Trick of the trade: I got ultrasound gel in my eye!

OcularUltrasoundProbeBedside ultrasonography is increasingly being used in the ED to examine the eye. For instance, it can be used to detect a retinal detachment, vitreous hemorrhage, and high intracranial pressure. The technique involves applying ultrasound gel on the patient’s closed eyelid. A generous amount of gel should be used to minimize the amount of direct pressure applied on the patient’s eye by the ultrasound probe.

Sometimes, however, no matter how careful you and the patient are, some gel accidentally contacts the eye itself.

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By |2019-01-28T23:23:16-08:00Sep 15, 2010|Tricks of the Trade, Ultrasound|

Paucis Verbis card: Pertussis

Pertussis Organism

Is your Emergency Department administering Tdap immunization boosters instead of dT boosters? Patients with wounds are getting updated not only for tetanus and diphtheria, but also now for pertussis.

Apparently there has been sharp rise in the national incidence of pertussis (Bordetella pertussis shown in image) in 2010. The infection has been documented in both infants (underimmunized less than 3 months old) and adolescents/adults (loss of immunity after 10 years). In fact, the CDC has issued an epidemic warning in California.

How do you diagnose pertussis ? What are the classic symptoms? Better yet, how do you rule-it out clinically?

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By |2019-01-28T23:23:30-08:00Sep 3, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Infectious Disease|

Trick of the Trade: "Pour some sugar on me"


RectalProlapseDiagram
Rectal prolapses are typically caused by weakened rectal muscles, continued straining, stresses during childbirth, weakened ligaments, or neurological deficits.

How do you fix them? You can attempt manual reduction of the prolapse by using direct pressure. On the other extreme, corrective surgery can be performed from either an abdominal or perineal approach.

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By |2016-11-11T19:00:31-08:00Sep 1, 2010|Gastrointestinal, Tricks of the Trade|

Paucis Verbis card: TIMI risk score

Chest PainHow do you risk-stratify undifferentiated chest pain patients in the Emergency Department? There are a multitude of causes for chest pain. We are always taught to think of the 5 big life-threats: ACS, PE, aortic dissection, tension pneumothorax, and pericardial tamponade.

So how do YOU risk-stratify your patients for unstable angina (UA) and non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)? STEMI’s are usually obvious. UA and NSTEMIs — not so much.

Fortunately a 2000 JAMA article and a followup Academic Emergency Medicine 2006 study have solidified the TIMI risk scoring system as a reasonable risk-stratification tool for all-comer ED patients with chest pain requiring an ECG.

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By |2019-01-28T23:23:57-08:00Aug 27, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Cardiovascular|

Trick of the Trade: Increasing students responses to the differential diagnosis

DiagnosisAnyone who teaches medicine asks students to list their differential diagnosis when discussing a new clinical case. It’s also part of several models for education including the One-Minute Preceptor and SNAPPS.

For the most part, students are good at coming up with answers to the differential, but what do you do when they strike out? Or what if the answer is always the same, i.e. chest pain = myocardial infarction?

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Paucis Verbis card: Croup

The most common cause of stridor in pediatric patients is croup, or laryngotracheobronchitis. The distinct high-pitched, seal-like,”barky” cough can be heard from outside the patient’s room often.

Check out the clip above that I randomly found on YouTube. Go to the 1:15 mark (near the end) to hear the barking cough. Poor but cute kid.

What is the current treatment regimen? Did you know that the traditional treatment with cool mist or humidified air have shown to be of no added benefit?

PV Card: Croup


Go to the ALiEM Cards site for more resources.

By |2019-01-28T23:25:57-08:00Aug 20, 2010|ENT, Infectious Disease, Pediatrics|