29 12, 2016

Trick of the Trade: A cleaner way to apply dental cement for a tooth fracture

dental cement for tooth fracture The management of a dental fracture is a core skill of the emergency physician.1 When the enamel is violated and the underlying dentin is exposed (i.e. Ellis Class II or greater), the dental pulp becomes at risk.2 Protecting the exposed dentin in a timely manner, therefore, is paramount. This is best accomplished through the use of dental cements.

The application of dental cement to a fractured tooth, while a relatively rare procedure, is one often fraught with difficulties. With many of the formulations requiring the rapid application of a fast-drying cement, time for accurate and clean application is limited. This often clumsy, haphazard spackling of the patient’s tooth with cement rarely feels smooth or confidence-instilling. Isn’t there a better way?
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18 08, 2016

Trick of the Trade: Ear Irrigation in the Emergency Department

Ear pediatricEar irrigation is an important tool for adult and pediatric patients in the Emergency Department (ED) with ENT complaints. Irrigation can be used to clear ear cerumen, visualize tough-to-see tympanic membranes, and remove foreign bodies. This may reduce the need for subspecialist care and improve the patient’s hearing and quality of life.1 Commercial electronic and mechanical devices are available for irrigation and have been studied. Moulton and Jones presented the improved efficacy of foreign body removal using an electric ear syringe in an (ED) population.2 In this trick of the trade, we present a low cost and effective way of  “ear-rigation” taught to us by one of our veteran nurses using easily available tools in the ED.

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17 08, 2016

Diagnose on Sight: Case of a red, swollen neck

Ludwig's AnginaCase: A 78 year-old female with a past medical history of asthma and hypothyroidism presents with a three day history of sore throat and a two day history of a “lump” along the right side of her neck. The “lump” has now progressed to involve both sides of her anterior neck and is accompanied with erythema, tenderness to palpation, and swelling. In addition, the patient has developed a hoarse voice and odynophagia. The patient’s primary care physician referred her to an ENT specialist, who then referred the patient to the ED for urgent imaging due to the concern for a deep space neck infection. Triage vitals are remarkable for a heart rate of 118 beats per minute. She is otherwise normotensive and afebrile. On physical exam, slight crepitation in noted on the floor of the patient’s mouth. Of note, the patient also informs you of her penicillin allergy. Which of the following is the biggest risk factor for this particular disease process? 

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26 01, 2016

Trick of the Trade: Extra-oral reduction technique of anterior mandible dislocation

mandible dislocationAnterior dislocation of the mandible is a clinical scenario that is not infrequently encountered by the ED provider and requires prompt intervention. The classic technique for reduction of the mandible requires the provider to place his/her thumbs or fingers into the patient’s mouth along the lower molars and apply force inferiorly and posteriorly. However, this technique is fraught with difficulties and inefficiencies including the following:

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25 08, 2015

Trick of the Trade: Ear foreign body removal with modified suction setup

popcorn-kernelsA 5 year old boy comes in who has stuck a small unpopped popcorn kernel into each ear. My resident and I discuss  different methods to try to get it out including an ear curette, tissue glue, suction, and calling the ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist. The ear curette won’t work to get around and the kernels are smooth and hard to grasp and might cause trauma with swelling or bleeding. We quickly excluded irrigation because the kernel might swell more. Another method considered was a drop of tissue adhesive onto a q-tip stick to adhere onto the foreign body (FB) for extraction. We were a little leary of this however for fear of gluing the FB to the ear canal and suffering the wrath of ENT.

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26 11, 2014

Trick of the Trade: Pediatric video laryngoscope for ear foreign bodies

tweezerIt is near the end of your shift and one of the nurses asks you to see a fellow ED staff member’s nine-year old daughter who has accidentally put a foreign body into her ear. You go see her and the otoscope reveals a small shiny jewel within the ear canal however flushing does not work to get it out. Next you try using the otoscope, while exposing the ear canal and holding the forceps to grasp the object. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get your assistant to align the light, and the otoscope speculum is limited in view and access.

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