Trick of the Trade: My new penlight

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On any given day in the ED, I use my super-bright penlight 2-5 times a day. It is amazing what things I’ve almost missed without a bright LED flashlight.

  • Subtle HSV-2 labial ulcerations in a female patient with dysuria
  • Additional scalp lacerations hidden in the hair
  • Tonsillar exudates in a patient with strep pharyngitis
  • Unequal pupillary responses in a brightly lit trauma room in a head-injured patient

I wanted to revisit a prior post about the importance of changing your Tungsten penlight to a LED light.

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2019-01-28T23:47:58-07:00

Beware the hidden tibia plateau fracture

TibialPlateau2vsmFind the fracture in this patient with blunt knee trauma.

As a general rule, plain films are insensitive in ruling out orthopedic injuries. One particularly tricky area is the knee. This 2-view knee series above is normal.

Did you know that the sensitivity of picking up knee fractures is as low as 79% with a 2-view series and 85% with a 4-view series? With the advent of CT imaging, more and more subtle fractures are being found.

2016-11-11T19:01:36-07:00

Paucis Verbis card: Pediatric blunt head injury

EpiduralIn this installment of the Paucis Verbis (In a Few Words) e-card series, the topic is Pediatric Blunt Head Trauma.

This a particularly relevant topic given the recent press and discussions about CT irradiation and the cancer risk especially in pediatric patients. It’s also relevant since Dr. Nate Kuppermann (UC Davis) just gave Grand Rounds at our UCSF-SFGH EM residency program. He first-authored a landmark 2009 Lancet article on minor head injury in kids.

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2019-01-28T23:47:18-07:00

Trick of the Trade: Preventing tissue adhesive seepage

Dermabond Tape

As great as tissue adhesives are in wound closure, they come with some risk. For instance, liquid adhesives, such as Dermabond, can “run” and contact undesired areas such as eyelid margins. Careful application of tissue adhesives is critical.

How can you minimize the amount of seepage of tissue adhesive to undesired areas?

Trick of the Trade

Create an impermeable tape barrier

I already mentioned this in an earlier post in July, but I now have more experience with this technique. Here are some recent photos of this trick in action.

  • Cut out a circle from a transparent tape adhesive. In this case, I used a transparent Tegaderm which can be found with peripheral or central line IV kits.
  • Adhere the tape to the patient’s skin primarily along the circular edge to prevent glue seepage under the tape. You don’t need to stick the ENTIRE transparent tape to the patient, unless you want to pull off some eyebrow and eyelid lashes!
  • Apply the tissue adhesive glue over the wound while ensuring that the wound edges are closely approximated. Excess glue will run off onto the tape. You only need to wait a few seconds after glue application before peeling the tape off.
DermabondTapeTrick5blursm
DermabondTapeTrick10blursm

This idea was contributed by Dr. Hagop Afarian (UCSF-Fresno).

Thanks also to my Visual Aid Project photographer, Lourdes Adame, who photographed and consented the patient’s father for these photos. Her speaking fluent Spanish made them feel at ease and understand that we were photographing for educational purposes.

2019-02-04T03:35:20-07:00