Every year emergency departments are inundated with cases of influenza-like illness. Rapid flu testing (RFT) offers the promise of a quick and relatively noninvasive rapid diagnostic test. However, the use of this test has significant limitations that can lead to increased risk for both the patient and the provider.
The 2014 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Skin and Soft Tissue Infections (SSTI) recommend sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (SMX-TMP) for purulent infections where methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is a likely pathogen. 1 But, what dose of SMX-TMP should we be prescribing? Both the SSTI and MRSA guidelines say 1-2 double strength tablets twice a day. 1,2 So, which is it, 1 tablet or 2?
60% of patients in the United States who develop severe sepsis are older adults (age 65 and over) , and the mortality of severe sepsis increases steadily with age to nearly 40% in those over 85 . There are many factors that make older adults more susceptible to sepsis, and that can also make sepsis more difficult to detect. Here are some tips to help explain why this is, and how you can identify it sooner.
We know that ultrasonography can be used to identify soft tissue infections. But what exactly are the distinguishing features between cellulitis and abscess? Is that a foreign body? Should I put a scalpel to this soft tissue infection? This PV card, written by Drs. Alissa Genthon, Patricia Henwood, and Mike Stone, serves as a great reference card for you at the bedside.
Case: A 55 year old female visiting the United States from southern Mexico presents with 6 months of chronic unilateral lower extremity swelling and 2 days of erythema. What is the most common cause of this chronic disease? Click on image for a larger view.
Spinal epidural abscess (SEA) is a rare but potentially catastrophic cause of back pain. Classically these patients are described as having back pain, fever, and clear neurologic deficits. In reality, patients often present with less obvious symptoms which often leads to a delay in diagnosis. Missed cases of SEA are a source of significant risk to both the patient and the provider. To improve outcomes and minimize risk, providers must identify and promptly evaluate patients who are at increased risk of developing a SEA.
Case: A 41 year old male with one week of non-pruritic palmar rash that started on his trunk and spread to his hands. He has no history of travel, fever, joint pains, or medication use. What is your diagnosis for this palmar rash? Click on the image for a larger view.