8 01, 2015

Trick of the Trade: Knee Arthrocentesis

arthrocentesis2A patient comes into the ED and you suspect septic arthritis to the knee. As you consent the patient for arthrocentesis, you can tell s/he has reservations about a needle being inserted into their knee and left in place while you aspirate. You also think in the back of your mind how tricky it is to sometimes change syringes while keeping the needle in the correct location. Is there another way of tapping the knee without a needle?

 

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31 12, 2014

D50 vs D10 for Severe Hypoglycemia in the Emergency Department

d50Think back to your last severely hypoglycemic and lethargic patient presenting to the ED. What was the first treatment modality that came to mind? The initial knee-jerk reaction might be to reach for that big blue box of D50 if the patient has IV access. After all, top priority is to reverse hypoglycemia as fast as possible. But in the midst of stabilizing the patient, how often do we consider the potential aftermath of concentrated glucose?

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24 11, 2014

Can Permanent Marker Leach into IV Infusion Bags?

IVBag

You are resuscitating a hypotensive patient with severe sepsis and have just hung your 4th liter of crystalloid. On the fluid bags, you wrote the numbers 1 through 4 in permanent marker to help keep track of your resuscitation. As you finish placing your central line the charge nurse enters the room. He informs you that according to the Institute for Safe Medical Practices (ISMP), writing directly on IV bags with permanent marker is not recommended due to concerns that the ink will leach into the bag and potentially cause harm to your patient.1–4

This situation raises several questions:

  1. Should we write on IV bags in permanent marker?
  2. Is there a possibility of ink diffusing through polyvinylchloride (PVC) bags?
  3. If so, is there potential harm to the patient?

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20 11, 2014

Ultrasound For The Win! Case – 93F with Chest Pain

Welcome to another ultrasound-based clinical case, part of the “Ultrasound For The Win!” (#US4TW) Case Series! In this peer-reviewed case series, we focus on real clinical cases where bedside ultrasound changed the management or aided in diagnoses. In this month’s case, a 93-year-old female presents to the Emergency Department with crushing chest pain.

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19 11, 2014

Why Henderson and Hasselbalch Belong in the ED

the_big_question_9192If you’re like me, you learned and then promptly forgot the Henderson Hasselbalch equation (HH eq) in medical school.1 After all, in clinical rotations it was never invoked, and our patients seemed to have fared well without it. So why bring up the topic now?

Medicine is changing. The ubiquitous nature of computing allows a level of sophistication exponentially greater than before. To a large extent we’re freed from much of the onerous work of rote memorization. In the ideal, that should free us to be more thoughtful about the way we approach our work and to have a deeper understanding of health and disease. Going forward, medicine will become increasingly computational. With that in mind, I’ll make three points about the HH eq.

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5 11, 2014

Mythbusting the Banana Bag

bananaWe’re all pretty familiar with the banana bag: intravenous (IV) fluids with the addition of thiamine, folic acid, multivitamins, and sometimes magnesium. Banana bags are commonly utilized in patients at risk for alcohol withdrawal symptoms or those who present to the emergency department (ED) acutely intoxicated.

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28 10, 2014

US4TW Case: 30M with Blunt Abdominal Trauma

Welcome to another ultrasound-based case, part of the “Ultrasound For The Win!” (#US4TW) Case Series. In this peer-reviewed case series, we focus on real clinical cases where bedside ultrasound changed management or aided in diagnoses. In today’s case, a 30-year-old male is brought in after blunt trauma from a high-speed MVC.

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