LVAD Case

This week’s case is written by Drs. Ashley Lubberdink and Sameer Sharif. Dr. Lubberdink is a PGY4 Emergency Medicine resident at McMaster University and is just beginning her fellowship in simulation and medical education. Dr. Sharif is a PGY5 Emergency Medicine resident at McMaster University who has just completed his fellowship in simulation and medical education.

Why it Matters

LVADs are pretty uncommon devices! If your practice location is not a hospital that inserts LVADs, then it is likely that you have never come across a patient with an LVAD. Without prior knowledge of these devices, it can be quite distressing trying to assess these patients. This case is designing to highlight the following:

  • LVAD patients do not have a pulse, a measurable blood pressure, or a detectable heart rate on the sat probe
  • To assess for blood pressure, one must insert an arterial line or use a blood pressure cuff and doppler U/S to obtain the MAP
  • Early after LVAD placement, drive line infection and bleeding are common complications
  • Call for help early! These patients generally have care providers who are available to help trouble shoot by phone at all hours of the day

More Reading

For more information on an approach to LVADs, we suggest the following sources:

https://emcrit.org/emcrit/left-ventricular-assist-devices-lvads-2/

https://canadiem.org/lvads-approach-ed/

Clinical Vignette

A 62-year-old male presents to your large community ED with a 1 day history of generalized malaise and nausea and a 2-hour history of palpitations. He is particularly concerned about his symptoms because last month he had an LVAD placed at your provinces’ major cardiac center (3 hours away) for stage 4 CHF. His wife is accompanying him but is currently parking the car.

Case Summary

A 62-year-old man presents to the ED with palpitations and general malaise. On initial assessment, the team finds out he had an LVAD placed within the last 1 month. The team will need to work through how to assess the patient’s vital signs appropriately and will discover the patient has a low MAP and a low-grade fever. On inspection, the patient’s drive line site will appear infected. The initial ECG will show features of hyperkalemia. After the initial assessment, the patient will progress to a PEA arrest requiring resuscitation by ACLS protocols. Labs will reveal an acute kidney injury and hyperkalemia. The patient will obtain ROSC when the hyperkalemia is treated.

Download the case here: LVAD Case

Initial ECG for the case found here:

hyperkalemia

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/basics/hyperkalaemia/)

Second ECG for the case found here:

hyperkalemia narrow QRS

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/basics/hyperkalaemia/)

CXR for the case found here:

LVAD-CXR

(CXR source: https://edecmo.org/additional-technologies/ventricular-assist-devices-vads/lvads/)

Picture of drive line site infection found here:

driveline infection A

(Picture source: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1179065217714216)

Echo for case found here:

(Echo source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4ThAo4m2UI)

Polytrauma for Team Communication

This case is written by Dr. Chris Heyd. He is a PGY4 Emergency Medicine resident at McMaster University and has spent the last year completing a sub-specialty focus in disaster medicine and simulation. He is also one of our resident editors here at EmSimCases.

Why it Matters

This case highlights some of the challenges that can be associated with activating a trauma team. While the intent is to have many expert hands available to help at once, sometimes the team members arrive in a staggered fashion. This case reviews:

  • The challenges of managing an unstable trauma patient when there are interruptions to the flow of communication
  • The need to expediently place a chest tube in a hypoxic trauma patient
  • The fact that near simultaneous intubation and chest tube placement is often necessary in an unstable trauma patient

Clinical Vignette

To be read aloud by simulation facilitator at start of case:

“You are working as an Emergency physician at a tertiary care trauma centre and have been called overhead to your trauma bay. A paramedic team has just arrived with a 64-year old trauma patient. He was involved in a highway speed head-on MVC. He was restrained and air bags deployed. He was the driver and the other drive died on scene. There were no other passengers. EMS extricated the patient easily. They have placed one IV line and started running normal saline. He has been placed on a non-rebreather mask but has remained tachycardic, hypoxic and altered. GCS has been consistently 14. The trauma team was activated based on injury mechanism but so far only the orthopedic resident has arrived at the bedside.”

Case Summary

A 64-year old man is involved in a high-speed car crash. The trauma team is activated and he is brought directly to the ED. On arrival, he is hypoxic, tachycardic and altered. CXR reveals multiple rib fractures with a right-sided hemopneumothorax.

