Current guidelines for children are logical. Current guidelines for adolescent/adults follow from an assumption that I am happy to argue against.
All guidelines recommend not to test or treat for Centor scores (with or without McIsaac modification) of 0 or 1. The pre-test probabilities are very low and most positive tests are false positives. Unfortunately, many urgent care centers and emergency departments perform a rapid strep test prior to the treating practitioner spending 3-5 minutes doing a quick history and exam. Testing wastes resources in 40-50% of patients presenting with a sore throat complaint and leads to unnecessary antibiotics. This is the biggest mistake that I see!
The controversy for adolescents/adults with pharyngitis and Centor scores of 2-4 involves the concept of lack of proof. Why treat pharyngitis with antibiotics?
There are 5 potential reasons to treat pharyngitis with antibiotics:
Dr. Michael Fine, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, led the team that developed the Pneumonia Severity Index (PSI) and began studying the prognosis and other clinical aspects of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in the early 1990s.
His interest in predicting mortality in CAP started while he served as chief resident in internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. His mentor, Dr. Wishwa Kapoor, then hired him after his general internal medicine fellowship in the Harvard Generalist Faculty Development Program. At the time Dr. Fine transitioned from fellowship to faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ) had a well-funded portfolio of research projects called PORT (Patient Outcome Research Teams) studies. Continue reading “Predicting Mortality in Community Acquired Pneumonia – Dr. Robert Centor Interviews PSI Creator Dr. Michael Fine”→
Counseling patients with diabetes on lifestyle change during primary care office visits is motivated by good intentions. We as primary care doctors are interested in prevention, lifestyle changes can positively affect many patients with diabetes, and patients do best when engaged in managing their disease1. But it’s difficult to show with data that brief physician encounters are effective at producing any of these outcomes. Continue reading “Diabetes Management: Why Can’t We Do This with Lifestyle Alone?”→
Kamal (Kim) Medlej, MD, is an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowship-trained in critical care, and a longtime contributor to MDCalc. Here’s Dr. Medlej’s take on applying evidence on managing pain, agitation, and delirium to his patients in the ICU.
Pain, agitation, and delirium (the ICU triad) are common in critically ill patients, and can be challenging for clinicians to manage, both in (1) ruling out and treating potential underlying causes, and (2) choosing appropriate sedatives and analgesics in those patients who need them.
This is a fascinating area of critical care medicine, although it can also be difficult and frustrating. While our insight and screening tools have improved, the management of patients with pain, agitation, and/or delirium remains difficult. This is a large topic with a significant amount of literature and opinions. This brief overview is in no way comprehensive, but more a personal view, approach and practice.
By Jeff Russ, MD, PhD – Pediatric/Child Neurology Resident, UCSF
Dr. Jeff Russ
Children presenting with head injury are as unremitting in children’s hospitals as the “Frozen” soundtrack, and any physician in a pediatric ED inevitably manages their fair share. The ramifications of missing significant injury to a child’s delicate, developing brain are unnerving. A head CT is central to catching intracranial pathology, but widespread use is not benign, given the risk of malignancy from unnecessary radiation. However, criteria for judiciously navigating this tradeoff remain debated. When is CT appropriate for children with GCS scores of 13-15 and mild symptoms like transient loss of consciousness or vomiting? Continue reading “Heads Up on Head Injury Algorithms: The Cost of High Sensitivity”→
Bacterial meningitis is a rare but serious disease, with mortality approaching 100% when left untreated. On the flip side, many children with mild viral illness are admitted with questionable benefit. The Bacterial Meningitis Score can help support a clinician’s decision to discharge a child safely. We talked with Dr. Lise Nigrovic, first author on the derivation and validation studies.
Dr. Lise Nigrovic
Why did you develop the Bacterial Meningitis Score? Was there a particular clinical experience or patient encounter that inspired you to create this tool for clinicians?
