ALiEM Cards is point-of-care reference library of narrowly focused, easily digestible cards for the practicing emergency physician or learner (formerly known as PV Cards). As of July 2017 led by the team of Dr. Jeremy Voros and Derek Sifford, we have rebranded these into “ALiEM Cards”.

Index of Topics

TopicPDFMajor SubjectMinor SubjectBlog pageDate
Abdominal pain, diagnostic studiesPDFSurgery, traumaDiagnosticsBlog2011/07/22
Abdominal trauma, blunt (likelihood ratios)PDFSurgery, traumaBayesBlog2012/04/20
Abdominal trauma, penetratingPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2010/07/09
ABG interpretationPDFPulmonary, critical careDiagnosticsBlog2010/04/02
Acetaminophen toxicityPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2011/11/04
Acute limb ischemiaPDFCardiovascularBlog2010/08/13
Acute vestibular syndrome and HINTS examPDFNeurologyBlog2011/12/02
Alcohol: Ethylene glycolPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2012/06/08
Alcohol: Isopropyl alcoholPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2012/06/22
Alcohol: MethanolPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2012/06/15
AnaphylaxisPDFAllergy, ImmunologyBlog2012/02/24
AngioedemaPDFAllergy, ImmunologyBlog2010/03/26
Ankle and Hindfoot FracturesPDFOrthopedicsBlog2016/06/06
Ankle fracturesPDFOrthopedicsBlog2010/02/18
Anticoagulation for atrial fibrillationPDFCardiovascularBlog2010/04/09
Aortic dissection (IRAD)PDFCardiovascularBlog2011/05/20
Appendicitis: ACEP clinical policyPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2010/06/18
Asthma NIH classificationsPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/04/29
Bayes nomogramPDFBayes2012/05/17
Bell’s Palsy: TreatmentPDFNeurologyBlog2013/02/21
Blood culture indicationsPDFInfectious diseaseBayesBlog2012/08/17
Blunt cardiac injuryPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2012/06/29
Brugada syndromePDFCardiovascularBlog2011/05/06
BurnsPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2016/04/22 update (original 7/2/2010)
C1-C2 fracturesPDFOrthopedicsBlog2010/09/24
C3-C7 fracturesPDFOrthopedicsBlog2010/10/01
Cardiac tamponadePDFCardiovascularBayesBlog2011/07/08
Cerebrovascular injury, bluntPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2011/07/01
Cervical spine rulesPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2010/12/10
Cervical spine, distracting injuryPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2011/09/09
Charting and CodingPDFAdministrativeBlog2016/08/15
Chemical sedationPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2011/03/25
Chest pain, low risk ACSPDFCardiovascularBlog2010/01/29
CHF likelihood ratiosPDFCardiovascularBayesBlog2012/08/24
Cholecystitis testsPDFSurgery, traumaBayesBlog2011/03/18
Clostridium difficilePDFInfectious diseaseBlog2011/06/24
CNS infectionsPDFNeurologyBlog2009/12/29
Continuous end tidal CO2 monitoring in cardiac arrestPDFPulmonary, Critical CareBlog2015/10/20
Continuous infusionsPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2012/03/09
CroupPDFPediatricsBlog2010/08/20
CT cancer riskPDFRadiologyBlog2011/06/10
Cystitis/Pyelonephritis Women AntibioticsPDFGenitourinaryBlog2011/09/02
D-dimerPDFHematology, oncologyDiagnosticsBlog2012/07/12
Delayed sequence intubationPDFAirway, pulmonaryBlog2012/08/31
Dental infectionsPDFENTBlog2011/04/22
Dental traumaPDFENTBlog2011/04/15
Dermatomes and myotomesPDFNeurologyAnatomyBlog2010/05/28
