Acutely agitated patients are commonly seen in the emergency department (ED). As these patients may cause harm to themselves or others, a large proportion need to be managed with injectable sedative medications such as benzodiazepines (eg midazlolam) and/ or antipsychotics (e.g droperidol).
Unfortunately, these medications may precipitate life threatening events (e.g hypoventilation). Safety data related to the use of these medications for the management of acute agitation in the ED setting are scant. Acute agitation in the ED setting is usually caused by mental health issues or substance abuse, again little is known about which sedative medications are best suited for different groups of acutely agitated patients.
The aim of this study is to determine the nature and incidence of adverse events associated with parenteral sedation medication administered to acutely agitated patients in the ED and to determine the risk factors for these adverse events. It is a multicentre national observational study, aiming to recruit 2000 patients over the age of 18, over a 2 year period. It is hoped that the evidence this study generates will define the risk of AE in this population and may guide clinicians in future treatment choices in sedating this challenging group of patients, hopefully reducing future AE.READ MORE
Many children sustain head injuries and present to emergency departments for evaluation. Even a seemingly minor incident may lead to serious injury requiring neurosurgery. While head computer tomography (CT) identifies all important injuries, there is an increasing recognition that radiation from CTs can increase the risk of fatal brain cancers, especially in younger children.
Failure to identify a significant intracranial injury quickly may result in catastrophic consequences including long-term neurological disability and or death. A number of evidence-based head injury (HI) clinical decision rules (CDRs) have been developed to help physicians identify patients at risk of having a significant head injury. These CDRs provide recommendations (including CTs) based on the presence of certain features of the history or physical examination. No HI CDRs have been validated outside of their original settings.
The identification of an optimal CDR for implementation would help to minimise risks, both of missing a clinically significant intracranial injury, and of exposure to radiation from cranial CT scans. The results will likely have a major impact on head injury management in children in Australia, New Zealand and worldwide.READ MORE