Emergency Medicine is as much about taking care of undifferentiated patients as it is about naming specific signs, symptoms and diagnoses. After 10 years of medical training I’ve noticed that there are a few diseases that require us to stop and think a bit. In particular I’m thinking about conditions that share these features:
- They sound-alike, look-alike, or share words or roots of words
- They affect a specific organ or part of the body
- They have very different etiologies, implications, prognosis and treatment
The two sets of diagnoses that I encounter most frequently with this problem are Mesenteric Ischemia (or Ischemic Bowel) and Ischemic Colitis and Aortic Dissection and Aortic Aneurysm (often manifested in the unlikely “dissecting aneurysm”).