A 3 year-old boy presents with a deep laceration of the distal phalanx, through the nail bed, after slamming his fingers in a car door. He is crying, anxious, and uncooperative. How do you make this situation easier to evaluate and repair?
Nail bed and finger laceration repairs can be challenging, and even more challenging in young patients. Preparation is key to getting a good outcome. Here we present a pediatric trick of the trade on immobilizing a finger for digit or nail bed procedures.
Atraumatic low back pain is a common complaint in the ED. For most patients, a thorough history and physical exam is sufficient to exonerate causes that threaten life or neurological function. For a small subset, however, MRI may be required. ALiEM has partnered with the ACEP E-QUAL Network to promote clinical practice improvements through a series of podcasts. In our first installment, we focus on this common presentation. We review highlights from an interview with Dr. Jonathan Edlow, Vice Chair of Emergency Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess, about the presentation and evaluation of low back pain. Afterward be sure to check out the podcast in full.
Why do we splint? Splinting is one of the fundamental procedures of the Emergency Department (ED). How well-versed are we with it? Why do we even splint? By the end of this post, you will know the reason why we splint, when to splint, and just as importantly — when NOT to splint in the ED.
The purpose of the SplintER series is to teach the fundamentals and introduce advanced concepts of splinting to the Emergency Medicine (EM) professional. Humans have been splinting their injuries since 1300 B.C.1 Although the fundamentals have not changed, splint selection and application require some thoughtful consideration. A 2017 prospective, observational study in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics demonstrated that more than 90% of splints applied in the Emergency Department were inappropriate (30% applied by EM attendings), as evaluated by orthopaedic surgeons.2 While that number may not be representative in your institution, it certainly highlights the inadequacies that many of us feel when approaching a splint!
A young man is brought into an emergency department after an electric lawn edger cut through his work boot and into the dorsum of his right foot. He has a clearly contaminated 5 cm x 1 cm laceration on the lateral side, and an underlying tendon is exposed. Sensation is diminished around the wound and he is unable to actively extend his 5th toe past a neutral position. How would you diagnose and repair his extensor tendon injury?
Wound irrigation is arguably one of the most important steps in closing a laceration, because all lacerations should be considered to be contaminated. Irrigation is considered the foundation in preventing infection. A common way to cleanse a wound is to irrigate a wound using a 20 cc syringe, angiocatheter, and splash protector. To achieve 500 cc of irrigation, however, it would require 25 syringe refills! Is there a better, cost-effective alternative?