How many times have you told a patient “The gel will be cold?” How many times have you watched a patient retract from the transducer because of the cold gel? How about a pediatric patient? Could warm gel improve your rate of clinically successful scans? It seems easy enough to install gel warmers alongside our ultrasound machines. But, should we do this?Read more
As the use of point-of-care ultrasound expands in emergency medicine, phantoms offer an attractive training solution for new learners and continuing education. Unfortunately, commercially available products are expensive and likely cost-prohibitive for individual practitioners to purchase. Luckily, there are a number of quality, low cost do-it-yourself (DIY) models published in journals and on the Internet. To help you navigate your options, I have created a compendium of DIY ultrasound models relevant to emergency medicine. The models are divided by system or application with a cost estimate for each model, if provided, as well as a list of materials and a short description. Links are provided for further reading.(more…)
The following ultrasound video was obtained in a hypotensive 23 year-old man with a history of drug abuse. What drug of abuse when used chronically is most likely to lead to this ultrasound finding in an otherwise healthy patient?
The safe placement a central venous catheter (CVC) remains an important part of caring for critically ill patients.1 Over 5 million CVCs are placed each year in the United States. It is crucial to confirm that the central line is placed in the correct position in order to rule out potential complications of the procedure (e.g. pneumothorax) and begin administration of life-saving medications. Post-procedure chest radiographs (CXR) are the standard of care for CVC placements above the diaphragm. However, the annual cost to the U.S. healthcare system for CXRs after CVC placement is estimated to be over $500 million.2 Further, in a busy ED, the limited availability of portable radiography may pose a considerable time delay. Radiography may also be limited in resource‐poor and austere settings, particularly the prehospital and military environments. We review a faster, cheaper, and more accurate alternative for evaluating CVC placement: point of care ultrasound (POCUS).(more…)
A 32 year old woman arrives in your emergency department after being in a motor vehicle collision where she was the seat-belted driver. She undergoes chest CT imaging despite a negative chest x-ray because of her ongoing anterior chest wall diffuse tenderness. You discover a small 10% pneumothorax (PTX), but no other associated thoracic injuries. Should you place a tube thoracostomy (chest tube)? Should this patient be admitted to the hospital? A 2019 Annals of Emergency Medicine paper by the NEXUS Chest research group tackles these questions.1
A 70-year-old female with no past medical history was hit by a motor vehicle while crossing the street. She experienced no head strike or loss of consciousness, however she was unable to ambulate at the scene, and upon arrival to the ED, complained of left knee pain. The emergency physician noted moderate swelling on exam with intact skin and distal pulses. She was tender to palpation over the proximal tibia. Portable 2-view radiographs were obtained and interpreted as “no acute fracture.” On repeat examination, however, the patient continued to have pain and was now unable to bear weight on the affected extremity. Is there a role for point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in this situation?
Have you ever performed a procedure, when suddenly, you are overcome by a sinking feeling that something just is not right? A mix of fear, guilt, and anger: Fear that you endangered a patient, guilt that you missed an important step in the procedure, and anger at yourself for being careless. The oath we take as physicians echoes loudly: Primum non nocere. First, do no harm.