UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: Ultrasound-Assisted Lumbar Punctures

Keywords: ultrasound, lumbar puncture, LP, landmark (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/12/2018 by WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD

  • Lumbar punctures (LPs) are a common ED procedure with variable reported success rates.
  • A recent systematic review and meta-analysis looked at 12 studies comprising 957 adult and pediatric patients comparing pre-procedural ultrasound-assisted LPs with traditional landmark-based technique.
    • Some studies utilized ultrasound-assistance in all LPs, others selected patients who were anticipated to be difficult LPs.
    • No studies assessed dynamic ultrasound-guided LPs.
  • Overall, ultrasound-assisted LP was 90.0% successful compared with landmark-based LP that was 81.4% successful (OR 2.22, 95% CI = 1.03 - 4.77).
  • Ultrasound-assisted LP was also associated with reduced rate of traumatic LPs, shorter time to successful LP, and reduced patient pain scores.

Bottom Line: Consider using pre-procedural ultrasound-assistance for all lumbar punctures.

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Category: Critical Care

Title: NIV & Acute Respiratory Failure

Posted: 12/11/2018 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Mike Winters, MD

Noninvasive Ventilation in De-Novo Respiratory Failure

  • Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is a primary therapy for patients with acute hypercapnic respiratory failure, especially those with an acute COPD exacerbation.
  • Notwithstanding its benefits in COPD and acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema, NIV should be used cautiously in patients with "de-novo" respiratory failure.
  • Many patients with de-novo respiratory failure will meet criteria for ARDS and have a high rate of intubation (30% - 60%).
  • The use of NIV with delayed intubation in this patient population has been associated with increased mortality. 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Concussion headaches

Keywords: head injury, medication (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/8/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Retrospective chart review at a headache clinic seeing adolescent concussion patients

70.1% met criteria for probable medication-overuse headache

Once culprit over the counter medications (NSAIDs, acetaminophen) were discontinued,

68.5% of patients reported return to their preinjury headache status

 

Take home:  Excessive use of OTC analgesics post concussion may contribute to chronic post-traumatic headaches

If you suspect medication overuse, consider analgesic detoxification

 

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Avoid Hyperoxia...Period!

Keywords: hyperoxia, oxygen therapy, saturation, SpO2, critical care, mechanical ventilation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/4/2018 by Kami Hu, MD
Click here to contact Kami Hu, MD

 

Hyperoxia has been repeatedly demonstrated to be detrimental in a variety of patients, including those with myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and requiring mechanical ventilation,1-4 and the data that hyperoxia is harmful continues to mount:

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of 16,000 patients admitted to hospital with sepsis, trauma, MI, stroke, emergency surgery, cardiac arrest: liberal oxygenation strategy (supplemental O2 for average SpO2 96%, range 94-100%) associated with increased in-hospital and 30-day mortality compared to conservative strategy.5
  • ED patients requiring mechanical ventilation admitted to ICU: hyperoxia defined as PaO@ >120mmHg. Patients with hyperoxia in the ED had higher mortality than not only normoxic but hypoxic patients (30% v 19% v 13% respectively), and longer vent days and ICU/hospital LOS.6
  • ICU patients, majority respiratory failure, 60% requiring mechanical ventilation; hyperoxia defined as PaO2 >100mmHg. Just ONE episode of hyperoxia an independent risk factor for ICU mortality (OR 3.80, 95% CI 1.08-16.01, p=0.047).7

 

Bottom LineAvoid hyperoxia in your ED patients, both relatively stable and critically ill. Remove or turn down supplemental O2 added by well-meaning pre-hospital providers and nurses, and wean down ventilator settings (often FiO2). A target SpO2 of >92% (>88% in COPD patients) or PaO2 >55-60 is reasonable in the majority of patients.8

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Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Barriers to Care: Naloxone

Keywords: naloxone, overdose (PubMed Search)

Posted: 12/3/2018 by Ashley Martinelli (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Ashley Martinelli

Providing naloxone to patients at risk for opioid overdose is now standard of care. A retrospective study evaluated the rate of naloxone obtainment after standardizing the process for prescribing naloxone in the emergency department and dispensing from the hospital outpatient pharmacy. 

55 patients were prescribed naloxone.  Demographics: mean age 48 years old, 75% male, 40% primary diagnosis of heroin diagnosis, 45.5% were prescribed other prescriptions.

Outcomes:

  • 25.5% brought the prescription to the pharmacy
  • 18.2% completed education and obtained naloxone
  • 10% higher rate of success if patient had multiple prescriptions to fill

Barriers identified included lack of ED dispensing program, cost of medication, even though cost is minimal and can be waived, and likely multifactorial reasons why patients did not present to pharmacy as instructed.

