All posts by Louisa Chan

Louisa in London – Prehospital Lessons from LTC2015

The London Trauma Conference remains up there on my list of ‘must go’ conferences to attend. It marks the end of the year, fills me with hope and inspires me for the future. Unfortunately this year I was torn between the conference and the demands of clinical directorship so I could only get to the “Air Ambulance & Prehospital Care Day”. At least this way I’m saved from the dilemma of which sessions to attend!
So what were the highlights of the Prehospital Day? For me, they were Prehospital ECMO,’Picking Up the Pieces’, and the REBOA update.

Prehospital ECMO
Professor Pierre Carli gave us an update on prehospital ECMO. Professor Carli (not to be confused with the equally awesome Professor Carley) is the medical director of Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente (SAMU) in Paris. They’ve been doing prehospital ECMO in Paris since 2011 and the data analysed over three years reveals a 10% survival to hospital discharge rate. We know from the work in Asia that successful outcome following traditional cardiac arrest management and ECPR is related to the speed of the intervention. Transposing the time to intervention from his 2011 – 2013 data onto the survival curve that Chen et al produced explains why the success rate is limited:

LTC2015

The revised 2015 process aims to reduce the duration of CPR, reduce time to ECMO and therefore improve survival to discharge rates. They are doing this by dispatching the ECMO team earlier.

The eligibility criteria for ECPR is also changing; patients >18 and <75years, refractory cardiac arrest (defined as failure of ROSC after 20min of CPR), no flow for < 5 minutes with shockable rhythm or signs of life or hypothermia or intoxication, EtCO2 > 10mmHg at time of inclusion and no major comorbidity.

Already there appears to be an improvement with 16 patients treated using the revised protocol with 5 survivors (31%) – although we must be wary of the small numbers.
A concern that was expressed by the French Department of Health was the fear of a reduction in organ donation with the introduction of ECPR – it turns out that rates have remained stable. In fact the condition of non heart beating donated organs is better when ECMO has been instigated; the long term effects on organ donation are being assessed.

I’m without doubt that prehospital ECMO/ED ECMO is the future although currently in the UK our hospital systems aren’t ready for this. If you want to learn more then look at the ED ECMO site or book on one of the many emerging courses on ED ECMO including the one that is run by Dr Simon Finney at the London Trauma Conference, or if you want to go further afield you could try San Diego (although places are fully booked on the next course).

Picking Up the Pieces
The Keynote speaker was Professor Sir Simon Wessely. He is a psychiatrist with a specialist interest in military psychology and his brief was to describe to us the public response to traumatic incidents. He has worked with the military and in civilian situations. After the 7/7 London bombings the population of London was surveyed: those most likely to be affected were of lower social class, of Muslim faith, those that had a relative that was injured, those unsure of the safety of others, those with no previous experience of terrorism and those experiencing difficulty in contacting others by mobile phone. Obviously there are many factors that we cannot influence however on the basis of the last risk factor our response to incidents has changed – the active discouragement to make phone calls has been changed to a recommendation of making short calls to friends and relatives.
The previous practice of offering immediate psychological debriefing to those involved in incidents was discounted by Prof Wessely – his research demonstrated that this intervention was not only not required but could actually result in harm: only a minority have ongoing psychological distress that can benefit from formal psychological input, which should occur later.
The approach that should be taken is to allow that individual to utilise their own social networks (family, friends, and colleagues) and to accept that in some cases the individual may not want or need to talk. This has led to the development of the Trauma Risk Management (TRIM) system which provides individuals within organisations that are exposed to traumatic events the skills required to identify those at risk of developing psychological problems and to recognise the signs and symptoms of those in difficulty. To a certain extent we naturally do this for our peers – I have spent many a night sitting in the ‘Good Samaritan’ pub with colleagues from the Royal London Hospital and London’s Air Ambulance – but having a more formal system is probably of benefit to enable those who have ongoing difficulties to access additional support.

REBOA update
Finally, the REBOA update – Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta. One year on, Dr Sammy Sadek informed us that there are now more courses teaching the REBOA technique than there are (prehospital) patients that have received it. Over the last year only seven patients have qualified for this intervention in London, far fewer than they had anticipated. Another three patients died before REBOA could be instigated. All patients had a positive cardiovascular response. Four of the seven died from causes other than exsanguination. Is it worth all the effort and resource to deliver this intervention when such a select group will benefit?

Obviously there was much more covered in the day, this is just a taste. If you’ve never been to the London Trauma Conference then I definitely would recommend it and even if you have been before there are so many breakout sessions now there is always something for everyone.

More on the London Trauma Conference:

Merry Christmas and see you next year!

Louisa Chan

London Cardiac Arrest Symposium 2014

The focus of the entire day is cardiac arrest and this is the second day of the London Cardiac Arrest Symposium.