The team leader will need to effectively communicate with the team to ensure the tasks of intubation, chest tube placement and blood product administration are performed in a safe and quickly. The patient will stabilize after these treatments.

Members of the trauma team will have a staggered entry into the room. The team leader will need to balance communication with the new team members and the urgent interventions needed by the patient.

Download the case here: Polytrauma for Team Communication

CXR for the case found here:

CXR trauma

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/cases/large-traumatic-haemothorax)

PXR for the case found here:

Normal PXR

(PXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/cases/normal-pelvis-x-ray-trauma-supine-1)

Lung U/S showing hemothorax found here:

 

(U/S source: McMaster PoCUS Subspecialty Training Program)

Normal RUQ FAST image found here:

no FF

(U/S source: McMaster PoCUS Subspecialty Training Program)

Pregnant Cardiomyopathy

This case is written by Drs. Nadia Primiani and Sev Perelman. They are both emergency physicians at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Primiani is the postgraduate education coordinator at the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Centre. Dr. Perelman is the director of SIMSinai.

Why it Matters

Most emergency physicians have some degree of discomfort when a woman in her third trimester presents to the ED for any complaint. When that woman presents in acute distress, the discomfort is increased even further! This case takes learners through the management of a patient with a pregnancy-induced cardiomyopathy, reviewing:

  • The importance of calling for help early
  • The fact that all pregnant patients at term must be presumed to have difficult airways
  • That the treatment of the underlying medical condition is still the primary focus – in this case, BiPap, definitive airway management, and ultimately, inotropic support

Clinical Vignette

You are working in a community ED and your team has been called urgently by the nurse to see a 38 year old female who is G2P1 at 36 weeks gestational age. She was brought in by her sister, who is quite agitated and upset, saying “everybody has been ignoring her symptoms for the last 4 weeks.” The patient has just experienced a syncopal episode at home.

Case Summary

A 38-year-old female G2P1 at 36 weeks GA presents with acute on chronic respiratory distress in addition to chronic peripheral edema. She undergoes respiratory fatigue and hypoxia requiring intubation. She then becomes hypotensive which the team discovers is secondary to cardiogenic shock, requiring vasopressor infusion and consultation with Cardiology/ ICU.

Download the case here: Pregnant Cardiomyopathy

ECG for the case found here:

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/dilated-cardiomyopathy/)

 CXR for case found here:

posttestQ2pulmonaryedema

(CXR source: https://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/rad/cxr/postquestions/posttest.html)

Cardiac Ultrasound for the case found here:

ezgif.com-optimize+(6)

(U/S source: http://www.thepocusatlas.com/echo/2hj4yjl0bcpxxokzzzoyip9mnz1ck5)

Lung U/S for the case found here:

Confluent+B+Lines

(U/S source: http://www.thepocusatlas.com/pulmonary/)

RUQ FAST U/S Image found here:

usruqneg

(U/S source: http://sinaiem.us/tutorials/fast/us-ruq-normal/)

OB U/S found here:

(U/S source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKKnTLqI_VM)

Pediatric SVT

This case is written by Drs. Laura Simone and Olivia Ostrow. They are both Pediatric Emergency Physicians at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.

Why it Matters

SVT is the most common pediatric dysrhythmia that we see in the ED after sinus tachycardia. But sometimes, in very young children and infants, it can be hard to distinguish the two! This case highlights some important features of the management of SVT, including:

  • The need for an ECG when they heart rate is very high
  • The role of vagal maneuvers as a first attempt at cardioversion
  • The dosing of adenosine and electricity for cardioversion of SVT

Clinical Vignette

A 12-month old male is brought into your ED today by his parents because he has been fussy, crying all night and not feeding well today. He had emesis x 1 (non-bilious, non-bloody). At triage, the RN had difficulty recording the heart rate but by auscultation it seemed “quite rapid” and he “feels a bit warm”.

Case Summary

The team has been called to the ED after a 12-month old is brought in with a rapid heart rate. The team will realize the patient is in a stable SVT rhythm, with no response to either vagal maneuvers or adenosine. The patient will then progress to having an unstable SVT. If the SVT is defibrillated (i.e. – shocked without synchronization), the patient will progress to VT arrest. If the SVT is cardioverted, the patient will clinically improve.