Diabetic foot osteomyelitisPDFOrthopedicsBayesBlog2011/09/23
Diverticulitis outpatientPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2011/05/27
Drug Card Emergency DepartmentPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2013/09/11
DVT Diagnostic Guidelines (ACCP)PDFCardiovascularBlog2013/01/24
DysphagiaPDFENTBlog2010/02/03
Early goal directed therapy in sepsisPDFInfectious diseaseBlog2010/04/16
ECG: Early repolarization vs STEMIPDFCardiovascularBlog2013/05/16
ECG: Electrolyte imbalancePDFCardiovascular, EndocrineBlog2012/09/21
ECG: Geography of AMIPDFCardiovascularDiagnosticBlog2011/04/08
ECG: Lead aVRPDFCardiovascularDiagnosticBlog2011/11/18
ECG: Right and posterior leadsPDFCardiovascularDiagnosticBlog2011/03/11
Ectopic PregnancyPDFObstetrics/gynecologyBayesBlog2013/05/09
EMTALA rules in the transfer of ED patientsPDFAdministrativeBlog2012/09/14
Genital ulcersPDFGenitourinaryBlog2012/05/04
GRACE scorePDFCardiovascularBlog2012/04/13
Head CT before LPPDFNeurologyBlog2010/04/23
Head CT in trauma: Decision rulesPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2011/05/13
HyperkalemiaPDFEndocrine, metabolicBlog2010/03/12
Hypertension: First line treatmentPDFCardiovascularBlog2011/02/11
Hypothermia, accidentalPDFEnvironmentalBlog2011/02/04
Influenza treatmentPDFInfectious diseaseBlog2011/10/28
Intimate partner violencePDFTraumaBlog2013/07/31
Intraosseous lab interpretationPDFHematology, oncologyDiagnosticsBlog2012/01/13
IV fluid composition and Chloride-restrictive fluids in ICUPDFEndocrine, metabolicBlog2012/01/03
Kawasaki diseasePDFPediatricsBlog2012/03/23
Knee examPDFOrthopedicsBlog2010/03/19
Laceration repair and suturesPDFTraumaBlog2017/03/06
Legionnaires diseasePDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/09/16
Local anesthetic toxicityPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2014/06/13
Metacarpal fracturePDFOrthopedicsBlog2013/12/13
Methotrexate and ectopic pregnancyPDFGynecology, obstetricsBlog2011/11/11
Murmurs and need for echocardiographyPDFCardiovascularBlog2010/09/17
Neutropenic fever and cancerPDFInfectious diseaseBlog2011/10/07
NSAID bleeding riskPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2011/07/15
One minute preceptor: NERDS mnemonicPDFEducationBlog2015/08/01
Open fractures and antibioticsPDFOrthopedicsBlog2012/01/20
Osmolal gapPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2012/06/01
Ottawa knee, ankle, foot rulesPDFOrthopedicsBlog2010/05/07
Overanticoagulation and supratherapeutic INRPDFHematology, oncologyBlog2012/08/10
Pain medications: Initial options in the EDPDFToxicologyBlog2015/10/23
Palliative Care Screening in the EDPDFPalliative CareBlog2015/07/27
Paracentesis and ascites assessmentPDFGastroenterologyBlog2010/06/25
PE clinical decision rulesPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/06/03
PE indications for fibrinolysisPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/07/29
Pediatric assessment trianglePDFPediatricsBlog2013/05/30
Pediatric fever (1-3 months old)PDFInfectious diseasePediatricsBlog2012/02/02
Pediatric fever (3 mo- 3 yrs old)PDFInfectious diseasePediatricsBlog2012/02/09
Pediatric fever (neonate)PDFInfectious diseasePediatricsBlog2012/01/27
Pediatric head trauma (PECARN)PDFSurgery, traumaPediatricsBlog2010/02/04
Pediatric ingestion dose thresholds for ED referralPDFToxicology, pharmacologyPediatricsBlog2014/07/09
