Meeting Uncle Rhabdo

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THE PATIENT:

A 28 year old previously healthy male presents to the emergency department with concerns for worsening back pain that is predominantly left sided and along the lumbar spine. Two days prior to the visit he recalls a work out that consisted of many dead lifts. He also played basketball the following day and rode his bike into work, which is more activity than usual for him. He tried NSAIDs for pain control, but his pain is more intense and he noticed his urine looked brown today. He denies any fevers, history of IVDU, weight gain or loss, urinary tract infections or STDs, immunosuppression, recent spinal fracture or procedure, incontinence or retention.

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION:

144/83, 82, 37.1, 18, 98%

Gen: well appearing, no acute distress

HENT: normocephalic, MMM

CV: RRR

Pulm: CTAB

Abd: soft, nontender, nondistended

MSK: muscle spasms along the left lumbar paraspinal muscle, no midline tenderness to palpation, muscle compartments in the upper and lower extremities are soft

Neuro: L1-S5 strength 5/5 and sensation to light touch is intact

Skin: pink, warm, dry

THE COURSE:

As an experienced clinician you are able to quickly arrive at a diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis from the brief history and physical exam, but what else needs to be done? In the emergency department we need to initiate diagnostic studies to evaluate the severity of illness and help plan for an appropriate disposition. Thankfully, your history and exam reveal no red flag findings for more concerning etiologies of back pain, so your evaluation can be quite focused. The patient had lab work sent off and was provided with IVF boluses and given analgesia with marked improvement in his symptoms. He was admitted to the medical floor for continued care for the next couple days.

THE WORK UP:

CK >20,000 IU/L (labs upper limit for reporting without further analysis and quantitative estimates, normal range 20-210, remained >20,000 for 5 consecutive days) finally on day 6 CK 10, 933 IU/L

BMP: Glu 113, BUN 19, Cr 1.0 (on discharge was 0.84), Na 139, K 3.8, Cl 104, CO2 29, Ca 8.9

Urinalysis: Brown, cloudy, trace ketones, specific gravity >1.03, blood 3+, protein >300

Urine microscopic analysis: RBC none seen, WBC 3, amorphous crystals present

Urine myoglobin: >8,750 mcg/ml (normal range < 28mcg/ml)

DISCUSSION:

The key clinical manifestations of rhabdomyolysis include a triad of muscle tenderness and weakness as well as dark urine, so the triage note already had it set up on a silver platter for you. Remember, however, as with any triad in medicine this classic presentation is rare. Some studies revealed that over half of patients do not report muscle pain or weakness. Rhabdomyolysis occurs due to muscle necrosis and the release of intracellular contents into the circulation. Patients may present with a wide range of symptoms and the most concerning complications include hyperkalemia, renal failure and rarely disseminated intravascular coagulation. Patients who present with concomitant acute kidney injury tend to have worse outcomes and the mechanism of injury is primarily related to the nephrotoxic effects of myoglobin. In an acidic environment myoglobin may precipitate and subsequently damage the kidneys by obstruction of the renal tubules, cause oxidative damage and vasoconstriction.

The etiologies of rhabdomyolysis can be broken up into four broad categories: impaired production or use of ATP, dysfunctional oxygen or nutrient delivery, increased metabolic demand exceeding capacity, and direct myocyte damage. Recently, on EM: RAP Dr. DeLaney argued that this can be further simplified into two broad categories, exertional and non-exertional. Classic cases include trauma patients who have crush injuries but can also occur with heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion or stroke, or in cases of hyper-kinetic states. Medications implicated in this disease process include antipsychotics and statins as well as others such as illegal drugs like cocaine.

CK levels classically rise within two to twelve hours after the onset of injury and peak within three days. The level should return to baseline within ten days. The diagnosis is often considered if the CK level is above five times the upper limit of normal at presentation, roughly 1,000 IU/L. More discrete categories can also be used to differentiate mild to severe cases based on CK levels, however, it is the degree of renal impairment that likely has the greatest role on patient outcome. Emergency department management includes aggressive IVF hydration with a target urine output of approximately 250 ml/hr and attempts to identify and correct the underlying pathology. Some argue for urinary alkalinization; however, the literature is limited with regards to strong recommendations on this topic. Common electrolyte abnormalities include: hyperkalemia, hyperphosphatemia, hyperuricemia, and hypocalcemia. Disseminated intravascular coagulation can rarely be seen as a result of thromboplastin and prothrombotic agents released from damaged myocytes. Acute kidney injury is more common if the presentation includes a CK >5,000 IU/L and in cases with sepsis, acidosis, or dehydration. Ultimately, most patients do well during their hospital courses and rarely require significant interventions, but mortality may be upwards of 20% in those that present with significant kidney injury noted at the time of presentation, therefore, careful evaluation of the patient’s lab studies and admission for close observation remains the mainstay of treatment.

Faculty Reviewer: Dr. Gita Pensa

SOURCES:

  1. DeLaney, M. “Rhabdomyolysis: Part 1 Diagnosis and Treatment.” www.emrap.org March 2018, 18 (3)

  2. DeLaney, M. “Rhabdomyolysis: Part 2 Disposition.” www.emrap.org March 2018, 18 (3)

  3. Majoewsky, M. “Rhabdomyolysis: C3 Project.” www.emrap.org June 2012, 2 (6)

  4. Sauncy, H. (2017). Don’t Get Broken Up About Muscle Breakdown. In Mattu, A. Marcucci, L. et al (Eds.), Avoiding Common Errors in the Emergency Department: Second Edition (pp. 414-16). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

Money Minutes for Doctors #7 - The Roth IRA

Welcome to the October edition of Money Minutes for Doctors. In this installment of our monthly podcast we take a deep dive into the basics of the Roth IRA. This product is slightly different than the 401k and adds another important investment strategy for retirement savings. It is our pleasure to welcome back Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®, RFC, Founder and President of MD Financial Advisors for another glimpse into the world of personal financial wellness for physicians and their families.

