Have you ever been working a shift at 3 AM and wondered, “Am I missing something? I’ll just splint and instruct the patient to follow up with their PCP in 1 week.” This is a reasonable approach, especially if you’re concerned there could be a fracture. But we can do better. Enter the “Can’t Miss” series: a series organized by body part that will help identify common and catastrophic injuries. This list is not meant to be a comprehensive review of each body part, but rather to highlight and improve your sensitivity for these potentially catastrophic injuries. Last post, we reviewed the elbow. Now, the “Can’t Miss” adult wrist injuries.
This is EMRad, a series aimed at providing “just in time” approaches to commonly ordered radiology studies in the emergency department. When applicable, it will provide pertinent measurements specific to management, and offer a framework for when to get an additional view, if appropriate. Last post, we focused on the elbow. Now: the wrist.
A 3-year-old Hispanic female with no significant past medical or surgical history presents to the Emergency Department with her mother for a 3 day history of crampy abdominal pain, intermittent bloody diarrhea and fever. There has been no recent travel, admissions, or antibiotic use. Her older sister reports similar symptoms, which have resolved. The patient saw her pediatrician the day prior, who recommended supportive care including oral rehydration.(more…)
A 45-year-old male presents with right knee pain after he pivoted and felt a “pop” while making a move playing pickup basketball. You obtain knee x-rays and see a lateral irregularity in the AP view (photo courtesy of Dr. Gerry Gardner at Radiopaedia.org).
What is the most likely diagnosis, commonly associated injury, and appropriate management plan?
You need to perform an ultrasound on your patient. You walk up to the ultrasound and upon grabbing the machine, you notice it’s stuck! You look down and realize the ultrasound probe cable (particularly the linear probe) is impeding the wheel from rolling. You push the machine back, pick the cable up off the floor and off you go to scan to find that the probe is not working. As you try to figure out why it’s not working, you realize that the cable is exposed after repeated damage from the countless times the wheels on the machine rolled over the cable. Let’s prevent this from happening!(more…)
Imagine a busy evening shift interrupted by the news that the unstable dialysis patient still has no access. Begrudgingly, you drag the ultrasound into the patient’s room. Buried beneath a layer of muscle, a tiny vein lurks below an intimidating artery with a nerve nestled close by. Making matters worse, the patient is becoming increasingly more frustrated. “This always happens. I told them not to remove my last PICC line,” he notes. The use of ultrasound-guided IV improves successful cannulation and decreases complications, but cases like this have caused many emergency providers to resent, even fear, this basic procedure.1–4 Below, we provide additional techniques to increase your success and to avoid the risks associated with central line placement.(more…)
Have you ever been working a shift at 3 am and wondered, “Am I missing something? I’ll just splint and instruct the patient to follow up with their PCP in 1 week.” This is a reasonable approach, especially if you’re concerned there could be a fracture. But we can do better. Enter the “Can’t Miss” series: a series organized by body part that will help identify injuries that ideally should not be missed. This list is not meant to be comprehensive review of each body part, but rather to highlight and improve your sensitivity for these potentially catastrophic injuries. To begin: “Can’t Miss” adult elbow injuries.(more…)