Download the case here: Pediatric SVT

Initial ECG for the case found here:

SVT

(ECG source: http://hqmeded-ecg.blogspot.ca/2013/01/heart-rate-of-230-beats-per-minute.html)

Post-Cardioversion ECG for the case found here:

normal-sinus-rhythm (1)

(ECG source: http://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/sinus-tachycardia/)

VT ECG for the case found here:

VT

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/ventricular-tachycardia/)

 

Palliative Respiratory Case

This case is written by Dr. Alexandra Stefan. Dr. Stefan is an emergency medicine physician and the Postgraduate Site Director for Emergency Medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. She is also an assistant professor in the Division of Emergency Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her areas of interest are postgraduate medical education, simulation (has completed the Harvard Centre for Medical Simulation training course) and global health  education (has participated in teaching trips with Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration).

Why it Matters

Emergency medicine training is often focused on the many interventions we can make when a patient arrives in distress. This case highlights that sometimes, one of the most important interventions is to determine a patient’s goals of care. It specifically highlights:

  • The importance of pain management as a part of end of life care
  • The need to speak clearly and without medical jargon to establish a patient’s wishes
  • That goals of care conversations often happen in the ED through a substitute decision maker, rather than with the patient directly.

Clinical Vignette

“A 72 year old man from home with acute shortness of breath has just been placed in the resuscitation room. He has a history of lung cancer and is on 2L home oxygen. His daughter Cindy called 911 because he has been getting worse since this morning. He just finished a course of antibiotics for presumed pneumonia. He is on hydromorph contin and prochlorperazine. No allergies. Here is his most recent oncology clinic note.”

Case Summary

A 72-year old male with small cell lung cancer and bony metastases presents with acute shortness of breath. Curative treatment has been stopped and palliative care assessment is pending. He is on home oxygen and has come to the ED as his symptoms could not be controlled at home.

The patient initially improves with oxygen and pain control. He is too confused to engage in discussion about advanced directives. No previous advanced directives or level of care have been documented but, Cindy, the patient’s daughter is available to act as decision maker. She will have a number of questions about her father’s care.

The patient’s respiratory status will deteriorate. Cindy will confirm her father’s wish for comfort measures, to be started by the treating team.

Download the case here: Palliative Resp Case

Download the clinic note required for the case here: Med Onc Note

ECG for the case found here:

ecg sob case

(ECG source: http://www.thecrashcart.org/case-2-post-partum-palpitations/)

CXR for the case found here:

pleural effusion

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/cases/pleural-effusion-7)

Cardiac Ultrasound for the case found here:

 

(U/S image courtesy of McMaster PoCUS Subspecialty Training Program.)

Learner-Consultant Communication

This case was written by Dr. Jared Baylis. Jared is currently a PGY-4 in emergency medicine at UBC (Interior Site – Kelowna, BC) and is completing a simulation fellowship in Vancouver, BC.

Twitter – @baylis_jared + @KelownaEM

Why It Matters

Referral-consultant interactions occur with regularity in the emergency department. These interactions are critically important to safe and effective patient care. Several frameworks have been developed for teaching learners how to communicate during a consultation including the 5C, PIQUED, and CONSULT models. This case allows simulation educators to incorporate whichever consultation framework they prefer into a simulation scenario that allows deliberate practice of the consultation process.

Clinical Vignette

You are a junior resident working in a tertiary care centre and you are asked to see a 58-year-old female patient who was sent in from the cancer centre. She is known to have metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer and has been increasingly dyspneic with postural pre-syncope over the last few days. Her history is significant for a previous malignant pericardial effusion that was drained therapeutically a few months ago.

Case Summary

In this case, learners will be expected to recognize that this 58-year-old female patient with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer has tamponade physiology secondary to a malignant pericardial effusion. The patient will stabilize somewhat with a gentle fluid bolus but the learners will be expected to urgently consult cardiology or cardiac/thoracic surgery (depending on the centre) for a pericardiocentesis and/or pericardial window.

