Geriatric Case 3: Termination of Resuscitation

This case is the third in a six-part mini-series focusing on the management of geriatric patients in the ED. This series of cases was written by Drs. Rebecca Shaw, Nemat Alsaba, and Victoria Brazil.

Dr. Rebecca Shaw is an emergency physician currently working as a Medical Education Fellow within the Emergency department of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, Australia. Dr. Nemat Alsaba (@talk2nemat) is an Emergency physician with a special interest in Geriatric Emergency Medicine, medical education and simulation. She is trying her best to combine these interests to improve Geriatric patient care across all health sectors. She is also an Assistant professor in medical education and simulation at Bond university. Dr. Victoria Brazil is an emergency physician and medical educator. She is Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Simulation at the Gold Coast Health Service, and at Bond University medical program. Victoria’s main interests are in connecting education with patient care – through healthcare simulation, technology enabled learning, faculty development activities, and talking at conferences. Victoria is an enthusiast in the social media and #FOAMed world (@SocraticEM), and she is co-producer of Simulcast (Simulationpodcast.com).

Why it Matters

Deciding when to terminate CPR is a very delicate moment in a patient’s care. It is literally the determination of possible life vs. certain death. There are clear guidelines for when to terminate resuscitation in certain contexts, but for patients who are brought to the ED by EMS, there is no true objective measure of when to terminate CPR. This is where determination of quality of life is important. In the elderly, the likelihood of a meaningful quality of life after a CPR-requiring event is quite low. Recognizing this futility is an important and challenging skill to learn. Being able to debrief with your team and discuss these events further is another essential skill that is often not practiced. This case gives the opportunity to learn and enhance these skills.

Clinical Vignette

ED RN to inform team prior to patient’s arrival: “We have an out of hospital cardiac arrest coming in with an unknown downtime and unknown past medical history. He is an 89-year-old male coming from home. He has had no shocks and CPR is in progress. They are one minute away.”

Case Summary

An elderly male is brought in by ambulance from home with CPR in progress. He collapsed in front of his son/daughter who commenced CPR. His rhythm has been PEA throughout and his downtime is 20 minutes. Participants should assess the patient, gather information about his background and determine that CPR is futile. They should decide to cease CPR and inform his son/daughter in a sensitive manner that their father has died. They will also debrief the team following the termination of resuscitation.

Download the case here: Geri EM Termination of Resuscitation

U/S for the case found here:

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

Geriatric Case 2: Chronic Digoxin Toxicity

This case is the second in a six-part mini-series focusing on the management of geriatric patients in the ED. This series of cases was written by Drs. Rebecca Shaw, Nemat Alsaba, and Victoria Brazil.

Dr. Rebecca Shaw is an emergency physician currently working as a Medical Education Fellow within the Emergency department of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service in Queensland, Australia.Dr. Nemat Alsaba (@talk2nemat) is an Emergency physician with a special interest in Geriatric Emergency Medicine, medical education and simulation. She is trying her best to combine these interests to improve Geriatric patient care across all health sectors. She is also an Assistant professor in medical education and simulation at Bond university. Dr. Victoria Brazil is an emergency physician and medical educator. She is Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of Simulation at the Gold Coast Health Service, and at Bond University medical program. Victoria’s main interests are in connecting education with patient care – through healthcare simulation, technology enabled learning, faculty development activities, and talking at conferences. Victoria is an enthusiast in the social media and #FOAMed world (@SocraticEM), and she is co-producer of Simulcast (Simulationpodcast.com).

Why it Matters

This case demonstrates several diagnostic challenges that can occur with the bradycardic patient on digoxin including:

  • The need to resuscitate the patient appropriately (and thus, empirically treat) while waiting on labs to confirm whether hyperkalemia or digoxin is the culprit
  • The theoretical concern of administering calcium for correction of hyperkalemia (because we usually have a potassium result back before the digoxin level)
  • The need to consider precipitating causes of a patient’s presentation

Clinical Vignette

To be stated by the bedside nurse: “Bertie is an 85-year-old man who has been brought in after a fall at home. He says he is feeling dizzy and has a HR of 30 on the monitor. I haven’t had much of a chance to take more of a history from him but he has a list of medications with him and seems ok from the fall other than a bruise on his head.”

Case Summary

An 85-year-old man presents after a fall at home. He is complaining of dizziness and has a HR of 30. Further assessment reveals chronic digoxin toxicity and a concurrent UTI with acute renal failure. The patient requires management of his bradycardia and acute renal failure with specific management of chronic digoxin toxicity including a discussion with toxicology and administration of Digibind.

Download the case here: Geri EM Chronic Digoxin Toxicity

ECG for the case found here:

(ECG source: http://www.ems12lead.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2014/01/digitalis_ECG.jpg)

CXR for the case found here:

normal cxr

(CXR source: https://radiopaedia.org/images/220869)

 

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)

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/)

 

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)

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)

Electrical Storm

This case is written by Dr. Peter Dieckmann and Dr. Marcus Rall of the TuPASS Centre for Safety and Patient Simulation in Germany.

