Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) Pearls
Created in 2015, this series is hosted by Dr. Jessica Chow and Dr. Josh Bukowski who are authors and editors for this series which focuses on evidence-based care in the realm of pediatric emergency medicine.
Insulin does MANY things in the body, but the role we care about in the Emergency Department is glucose regulation. Insulin allows cells to take up glucose from the blood stream, inhibits liver glucose production, increases glycogen storage, and increases lipid production. When insulin is not present, such as in patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM), all of the opposite effects occur.
While ear foreign bodies can happen at any age, the majority occur in children less than 7 years of age.1 The younger the patient, the less likely they are cooperative with the exam and, therefore, the less chance of successful foreign body removal. The first attempt at removal is the best, so it is important to make it count. Similarly, different types of foreign bodies call for different “tools” for removal. It is important to understand when to attempt removal in the emergency department (ED) and what tools are available. This blog post will help you optimize your first pass success at foreign body removal by understanding what tools are at your disposal.
Pediatric community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is an acute, common, and potentially serious infection of the pulmonary parenchyma in children. In November 2010, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorsed “The management of community-acquired pneumonia in infants and children older than 3 months of age: clinical practice guidelines by the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.” [PDF]1Based on this guideline, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Emergency Medicine’s Committee on Quality Transformation developed a clinical algorithm for CAP in the ED setting.
Just as in adults, pediatric sepsis is a complex topic with continued research. In the United States, there are an estimated 75,000 cases per year of pediatric severe sepsis with an in-hospital mortality of 5-10%.1,2 This is one of the deadliest conditions treated in children. In addition, after the Rory Staunton case, New York State passed regulations requiring all hospitals to have pediatric specific recognition, treatment, and data reporting systems. Several other states have adopted, or are considering, similar requirements. Thus it is critical that emergency physicians understand at least the basics of pediatric sepsis management.
Most children who come into the Emergency Department present with pain or experience pain during their ED stay.1,2,3 Pain and distress during a procedure can leave a lasting impact on a child and contribute to mistrust of the medical system and compliance with future procedures.1 ,4,5 Children who use active forms of coping report less pain and distress during a procedure.3 To help with coping, when feasible, involve parents or family, nursing and a child life specialist. If the parents are willing, try to get them involved in all parts of the medical procedure.2,3 This includes positioning the patient with a parent in a secure parental-hugging hold or maintaining close physical contact throughout the procedure.6 This can easily replace immobilization of a child or the use of restraints which can cause increased fear and escalate the degree of anxiety in a child.2
A 2-month old boy was brought in by his mother after an episode of the child’s face turning blue and a pause in breathing. Mom reports this lasted a few seconds. The mother was terrified, so she brought the baby to the ED.
Sometimes infants briefly stop breathing or go limp. How do we determine if an infant is low-risk for serious illness? Earlier last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released guidelines on the evaluation and management of Brief Resolved Unexplained Events (BRUE, replacing a 30-year old label “apparent life-threatening event” or ALTEs).1
A lumbar puncture (LP) is a common procedure that every emergency physician must master. Pediatric LPs can be challenging for even the most experienced clinician due to small anatomy, difficulty with patient cooperation, and lack of frequency performed. A successful procedure is defined by obtaining cerebrospinal fluid and/or performing a non-traumatic lumbar puncture. There are multiple variables that lead to a successful pediatric lumbar puncture including provider experience, use of anesthesia, and patient positioning. Success rates for pediatric lumbar punctures are variable, with a large range from 34%-75%.1