Download the case here: Learner-Consultant Communication

Checklists for 5C, PIQUED, and CONSULT frameworks: Consult Framework Checklists

FOAMed article on 5C framework: 5C CanadiEM

FOAMed article on PIQUED framework: PIQUED CanadiEM

ECG for the case found here:

ECG

(ECG Source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/basics/low-qrs-voltage/)

CXR for the case found here:

CXR

(CXR Source: https://radiopaedia.org)

POCUS for the case found here:

 

(Ultrasound Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAlU8qhC1cU)

Elderly Psychosis and Agitation

This case is written by Drs. Nicole Kester-Green and Jen Riley. Dr. Kester-Greene is a staff physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in the Department of Emergency Services and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine. She has completed a simulation educators training course at Harvard Centre for Medical Simulation and is currently Director of Emergency Medicine Simulation at Sunnybrook. Dr. Riley is a staff emergency physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.  Her areas of interest are in simulation and medical technology, with a focus on developing programs and curriculum for trainees and faculty both in medicine and allied health professions.

Why it Matters

Patients who present to the ED with agitation can be very challenging to manage. It is particularly difficult when the patient clearly lacks capacity and is unable to respond appropriately to any simple commands. In these situations, ensuring the safety of both the patient and staff members becomes the primary goal. This case highlights, specifically:

  • That chemical restraint should always be used if physical restraints are to be used
  • The challenges to assessing a patient who is clearly unwell when that patient is not cooperative
  • The role security plays in ensuring a safe patient care experience

A Note on Safety

Pre-briefing is always an important component of simulation. For this case, it is essential that the pre-briefing takes a little extra time so that the safety of everyone involved is reviewed. The case is designed so that physical restraints are only placed once the standardized patient is traded for a mannequin. Regardless, both the standardized patient and the sim participants should be briefed on the use of simulated restraint. It is essential that a safe word like “time out” is pre-determined in case any participants are feeling unsafe at any point in the case. This would immediately halt the case. Similarly, instructors must be watching closely for safety and cut the scenario if they feel anyone may be harmed. We advocate for having security participate in this case as learners. However, briefing security that they should not use the restraints on the standardized patient would also help ensure safety.

Clinical Vignette

The charge nurse comes to you: “There is a 68 year old woman in the seclusion room. She was observed pacing and acting bizarre at the bus stop. EMS managed to talk her into ambulance. On route she told them her neighbour is trying to poison her. Initially, she was calm but now she is starting to get agitated. She doesn’t have any previous psych admissions in the system. We couldn’t get any vital signs.

Case Summary

A 68-year old woman is found at a bus stop exhibiting bizarre behaviour. She is brought to the ED by paramedics. In the ED, she is expressing paranoid delusions. Her agitation escalates and does not respond to verbal de-escalation or an overwhelming show of force. She will require physical and chemical sedation to facilitate the work-up for her new onset psychosis.

Download the case here: Elderly psychosis and agitation

ECG for the case found here:

normal-sinus-rhythm

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/normal-sinus-rhythm/)

Non-Accidental Trauma

This case is written by Dr. Suzan Schneeweiss. She is a staff physician at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and is the Director of Education for the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Why it Matters

The differential diagnosis for any sick neonate is always broad. This case, in particular, addresses the differential diagnosis and management of a seizing neonate. It highlights the following:

  • The need for anti-epileptics in a neonate with seizures in the context of trauma
  • The importance of including a septic work-up and broad antibiotic/antiviral coverage in the management of a seizing neonate
  • The need to consider non-accidental injury

Clinical Vignette

A 1 month-old male is brought into the ED due to poor feeding and lethargy. The baby was apparently well until this morning, when his mom noticed it was difficult to wake and feed him. There has been no fever. The baby vomited once this morning, and is voiding and stooling normally.

The nurse in triage notices abnormal movements and brings the baby in to your team in the resuscitation room.

Case Summary

The team has been called to help in the ED after a 1 month-old male is brought in seizing. The team is expected to manage the seizure, but then will subsequently realize on examination there are concerning signs for non-accidental trauma, specifically head injury. The team will be expected to establish definitive airway management and consult with PICU and local child protection services.