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About Ms. Vessenes:

Ms. Vessenes works with over 300 physicians and dentists from Hawaii to Cape Cod. Her firm uses a team of experts to provide comprehensive financial planning to help doctors build their wealth and protect their wealth while reducing taxes now and in the future. Katherine is a longtime advocate for ethics in the financial services industry; and has written three books on the subject of investment strategies. She has received many honors and awards including: numerous tributes from Medical Economics as a top advisor for doctors, multiple 5-Star Advisor Awards, honored as a Top Woman in Finance, in addition to being selected to be on the CFP® Board of Ethics. Katherine can be reached at: Katherine@mdfinancialadvisors.com or 952-388-6317. Her website: www.mdfinancialadvisors.com.

Quick Summary…the pros and cons of Roth IRAs:

Positives:

1.    The earnings or growth inside the Roth IRA are not taxable until withdrawn. This can be a significant advantage, as it leaves more funds growing without the headwind of taxes.

2.    A Roth IRA is protected from creditors, which is an important consideration for our doctors who are concerned about asset protection strategies. The levels of the protection vary from state to state.

3.    The best reason to use a Roth, is tax free income in retirement. If you think you might be in a higher tax bracket in retirement, as 99% of all of our clients will be, then it is crucial to plan to have some income that is tax free.

4.    The Roth IRA is one of the few tax shelters left. Almost all of the others have been disallowed by Congress!

5.    You can transfer a Roth IRA at death to your heirs without any income taxes, unlike a traditional IRA which can be a great gift for your children or grandchildren. 

Negatives:

1.    Withdrawals before age 59 ½ are subject to ordinary income tax rates in the year of distribution, along with the 10% penalty, previously discussed.  This makes them relatively illiquid.

2.    Roth IRAs cannot be used as collateral for a loan.

3.    You cannot borrow from a Roth IRA. If you do, it is considered a taxable event.

4.    Unless you are converting an existing IRA to a Roth, you can only invest a limited amount each year: $5,500 for doctors under 50 and $6,500 for those who are older. For most of our clients this is just a drop in the bucket for what they will need in retirement.

5.    If you do convert your IRA to a Roth, the taxes will have to come from another account if you are under the age of 59 ½. If you are over that age, you can deduct the taxes from the IRA as you convert.

If you are thinking about doing a Back-door Roth or a Roth conversion, we strongly recommend getting some good advice to avoid the IRS pit-falls and penalties.

Takeaway: If you can tie up funds until retirement, then a Roth IRA might be a great choice for you to get tax free income in retirement.

If you have questions about your  Roth IRAs or any other financial issues, you can contact us at Admin@mdfinancialadvisors.com or look us up at www.mdfinancialadvisors.com.

© Katherine Vessenes 2018.

AEM Early Access 19: Threat Perceptions in the Emergency Department

Welcome to the nineteenth episode of AEM Early Access, a FOAMed podcast collaboration between the Academic Emergency Medicine Journal and Brown Emergency Medicine. Each month, we'll give you digital open access to an recent AEM Article or Article in Press, with an author interview podcast and suggested supportive educational materials for EM learners.

Find this podcast series on iTunes here.

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DISCUSSING (CLICK ON TITLE; FULL TEXT THROUGH OCTOBER 31, 2018):

Development and Validation of a Measure to Assess Patients’ Threat Perceptions in the Emergency Department. Talea Cornelius, Ph.D., M.S.W., Sachin Agarwal, M.D., M.P.H., Othanya Garcia, B.A., William Chaplin, Ph.D., Donald Edmondson, Ph.D., M.P.H., Bernard P. Chang, M.D.

listen now: interview with first author dr Talea cornelius, phd, MSW

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Talea Cornelius, PhD MSW

Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health

Columbia University Medical Center

ABSTRACT:

Objective

Threat perceptions in the Emergency Department (ED) (e.g., patients’ subjective feelings of helplessness or lack of control) during evaluation for an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) are associated with the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and PTSD has been associated with medication nonadherence, cardiac event recurrence, and mortality. This study reports the development and validation of a 7‐item measure of ED Threat Perceptions in English‐ and Spanish‐speaking patients evaluated for ACS.

Methods

Participants were drawn from an observational cohort study of 1,000 patients evaluated for ACS between 2013‐2016 in a large, New York City hospital. Participants reported on threat perceptions in the ED and during inpatient stay (using 12 items previously identified as predictive of PTSD) and reported on cardiac‐induced PTSD one month post‐discharge. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were used to establish the factor structure and test measurement invariance. Validity and reliability were examined, as was the association of ED Threat Perceptions with cardiac‐induced PTSD.

Results

Factor analyses identified a 7‐item measure of ED Threat Perceptions (e.g., “I feel helpless,” “I am worried that I am going to die”) for both English‐ and Spanish‐speaking patients. ED Threat Perceptions demonstrated convergent validity, correlating with ED stress and ED crowdedness (rs = .29, .14), good internal consistency (α = .82), and stability (r = .61). Threat Perceptions were associated with cardiac‐induced acute stress at inpatient and PTSD symptoms at one month (rs = .43, .39).

Conclusions

This brief tool assessing ED Threat Perceptions has clinical utility for providers to identify patients at risk for developing cardiac‐induced PTSD and is critical to inform research on whether threat may be modified in‐ED to reduce PTSD incidence.