Journal: Emergency medicine journal : EMJ
BACKGROUND: Increasing demand on the UK emergency services is creating interest in reviewing the structure and content of ambulance services. Only 10% of emergency calls have been seen to be life-threatening and, thus, paramedics, as many patients' first contact with the health service, have the potential to use their skills to reduce the demand on Emergency Departments. This systematic literature review aimed to identify evidence of paramedics trained with extra skills and the impact of this on patient care and interrelating services such as General Practices or Emergency Departments. METHODS: International literature from Medline, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), ProQuest, Scopus and grey literature from 1990 were included. Articles about any prehospital emergency care provider trained with extra skill(s) beyond their baseline competencies and evaluated in practice were included. Specific procedures for certain conditions and the extensively evaluated UK Emergency Care Practitioner role were excluded. RESULTS: 8724 articles were identified, of which 19 met the inclusion criteria. 14 articles considered paramedic patient assessment and management skills, two articles considered paramedic safeguarding skills, two health education and learning sharing and one health information. There is valuable evidence for paramedic assessing and managing patients autonomously to reduce Emergency Department conveyance which is acceptable to patients and carers. Evidence for other paramedic skills is less robust, reflecting a difficulty with rigorous research in prehospital emergency care. CONCLUSIONS: This review identifies many viable extra skills for paramedics but the evidence is not strong enough to guide policy. The findings should be used to guide future research, particularly into paramedic care for elderly people.
In refractory cardiac arrest, with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for more than 30 min, chances of survival are small. Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) is an option for certain patients with cardiac arrest. The aim of this study was to evaluate characteristics of patients selected for ECPR.
Patients admitted to hospital in an emergency at weekends have been found to experience higher mortality rates than those admitted during the week. The National Health Service (NHS) in England has introduced four priority clinical standards for emergency hospital care with the objective of reducing deaths associated with this ‘weekend effect’. This study aimed to determine whether adoption of these clinical standards is associated with the extent to which weekend mortality is elevated.
Spinal immobilisation during extrication of patients in road traffic collisions is routinely used despite the lack of evidence for this practice. In a previous proof of concept study (n=1), we recorded up to four times more cervical spine movement during extrication using conventional techniques than self-controlled extrication.
Scotland has three prehospital critical care teams (PHCCTs) providing enhanced care support to a usually paramedic-delivered ambulance service. The effect of the PHCCTs on patient survival following trauma in Scotland is not currently known nationally.
The term ‘moral injury’ may be useful in conceptualising the negative psychological effects of delivering emergency and prehospital medicine as it provides a non-pathological framework for understanding these effects. This is in contrast to concepts such as burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder which suggest practitioners have reached a crisis point. We conducted an exploratory, pilot study to determine whether the concept of moral injury resonated with medical students working in emergency medicine and what might mitigate that injury for them.
Major trauma (MT) has traditionally been viewed as a disease of young men caused by high-energy transfer mechanisms of injury, which has been reflected in the configuration of MT services. With ageing populations in Western societies, it is anticipated that the elderly will comprise an increasing proportion of the MT workload. The aim of this study was to describe changes in the demographics of MT in a developed Western health system over the last 20 years.
Advances in left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy have resulted in increasing numbers of adult LVAD recipients in the community. However, device failure, stroke, bleeding, LVAD thrombosis and systemic infection can be life-threatening emergencies. Currently, four LVAD systems are implanted in six UK transplant centres, each of which provides device-specific information to local emergency services. This has resulted in inconsistent availability and content of information with the risks of delayed or inappropriate decision-making. In order to improve patient safety, a consortium of UK healthcare professionals with expertise in LVADs developed universally applicable prehospital emergency algorithms. Guidance was framed as closely as possible on the standard ABCDE approach to the assessment of critically ill patients.
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is prevalent in the UK. Reported survival is lower than in countries with comparable healthcare systems; a better understanding of outcome determinants may identify areas for improvement.
Dabigatran is an oral direct thrombin inhibitor (DTI) licensed for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation and likely to be soon approved in Europe for treatment of venous thrombosis. Predictable pharmacokinetics and a reduced risk of intracranial haemorrhage do not negate the potential risk of haemorrhage. Unlike warfarin, there is no reversal agent and measurement of the anticoagulant effect is not ‘routine’. The prothrombin time/international normalised ratio response to dabigatran is inconsistent and should not be measured when assessing a patient who is bleeding or needs emergency surgery. The activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT) provides a qualitative measurement of the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran. Knowledge of the time of last dose is important for interpretation of the APTT. Commercially available DTI assays provide a quantitative measurement of active dabigatran concentration in the plasma. If a patient receiving dabigatran presents with bleeding: omit/delay next dose of dabigatran; measure APTT and thrombin time (consider DTI assay if available); administer activated charcoal, with sorbitol, if within 2 h of dabigatran ingestion; give tranexamic acid (1 g intravenously if significant bleeding); maintain renal perfusion and urine output to aid dabigatran excretion. Dabigatran exhibits low protein binding and may be removed by dialysis. Supportive care should form the mainstay of treatment. If bleeding is life/limb threatening, consider an additional haemostatic agent. There is currently no evidence to support the choice of one haemostatic agent (FEIBA, recombinant factor VIIa, prothrombin complex concentrates) over another. Choice will depend on access to and experience with available haemostatic agent(s).