15 10, 2016

Introducing CME for ALiEM via FOAMbase

foambase-aliem-logo-sml cmeEver wish you could get Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit for the Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) you already consume? We are excited to announce that 10 ALiEM articles are now available for AMA PRA Category 1 CME. This is a pilot program in collaboration with FOAMbase and EB Medicine. There is great content on trauma, geriatrics, pediatrics, critical care, and more. We think CME for FOAM is going to be a great way to increase sustainability for FOAM authors while keeping FOAM 100% free and open access.

 

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25 05, 2016

5 Tips for Managing Pain in Older Adults

painPain is the most common reason people seek care in Emergency Departments. In addition to diagnosing the cause of the pain, a major goal of emergency physicians (EPs) is to relieve pain. However, medications that treat pain can have their own set of problems and side effects. The risks of treatment are particularly pronounced in older adults, who are often more sensitive to the sedating effects of medications, and are more prone to side effects such as renal failure. EPs frequently have to find the balance between controlling pain and preventing side effects. Untreated pain has large personal, emotional, and financial costs, and more effective, multi-modal pain management can help reduce the burden that acute and chronic pain place on patients.1 There is evidence that older adults are less likely to receive pain medication in the ED.2,3 The first step to improving, is being aware of the potential tendency to under-treat pain in older adults. Here are 5 tips to help you effectively manage pain in older adults on your next shift.

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16 05, 2016

Trick of the Trade: Pre-Charge the Defibrillator

Pre-Charge the Defibrillator CPRIn cardiac arrest care it is well accepted that time to defibrillation is closely correlated with survival and outcome.1 There has also been a lot of focus over the years on limiting interruptions in chest compressions during CPR. In fact, this concept has become a major focus of the current AHA Guidelines. Why? Because we know interruptions are bad.2,3 One particular aspect of CPR that has gotten a lot of attention in this regard is the peri-shock period. It has been well established that longer pre- and peri-shock pauses are independently associated with decreased chance of survival.4,5 Can we do better to shock sooner and minimize these pauses?

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11 05, 2016

PEM Pearls: The nonvisualized appendix quandary on ultrasound

appendicitis imageA 10-year old girl presents with progressively worsening right lower quadrant pain for the last 2 days. She reports having chills and feeling warm. Her review of systems is negative for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or urinary symptoms. Her abdominal exam is unremarkable except for some diffuse, mild tenderness with deep palpation in bilateral lower quadrants. Labs: WBC 9 x 10^9/L. Because of radiation exposure concerns, you order an abdominal ultrasound as the initial imaging modality to evaluate for appendicitis. The radiologist’s reading was: “Unable to visualize the appendix.” Now, what do you do?

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27 04, 2016

Synthetic cannabinoid use reaches new heights: K2 is not just a mountain on the China-Pakistan boarder

K2You are working a shift in the emergency department, and you hear the ambulance sirens. EMS is bringing you two patients, friends from a nearby shelter. Per report, the two men were “smoking drugs” together outside of the shelter. Bystanders noted that the 29-year-old man became increasingly agitated, shouting, banging on the door, and threatening his other shelter mates, while the other, a 50-year-old man, laid down on the sidewalk. EMS also reports picking up these patients in an area known for high “K2” use.

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25 01, 2016

PEM Pearls: Assessing Radiation Risk in Children Getting CT Imaging – Managing Risk and Making Medical Decisions

Radiation risk in children getting CT imaging The Case: A 5 year old girl presents to the ED with approximately 24 hours of suprapubic and RLQ abdominal pain. Vital signs are: Temp 38.2 C, HR 110, RR 19, BP 100/60, Oxygen Sat 100% on room air. She has vomited twice but has not had diarrhea. She had a history of constipation a year ago that has resolved and mother denies any urinary symptoms or history of UTI’s. The patient is quiet but nontoxic appearing. Your abdominal exam notes mild to moderate RLQ tenderness but no rebound and normal bowel sounds. You order a urinalysis, which is negative and a RLQ US which ‘does not visualize the appendix’. Your suspicion for possible appendicitis is still intermediate; however, now the patient states she is “a little hungry”. Should you order a CT of the abdomen and pelvis? Uuugh!

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14 12, 2015

PEM Pearls: Cardiac causes of pediatric chest pain

Doctor examining girlChildren with chest pain commonly present to the emergency department. Both the child and family members may think their symptoms are due to a serious illness. Among adolescents seen for their chest pain, more than 50% thought they were having a heart attack or that they had cancer.1 In reality, only 6% of pediatric chest pain has a cardiac etiology.2 Nonetheless, extensive and costly emergency department (ED) evaluations are common and there is wide practice variation.3

But prior to reassuring your patient, what can you do to reassure yourself that your patient doesn’t need a more extensive workup? What would make you suspicious for cardiac causes of pediatric chest pain?

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