When I was a resident in pediatrics, I found myself admitting well-appearing children who had meningitis, spent two days in the hospital, and then went home after their cultures were negative. Doing that over and over again made me wonder if we could do better and distinguish between children who
Antibiotic overuse and misuse is a growing public health concern, and foregoing the administration of antibiotics in cases where they are not needed can be a challenging decision to defend without good evidence to back it up. The Centor Score for Strep Pharyngitis is one of the most practical and useful evidence-based decision tools that helps support clinicians in making those decisions. We interviewed Dr. Robert Centor on developing and using the Centor Score.
Why did you develop the Centor Score? Was there a clinical experience that inspired you to create this tool for clinicians?
In 1979, while working in the “non-acute” adult emergency room, a resident asked me how to evaluate a sore throat patient. Having just finished my residency, I started to give a definitive answer, but had a moment of humility and told him that I did not know. We made a treatment decision at the time, and I went to the library to learn more. Continue reading “Insights from Dr. Robert M. Centor, Creator of the Centor Score for Strep Pharyngitis”→
Subarachnoid hemorrhage, if undiagnosed, can have devastating consequences. While headache is a common presenting complaint in emergency departments, only about 1% of these patients are diagnosed with SAH. The Ottawa SAH Rule helps rule out SAH with 100% sensitivity, to better identify which patients do and do not need further workup. We talked with Dr. Jeffrey Perry, first author of the Ottawa SAH Rule derivation study.
Dr. Jeffrey J. Perry
How did you develop the Ottawa SAH Rule? Was there a particular patient or clinical experience you had?
Two things: One was the apparent subjectivity I noticed as a resident in evaluating patients for SAH, where the criteria for which patients we would investigate seemed to be very different. Some of the patients I thought were very low risk, other physicians would want to still investigate them for SAH, including doing a CT, which didn’t bother me too much, but then they would go on to do an LP, which is very uncomfortable, and time-consuming, and it seemed to contribute to already very prevalent ED overcrowding. So that was the clinical side of things. Continue reading “Insights from Dr. Jeffrey Perry, Creator of the Ottawa Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Rule”→
The CHA2DS2-Vasc Score is one of the most widely-used clinical risk scores for stroke. It’s arguably the best validated and is consistently in the top five most popular calcs on MDCalc. Professor Gregory Lip, the newest member of MDCalc’s Scientific Advisory Board, gave us an interview on developing and using the CHA₂DS₂-VASc Score.
Dr. Gregory Lip
Why did you develop the CHA₂DS₂-VASc Score? Was there a clinical experience that inspired you to create this tool for clinicians?
The availability of Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants (NOACs), previously referred to as new or novel oral anticoagulants, has led to a major change in the landscape for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF). Clinicians are also getting better at understanding how to manage warfarin, recognizing the importance of the average time in therapeutic range (TTR). New data are also re-emerging on the poor evidence for the efficacy and safety of aspirin for stroke prevention in AF. Continue reading “Insights from Dr. Gregory Lip, Creator of the CHA2DS2-VASc Score”→
The APACHE II Score is the most-referenced risk score for ICU mortality, with over 15,000 citations in PubMed since its publication 22 years ago, and is still used today both clinically and in research. We talked with Dr. William Knaus, first author on the APACHE paper, about his experience in developing the APACHE II Score, as well as the increasing need for technology in healthcare (and its disappointing uptake and implementation).
Dr. William Knaus
When we started [developing APACHE] in the 1970s, DRGs [diagnosis-related groups] were just coming on the scene, and obviously they were oriented towards the business and financing aspects of healthcare. There’s little correlation to the clinical. But people were relying on DRGs as a way to classify and identify patients, especially in the ICU. So it was important at that time to not so much reinvent the diagnostic system, but to talk about how patients come in at different levels of severity. And at that time, there was really nothing out there. Continue reading “Insights from Dr. William Knaus, Creator of the APACHE II Score”→