10 Tips for Approaching Abdominal Pain in the Elderly

KUBAfter seeing your fifth young patient of the day with chronic pelvic pain, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome, it is easy to be lulled into the mindset that abdominal pain is nothing to worry about. Not so with the elderly. These 10 tips will help focus your approach to atraumatic abdominal pain in older adults and explain why presentations are frequently subtle and diagnoses challenging.

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Deciphering Acid-Base Disorders

AcidBaseDerangements in acid-base status are commonly discovered on routine emergency department evaluation and often suggest the presence of severe underlying disease. Many acute conditions can disrupt homeostatic mechanisms used to buffer and excrete acid, and these changes may necessitate immediate intervention. When you discover a patient with an abnormal pH, what is your approach to the diagnosis?

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PV Card: Emergency Drug Cards for Adults and Children

MedicationSyringeDrawRob Bryant, MD (@RobJBryant13), Amie Hatch, PharmD, BCPS (@Amie_EMPharmD), and Jeremy Bair, PharmD (@bairpharm) from Intermountain Healthcare in Utah have created and adopted a fantastic medication reference card which is used by physicians and nurses in the Emergency Department. The medications were chosen because they are often prone to dosing errors and require time-sensitive ordering. They generously offered to share this incredibly compact resource for free to the Emergency Medicine community as a PV card. If you see them, give them a high-five.

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Are Acetaminophen Levels Necessary in All Overdose Patients?

pills SS (1)ExpertPeerReviewStamp2x200Intentional overdose patients are notorious for giving inaccurate histories. “I took 14 tablets of this and 8 capsules of that. No, wait. It was 3 tablets of this and a handful of capsules of that… This happened about 2 hours ago. Actually, I think it was last night.” Round and round the merry-go-round we go.

  • How should we risk-assess whether acetaminophen is involved? 
  • If the patient provides no history of acetaminophen ingestion, do we need to order a level?

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Introducing Open, Post-Publication, Expert Peer Review on ALiEM

ExpertPeerReviewStamp2x200Today, we are busting open the concept of peer review for publications on blogs!

The peer review process has been criticized for its flaws, but is universally accepted as a necessary part of the scientific process. Peer reviewing allows experts in a field to determine the validity of a study or an article so that those of us who are less expert can reap the benefits of their knowledge. Until recently this process was almost universally pre-publication and anonymous.  Authors would go through months of review and revision based on feedback of experts whose name they didn’t even know. In the last decade journals such as BMJ Open moved to an open peer review process by divulging the reviewer’s identities to the author and publishing the reviews of the experts online for open access to all readers. This open peer review model prevents redundancy and encourages transparency in the scientific process.

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Bundle Branch Blocks (BBBs) 101

722px-Electrical_conduction_system_of_the_heartRecently, I have been asked by several students at my home institution (UTHSC at San Antonio) to help them understand bundle branch blocks.  This is different than some of my usual posts because it is meant to be more educational than evidence based.  So here we go.  The normal conduction system of the healthy heart is shown to the right.  If there is a delay or block in the left or right bundle, depolarization will take longer to occur. Therefore we get a widened QRS (>0.12 sec or >3 small boxes).

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2019-09-10T13:36:03-07:00

PV Card: Brugada Criteria for SVT with Aberrancy vs Ventricular Tachycardia

2011_04_22AwmExpertPeerReviewStamp2x200Due to the overwhelming popularity of Dr. Salim Rezaie‘s recent post discussing the Brugada criteria for SVT with aberrancy vs VT, Dr. Jason West (@JWestEM, an EM resident from Jacobi/Montefiore) kindly helped to co-author and package this information into a PV card for quick reference. To use this sequential, four-question approach, if at any time you answer YES to the question, it is ventricular tachycardia.

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