#2 Remember naloxone, glucose, and thiamine (NGT)
Original: Consider or give naloxone, glucose and thiamine
The number of patients presenting with opioid intoxication is growing, and the gentle reversal of patients without severe respiratory depression with naloxone is in the art of medicine – consider starting with 0.4mg and titrate to effect.
In contrast to empiric administration of glucose in the altered or ill patient, rapid assessment of glucose level with point-of-care testing is recommended.
Thiamine deficiency may be less prevalent than previously thought in intoxicated patients, but we now know that giving 100mg of IV thiamine can benefit other malnourished patients, including those with calorie-malnourishment from cancer, gastric bypass, hyperemesis gravidarum, and eating disorders. Personally, I use the ‘T’ of ‘NGT’ to remind myself not to miss alcohol withdrawal.Ten Commandments of Emergency Medicine Revisited — https://journalfeed.org/article-a-day/2021/ten-commandments-of-em-revisited
Why does this matter? I hear you thinking we underwrite life insurance, we’re not doctors. So true. But if we think like doctors we will get better at what we do by recognizing the subtleties buried within the medical charts we read. Here’s what my eyes/brain picked up.
The bold in the excerpt above are mine to illustrate how the mind of a mortality risk expert works. In Emergency Department records pay attention to the initial treatments provided which in some cases hints to a serious condition impacting mortality. Naloxone and opioids are obvious. But would you have associated the administration of IV thiamine to malnutrition or alcohol withdrawal? I thought so.
So read and research widely. You’ll always find little jewels to improve your skills and to impress your friends with. Or in my case to make Dr. Lee think his old man knows more than he actually does.