• Chest Pain

Paucis Verbis: GRACE score for ACS risk stratification

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Cardiovascular|

Risk stratification of the undifferentiated chest pain patients in the Emergency Department continues to  plague emergency physicians. It’s partly the reason why I created a TIMI risk score card for unstable angina and non-ST elevation MI in 2010. Have you heard of the 9-variable GRACE risk stratification score? Thanks to Jeff Bray (physician assistant in a rural critical access ED), I have now. He graciously shared his personal reference card on this with me, which I only minimally reformatted to fit my Paucis Verbis card dimensions. […]

  • Pregnancy Test

Trick of the Trade: Urine pregnancy test without urine

By |Categories: Expert Peer Reviewed (Clinical), Ob/Gyn, Tricks of the Trade|

A 25 year old woman presents to the Emergency Department having syncopized in the waiting room, where she was triaged with the chief complaint of abdominal pain. Ectopic pregnancy immediately bubbles to the top of your differential diagnosis. The patient is too dizzy to walk to the bathroom to give you a urine specimen to check a urine pregnancy test. Plus, she admits that she just urinated in the waiting room bathroom a few minutes ago – so no urine now. […]

  • EKG V2

Modern EM: Case #4 – Palpitations

By |Categories: Cardiovascular, Social Media & Tech|

Case # 4: Palpitations A 25 year old woman presents with palpitations, sweating, and shortness of breath since this morning. 6 days ago she had syncopized, was shocked out of V-tach by EMS, and eventually had a defibrillator placed for an unknown arrhythmia. Now, she feels her heart beating in her chest, looks diaphoretic, is tachypnic, but her pulse is 58 and regular. […]

  • Fluorescein Strip Eye

Trick of the Trade: Fluorescein eyedrops

By |Categories: Ophthalmology, Tricks of the Trade|

This is a guest post by Dr. Ian Brown (Stanford): The Roberts textbook describes the procedure of corneal fluorescein staining as touching a moistened fluorescein strip to the cornea.  Maybe it is an irrational fear of a paper cut to the sclera, or a fear of touching an already abraded cornea with the paper, but I try to find an alternative. I have seen physicians hold the eye open with one hand, hold the fluorescein with a second hand and then drip tetracaine on the paper and let it drip into the eye with a third hand. I, unfortunately, only [...]

Modern EM: Case 1 and 2 – Strep Throat

By |Categories: ENT, Social Media & Tech|

A sister and brother, aged 7 and 14, respectively present with pharyngitis.  The 7F has sore throat, cough, fever, and post-tussive vomiting for 1 day.  She has posterior pharyngeal erythema, no lymphadenopathy, no exudate, no petechiae, and looks like a viral URI. The 14M had culture confirmed GAS pharyngitis 3 weeks ago, was treated with PCN-VK and symptoms resolved.  Now, he’s in the ED with signs and symptoms of pharyngitis again, including dysphagia, fever, cough, posterior pharyngeal erythema, swollen tonsils, LAD, and petechiae on his hard palate. […]

  • Kawasaki disease

Paucis Verbis: Kawasaki Disease

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Pediatrics|

Kawasaki Disease can be easy to diagnose when you have the pediatric patient, who presents with all 5 of the classic clinical findings. What happens when you have the prerequisite fever for ≥5 days, but only 2-3 clinical criteria? What ARE the 5 classic findings? When do you do waitful watching? When do you perform an echo? When do you treat empirically? Check out the nice flowchart below which addresses these questions. They summarize the most recent (2004) American Heart Association’s consensus group’s recommendations. […]

  • Pelvic Speculum

Trick of the Trade: Pelvic speculum for peritonsillar abscess

By |Categories: ENT, Tricks of the Trade|Tags: |

Peritonsillar abscess drainage in the ED continues to be one of my favorite procedures to perform. There are several tricks to increase your chances for a successful aspiration. One trick involves using a curved laryngoscope to help depress the tongue AND provide a bright light source. What if you don’t have a laryngoscope readily available? […]

  • Irrigation set

Trick of the Trade: Irrigation fluid is key – but not in your eye!

By |Categories: Tricks of the Trade|Tags: |

High pressure irrigation of wounds is critical in reducing the rate of wound infection. There are a variety of commercial irrigation kits which include splash guards. If you are irrigating correctly and generating at least 8 PSI of pressure, some irrigation fluid should splash up and out of the wound. Be careful not to splash irrigation fluid in your eyes. What if you don’t have a commercial irrigation setup?  […]

  • IV drip

Paucis Verbis: Continuous Infusions

By |Categories: ALiEM Cards, Tox & Medications|

I have always been envious of the residents who carry around the Continuous Infusions cheat-sheet card, which was created by the UCSF Critical Care Units as part of a campaign for Safe Medication Prescriptions. I want one! So I finally managed to wrangle one away for a few minutes and xerox copy it. Here is the abbreviated card, after paring down the list to just ED-focused medications. […]

  • Cardiac Magnet

Trick of the Trade: Another magnet trick for metallic FB removal

By |Categories: Tricks of the Trade|Tags: |

Last week, I talked about the use of Rare Earth Magnets for removing metallic foreign bodies. Sometimes a straight magnet though isn’t quite strong enough to grab a metallic foreign body. If only you had a small magnetic hemostat. This week Dr. Catherine Perry (Culpepper Memorial Hospital) and Dr. Kolapo DaSilva (PGY-2 at UVA) emailed me with a creative solution. They encountered a patient with a BB pellet lodged deeply in the soft tissue. Small mosquito clamps couldn’t get around the BB. A cardiac magnet alone caused the BB to tent the skin up. […]