History of Present Illness: A 29-year-old with a history of migraine headaches, thalassemia of unknown phenotype, and no history of hypertension or epilepsy arrived to the emergency department via ambulance after possible seizure. The patient had nausea and vomiting the morning after a night of heavy drinking. After several rounds of vomiting, she felt shaky, lightheaded and experienced paresthesia in both of her hands and feet. There was no loss of consciousness, confusion or incontinence. EMS reported hypertension and tremors with upper extremity spasms. The patient developed a left upper extremity rash distal to the blood pressure cuff after paramedics did the first blood pressure measurement.
Tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) is an oncologic emergency characterized by life-threatening metabolic disturbances. Although it is most frequently associated with the treatment of hematological malignancies, its frequency may be increasing among patients with solid tumors. Emergency providers should be familiar with the presentation and treatment of these electrolyte abnormalities, which can lead to renal failure, seizures, and cardiac dysrhythmias. ALiEM Cards: Tumor Lysis Syndrome, written by Drs. Christopher Nash and Derek Monette, reviews TLS and the latest updates in its management.
When a patient is started on anticoagulant therapy, the purpose is to prevent clot formation or propagation. Anticoagulants can improve morbidity and mortality by maintaining cardiac stent patency, reducing the propagation of pulmonary emboli, or preventing formation of intra-cardiac thrombi.1,2 Unfortunately even after minor trauma, these medications can cause major problems. When a patient on clopidogrel is in a motor vehicle collision (MVC) or an elderly patient on warfarin falls out of their bed, the once life-improving therapy becomes potentially life-threatening. It is important for emergency care providers to maintain a high index of suspicion for life-threatening bleeds in all patients on anticoagulation following even minor injuries. The purpose of this discussion is to look beyond the intracranial hemorrhages (ICH) and to consider 5 other sources of bleeding that can occur in anticoagulated patients.
The lumbar puncture (LP) procedure is commonly performed in the Emergency Department (ED). While minor complications of LP such as post-procedure headache or back pain occur somewhat regularly, significant complications such as post-procedural spinal hematomas, are rare.1 Despite their low incidence, these spinal hematomas are associated with a significant amount of morbidity for the patient and increased medicolegal risk for the provider.
Tranexamic acid (TXA) can be used in a wide variety of settings in the Emergency Department for its hemostatic effects. Topical applications of TXA are commonly utilized to control minor bleeding from epistaxis, lacerations, or dental extractions.1–3 More in-depth reviews of topical TXA can be found on R.E.B.E.L EM4 and The Skeptics Guide to Emergency Medicine.5
Bleeding as a chief complaint in the pediatric emergency department is something that many healthcare providers will come across. Some of these children may have inherited bleeding disorders that we must be aware of in order to provide the best care possible. Below is a basic review of hemophilia and what we should know and do in the emergency department.
Welcome to the first ALiEM Approved Instructional Resources (AIR) Module! In an effort to reward our readers for the reading and learning they are already doing online, we have created an Individual Interactive Instruction (III) opportunity utilizing FOAM resources for US Emergency Medicine residents. For each module, the board curates and scores a list of blogs and podcasts. A quiz is available to complete after each module to obtain residency conference credit. Once completed, your name and institution will be logged into our private Google Drive database, which participating residency program directors can access to provide access.