first to meet the metric.


Dr. Patel: Pulmonary Cases

-The term HCAP is not in the newest pneumonia guidelines from 2016.
-Treat HCAP like CAP unless the patient is going to the MICU.  If going to the MICU, cover for MRSA and Pseudomonas.

Hemoptysis:

-Minor hemoptysis (streaks in the sputum)–d/c unless CXR abnormal
-Moderate hemoptysis (frank hemoptysis)—admit for further work up and obs
-Massive hemoptysis (hemoptysis interfering with respirations)–intubate and consult pulmonary (for bronch) and IR (for possible bronchial artery embolization). If there is a suspicion of a bronchovesicular fistula or other arterial fistula, CT surgery may also need to be on board.


Medical Student Pearls

One of our current medical student’s Mike Taylor put together some info on questions that were raised in conference:

Intentional “L Main Bronchus Intubation:” (for hemoptysis)

Take Home Points from 1995 Anesthesiology Case Report:
 -Can use a double lumen ET tube with a endobronchial cuff
 -The inflated endobronchial cuff can tamponade the hemorrhaging R lung and occlude airflow into it. This allows only the L lung to be effectively intubated and the provider not have to be tasked with putting the tube in the L main bronchus
 Reference: http://anesthesiology.pubs.asahq.org/article.aspx?articleid=1949905

Rate Control for MAT:

Take home points from Uptodate
 -Treat underlying cause
 -Maintain phos and mag levels
 -Can use CCBs or beta blockers for rate control in symptomatic pts
 Reference (requires access to UpToDate): https://www.uptodate.com/contents/multifocal-atrial-tachycardia

Bandemia Cut Offs:

Take home points from 2012 Retrospective Cohort Study:
 -With normal white counts, pts with bandemia of at least 11% had higher in hospital mortality
 -So 11% or higher could use as a cut off for admission, more aggressive treatment, etc.
 Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22939096

Special thanks to Chief Dan Poor PGY-4 for organizing this week’s Conference Pearls and for Mike Taylor MS-IV for his Medical Student Pearls