Take Home Points:

  • In this complex and challenging patient population, naloxone should be provided
  • Utilize UMMC ED Meds to Beds technicians 1130-1900 M-F to prevent patients from having to travel to pharmacy post-ED visit as this can be a barrier.  The pharmacy technician
  • Prescribe AED To-Go naloxone after hours to improve access to naloxone

 

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric Fever

Posted: 12/1/2018 by Rose Chasm, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Rose Chasm, MD

As we enter cold and flu season, expect to see rising visits for pediatric patients with fever.  There is much evidence based literature regarding pediatric fever, but wives tales and misinformation persist.
  • No matter what the school nurse says, only a temperature >/= 100.4 F or 38 C is a fever.
  • Routine use of rectal and oral routes to measure temperature are not required to document a fever in children.
  • Use of electronic thermometers in the axilla is acceptable even in children under 5 years
  • Forehead chemical thermometers are unreliable.
  • Reported parental perception of fever should be considered valid and taken seriously.
  • Measure heart rate, respiratory rate, and capillary refill as part of the assessment of a child with fever.
  • Heart rate typically increases by 10, and respiratory rate increases by 7 for each 1 C temperature increase.
  • If the heart rate or capillary refill is abnormal in a child with fever, measure blood pressure.
  • Do not use height of temperature to identify serious illness.
  • Do not use duration of fever to predict serious illness.
  • Tepid sponging/bathing, underessing, and over-wrapping are not recommended in fever.
  • Do not give acetaminophen and ibuprofen simultaneously.

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Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is frequently treated with benzodiazepines following CIWA-Ar (Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol scale). There are other medications that are used as either second line or as adjunctive agents along with benzodiazepines. A retrospective study compared the clinical outcomes between phenobarbital vs. benzodiazepines-based CIWA-Ar protocol to treat AWS. 

The primary was ICU length of stay (LOS); secondary outcome were hospital LOS, intubation, and use of adjunctive pharmacotherapy.

Study sample: 60 received phenobarbital and 60 received lorazepam per CIWA-Ar.

Phenobarbital protocol:

  • Active DT: 260 mg IV x 1 dose -> 97.2 mg PO TID x 6 doses -> 64.8 mg PO TID x 6 doses -> 32.4 mg PO TID x 6 doses
  • History of DT: 97.2 mg PO TID x 6 doses -> 64.8 mg PO TID x 6 doses -> 32.4 mg PO TID x 6 doses
  • No history of DT: 64.8 mg PO TID x 6 dose -> 32.4 mg PO TID x 6 doses.

Results

 

Phenobarbital

CIWA-Ar

ICU LOS

2.4 days

4.4 days

Hospital LOS

4.3 days

6.9 days

Intubation

1 (2%)

14 (23%)

Adjunctive agent use

4 (7%)

17 (27%)

 

Conclusion

Phenobarbital therapy appears to be a promising alternative therapy for AWS. However, additional studies are needed prior to adapting phenobarbital as first line agent for AWS management. 

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Category: Neurology

Title: Seeing Double?

Keywords: diplopia, imaging, radiology, CT, ophthalmology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/28/2018 by Danya Khoujah, MBBS (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Danya Khoujah, MBBS

Diplopia can be a challenging complaint to address in the ED. Although not all patients will require imaging, use the simplified table below to help guide the imaging study needed:

 

Clinical Situation

Suspected Diagnosis

Imaging Study

Diplopia + cerebellar signs and symptoms

Brainstem pathology

MRI brain

6th CN palsy + papilledema

Increased intracranial pressure (e.g. idiopathic intracranial hypertension or cerebral venous thrombosis)

CT/CTV brain

3rd CN palsy (especially involving the pupil)

Compressive lesion (aneurysm of posterior communicating or internal carotid artery)

CT/CTA brain

Diplopia + thyroid disease + decreased visual acuity

Optic nerve compression

CT orbits

Intranuclear ophthalmoplegia

Multiple sclerosis

MRI brain

Diplopia + facial or head trauma

Fracture causing CN disruption

CT head (dry)

Diplopia + multiple CN involvement (3,4,6) + numbness over V1 and V2 of trigeminal nerve (CN5) +/- proptosis

Unilateral, decreased visual acuity

Orbital apex pathology

CT orbits with contrast

Uni- or bi-lateral, normal visual acuity

Cavernous sinus thrombosis

CT/CTV brain

C.N.: cranial nerve

 

