Beware the hidden tibia plateau fracture

TibialPlateau2vsmFind the fracture in this patient with blunt knee trauma.

As a general rule, plain films are insensitive in ruling out orthopedic injuries. One particularly tricky area is the knee. This 2-view knee series above is normal.

Did you know that the sensitivity of picking up knee fractures is as low as 79% with a 2-view series and 85% with a 4-view series? With the advent of CT imaging, more and more subtle fractures are being found.

2016-11-11T19:01:36-07:00

Article review: Glidescope success in difficult airway simulation

GlideScopeSince our department got a Glidescope, it has rapidly become a go-to difficult airway adjunct when intubating patients in the ED. Note: I have no financial ties to Glidescope.

This education article Sim Healthcare is a head-to-head comparison between video laryngoscopy (VL) versus direct laryngoscopy (DL) in a difficult airway simulation model. In this prospective, convenience sample of EM attendings and residents who were all novice operators of VL, the subjects were asked intubate 3 types of mannequin scenarios using a Macintosh curve laryngoscope for DL and a Glidescope for VL.

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2016-11-11T19:01:37-07:00

Paucis Verbis card: Pediatric blunt head injury

EpiduralIn this installment of the Paucis Verbis (In a Few Words) e-card series, the topic is Pediatric Blunt Head Trauma.

This a particularly relevant topic given the recent press and discussions about CT irradiation and the cancer risk especially in pediatric patients. It’s also relevant since Dr. Nate Kuppermann (UC Davis) just gave Grand Rounds at our UCSF-SFGH EM residency program. He first-authored a landmark 2009 Lancet article on minor head injury in kids.

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2019-01-28T23:47:18-07:00

Trick of the Trade: Preventing tissue adhesive seepage

Dermabond Tape

As great as tissue adhesives are in wound closure, they come with some risk. For instance, liquid adhesives, such as Dermabond, can “run” and contact undesired areas such as eyelid margins. Careful application of tissue adhesives is critical.

How can you minimize the amount of seepage of tissue adhesive to undesired areas?

Trick of the Trade

Create an impermeable tape barrier

I already mentioned this in an earlier post in July, but I now have more experience with this technique. Here are some recent photos of this trick in action.

  • Cut out a circle from a transparent tape adhesive. In this case, I used a transparent Tegaderm which can be found with peripheral or central line IV kits.
  • Adhere the tape to the patient’s skin primarily along the circular edge to prevent glue seepage under the tape. You don’t need to stick the ENTIRE transparent tape to the patient, unless you want to pull off some eyebrow and eyelid lashes!
  • Apply the tissue adhesive glue over the wound while ensuring that the wound edges are closely approximated. Excess glue will run off onto the tape. You only need to wait a few seconds after glue application before peeling the tape off.
DermabondTapeTrick5blursm
DermabondTapeTrick10blursm

This idea was contributed by Dr. Hagop Afarian (UCSF-Fresno).

Thanks also to my Visual Aid Project photographer, Lourdes Adame, who photographed and consented the patient’s father for these photos. Her speaking fluent Spanish made them feel at ease and understand that we were photographing for educational purposes.

2019-02-04T03:35:20-07:00

Trick of the trade: Irrigating scalp lacerations

Laceration_Scalp1smThanks to my new-found Emergency Medicine friend in Turkey, Dr. John Fowler has some useful tips about scalp lacerations.

Often patients with scalp lacerations have clotted blood in their hair. While we can irrigate the wound itself (and unavoidably soaking the patient in cold irrigation fluid), a lot of blood remains stuck in their hair. It would be nice if we could completely wash out the blood. This would further allows us to detect occult scalp lacerations.

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2019-02-19T18:48:05-07:00