Why it Matters

Electrical Storm is a rare complication of a cardiac arrest. When it is present, the typical therapies for aborting VF are not sufficient. This case reviews the tailored management of this situation, including:

Clinical Vignette

“Arrest arriving in 1 minute. Doctor to resuscitation room STAT.

Paramedic report: “This is a 55 year old male we picked up at an office tower down the street. Apparently he was complaining of feeling unwell all morning and then collapsed at lunch. A colleague started CPR and we were called. The AED delivered 3 shocks. His colleagues say he’s healthy and they’re unsure about meds or allergies. His boss called his wife and she’s on her way.” CPR is ongoing.”

Case Summary

A 55 year-old male is brought to the emergency department with absent vital signs. He collapsed at his office after complaining of feeling unwell. CPR was started by a colleague and continued by EMS. He received 3 shocks by an AED. His downtime is approximately 10 minutes. The team is expected to perform routine ACLS care. When the patient remains in VF despite ACLS management, the team will need to consider specific therapies, such as iv beta blockade or dual sequential shock, in order to abort the electrical storm.

Download the case here: Electrical Storm

Cardiac U/S for the case found here:

(Ultrasound image courtesy of McMaster PoCUS Subspecialty Training Program)

ECG for the case found here:

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

CXR for the case found here:

Normal Post-Intubation CXR

(CXR source: https://emcow.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/normal-intubation2.jpg)

Chest Pain on the Ward

This case is written by Dr. Kyla Caners. She is a staff emergency physician in Hamilton, Ontario and the Simulation Director of McMaster University’s FRCP-EM program. She is also one of the Editors-in-Chief here at EmSimCases.

Why it Matters

When learners are transitioning to residency, they are often fearful of what feels like a sudden increase in responsibility. A big fear that is common among trainees is the idea that they might be left alone to treat something urgent or beyond their skill level. This case was designed to help alleviate some of those fears. The debriefing should focus on local resources available to learners when they feel alone in the middle of the night. The point of the case is to show them they’re not alone. In particular, this case highlights:

  • How to handle a call from the ward about a patient in distress (get things started while on your way to the ward!)
  • The work-up for an admitted patient with chest pain (and how treatment can change quickly!)
  • The senior-level resources available to learners overnight (ICU outreach, anesthesia, the senior resident, their attending over the phone, etc) and when learners should make certain to call their superiors

A Special Note

To make this case particularly realistic, we recommend using your local charting system to create a patient note that can be given to learners. If you use an EMR, then print out what an admission note would look like. If you use paper charting, then handwrite an admission note for learners to review!

Clinical Vignette

You are the junior medical resident on call overnight covering for a team of patients you do not know. You get a page from a nurse on the ward: “one of my patients is having chest pain…can you come and see him?”

*Note: the first part of this scenario is actually done best over the phone. Have the learner stand outside the room and call them on their cell phone.

Case Summary

The case will begin with a phone call from the bedside nurse for a patient on the ward that the resident on call is covering. The resident will then arrive at the bedside to find a patient complaining of significant chest pain. The patient will be in some respiratory distress due to CHF. The patient’s initial ECG will show new T-wave inversion. The patient will prompt regarding ongoing chest pain and his ECG will evolve to show an anterolateral STEMI. The team is expected to recognize the evolving STEMI and initiate treatment and cath lab activation.

Download the case here: Chest Pain on the Ward

“Old” ECG for the case found here:

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

Initial ECG on the ward found here:

001 Anterior TWI

(ECG source: http://hqmeded-ecg.blogspot.ca/2015/12/lvh-with-anterior-st-elevation-when-is.html)

Repeat ECG on the ward found here:

003 anterolateral STEMI

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

CXR for the case found here:

(CXR source: https://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/courses/rad/cxr/web%20images/into-chf.jpg)

Stable VT with ICD Firing

This case is written by Dr. Kyla Caners. She is a staff emergency physician in Hamilton, Ontario and the Simulation Director of McMaster University’s FRCP-EM program. She is also one of the Editors-in-Chief here at EmSimCases.

Why it Matters

This case tackles several components of ICD management that can make emergency physicians a little nervous. Most notably, it highlights:

  • The discomfort that staff members may have with touching a patient whose ICD is firing, and the need to reassure them of safety
  • The role of a magnet in terminating the inappropriate or ineffective shocks delivered by an ICD
  • The various anti-dysrhythmic options that are available to treat ventricular tachycardia (and the need to ask for expert opinion!)
  • The way a sympathetic response or anxiety may exacerbate dysrhythmias

Clinical Vignette

A 40-year-old male to presents to your tertiary care ED complaining that his ICD keeps firing. He keeps yelling “ow” and jumping/jerking every couple minutes during his triage. He has an ICD in place because he had previous myocarditis that left him with a poor EF.

Case Summary

A 40-year-old male presents to the ED complaining that his ICD keeps firing. He will have a HR of 180 and VT on the monitor. He will occasionally yell “ow.” The team will need to work through medical management of VT, while considering magnet placement for patient comfort. The patient will remain stable but will trigger VT with his agitation.

Download the case here: Stable VT with ICD firing

ECG for the case found here:

VT

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

CXR for the case found here:

CXR with normal ICD

(CXR source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Implantable_cardioverter_defibrillator_chest_X-ray.jpg)