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Reminders for the Management of Critically Ill Cirrhotic Patients

Keywords: resuscitation, liver failure, cirrhosis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2018 by Kami Hu, MD
Click here to contact Kami Hu, MD

 

A few (out of 10) tips for the care of sick patients with liver failure:

  • Use of albumin is indicated to improve outcomes in spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (SBP), large-volume paracentesis, and hepatorenal syndrome (HRS).
  • Norepinephrine remains the vasopressor of choice for nonhemorrhagic shock. Use vasopressin or terlipressin (outside the U.S.) in AKI due to HRS to maintain a target MAP and for splanchnic vasoconstriction.
  • INR does not correctly reflect coagulation performance. Platelet count and fibrinogen are the best predictors of bleeding, and thromboelastography (via TEG/ROTEM) can reduce blood products administered for hemorrhage without affecting mortality.
  • If a nasogastric tube is indicated (administration of lactulose, decompression of SBO, etcetera), presence of [non-recently banded] esophageal varices is not a contraindication.

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Metal detector use for esophageal coins

Keywords: Foreign bodies, coins, xrays (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/16/2018 by Jenny Guyther, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Jenny Guyther, MD

Coins are the most commonly ingested foreign body in the pediatric age group with a peak occurrence in children less than 5 years old.  X-rays are considered the gold standard for definitive diagnosis and location of metallic foreign bodies.  This study aimed to find a way to decrease radiation exposure by using a metal detector.

19 patients ages 10 months to 14 years with 20 esophageal coins were enrolled in the study.  All proximal esophageal coins were detected by the metal detector.  5 patient's failed initial detection of the coin with the metal detector and all of those patients had the coin in the mid or distal esophagus with a depth greater than 7 cm from the skin.

Bottom line: A metal detector may detect proximal esophageal coins.  This may have a role in decreasing repeat x-rays.

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Category: Neurology

Title: C-Spine Clearance by ED Triage Nurses?

Keywords: cervical, spine, clearance, triage, nurse, trauma (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/14/2018 by WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD
Click here to contact WanTsu Wendy Chang, MD

  • The Canadian C-Spine Rule (CCR) has been shown to decrease the use of cervical spine imaging in low-risk trauma patients.
  • While developed for use by physicians, CCR has also been validated in ED triage nurses with moderate interrater reliability (kappa 0.78) by Stiell et al. in 2010.
  • Stiell’s group has since implemented the use of CCR by ED triage nurses at 9 teaching hospitals in Ontario with a combined annual volume of approximately 670,000 ED visits.
  • 180 certified nurses evaluated 1408 patients.
    • 806 (57.2%) arrived with c-spine immobilization.
    • 602 (42.8%) had neck pain but no immobilization.
  • Overall, nurses removed immobilization in 331 (41.4%) patients and applied immobilization in 203 (14.4%) patients.
  • Diagnostic imaging was performed in 612 (43.4%) patients and found 16 (1.1%) clinically important and 3 (0.6%) clinically unimportant injuries.
  • There were no missed c-spine injuries to the knowledge of the authors as the study hospitals were closely connected with the regional spine centers.
  • Time from nursing assessment to discharge decreased by 26.0% (3.4h vs. 4.6h)

Bottom Line: ED triage nurses can safely use the Canadian C-Spine Rule.  This approach can improve patient care and decrease length of stay in the ED.

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Critically Ill Cancer Patient?

Posted: 11/13/2018 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Mike Winters, MD

Identifying Critically Ill Cancer Patients in the ED

  • Immunosuppressed patients with malignancy are at high risk of complications and rapid decompensation.
  • Select pearls in identifying ED patients with cancer that are at high risk of critical illness include:
    • Patients with profound neutropenia (< 100/mm3) are at high risk for fungal infections (i.e., aspergillosis)
    • Hypoxemia that requires oxygen is a predictor of later ICU admission.
    • Patients with bilateral infiltrates on CXR are at high risk of decompensation. Consider ICU admission.
    • Patients with promyelocytic leukemias are at high risk of DIC. Patients with this complication should be admitted to the ICU.

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Pediatric Concussion 2

Keywords: head injury, sports medicine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/10/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

In which age groups should children with Sport Related Concussion be managed differently from adults?

  • Not adequately addressed in literature.
  • Consider 5-12 years old vs 13 and over for child vs. adult testing

 

Are there targeted subgroups who would benefit from closer outpatient and specialty follow-up?