Professor Niklas Nielsen kicked off with a presentation of his Targeted Temperature Management trial.  It seems that even now there is uncertainty in the interpretation of this latest study. I take heart from the knowledge that Prof Nielsen has changed the practice of his institution to reflect the findings of his study – I have certainly changed my practice. But we need to remain aware that there is more work to be done to answer the multiple questions that remain and the need for further RCTs is recognised.

The management of Cardiac arrest after avalanche is not a clinical scenario that I imagine I’ll ever find myself in. The management is well documented in the ICAR MEDCOM guidelines 2012. Dr Peter Paal reminded us that you’re not dead until you’re rewarmed and dead unless: with asystole, CPR may be terminated (or withheld) if a patient is lethally injured or completely frozen, the airway is blocked and duration of burial >35 min, serum potassium >12 mmol L(-1), risk to the rescuers is unacceptably high or a valid do-not-resuscitate order exists.

The age old question about prognostication after cardiac arrest was tackled by Prof Mauro Oddo. He covered the evidence for clinical examination, SSPE, EEG, and neurone specific enolase. Bottom line, all of these modalities are useful but none are specific enough to be used as a stand alone test so multiple modalities are required.

SAMU is leading the way with prehospital ECMO. They have mastered the art of cannulation (in the Louvre no less!) but there haven’t enough cases to demonstrate a mortality benefit. The commencement of ECMO prehospital reduces low flow time and theoretically should improve outcomes. This is begging for a RCT.

The experience of the Italians with in hospital ECMO shoes a better survival rate for in-hospital rather than out of hospital cardiac arrests, explained Dr Tomasso Mauri. They treat patients with a no flow time of <6min and low flow rate of <45min and had a 31% ICU survival rate. If you want to learn more about ED ECMO go to http://edecmo.org.

VA-ECMO

The Douglas Chamberlain lecture this year was Selective aortic arch perfusion presented by Prof James Manning. He spoke about the use of this technique in cardiac arrest and also in trauma (where it is known to you as Zone 1 REBOA).

image-1

In cardiac arrest the aim is to improve coronary perfusion, to preserve perfusion to the heart and the brain, offer a route of rapid temperature control and offer a direct route of administration of adrenaline. Coronary perfusion is seen to be supra normal after SAAP. And the suggested place for SAAP is prior to ECMO.

image-5

It’s more familiar ground talking about SAAP in trauma. This Zone 1 occlusion preserves cerebral and cardiac perfusion while blood loss is limited and rapid fluid resuscitation can occur.

image-3

You can hear Prof Manning on SAAP over at EMCrit (of course!). 

It’s been another great conference. Put the dates for next year’s London Trauma & Cardiac Arrest Conferences in your diary: 8th-10th December 2015!

Happy Holidays & Keep Well

Louisa Chan

 

 

 

 

 

London Trauma Conference 2014 Part 2

Day three is Air Ambulance and pre-hospital day and the great and the good are here en mass.
The heavy weights are coming out to make their points…..

selfUnarguably the best lecture of the day was delivered by our very own Cliff Reid on prehospital training. Using Sydney HEMS induction training he highlighted the challenges posed to prehospital services training doctors and paramedics rotating through the service.

Turning a good inhospital doctor into a great prehospital one in the space of an induction program requires focus. Knowledge is therefore not the focus of training, performance is. Often doctors already possess the clinical skills and knowledge and it is the application of these pre existing skills in challenging environments when cognitively overloaded that is the key.

 

The Sydney HEMS program provides the mindware and communication skills the practitioner needs to do this and drills these skills in simulated environments. He uses perturbation, so like the Bruce protocol exercise test the simulations just get harder until you are at the very limits of your bandwidth. Debriefing of course is important but the recommended protracted debrief is often impractical and unnecessary so simulations designed with cognitive traps are used to highlight learning points and are drilled until the message is received. In this way tress exposure enhances cognitive resilience. And importantly they use cross training, so the doctors and the paramedics undergo the same program so each member of the team understands the challenges faced by the other.

Does this sound like fun? For the shrinking violets out there it could be seen as threatening. But for the adrenaline junkies…….hell yeah!

It’s truly a training ethos that I buy into and I’d love to be able to achieve that standard of training in my own service.

SydneyHEMStops
Sydney HEMS Friends and Colleagues at the LTC

 

mwaveMicrowaves seem to be the future if diagnostic testing. This modality is fast, is associated with a radiation dose lower than that of a mobile phone, non invasive, portable and has been shown to provide good information. It can be used on heads for intracranial haemorrhage and stroke or chests for pneumothorax detection. It’s all in the early stages but seems like it will be a viable option in the future.
For further reading check out:
Diagnosis of subdural and intraparenchymal intracranial hemorrhage using a microwave-based detector
Clinical trial on subdural detection
Pneumothorax detection

 

How would you transfer a psychotic patient requiring specialist intervention that can only be received after aeromedical transfer? Stefan Mazur of MedSTAR, the retrieval service in South Australia shared their experience with ketamine to facilitate the safe transfer of these patients with no reports of adverse effects on the mental state of the patient, as first described by Minh Le Cong and colleagues. Is there no end to the usefulness of this drug? No wonder we’re experiencing a supply issue in the UK!

