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” and moved away from the index-card templated PDF files. Check it out.

ALiEM Cards website screenshot

ALiEM Cards home page

Why transition to a new ALiEM Cards site?

We have always tried to keep the user and learner in mind. From a readability, design, and content delivery perspective, our index card look was becoming outdated.

  1. The limited text space negatively impacted our ability to easily convey the content in a clear fashion.
  2. The topics and keywords within each card were not searchable. You just had to know where things were.
  3. PDFs are often large-sized files and not easy to read on mobile devices.
  4. The new ALiEM Cards site incorporates the use of GitHub, which allows for better version control. We can more transparently update and incorporate crowdsourced feedback and peer review. This was not possible with the older PV Cards system.

What will we be stopping?

As part of this transition period, we are announcing the following:

  1. No more new content will be written in the PDF format.
  2. We are closing out the Evernote and Dropbox shared account options.

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
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
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
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

Paucis Verbis: Identifying toxidromes by vital signs

A middle-age woman presents to the Emergency Department with altered mental status after having ingested a drug. Is it an opioid? Is it an antihistamine?

The key is to pay close attention to the vital signs. They are often the clue to the mystery. I found this great table from EM Clinics of North America by Dr. Timothy Erickson from 2007. I can’t imagine how long it took for him to create all these mnemonics. I’ll never remember these mnemonics, but they’re fun to read nonetheless.


By |2019-01-28T23:16:30-08:00Nov 19, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Tox & Medications|

Paucis Verbis: Sgarbossa’s Criteria with LBBB


It is difficult to determine if a patient with a left bundle branch block (LBBB) has an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) because ST segments are “appropriately discordant” with the terminal portion of the QRS. That means if the QRS complex is negative (or downgoing), the ST segment normally will be positive (or elevated). Similarly if the QRS complex is positive (or upgoing), the ST segment will be negative (or depressed).


By |2019-01-28T23:20:04-08:00Nov 5, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Cardiovascular, ECG|

Paucis Verbis card: Algorithm for suspected pertussis in pediatrics


To treat for pertussis or not?

In the setting of the current pertussis epidemic in California, each kid with a cough sparks constant debate about whether to treat with azithromycin or not. Finally, thanks to my friends Dr. Andi Marmor and Dr. Shon Agarwal Jain (UCSF Pediatrics faculty), there’s a great algorithm to help you answer the question. I have found this algorithm extremely helpful.


By |2019-01-28T23:21:12-08:00Oct 29, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Infectious Disease, Pediatrics|

Paucis Verbis card: Pediatric weight-based reference (5-34 kg)

BroselowThe foundation in any pediatric resuscitation is the length-based estimation of the patient’s lean body weight. Once determined, equipments and medications are sized and dosed, respectively, according to that weight. You can use electronic resources such as PEMSoft (Pediatric Emergency Medicine Software) or the more traditional paper-based Broselow tape.


By |2019-01-28T23:21:23-08:00Oct 22, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Pediatrics|

Paucis Verbis card: C1-C2 injuries

Fig8F_ExtTeardropsmI’m starting to work on co-authoring the next edition of my chapter on “Spine and Spinal Cord Injury” within the textbook “Emergency Medicine” by Dr. Jim Adams (Northwestern EM Chair). There are some useful tables that I created that I thought you might find helpful. This is the first installment covering C1-C2 fractures. The next PV card will cover the lower cervical fractures.

I always forget which are stable and unstable. For instance, the above extension teardrop fracture looks innocuous but is an unstable fracture because the anterior longitudinal ligament is ruptured.


By |2019-01-28T23:21:47-08:00Oct 1, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Orthopedic|

Paucis Verbis card: When murmurs need echo evaluation

CardiacEchoHave you been in a situation where you are the first to detect a cardiac murmur in a patient? If you are hearing it in a busy, loud Emergency Department, I find that it’s at least a grade III.

Should you order an echocardiogram for further outpatient evaluation? It depends on the grade and characteristic of the murmur, in addition to the patient’s symptoms. For instance, all diastolic murmurs require an echo. There is a useful ACC/AHA algorithm which helps you decide.


By |2019-01-28T23:23:00-08:00Sep 17, 2010|ALiEM Cards, Cardiovascular|