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NIHR Signal An ultrasound scan is not as useful as a CT scan in assessing trauma
Ultrasound scans can be a useful tool to help pinpoint internal bleeding or organ damage in the chest or abdomen, but a negative scan cannot rule out damage, especially in children. Many emergency departments use portable ultrasound scanners to assess for internal damage when someone has been subject to blunt trauma (for example, involved in a car accident or fallen from a height). Ultrasound is free from radiation, non-invasive and can be used at the bedside, making it convenient if CT is not ...
NIHR Signal A new tool helps predict recovery from ankle sprain
The SPRAINED model may improve prediction of people who are at risk of delayed recovery from ankle sprain. This model was developed in the UK using clinical information from 584 adults with ankle injuries. The model was validated using observational data from 682 people with ankle sprains across 10 different UK emergency departments. Delayed recovery from ankle injury was more likely to be detected when using the SPRAINED model than by clinicians using judgment alone. Re-assessing pain levels ...
NIHR Signal Early cooling provides no benefit following traumatic brain injury
Deliberate cooling (prophylactic hypothermia) in the early management of traumatic brain injury does not improve neurological outcomes at six months. Inducing hypothermia may also increase the risk of pneumonia. Hypothermia (33-35oC) is sometimes induced to try and limit brain damage in people with severe head injuries. However, evidence for its safety and effectiveness has been mixed. A 2015 trial (Eurotherm 3235) found that therapeutic hypothermia, for adults with raised intracranial pressur...
NIHR Signal New airway device as good as tracheal tube insertion for out-of-hospital resuscitation
A supraglottic airway device works as well as a tracheal tube for paramedics resuscitating patients in cardiac arrest and is simpler to use. People who have stopped breathing need to get air into their lungs urgently. Usually, a tube is placed through the vocal cords into their trachea to secure a reliable airway, but correct placement needs skill and practice and can interrupt chest compressions during resuscitation. More recently, paramedics have used a supraglottic airway device, placed in t...
NIHR Signal Routine use of a mechanical compression device is no better than manual chest compression in cardiac arrest
Compared with manual compression, mechanical chest compression does not improve survival rates after cardiac arrest. However, in situations where manual compression may be difficult, such as in a moving ambulance, mechanical compression may still be an option. Each minute that a person waits for treatment after a cardiac arrest can make a difference of up to 10% to their chance of survival. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the crucial first step to keep oxygen circulating to vital organs ...
NIHR Signal Closing five emergency departments not linked with increased hospital admissions, though ambulance call-outs increased
Closure of five small emergency departments in England was not associated with change in the number of hospital admissions, urgent care attendances or deaths among the local populations. However, ambulance call-outs increased by 14% relative to comparison areas, with a four-minute increase in the time to reach a hospital with an emergency department. Emergency departments continue to be under high pressure, while staff shortages increase patient safety concerns. One option is to close smaller s...
NIHR Signal Negative pressure dressings are no better than standard dressings for open fractures
Negative pressure wound dressings are neither more nor less effective than standard wound dressings for severe open fractures of the lower leg. Any difference between groups was neither clinically important nor statistically significant. The outcomes included self-rated disability at one year, quality of life and deep surgical site infections at one month which occurred in around 7-8% in each group. Open fractures of the leg, where the broken bone is exposed by the original injury or has burst ...
NIHR Signal Non-urgent attendances to emergency departments are more common among younger adults
Adults aged 16 to 44 years are more likely to attend emergency departments for non-urgent presentations than older adults. They were more than three times more likely to present for non-urgent reasons than those over 65 years.Non-urgent attendances are also more common during out-of-hours periods, especially at night. Emergency departments are consistently under high pressure with long waiting times. Understanding the characteristics of non-urgent attendances that could be managed in the commun...
NIHR Signal The proportion of patients not transported to emergency departments after an ambulance is called varies across the country
Nationally, around half of people making urgent calls for ambulance services are not then taken to hospital. This is called the non-conveyancing rate. But this rate varies two-fold from region to region. There are differences too in what happens to patients not going to hospital. Some places discharge more patients at the scene, offer telephone advice or send to other non-emergency health services like walk-in centres. This NIHR mixed methods study used observation and analysis of routine ambul...
NIHR Signal Adrenaline can restart the heart but is no good for the brain
Treating cardiac arrests with adrenaline during resuscitation by paramedics slightly increases survival compared with placebo. Though adrenaline initially helped restore circulation in a third of cases, 3.2% of people survived to 30 days compared to 2.4% of people in the placebo group. Severe brain damage was nearly twice as likely in those who survived after adrenaline injections. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart no longer pumps blood around the body, usually due to an irregular heart rhyt...
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