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…)
A 25-year-old medical student comes in with a muffled voice, sore throat and trismus. You look at the back of her throat and you see the uvula deviated to the right. You astutely diagnosed a peritonsillar abscess (PTA). You consider aspirating and want to check for tips on how to successfully do this.
Dr. Michelle Lin and Dr. Demian Szyld have created great guides for the common and important emergency medicine procedure of draining a PTA (laryngoscope lighting and spinal needle for aspiration; ultrasound localization and spinal needle guard; avoiding awkward one-handed needle aspiration). This update reviews these tricks as well as some additional techniques for optimal success in draining a PTA, while avoiding the ultimate feared complication of puncturing the carotid artery.
Severe constipation, requiring fecal disimpaction and rectal enemas, can be excruciatingly painful for patients. Administering sedatives and opioids to help alleviate this pain poses a challenge, because many of the patients are elderly and tend to be more sensitive to these medications. Furthermore, there may be increased vagal tone when straining, leading to hypotension and bradycardia and which can result in defecation-related syncope. 1 Also, opioids can exacerbate constipation. Herein we present 2 cases and tricks on achieving better pain control.
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 hair tourniquet occurs when a strand of hair coils around a patient’s appendage. It can cause damage to the skin, nerves, or affect blood supply. It is more common in infants as their skin appendages are small which allows for hair or thread to trap inside. Because in some cases these pediatric patients can present with inconsolable crying, it is important to perform a thorough physical examination to evaluate for the presence of such a hair tourniquet. We present a simple trick for removing a hair tourniquet using depilatory cream!
A 25 year-old male presents to the ED complaining of left upper extremity pain, redness, and swelling. His cat bit him 2 days ago and his symptoms started today. On exam he has impressive induration, erythema, and warmth to the dorsum of the hand and forearm. He is neurovascularly intact and able to range his joints freely. In addition to IV antibiotics, you would like to keep his arm elevated while in the hospital. What is an easy and simple way help ensure that this patient keeps his arm elevated?
Penetrating fishhook injuries can be a common occurrence during the warm weather months. Initially, it is important to evaluate what type of fishhook was being used. How many and where are the barbs? What shape is it (treble hook, single hook)? The physical examination requires a thorough neurovascular exam and, if penetration depth is difficult to assess, radiographs should be utilized for further evaluation.
What approach do you use to remove these barbed fishhooks?