What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you see an older woman presenting to the ED from a nursing facility with atraumatic altered mental status? If you’re like me, ‘UTI’ comes quickly to mind. I then banish the thought of a UTI and force myself to go through a worst-first differential diagnosis to exclude, either through the history and clinical assessment or through testing, more dangerous causes. This is a case of a 67-year-old woman with an unusual cause of altered mental status… and a UTI.
Intracranial injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children. It can arise after severe, moderate, or minor head injury. Children with minor head injury present the greatest diagnostic dilemma for emergency physicians, as they appear well but a small number will develop intracranial injuries. The question that often arises in the ED is:
To CT or not to CT?
Intravenous (IV) access is a basic and invaluable skill for emergency physicians. For patients requiring rapid fluid resuscitation, airway management, or medication administration, the placement of one or more IV lines is absolutely essential. Most patients do well with a simple, landmark-based, blind placement of a superficial peripheral IV. However, we often encounter situations where this may be difficult or impossible to achieve, and so we all should have a repertoire of other sites and techniques to employ.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who took the time to take part in our exciting new Expert Peer Review series over the last 4 months of 2013. Your contributions helped us roll out this ground breaking process, and we hope you all will continue to contribute to our peer review in the future.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas and is one of the most common causes of unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States. It is also one of the most common poisoning presentations to Emergency Departments. Because CO is produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels, the incidence of accidental exposure peaks during the winter months due to increased use of in-door heating sources and reduced ventilation. 1–3 Several management dilemmas commonly arise when dealing with patients with potential CO poisoning.
The first time I saw the Thumper performing CPR on a patient I thought “well, that makes sense.” Since then we have seen other devices, most notably the Zoll AutoPulse and the Physio-Control LUCAS. It was disappointing to many in 2005 when the AutoPulse trial was halted early due to harm. 1 Although four-hour survival was similar between groups, the hospital discharge survival rate in the manual CPR group was 9.9% compared to 5.8% in the mechanical CPR group. Many hypotheses were proposed to explain the results, which included Hawthorne effect, prolonged device deployment time, and enrollment bias. Last month, the results of the LUCAS in Cardiac Arrest (LINC) trial were published in JAMA, breathing new life into the mechanical vs manual CPR debate. 2
Intravenous sodium bicarbonate seems like a wonderful drug. It fixes acidosis, pushes potassium into cells, alkalinizes urine, and even helps with smelly feet. However, this literature review of four conditions casts some doubt into the seemingly cure-all that is bicarbonate.