loader from loading.io

Laboring Under Pressure Episode 2: Postpartum Hemorrhage with Dr. Kiersten Williams

Emergency Medical Minute

Release Date: 01/08/2024

Episode 899: Thrombolytic Contraindications show art Episode 899: Thrombolytic Contraindications

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Travis Barlock MD Educational Pearls: Thrombolytic therapy (tPA or TNK) is often used in the ED for strokes Use of anticoagulants with INR > 1.7 or  PT >15 Warfarin will reliably increase the INR Current use of Direct thrombin inhibitor or Factor Xa inhibitor  aPTT/PT/INR are insufficient to assess the degree of anticoagulant effect of Factor Xa inhibitors like apixaban (Eliquis) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto)  Intracranial or intraspinal surgery in the last 3 months Intracranial neoplasms or arteriovenous malformations also increase the risk of...

Episode 898: Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy show art Episode 898: Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal, MD Educational Pearls: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as "broken heart syndrome,” is a temporary heart condition that can mimic the symptoms of a heart attack, including troponin elevations and mimic STEMI on ECG. The exact cause is not fully understood, but it is often triggered by severe emotional or physical stress. The stress can lead to a surge of catecholamines which affects the heart (multivessel spasm/paralysed myocardium). The name "Takotsubo" comes from the Japanese term for a type of octopus trap, as the left ventricle takes on a...

Episode 897: Adrenal Crisis show art Episode 897: Adrenal Crisis

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal MD Educational Pearls: Primary adrenal insufficiency (most common risk factor for adrenal crises) An autoimmune condition commonly known as Addison's Disease Defects in the cells of the adrenal glomerulosa and fasciculata result in deficient glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids Mineralocorticoid deficiency leads to hyponatremia and hypovolemia Lack of aldosterone downregulates Endothelial Sodium Channels (ENaCs) at the renal tubules Water follows sodium and generates a hypovolemic state Glucocorticoid deficiency contributes further to hypotension...

Podcast 896: Cancer-Related Emergencies show art Podcast 896: Cancer-Related Emergencies

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Travis Barlock, MD Educational Pearls: Cancer-related emergencies can be sorted into a few buckets: Infection Cancer itself and the treatments (chemotherapy/radiation) can be immunosuppressive. Look out for conditions such as sepsis and neutropenic fever. Obstruction Cancer causes a hypercoagulable state. Look out for blood clots which can cause emergencies such as a pulmonary embolism, stroke, superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome, and cardiac tamponade. Metabolic Cancer can affect the metabolic system in a variety of ways. For example, certain cancers like bone...

Episode 895: Indications for Exogenous Albumin show art Episode 895: Indications for Exogenous Albumin

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Travis Barlock MD Educational Pearls: There are three indications for IV albumin in the ED Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP) Patients with SBP develop renal failure from volume depletion Albumin repletes volume stores and reduces renal impairment Albumin binds inflammatory cytokines and expands plasma volume Reduced all-cause mortality if IV albumin is given with antibiotics Hepatorenal syndrome Cirrhosis of the liver causes the release of endogenous vasodilators The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) fails systemically but maintains...

Episode 894: DKA and HHS show art Episode 894: DKA and HHS

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal, MD Educational Pearls: What are DKA and HHS? DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) and HHS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State) are both acute hyperglycemic states. DKA More common in type 1 diabetes. Triggered by decreased circulating insulin. The body needs energy but cannot use glucose because it can’t get it into the cells. This leads to increased metabolism of free fatty acids and the increased production of ketones. The buildup of ketones causes acidosis. The kidneys attempt to compensate for the acidosis by increasing diuresis. These patients...

Episode 893: Home Treatments for Button Battery Ingestion show art Episode 893: Home Treatments for Button Battery Ingestion

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Aaron Lessen MD Educational Pearls: Button batteries cause alkaline corrosion and erosion of the esophagus when swallowed Children swallow button batteries, which create a medical emergency as they can perforate the esophagus A recent study compared various home remedies as first-aid therapy for button battery ingestion Honey, jam, normal saline, Coca-Cola, orange juice, milk, and yogurt The study used a porcine esophageal model to assess resistance to alkalinization with the different home remedies Honey and jam demonstrated a significantly lower esophageal tissue...

Episode 892: Tourniquets show art Episode 892: Tourniquets

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Ricky Dhaliwal, MD Educational Pearls: What can you do to control bleeding in a penetrating wound? Apply direct pinpoint pressure on the wound as well as proximal to the wound. Build a compression dressing. How do you build a compression dressing? Think about building an upside-down pyramid with the gauze. Consider coagulation agents such as an absorbent gelatin sponge material, microporous polysaccharide hemispheres, oxidized cellulose, fibrin sealants, topical thrombin, or tranexamic acid. What are the indications to use a tourniquet? The Stop The Bleed campaign...