Download the case here: Non-Accidental Trauma

CXR for the case found here:

neonatal pneumonia

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/articles/neonatal-pneumonia)

 

Pediatric Viral Myocarditis

This case is written by Dr. Adam Cheng. Adam Cheng, MD, FRCPC is Associate Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Emergency Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.  He is also Scientist, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Director, KidSIM-ASPIRE Simulation Research Program, Alberta Children’s Hospital.  Adam is passionate about cardiac arrest, resuscitation, simulation-based education and debriefing. The case has been modified by Drs. Dawn Lim, Andrea Somers, and Nadia Farooki for use at the University of Toronto.

Why it Matters

Myocarditis is a presentation that can be challenging to recognize early. It is often mistaken simply for septic shock. This case highlights some important features of the recognition and management of myocarditis, including:

  • The need to re-evaluate the differential in a patient with persistent hypotension
  • The role of bedside tests in aiding the diagnosis (ECG, POCUS, CXR)
  • The importance of re-evaluating and re-assessing a patient and adjusting the differential diagnosis and management accordingly

Clinical Vignette

You are working in a large community ED. The charge nurse tells you: “EMS have just arrived with a 15-year old boy with shortness of breath and chest pain. His O2 sat is low. EMS have administered oxygen and IVF en route. He looks unwell so I put him in a resuscitation room. Can you see him immediately?”

Case Summary

A 15 year-old male with no prior medical history is brought to the ED by his parents for lethargy, shortness of breath and chest pain. He was feeling run down for the past 4 days with URTI symptoms.

His initial presentation looks like sepsis with a secondary bacterial pneumonia. He becomes hypoxic requiring intubation. He develops hypotension that does not respond as expected to fluids and vasopressors, which should prompt more diagnostics from the team.

Further testing reveals cardiomyopathy with reduced EF and acute CHF. He finally stabilizes with inotropes and diuresis.

 

Download the case here: Pediatric Viral Myocarditis

ECG for the case found here:

sinus-tachy-non-specific-ST-changes

(ECG source: https://lifeinthefastlane.com/ecg-library/myocarditis/)

CXR for the case found here:

cardiomegaly CHF

(CXR source: https://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/rad/cxr/postquestions/posttest.html)

Cardiac U/S for the case found here:

Parasternal Long

(U/S source: http://www.thepocusatlas.com/echo/xg2awokhx1zx8q3ndwjju5cu4t1adq)

Lung U/S for the case found here:

B lines

(U/S source: https://www.thoracic.org/professionals/clinical-resources/critical-care/clinical-education/quick-hits/orthopnea-in-a-patient-with-doxorubicin-exposure.php)

Pediatric Difficult Airway

This case is written by Dr. Jonathan Pirie. He is a staff physician in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto. Dr. Pirie is also the Director of Simulation for Pediatric Emergency Medicine and the Simulation Fellowship program. His simulation interests include development of core curricula for postgraduate training programs, in-situ team training, and mastery learning with competency based simulation for trainees and faculty in pediatric technical skills and resuscitation.

Why it Matters

While croup makes stridor a relatively common presentation in the Pediatric ED, today it is quite rare to have a child with stridor who requires definitive airway management. It is exceedingly rare for an Emergency physician to need to proceed to cricothyroidotomy on a child. This case highlights the following:

  • The initial management steps for a child with undifferentiated, severe stridor
  • The need to call for help early
  • The steps required for a needle cricothyroidotomy and the equipment necessary to ventilate a child after this procedure is performed

Clinical Vignette

You are working in the ED, and your team has been called urgently to see a 2-year-old old boy with difficulty breathing. The patient was brought in by his mother, who states he’s had a 2-day history of runny nose. Today he developed a barking cough with fever, and is “breathing with a funny noise.”

Case Summary

The ED team is called to manage a 2-year-old boy in severe respiratory distress with stridor and hypoxia. Initial management steps (humidified O2, nebulized epinephrine and dexamethasone) fail to improve the patient’s respiratory status, and the team must prepare for a difficult intubation. They will encounter difficulties with both bagging and passing the endotracheal tube due to airway edema, which will necessitate an emergency needle cricothyroidotomy.

Download the case here: Pediatric Difficult Airway