And finally, the ultimate reflective practice should include the post mortem of our critically sick patients. The approach the forensic pathologist takes is similar to a clinician (with the time pressure removed). They read the scene and use this information to predict injuries (sound familiar?). Post mortem CT scanning with recon provides yet another layer of information. We are missing a trick if we don’t seek this feedback to correlate with our clinical findings. Even better, rare practical skills are often routinely performed as part of the post mortem – we should be making use of this opportunity to train.

London Trauma Conference 2014 Part 1

I’ve travelled almost the entire length of England to get to the London Trauma Conference this year. What could be more important than attending one of the best conferences of the year? Examining for the DipRTM at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh

So was it worth the 4am start? Absolutely!

tomMy highlights would be Tom Evens explaining why trauma can be regarded like an elite sport. His background is as a sports coach in addition to his medical accomplishments and walking us through the journey he went through with the athlete he was coaching demonstrates the changes that need to occur when cultivating a performance culture and the results speak for themselves.

I can see similarities in the techniques used by athletes and those we are using in medicine now. Developing a highly performing team isn’t easy as anyone involved in the training of these teams will know.

 

 

jerry3Dr Jerry Nolan answered some questions about cervical spine movement in airway management. The most movement is seen in the upper cervical spine and there is no surprise that there is an increased incidence of cervical spine injury in unconscious patients (10%). The bottom line is that no movement clinicians will make of the cervical spine is greater than that at the time of injury. And whether it be basic airway manoeuvres, laryngoscopy or cricoid pressure the degree of movement is in the same ball park and unlikely to cause further injury. He states that he would use MILS like cricoid pressure and have a low threshold for releasing it if there are difficulties with the intubation. Of course many of us don’t use cricoid pressure in RSI anymore………..

 

After watching Tom and Jerry we heard that ATLS has had its day. Dr Matthew Wiles implores us to reserve ATLS for the inexperienced and move away from this outdated system and move to training in teams using local policies. The Cochrane reviewers found an increase in knowledge but no change in outcomes.

And finally Dr Deasy has convinced me that I will be replaced by a robot roaming around providing remote enhanced care. On the up side I might be the clinician providing that support.

More from me on this fantastic conference soon. In the meantime follow it on Twitter!

telemed

 

London Calling – part 3

Notes from Day 4 of the London Trauma Conference

The highlight for me was Mr Jonny Morrison speaking on Resuscitative Emergency Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA). He is a British military surgeon currently out in Texas studying balloon occlusion of the aorta on pigs. Looking at trauma deaths, the next unexpected survivors will come from the uncontrollable haemorrhage group (truncal and junctional zones). This is by no means a new technique – described in the 1950’s during the Korean War – but like the early Star Wars chapters, needed to wait for technology to advance to make it feasible. It has the effect of cross clamping the aorta which provides afterload support, increases cerebral and coronary perfusion and provides proximal inflow control – without the mess of a resuscitative thoracotomy and greater access.

The placement of the balloon is determined by the location of the injury (see photo) and falls into two zones. Zone 1 is the thoracic aorta and is used for truncal haemorrhage control, avoid Zone 2 where the celiac axis etc originates and Zone 3 is infrarenal, used for junctional bleeding and pelvic haemorrhage.

His studies have determined that for Zone 3 amenable bleeds balloon occlusion up to 60min is the optimal time. Any longer and the debt of the metabolic load is paid by increased inotropic support requirements. He also compared REBOA to the current standard treatment for junctional injuries, Celox™ gauze. If coagulation is normal then both treatments perform similarly, the benefit is seen in coagulopathic patients where REBOA outperforms the gauze.

Has REBOA been used on humans? Yes a case series of 13 – the technique improved the BP allowing time to get to definitive surgery (blogged here 2.5 years ago!).

The Zone 1 studies are looking at continuous vs intermittent balloon occlusion. The jury is still out as to which is better. With the intermittent occlusion (20min on, 1min off) there are inevitably some losses when the balloon is deflated, conversely the metabolic debt generated by continuous occlusion is too great in some also leading to deaths.

What was very clear is that for this technique to have an impact it must be delivered proactively and pre-hospital. The challenges that need to be overcome are access to the femoral artery and blind accurate placement.