Pediatric pertussis algorithmPDFPulmonary, critical carePediatricsBlog2010/10/29
Pediatric sizes and dosesPDFPediatricsBlog2010/10/23
PericarditisPDFCardiovascularBlog2015/02/05
PertussisPDFPulmonary, critical careBayesBlog2010/09/03
PESI score for pulmonary embolismPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2012/11/17
Pneumonia scoresPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/02/25
Post-exposure prophylaxis, non-occupPDFInfectious diseaseBlog2011/04/01
Procedural sedationPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2010/08/06
Rapid sequence intubationPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2010/07/16
Rashes, approach toPDFDermatologyBlog2011/08/26
Red eyePDFOphthalmologyBlog2010/01/22
Salicylate toxicityPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2015/06/15
Scaphoid fracturePDFOrthopedicsBlog2016/02/01
Seizure, first timePDFNeurologyBlog2011/01/13
Seizure, status epilepticusPDFNeurologyBlog2011/01/20
Septic arthritisPDFOrthopedicsBayesBlog2010/06/11
Serotonin syndromePDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2012/01/06
Sgarbossa criteria for LBBBPDFCardiovascularBayesBlog2010/11/05
Shift feedback cardPDFEducationBlog2011/12/09
Shock and RUSH protocolPDFCardiovascularBlog2009/12/22
Shock, vasopressors and inotropesPDFCardiovascularBlog2010/04/30
Shoulder examPDFOrthopedicsBlog2011/01/28
Spinal epidural abscessPDFNeurologyBlog2011/08/05
Streptococcal pharyngitisPDFENTBlog2010/07/30
Stroke scale NIHPDFNeurologyBlog2010/02/26
Stroke: Contraindications for ThrombolyticsPDFNeurologyBlog2013/05/23
Subarachnoid hemorrhage, atraumaticPDFNeurologyBlog2010/03/05
Subarachnoid hemorrhage, high riskPDFNeurologyBlog2010/12/17
Suicide risk stratificationPDFPsychiatryBlog2011/02/18
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) Aberrancy vs Ventricular Tachycardia (VT): Brugada CriteriaPDFCardiovascularBlog2013/02/27
Suture materialsPDFSurgery, traumaBlog2011/01/07
Tachycardia, approach toPDFCardiovascularBlog2011/08/19
TIMI scorePDFCardiovascularBlog2010/08/27
Toxidromes and vital signsPDFToxicology, pharmacologyBlog2010/11/19
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)PDFNeurologyBlog2010/01/05
Ultrasound: 1st Trimester Pregnancy (Transabdominal)PDFGynceology, obstetricsBlog2015/02/25
Ultrasound: 1st Trimester Pregnancy (Transvaginal)PDFGynceology, obstetricsBlog2015/03/04
Ultrasound: Abdominal AortaPDFRadiologyBlog2014/09/13
Ultrasound: Biliary ExamPDFGastroenterologyBlog2015/01/01
Ultrasound: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)PDFCardiovascularBlog2015/02/18
Ultrasound: FASTPDFRadiologyBlog2014/09/14
Ultrasound: Focused EchocardiographyPDFCardiovascularBlog2015/02/11
Ultrasound: Lung ExamPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2015/02/04
Ultrasound Measurements: Normal ValuesPDFRadiologyUltrasoundBlog2015/10/15
Ultrasound: Ocular ExamPDFOphthalmologyBlog2015/01/28
Ultrasound: Skin and Soft TissuePDFDermatologyBlog2015/01/07
Ultrasound: Testicular ExamPDFGenitourinaryBlog2015/01/21
Upper GI bleedPDFGastroenterologyBayesBlog2011/06/17
Urine toxicologyPDFToxicology, pharmacologyDiagnosticBlog2010/07/22
UTI, cystitisPDFGenitourinaryBlog2010/02/11
VBG versus ABGPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2013/01/31
Ventilator settings: Lung protectionPDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/10/14
Ventilator settings: Obstructive diseasePDFPulmonary, critical careBlog2011/10/21


