Douglas S Nelson

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, United States

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Publications (4)7.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Closed head injury (CHI) is common in childhood and frequently results in hospital admission for observation and treatment. Observation units (OUs) have shown significant benefits for patients and physicians. At our institution, a level 1 pediatric trauma center, patients with CHI are often admitted to an OU for up to 24 hours of observation and treatment. To describe characteristics of patients with a CHI admitted to a pediatric OU and to identify demographic, historical, clinical, and radiographic factors associated with the need for unplanned inpatient admission (UIA) after OU management. Retrospective cohort review of all OU admissions for CHI at Primary Children's Medical Center (PCMC) from August 1999 through July 2001. Data collected included age, gender, mechanism of injury, presenting symptoms, physical examination findings, head computed tomography (CT) results, diagnosis, length of stay, outcome of the injury, and need for UIA. During the study period, 827 patients were seen in the ED for CHI. Two hundred eighty-five patients (34%) were admitted to the OU, 273 (33%) were admitted to an inpatient service, and 269 (33%) were discharged home. OU patients had a median age of 5.2 years, ranging from 2 weeks to 17 years. Sixty-one percent were male. The median admission length of stay was 13 hours. Common mechanisms of injury included: falls (60%), motor vehicle accidents (12%), bicycle accidents (10%), impacts from objects (9%), auto-pedestrian accidents (4.6%), and snow-related accidents (4.6%). Presenting symptoms in the ED included vomiting (39%), loss of consciousness (26%), amnesia to event (19%), persistent amnesia (5%), and seizures (4%). Physical examination findings noted in the ED included altered mental status (45%), facial abnormalities (43%), scalp abnormalities (38%), and neurologic deficits (9%). Two hundred eighty patients (98%) admitted to the OU had a head CT performed. Skull fractures were present in 109 patients (39%) and intracranial pathology (ie, epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, or intraparenchymal contusion) was present in 38 patients (13%). Only 13 patients (5%) required admission to an inpatient service from the OU for the following reasons: continued need for intravenous (IV) fluids (n = 5), venous thrombosis (n = 2), persistent CSF leakage (n = 3), decreased level of consciousness (n = 1), pain management (n = 1), and clearing of the patient's cervical spine (n = 1). No patient deteriorated or required neurosurgery. Patients with basilar skull fractures, a head laceration (scalp or facial), and patients that needed IV fluids in the ED were more likely to need inpatient admission after a 24-hour observation stay. Logistic regression analysis identified basilar skull fractures (OR 11.61), face/scalp lacerations (OR 7.52), and the need for ED IV fluid administration (OR 4.26) to be associated with UIA. Most children with these findings were successfully discharged within 24 hours, however. Age, sex, loss of consciousness, seizure, vomiting, amnesia, altered mental status, neurologic deficits, intracranial pathology, and skull fractures (aside from basilar skull fractures) were not related to UIA. The vast majority (96%) of pediatric OU patients with CHI such as small intracranial hematomas, skull fractures, and concussions were discharged safely within 24 hours without serious complications. The presence of a basilar skull fracture, head laceration, and the need for ED IV fluids were associated with increased risk of UIA. OU admission is an efficient and effective management setting for children with stable intracranial pathology, skull fractures, and concussions.
    Pediatric emergency care 11/2005; 21(10):639-44. · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Observation units (OUs) serve patients who require more evaluation or treatment than possible during an emergency department visit and who are anticipated to stay in the hospital for a short defined period. Asthma is a common admission diagnosis in a pediatric OU. Our main objective was to identify clinical factors associated with failure to discharge a child with asthma from our OU within 24 hours. Retrospective chart review at a tertiary care children's hospital. Participants were children 2 years or older with asthma admitted from the emergency department to the OU during August 1999 to August 2001. The OU-discharged group comprised those successfully discharged from the OU within 24 hours. The unplanned inpatient admission group comprised those subsequently admitted from the OU to a traditional inpatient ward or those readmitted to the hospital within 48 hours of OU discharge. One hundred sixty-one children aged 2 to 20 years (median 4.0; 63% boys) met inclusion criteria; 40 patients (25%) required unplanned inpatient admission. In a multiple logistic regression model, 3 factors were associated with need for unplanned inpatient admission: female sex (adjusted odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-6.4; P = 0.03), temperature 38.5 degrees C or higher (adjusted odds ratio, 6.