 

Predictors of Prolonged Recovery in Children
 

  • Female sex
  • physician diagnosis of migraine
  • Prior concussion with symptoms lasting longer than 1 weeks
  • Multiple concussions
  • ADHD/LD/Mood disorders
  • Acute headache
  • Age 13 or older
    • Teenage and high school years represents the greatest age period for prolonged recovery
  • Prior
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Fatigue
  • Answering questions slowly
  • 4 or more errors on BESS testing

 

 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Isolated vomiting and head injury in children

Keywords: PECARN, traumatic brain injury, head injury, concussion (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/12/2018 by Mimi Lu, MD (Emailed: 11/9/2018) (Updated: 11/9/2018)
Click here to contact Mimi Lu, MD

5 year old previously healthy male referred to the ED for vomiting after he fell 2.5 feet while jumping from the couch.  No other injurys noted and no other pain reported. He denies a headache and parents report he is acting baseline. His exam is reassuring (no, really....)
 
What would you do next?  Which Clinical Decision Rule (CDR) do you use?  PECARN? CHALICE? CATCH?
What if he vomited 3 times? 5 times?
 
A secondary analysis of the Australasian Paediatric Head Injury Rule Study attempted to determine the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries in children who vomit after head injury and identify variables from published CDRs that increased risk.  Vomited characteristics were correlated with CDR predictors and the presence of clinically important traumatic brain injury (ciTBI) or traumatic brain injury on computed tomography (TBI-CT).
 
Of the 19 920 children enrolled, 3389 (17.0%) had any vomiting. With isolated vomiting, only 1 (0.3%; 95% CI 0.0%-0.9%) had ciTBI and 2 (0.6%; 95% CI 0.0%-1.4%) had TBI-CT. Predictors of increased risk of ciTBI with vomiting included: signs of skull fracture, altered mental status, headache, and acting abnormally.

Bottom Line:

TBI-CT and ciTBI are uncommon in children presenting with head injury with isolated vomiting  (vomiting without other CDR predictors) and observation without imaging appears appropriate.

 

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The management of pediatric hydrocarbon ingestion has not changed significantly over the past several decades. One of the earlier study that helped established the management approach is by Anas N et al. published in JAMA, 1981.


It was a retrospective study of 950 children who ingested household hydrocarbon containing products.

Discharged patients: n=800

  • They asymptomatic at their initial presentation and after 6-8 hours of observation.
  • All had normal CXR

 

Admitted patients: n=150

  • 79 symptomatic patients at the time of initial evaluation with abnormal CXR.
  • 71 patients were asymptomatic but CXR showed pulmonary involvement/pneumonitis or had pulmonary symptoms prior to hospital presentation
  • 7 symptomatic patients developed pneumonia

 

This study recommended that hospitalization is required in patients…

  1. Who are symptomatic at the time of initial evaluation
  2. Who become symptomatic during the 6-8 hour observation period.

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Targeting Better Neurologic Outcomes by Targeting Higher MAPs Post-Cardiac Arrest

Keywords: resuscitation, cardiac arrest, post-cardiac arrest care, blood pressure, MAP, ROSC (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/5/2018 by Kami Hu, MD (Emailed: 11/6/2018) (Updated: 11/6/2018)
Click here to contact Kami Hu, MD

The most recent AHA guidelines for goal blood pressure after return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) post-cardiac arrest recommend a definite mean arterial pressure (MAP) goal of > 65 mmHg.1 There is no definitive data to recommend a higher specific goal, but there is some evidence to indicate that maintaining higher MAPs may be associated with better neurologic outcomes.2

A recently published prospective, observational, multicenter cohort study looked at neurologic outcomes corresponding to different MAPs maintained in the initial 6 hours post-cardiac arrest.3

Findings: 

1. Compared to lower blood pressures (MAPs 70-90 mmHg), the cohort with MAPs > 90 mmHg had:

  • a higher rate of good neurologic function at hospital discharge (42 vs.15%, p < 0.001)
  • a higher rate of survival to 72 hours (86 vs. 74%, p=0.01) and hospital discharge (57 vs 28%, p < 0.001)

2. The association between MAP > 90 mmHg and good neurologic outcome was stronger among patients with a previous diagnosis of hypertension, and persisted regardless of initial rhythm, use of vasopressors, or whether the cardiac arrest occured in or out of hospital.

3. There was a dose-response increase in probability of good neurologic outcome among all MAP ranges above 90 mmHg, with MAP >110 mmHg having the strongest association with good neurologic outcome at hospital discharge.