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Paucis Verbis: Antibiotics and open fractures

Fx Tib Fib Open Irrigation open fractures antibiotics

Open fractures come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes fractures create only a small, innocuous-looking puncture through the skin. Other times they look grossly contaminated with organic material and have significant soft tissue injury. The major concern is wound infection. Prophylactic antibiotics are essential in the ED.

Typically antibiotics are first-generation cephalosporins. When do you start adding more coverage with high-dose penicillin or aminoglycosides?

Pearl

Once you have significant soft tissue injury, you are automatically have a Type III fracture and should add an aminoglycoside.

PV Card: Open Fractures and Antibiotics


Adapted from [1]
Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.

Reference

  1. Hoff W, Bonadies J, Cachecho R, Dorlac W. East Practice Management Guidelines Work Group: update to practice management guidelines for prophylactic antibiotic use in open fractures. J Trauma. 2011;70(3):751-754. [PubMed]
By |2021-10-11T15:20:36-07:00Jan 20, 2012|ALiEM Cards, Orthopedic|

Paucis Verbis card: Interpretation of intraosseous blood

IO needles intraosseous labs

There is a growing number of normal volunteers who agree to get an intraosseous (IO) needle placed. Just search Intraosseous Needle on Youtube. Often you can draw blood out of the needle. How do you interpret the lab values? Are they the same as your peripheral blood draw? Should we even send the blood to the lab?

In a 2010 article in Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, peripheral IV blood from 10 volunteers was compared to blood drawn twice from a single IO line in the humerus. After discarding the first 2 mL of IO blood, the first IO sample was drawn (4 mL). Then a second IO sample was drawn (4 mL), which is equivalent to a sample with the first 6 mL discarded.

Interesting, not all IO labs correlated with IV labs. The good news is that a few critical ones do show correlation: creatitine, glucose, and hematocrit.

PV Card: Interpreting Labs from the IO Line


Adapted from [1]
Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.

Thanks to Dr. Michael McGonigal at Trauma Professional’s Blog for posting about this.

Reference

  1. Miller L, Philbeck T, Montez D, Spadaccini C. A new study of intraosseous blood for laboratory analysis. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2010;134(9):1253-1260. [PubMed]
By |2021-10-11T15:23:29-07:00Jan 13, 2012|ALiEM Cards, Heme-Oncology|

Paucis Verbis: Serotonin syndrome

Synapses serotonin syndrome

Background

Serotonin syndrome is caused by the excess of serotonin and presents classically as:

  • Altered mental status
  • Autonomic instability
  • Neuromuscular hyperactivity

Fortunately, there’s a nice algorithm (Hunter’s decision rule) which helps you decide whether it is serotonin syndrome or not. I also include a table, which I adapted from a New England Journal of Medicine review article, which helps you to differentiate it from its mimickers, such as anticholinergic syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and malignant hyperthermia.

PV Card: Serotonin Syndrome


Adapted from [1, 2]
Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.

A video to remind you what clonus looks like:

Thanks to Dr. Steve MacDade (Univ of Florida, Jacksonville EM resident) for the idea!

References

  1. Boyer E, Shannon M. The serotonin syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2005;352(11):1112-1120. [PubMed]
  2. Ables A, Nagubilli R. Prevention, recognition, and management of serotonin syndrome. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(9):1139-1142. [PubMed]
By |2021-10-11T15:32:25-07:00Jan 6, 2012|ALiEM Cards, Tox & Medications|

Paucis Verbis: Feedback card

end of shift feedback Today’s Paucis Verbis card is a little different. This card focuses on helping you give talking points when giving feedback to a learner on shift. This could be a medical student or resident.

Dr. David Thompson (UCSF-San Francisco General Hospital) sent this great card to me and I thought it was too useful NOT to share. It’s handy on shift, which ultimately is the purpose of these Paucis Verbis cards. These are useful especially for senior residents, who are supervising medical students and junior residents.

This card can be used in many ways. For instance:

  • Print these cards and fill it out at the end of the shift. Give to the learner.
  • Pick 1-2 questions from the list below as launching points for your feedback discussion. You don’t have to overwhelm the learner by answering everyone item below. Sometimes less is more to be effective.

PV Card: End of Shift Feedback


Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.

By |2021-10-11T15:37:33-07:00Dec 9, 2011|ALiEM Cards, Medical Education|

Paucis Verbis: Acute vestibular syndrome and HINTS exam

Dizziness HINTS exam acute vestibular examWhat is your diagnostic approach to the acutely vertiginous patient?

The bottom-line question is: Is the cause peripheral or central in etiology?

In this great 2011 systematic review article in CMAJ on Acute Vestibular Syndrome (AVS), the authors review how (un)predictive elements of the history and physical exam are. By definition of AVS, symptoms must be continuous for at least 24 hours and have no focal neurologic deficits.

