Podcast # 450: Probiotics in Gastroenteritis

Author: Sam Killian, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Viral gastroenteritis alters the gut microbiome and it is theorized that probiotics may help reduce the duration and severity of the disease.
  • Double-blind randomized controlled trial involving almost 900 children with viral gastroenteritis compared 5 days of probiotics to a control group.
  • There was no difference in the rates of severe gastroenteritis between the two groups
  • Probiotics are likely unhelpful for kid with viral gastroenteritis


Freedman SB, Williamson-Urquhart S, Farion KJ, Gouin S, Willan AR, Poonai N, Hurley K, Sherman PM, Finkelstein Y, Lee BE, Pang XL, Chui L, Schnadower D, Xie J, Gorelick M, Schuh S; PERC PROGUT Trial Group.. Multicenter Trial of a Combination Probiotic for Children with Gastroenteritis. N Engl J Med. 2018 Nov 22;379(21):2015-2026. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1802597. PubMed PMID: 30462939.

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS3 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Podcast # 427: Cookie Dough is Delicious

Author: Eric Miller, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Recent CDC statement warns against consumption of cookie dough
  • Two common ingredients can pose risk: eggs and flour
  • Flour in dough is a raw agricultural product not treated to kill E. coli
  • A 2016 E. coli outbreak was linked to flour





Summarized by Travis Barlock, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Podcast #399: Hunting for pancreatitis

Author: Michael Hunt, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Alcohol and gallstones are most common causes of pancreatitis
  • Diagnosis is not simply based on lipase alone – must have at least two the the three criteria:
    • Elevated lipase (greater than 3x upper limit of reference range)
    • Typical pain (epigastric pain, radiating to back, etc.)
    • Radiographic findings suggestive of pancreatitis (CT, MRI, US)
  • BISAP criteria can help risk stratify mortality in pancreatitis. You get 1 point for each of the following:
    • BNP > 25
    • Impaired mental status
    • SIRS criteria, more than 2
    • AGE > 60
    • Pleural effusion
  • BISAP score of 0 has < 1% mortality

Editor’s note: The severity of pancreatitis does not correlate with serum lipase levels – notice how it is not used in the BISAP criteria, as an example. Even a mild elevation in serum testing can result in severe pancreatitis.


Banks PA, Bollen TL, Dervenis C, Gooszen HG, Johnson CD, Sarr MG, Tsiotos GG, Vege SS; Acute Pancreatitis Classification Working Group.. Classification of acute pancreatitis–2012: revision of the Atlanta classification and definitions by international consensus. Gut. 2013 Jan;62(1):102-11. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-302779. Epub 2012 Oct 25. PubMed PMID: 23100216.

Papachristou GI, Muddana V, Yadav D, O’Connell M, Sanders MK, Slivka A, Whitcomb DC. Comparison of BISAP, Ranson’s, APACHE-II, and CTSI scores in predicting organ failure, complications, and mortality in acute pancreatitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Feb;105(2):435-41; quiz 442. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2009.622. Epub 2009 Oct 27. PubMed PMID: 19861954.

Wu BU, Johannes RS, Sun X, Tabak Y, Conwell DL, Banks PA. The early prediction of mortality in acute pancreatitis: a large population-based study. Gut. 2008 Dec;57(12):1698-703. doi: 10.1136/gut.2008.152702. Epub 2008 Jun 2. PubMed PMID: 18519429.

Check out this episode!

Podcast #388: Antibiotics for Appendicitis

Author:  Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • 5-year follow up study on antibiotic treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis showed 39.1% recurrence rate requiring appendectomy by 5 years
  • Nearly 60% chance then of preventing an appendectomy by using antibiotics only for uncomplicated appendicitis


Editor’s note: not surprisingly, complications were much higher in the group receiving surgery, which reiterates why an antibiotic-only approach is attractive for the right patient population


Salminen P, Tuominen R, Paajanen H, Rautio T, Nordström P, Aarnio M, Rantanen T, Hurme S, Mecklin JP, Sand J, Virtanen J, Jartti A, Grönroos JM. Five-Year Follow-up of Antibiotic Therapy for Uncomplicated Acute Appendicitis in the APPAC Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 Sep 25;320(12):1259-1265. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.13201. PubMed PMID: 30264120.

Summary by Travis Barlock, MS4    |   Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Podcast #385: Probiotics

Author:  John Winkler, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Probiotics are bacteria that are ingested to promote gut health but recent research casts doubt on their effectiveness.
  • Recent study suggests that most probiotics that are ingested are killed by stomach acid. Those that remain are not very healthy and are outcompeted by the normal gut flora.
  • Probiotics should not be given as a one-size-fits-all treatment.