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-23.5; P < 0.01), and need for supplemental oxygen at the end of emergency department management (adjusted odds ratio, 5; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-15.1; P < 0.01). Many children with asthma can be admitted to a pediatric OU and discharged safely within 24 hours. Prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings and to identify other factors predictive of unplanned inpatient admission.
    Pediatric emergency care 10/2005; 21(10):645-9. · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    Alison C Rentz, Howard A Kadish, Douglas S Nelson
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    ABSTRACT: Observation units (OUs) are widely used to care for adults, but little is published about their use in pediatrics. During the planning stages of our pediatric OU, community primary medical doctors (PMDs) expressed concerns about not admitting and managing their own patients in this unit controlled by pediatric emergency physicians. This study surveyed PMDs to determine their satisfaction with the pediatric OU two and a half years after opening. A satisfaction survey was mailed to pediatricians, family practitioners, and pediatric subspecialists whose patients had been admitted to the study pediatric OU from August 1999 to January 2002. A Likert scale ranging 1 to 4 was used to measure satisfaction in 4 areas. In addition, there were questions regarding the utility of the OU for treatment of common pediatric illnesses. 198 of 248 (80%) surveys were returned. Pediatricians (64%) and family practitioners (23%) were represented most often. Fifty-three percent of PMD respondents had 10 or more patients admitted during the study period. Median satisfaction scores were 4 (most satisfied) in all areas measured. Over 60% of physicians surveyed felt that the OU was useful in the treatment of dehydration, gastroenteritis, reactive airway disease, and bronchiolitis. The model of an ED-controlled pediatric observation unit received high satisfaction ratings in all areas by community and subspecialty physicians two and a half years after opening. The initial reservations voiced by community physicians have not resurfaced.
    Pediatric emergency care 08/2004; 20(7):430-2. · 0.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the efficacy of propofol sedation administered by pediatric emergency physicians to facilitate painful outpatient procedures. By using a protocol for patients receiving propofol sedation in an emergency department-affiliated short-stay unit, a prospective, consecutive case series was performed from January to September 2000. Patients were prescheduled, underwent a medical evaluation, and met fasting requirements. A sedation team was present throughout the procedure. All patients received supplemental oxygen. Sedation depth and vital signs were monitored while propofol was manually titrated to the desired level of sedation. There were 291 separate sedation events in 87 patients. No patient had more than 1 sedation event per day. Median patient age was 6 years; 57% were male patients and 72% were oncology patients. Many children required more than 1 procedure per encounter. Most commonly performed procedures included lumbar puncture (43%), intrathecal chemotherapy administration (31%), bone marrow aspiration (19%), and bone biopsy (3%). Median total propofol dose was 3.5 mg/kg. Median systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lowered 22 mm Hg (range 0 to 65 mm Hg) and 21 mm Hg (range 0 to 62 mm Hg), respectively. Partial airway obstruction requiring brief jaw-thrust maneuver was noted for 4% of patient sedations, whereas transient apnea requiring bag-valve-mask ventilation occurred in 1% of patient sedations. All procedures were successfully completed. Median procedure duration was 13 minutes, median sedation duration was 22 minutes, and median total time in the short stay unit was 40 minutes. Propofol sedation administered by emergency physicians safely facilitated short painful procedures in children under conditions studied, with rapid recovery.
    Annals of Emergency Medicine 01/2004; 42(6):783-91. · 4.29 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

114 Citations
7.03 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2005
    • University of Utah
      • • Primary Children's Medical Center
      • • Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
      Salt Lake City, UT, United States