A 500-pound morbidly obese male presents to your ED complaining of mild shortness of breath and palpitations. A quick ECG shows SVT with a rate of 160 bpm. His BP is in the 130s systolic, and he is otherwise stable. You know you have a bit of time. Meanwhile, the nurses begin searching for veins to start an IV…
A fiberoptic nasopharyngoscope is a handy tool to check patients for suspected foreign bodies (e.g. fishbone stuck in throat) or laryngeal edema. Depending on the diameter of your fiberoptic cable, it may be fairly uncomfortable for the patient despite generous viscous lidocaine instillation through the nares and nebulized lidocaine. Alternatively or additionally, you can make your own lidocaine-oxymetazoline nasal atomizer which works well.
What if the patient is STILL not tolerating the procedure well?
A patient presents with an anterior shoulder dislocation on x-ray. Your ED just received 5 new patients via ambulance and you are trying to prioritize your patients as they come in the door. What can you do for your patient with the shoulder dislocation in the meantime? (more…)
You’re a recent graduate picking up an extra shift in a small ED somewhere north of here. At 3 AM an obese 47 year-old woman presents with shortness of breath and difficulty speaking after eating a Snickers bar an hour earlier. She admits to history of hypertension, peanut allergy, and a prior intubation for a similar presentation. She is becoming more obtunded in the resuscitation room as you are collecting your history. A glance at the monitor shows:
- HR 130
- BP 68/40
- O2 saturation 89% on room air
Myriad techniques exist to reduce shoulder dislocations, which includes scapular rotation, Hennepin, Snowbird, Cunningham, and Legg maneuvers. They are nicely reviewed at ShoulderDoc.co.uk. You can also supplement any technique with ultrasound-guided intraarticular lidocaine for improved pain control.
Recently, Dr. Jay Park (Beth Israel Medical Center in New York) contacted me about his novel approach to shoulder reduction which anatomically makes sense. If his animation video doesn’t convince you, check out the video of an actual reduction.
When doing nasogastric (NG) tubes and fiberoptic nasopharyngoscopy (NP) procedures, there many approaches in how patients can be locally anesthetized. Getting things pushed up your nose is so profoundly irritating that most patients only give you 1 or 2 changes to get it right.
One option is to use nebulized lidocaine, although it takes a while to prepare and anecdotally tends to numb mainly the hypopharynx, placing the patient at risk for aspiration later on. Another option is to use viscous lidocaine to coat the NG or NP tubing, but this is fairly messy and only mildly helpful. Commercial intranasal atomizers, which disperse lidocaine over the nasal mucosal surfaces well, are generally effective, but may not be available in some emergency departments.