Zmora N, Zilberman-Schapira G, Suez J, Mor U, Dori-Bachash M, Bashiardes S, Kotler E, Zur M, Regev-Lehavi D, Brik RB, Federici S, Cohen Y, Linevsky R, Rothschild D, Moor AE, Ben-Moshe S, Harmelin A, Itzkovitz S, Maharshak N, Shibolet O, Shapiro H, Pevsner-Fischer M, Sharon I, Halpern Z, Segal E, Elinav E. Personalized Gut Mucosal Colonization Resistance to Empiric Probiotics Is Associated with Unique Host and Microbiome Features. Cell. 2018 Sep 6;174(6):1388-1405.e21. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.041. PubMed PMID: 30193112.

Podcast # 348: Steakhouse Syndrome

Author: Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Steakhouse syndrome is an impacted esophageal food bolus.
  • Occurs because they have an esophageal stricture (schatzki ring, scarring, esophagitis).
  • Classic treatments have consisted of effervescents, glucagon, and/or sublingual nitroglycerin (NTG).
  • Recent case series has shown oral 400mcg tablet of NTG dissolved in 10cc tap water was 100% successful.
  • Complications of NTG are hypotension and headache.



Kirchner GI, Zuber-Jerger I, Endlicher E, et al. (2011) Causes of bolus impaction in the esophagus. Surgical Endoscopy. 25:3170.

Willenbring BA, et al. (2018). Oral Nitroglycerin Solution May Be Effective for Esophageal Food Impaction. Journal of Emergency Medicine. 54(5):678-680.

Podcast # 331: Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT)

Author: Nick Hatch, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • The sodium-glucose cotransporter in the gut is essential for rehydration.
  • Oral rehydration therapies require an equimolar concentration of glucose and sodium to be effective.
  • ORT has saved millions of lives globally.
  • Consider using ORT in patients with dehydration. Especially useful in resource limited settings.


Victora CG, Bryce J, Fontaine O, Monasch R. Reducing deaths from diarrhoea through oral rehydration therapy. Bull World Health Organ. 2000; 78:1246.

Santillanes G, Rose E. Evaluation and Management of Dehydration in Children. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2018. 36(2):259-273. doi: 10.1016/j.emc.2017.12.004.

Podcast # 327: No More Hemoccults

Author: Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:


  • The use of fecal occult blood tests is falling out of favor in emergency departments
  • These tests have strong evidence suggesting their efficacy in colon cancer screening but clinical significance in ED is limited
  • They have relatively high false positive and false negative rates
  • Small/microscopic bleeding are often not clinically significant in the ED but can lead to increased costs from over-testing and other harms from fecal occult blood testing



Gupta A, Tang Z, Agrawal D. Eliminating In-Hospital Fecal Occult Blood Testing: Our Experience with Disinvestment. American Journal of Medicine. (2018). 10.1016/j.amjmed.2018.03.002

Podcast #307: Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Author: Peter Bakes, M.D.

Educational Pearls:

  • Rare disease with 1-2 patients out of 100,000. About 60% of patients report a preceding diarrheal illness and classically presents with an ascending motor weakness.
  • Pathophysiology is likely due to molecular mimicry where the immune system creates antibodies against a pathogen (C. jejuni ) which appears similar to the myelin of peripheral nerves resulting in autoimmune demyelination.
  • Diagnosis is made by clinical presentation +/- a spinal tap with a characteristic high protein count but without cells.
  • Treatment is IVIG or plasmapharesis. It is important to monitor respiratory function because about 15% of patients progress to respiratory failure.


Sejvar, James J.; Baughman, Andrew L.; Wise, Matthew; Morgan, Oliver W. (2011). “Population incidence of Guillain?Barré syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis”

van den Berg, Bianca; Walgaard, Christa; Drenthen, Judith; Fokke, Christiaan; Jacobs, Bart C.; van Doorn, Pieter A. (15 July 2014). “Guillain?Barré syndrome: pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis”. Nature Reviews Neurology. 10 (8): 469?482.

Yuki, Nobuhiro; Hartung, Hans-Peter (14 June 2012). “Guillain?Barré Syndrome”. New England Journal of Medicine. 366 (24): 2294?2304.

Podcast #301: Biliary Pathology

Author: Don Stader, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • Common pathologies include cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, and in concerningly ascending cholangitis.
  • Cholecystitis is obstruction at the cystic duct leading to inflammation of gallbladder wall, while choledocholithiasis is a distal obstruction of the biliary tree, and ascending cholangitis is an ascending infection of the biliary tree secondary to obstruction.
  • Risk factors for Cholecystitis are the 5 F’s (Fat, Forty, Female, Fertile, Family Hx).
  • Classic symptoms seen in ascending cholangitis are Charcot’s Triad of fever, RUQ pain, and jaundice, or Reynold’s pentad which is more severe and has the addition of
    altered mental status and hypotension.
  • Porcelain gallbladder is a radiographic finding showing calcification of the gallbladder that is associated with cancer of the gallbladder.


Kimura Y, Takada T, Kawarada Y, et al. (2007). “Definitions, pathophysiology, and epidemiology of acute cholangitis and cholecystitis: Tokyo Guidelines”. J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg.

Strasberg, SM (26 June 2008). “Clinical practice. Acute calculous cholecystitis”. The New England Journal of Medicine. 358 (26): 2804?11.