Prof Karim Brohi brought the conference to a close with a summary of what we have learned about coagulation in trauma this year. Here are three things;

  • FFP is good but as 43% deaths due to trauma in the UK are secondary to bleeding and occur in the first 3hr we are failing our patients by administering the treatment on average at 2.5hrs.
  • Fibrinogen levels are low in coagulopathic trauma patients; we should give cryoprecipitate early and aim for Fib ≥2.0
  • And finally whilst TEG is recommended to guide treatment and can provide results within 5 min, there are some aspects of coagulation it does not detect i.e. fibrinolysis was only detected in 8% of coagulopathic trauma patients – when measured in the plasma it was then detectable in 80%.

These are the highlights of the 2012 London Trauma Conference. I hope this whistle stop tour through these days has been informative and though provoking. I can assure you telephone hacking was not used to bring you this information and to my knowledge is correct.

This is Lou Chan, roving reporter for Resus ME! signing off.

 

 

‘London raises her head, shakes off the debris of the night from her hair, and takes stock of the damage done. The sign of a great fighter in the ring is can he get up from a fall after being knocked down… London does this every morning.’

 

 

London Calling!!

Notes from Day 1 of the London Trauma Conference
I’ve always fancied trying my hand at journalism so when this opportunity to cover the London Trauma Conference (LTC) presented itself how could I resist? The LTC is well established now running into its sixth year. So what little gems does it have left to offer?

The Air Ambulance Symposium opened the conference with strong representation from Norway.

Dr Marius Rehn presented a thought provoking talk on pre-hospital trauma triage. Pragmatically there will always be a proportion of patients that are mistriaged. So is under triage worse than over triage? It depends on whose point of view you take. If you’re the trauma victim then under triage is your greatest fear. But as clinicians we display loyalty bias (preferential consideration for our current patient over those we have no involvement with) which leads to over triage. The consequences are usually unseen as they manifest in other areas of the health system – studies have demonstrated a detrimental effect in cardiac patients arriving in units where a trauma patient is treated concurrently. Commonly under triaged are older patients that have low mechanism falls and children involved in RTC’s are over triaged. Triage protocols aren’t perfect but those based on physiology and anatomy are the best; even better still an experienced clinician (physicians better than paramedics) and in the future we should think about using lactate clearance.

I have never needed any convincing that ultrasound has a role in pre-hospital care. However Dr Nils Petter Oveland presented some of his research (due for publication next year) which reinforces this belief. He studied chest ultrasound for the detection of pneumothoraces. Plain radiography interpreted by a consultant radiologist can detect a 500ml pneumothorax; ultrasonography can detect a mere 50ml. Using pig models he demonstrated a linear relationship between the volume of the pneumothorax and the sternal – lung point distance (lung point = where the lung edge remains in contact with the pleura). Practically how can we use this? A small pneumothorax may be detected by ultrasound but have no clinical consequence. Prior to aero medical transfer the lung point can be marked and if clinical deterioration occurs en route repeat US can accurately determine an increase in pneumothorax volume and guide treatment. Genius!

Prof Hans Morten Lossius provided a convincing argument for pre-hospital stroke thrombolysis. If you believe in this treatment, then it is more efficacious the sooner it is delivered (see photo). So why are we aiming for a thrombolysis time that is suboptimal? The thrombolysis times for a central Norwegian hospital were in the region of 3.5hrs, this reduced to 2.5hrs with rapid transportation. Approaching the problem from a different angle they trialled pre-hospital management with a mobile unit (CT scanner + neuroradiologist + neurologist) reducing time to thrombolysis to 72min (Lancet Neurology 2012, Walter). The next step is a multicentre RCT comparing standard treatment against a mobile CT + pre-hospital team with telemedical links to the Stroke centre……..

The Keynote address from Dr Gareth Davies took a look at the past and then a look to the future – the focus remained the same; providing the intervention patients need when they need it! Could this lead us into a future of Resuscitative Emergency Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) or Emergency Preservation Resuscitation (EPR) or emergency pre-hospital burr holes? Only time will tell.

Dr Steven Solid presented a double bill on patient safety. Admission to hospital is a high risk activity (as risky as bungee jumping!). Patient harm in aviation occurs 2 per 1000 flights. Only 25% were aviation related; mostly they are communication or equipment failures. He suggests medical line checks and team simulation training.

Dr Anne Weaver finished the first day with the story of her quest to get pre-hospital blood onto London HEMS to compliment the pre-hospital haemostatic resuscitation strategy they have for exsanguinating haemorrhage (tranexamic acid, prothrombin complex concentrate (for rapid warfarin reversal), POC INR machine, Buddy Lite™ blood warmers). Initial observations after the first six months are that ROSC is achieved more frequently in traumatic cardiac arrests although it’s too early to comment on mortality benefit. But this isn’t then end of the story – the next challenge is fresh frozen plasma.