Pharmacy Phriday #11: Riddles, Medical Jargon, NNT, and Time Travel show art Pharmacy Phriday #11: Riddles, Medical Jargon, NNT, and Time Travel

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributors: Kali Olson PharmD, Travis Barlock MD, Jeffrey Olson MS2 Summary: In this episode of Pharmacy Phriday, Dr. Kali Olson joins Dr. Travis Barlock and Jeffrey Olson in studio to discuss a variety of interesting topics in the form of a segment show. Dr. Kali Olson earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Colorado, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY1 residency at Detroit Receiving Hospital and a PGY2 residency in Emergency Medicine at Denver Health. She now works as an Emergency Medicine Pharmacist at Denver Health.  In segment one of the show, Kali and...

Episode 891: Hypothermia show art Episode 891: Hypothermia

Emergency Medical Minute

Contributor: Taylor Lynch MD Educational Pearls Hypothermia is defined as a core body temperature less than 35 degrees Celsius or less than 95 degrees Fahrenheit  Mild Hypothermia: 32-35 degrees Celsius Presentation: alert, shivering, tachycardic, and cold diuresis Management: Passive rewarming i.e. remove wet clothing and cover the patient with blankets or other insulation Moderate Hypothermia: 28-32 degrees Celsius Presentation: Drowsiness, lack of shivering, bradycardia, hypotension Management: Active external rewarming Severe Hypothermia: 24-28 degrees Celsius ...

More Episodes

Contributor: Kiersten Williams MD, Travis Barlock MD, Jeffrey Olson MS2


In this episode, Dr. Travis Barlock and Jeffrey Olson meet in the studio to discuss a clip from Dr. Williams’ talk at the “Laboring Under Pressure, Managing Obstetric Emergencies in a Global Setting” event from May 2023. This event was hosted at the University of Denver and was organized with the help of Joe Parker as a fundraiser for the organization Health Outreach Latin America (HOLA).

Dr. Kiersten Williams completed her OBGYN residency at Bay State Medical Center and practices as an Obstetric Hospitalist at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Colorado.

During her talk, Dr. Williams walks the audience through the common causes and treatments for post-partum hemorrhage (PPH).

Some important take-away points from this talk are:

  • The most common causes of PPH can be remembered by the 4 T’s. Tone (atony), Trauma, Tissue (retained placenta), and Thrombin (coagulopathies).

  • AV malformations of the uterus are probably underdiagnosed.

  • Quantitative blood loss is much more accurate than estimated blood loss (EBL).

  • The ideal fibrinogen for an obstetric patient about to deliver is above 400 mg/dl - under 200 is certain to cause bleeding.

  • Do not deliver oxytocin via IV push dose, it can cause significant hypotension.

  • Tranexamic Acid is available in both IV and PO and can be administered in the field. The dose is 1 gram and can be run over 10 minutes if administered via IV. It is best if used within 3 hours of delivery.

  • When performing a uterine massage, place one hand inside the vagina and one hand on the lower abdomen. Then rub the lower abdomen like mad.

  • A new option for treating PPH is called the JADA System which is slimmer than a Bakri  Balloon and uses vacuum suction to help the uterus clamp down.*

  • Another option for a small uterus is to insert a 60 cc Foley catheter.

  • In an operating room, a B-Lynch suture can be put in place, uterine artery ligation can be performed, and as a last resort, a hysterectomy can be done.

*EMM is not sponsored by JADA system or the Bakri balloon.


  1. Andrikopoulou M, D'Alton ME. Postpartum hemorrhage: early identification challenges. Semin Perinatol. 2019 Feb;43(1):11-17. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2018.11.003. Epub 2018 Nov 14. PMID: 30503400.

  2. Committee on Practice Bulletins-Obstetrics. Practice Bulletin No. 183: Postpartum Hemorrhage. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Oct;130(4):e168-e186. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002351. PMID: 28937571.

  3. Federspiel JJ, Eke AC, Eppes CS. Postpartum hemorrhage protocols and benchmarks: improving care through standardization. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2023 Feb;5(2S):100740. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2022.100740. Epub 2022 Sep 2. PMID: 36058518; PMCID: PMC9941009.

  4. Health Outreach for Latin America Foundation - HOLA Foundation. (n.d.). http://www.hola-foundation.org/

  5. Kumaraswami S, Butwick A. Latest advances in postpartum hemorrhage management. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2022 May;36(1):123-134. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2022.02.004. Epub 2022 Feb 24. PMID: 35659949.

  6. Pacheco LD, Saade GR, Hankins GDV. Medical management of postpartum hemorrhage: An update. Semin Perinatol. 2019 Feb;43(1):22-26. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2018.11.005. Epub 2018 Nov 14. PMID: 30503399.

Produced by Jeffrey Olson, MS2 | Edited by Jeffrey Olson and Jorge Chalit, OMSII