Note: The results of a separate trial, the Neuroprotect post-CA trial, comparing MAPs 85-100 mmHg to the currently recommended MAP goal of >65 mmHg, are pending.4

 

Bottom Line: As per current AHA guidelines, actively avoid hypotension, and consider use of vasopressor if needed to maintain MAPs > 90 mmHg in your comatose patients post-cardiac arrest, especially those with a preexisting diagnosis of hypertension.

 

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Category: Pharmacology & Therapeutics

Title: Intranasal Administration of Common Emergency Department Medications

Keywords: Intranasal Administration, Alternative Administration (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/2/2018 by Wesley Oliver (Emailed: 11/3/2018) (Updated: 11/8/2018)
Click here to contact Wesley Oliver

The most common methods of medication administration in the emergency department are oral, intravenous (IV), and intramuscular (IM).  If the oral route is not available, if IV/IM are not necessary, or if obtaining IV access is challenging, intranasal (IN) medication delivery is a reasonable alternative.  More concentrated products are preferred and a volume of 1 mL or less per nostril should be utilized.  Below is a table of the commonly used medications used via the IN route. 

Drug Concentration Indication IN Dose

Time to Peak Effect

Adverse Events
Fentanyl 50 mcg/mL Analgesia 0.5-2 mcg/kg 5 min

Nasal irritation, rhinitis, headache

Ketamine 100 mg/mL

Analgesia, Agitation, Sedation

3-6 mg/kg 5-10 min

Poor taste, HTN, hypersalivation, agitation, emergence reaction

Lorazepam 2 mg/mL

Agitation, Seizures

0.1 mg/kg

Max: 4 mg

30 min

Poor taste, lacrimation, nasal/throat irritation

Midazolam 5 mg/mL

Agitation, Sedation, Seizures

0.1-0.4 mg/kg

Max: 10 mg

5-10 min Same as lorazepam
Naloxone 1 mg/mL

Opioid Reversal

0.1 mg/kg

Usual dose:

0.4-2 mg

1-5 min

N/V, headache, withdrawal symptoms

 

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Pediatric Concussion

Keywords: head injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/27/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 12/16/2018)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Concussion Management in Children

What are the predictors of prolonged recovery of concussion in children?

Female sex, age greater than 13, prior physician diagnosis of migraine, prior concussion with symptoms lasting longer than 1 week, history of multiple concussions, headache, sensitivity to noise, dizziness, fatigue, answering questions slowly and four or more errors on tandem stance testing.

Age:  As compared to younger children, adolescents have a greater number of and more severe postconcussive symptoms. They take longer to recover and return to school and sport.

Subjects: Math tends to pose greater problems followed by reading/language, arts, sciences and social studies.

Computer testing:  The widespread use of computer neuropsychological testing is not recommended in children and adolescents. This is due to issues with reliability over time and insufficient evidence of both diagnostic and prognostic value. When used, reference to normative data should be done with caution. Testing should also NOT be used in isolation in concussion diagnosis and management.

 

 

 

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Category: Neurology

Title: Neurosyphilis

Keywords: CSF, lumbar puncture, infectious diseases (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/24/2018 by Danya Khoujah, MBBS
Click here to contact Danya Khoujah, MBBS

Manifestations due to neurosyphilis present as one of 3 categories: stroke due to arteritis, masses in the brain (granulomata), and chronic meningitis.

Although serum VDRL/TPPA tests will be positive in almost all patients, it’s important to remember that the diagnosis requires the presence of ALL of the following criteria:

1. positive treponemal (e.g. FTA-ABS, TP-PA) AND nontreponemal (e.g. VDRL, RPR) serum test results

2. positive CSF VDRL OR positive CSF FTA-ABS test result 

3. one CSF laboratory test abnormality, such as pleocytosis (cell count >20/μL) or high protein level (>0.5 g/L)

4. clinical symptoms

This is important because the treatment of neurosyphilis is distinctly different from other forms, as it requires admission for IV antibiotics for at least 10 days.  

Bonus Pearl: CSF RPR is unreliable as it is more likely to be falsely positive than other specific CSF testing.

 

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Category: Trauma

Title: C-spine Clearance in the mentally altered patient by Ahmed Al Hazmi

Keywords: C-Spine Clearance, altered mental status (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/19/2018 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 10/20/2018)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

Takeaways

Bottom Line
  • High-quality CT is adequate for clearing c-collar in obtunded patients.
  • A follow-up exam before discharging the patient strengthens your decision making and documentation.
  • MRI can be reserved for high-risk patients, patients who are being admitted to surgical critical care units, and those who have residual findings once alert.

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