Frighteningly, the authors report many of the signs and symptoms (type of dizziness, hearing loss, patterns of nystagmus, Hallpike-Dix) are not as predictive as we classically are taught!

The take home point is to learn and incorporate the 3-part HINTS exam into your diagnostic approach (see bottom box on card). It is reported to be as good as a diffusion-weighted MRI for diagnosing a posterior stroke. The steps are:

  1. Do the horizontal head impulse test. (Normal = central cause)
  2. Check for directionally-alternating nystagmus movement on left and right gaze.
  3. Do the alternate cover test.

PV Card: Acute Vestibular Syndrome vs Stroke | The HINTS Exam


Adapted from [1]
Go to ALiEM Cards for more resources.

There is a helpful 10-minute video showing normal and abnormal HINT findings:

  • Head impulse testing
  • Nystagmus testing
  • Testing of skew

VIDEO LINK: http://emcrit.org/misc/posterior-stroke-video/

Thanks to Dr. Brian Resler (UCSF-SFGH EM resident) for giving me the heads up about this at Followup Conference!

Reference

  1. Tarnutzer A, Berkowitz A, Robinson K, Hsieh Y, Newman-Toker D. Does my dizzy patient have a stroke? A systematic review of bedside diagnosis in acute vestibular syndrome. CMAJ. 2011;183(9):E571-92. [PubMed]
By |2021-10-11T15:40:21-07:00Dec 2, 2011|ALiEM Cards, Neurology|

Paucis Verbis: aVR Lead on ECG

ECG leads aVR lead

What lead is the most overlooked on the ECG?

 Answer: aVR Lead

This lead can provide some unique insight into 5 different conditions:

  1. Acute MI
  2. Pericarditis
  3. Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) and TCA-like overdose
  4. AVRT in narrow complex tachycardias
  5. Differentiating VT from SVT with aberrancy in wide complex tachycardias by using the Vereckei criteria (possibly better than Brugada criteria)

PV Card: The aVR Lead on ECG


Adapted from [1-4]
Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.

See also:

References

  1. Williamson K, Mattu A, Plautz C, Binder A, Brady W. Electrocardiographic applications of lead aVR. Am J Emerg Med. 2006;24(7):864-874. [PubMed]
  2. Vereckei A, Duray G, Szénási G, Altemose G, Miller J. New algorithm using only lead aVR for differential diagnosis of wide QRS complex tachycardia. Heart Rhythm. 2008;5(1):89-98. [PubMed]
  3. Kireyev D, Arkhipov M, Zador S, Paris J, Boden W. Clinical utility of aVR-The neglected electrocardiographic lead. Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol. 2010;15(2):175-180. [PubMed]
  4. Riera A, Ferreira C, Ferreira F, et al. Clinical value of lead aVR. Ann Noninvasive Electrocardiol. 2011;16(3):295-302. [PubMed]
By |2021-10-11T15:47:33-07:00Nov 18, 2011|ALiEM Cards, Cardiovascular, ECG|

Paucis Verbis: Methotrexate for ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancy methotrexate

Ectopic pregnancies account for as many as 18% of patients who present with first-trimester bleeding or abdominal pain in the Emergency Department. This Paucis Verbis card summarizes the 2008 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines on the use of methotrexate (MTX) for ectopic pregnancies. Not all ectopic pregnancies require operative management.

What are the indications and contraindications to MTX? When should they follow up with their obstetrician?

Answer: In 4 days for a repeat b-HCG and possible second dose of MTX

Note that one of the eligibility criteria is that the patient must have an “unruptured ectopic pregnancy”. Many would consider that any ultrasonographic evidence of free fluid may be a sign of an early rupture. It is left up to clinician judgment in how “unruptured” is interpreted.

PV Card: Methotrexate for Ectopic Pregnancy


Adapted from [1]
Go to ALiEM (PV) Cards for more resources.

Reference

  1. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 94: Medical Management of Ectopic Pregnancy. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2008;111(6):1479-1485. doi: 10.1097/aog.0b013e31817d201e
By |2021-10-11T15:53:39-07:00Nov 11, 2011|ALiEM Cards, Ob/Gyn|
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