UMEM Educational Pearls - By Natasha Smith

Category: Pediatrics

Title: SCIWORA in Pediatric Trauma Patients

Keywords: SCIWORA, trauma, pediatrics, myelopathy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/4/2022 by Natasha Smith, MD
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Pediatric spines are elastic in nature.

SCIWORA is a syndrome with neurological deficits without osseous abnormality on XR or CT.

Many patients with SCIWORA have myelopathy.

Mechanism of injury: Most commonly caused by hyperextension or flexion. Other possible mechanisms include rotational, lateral bending, or distraction.

Population: More common in younger children. This comprises 1/3 of pediatric trauma cases that have neuro deficits on exam. 

Severity depends on degree of ligamentous injury. It can be mild to severe, and cases have the potential to be unstable. 

Management: Immobilize cervical spine and consult neurosurgery. Patients often need prolonged spinal immobilization.

If the patient is altered and an adequate neurological exam cannot be obtained, a normal CT or XR of the cervical spinal is not sufficient to rule out spinal cord injury. It is important to continue monitoring neurological status. One possible etiology is spinal cord hemorrhage, and serial exams are essential. 

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Removal of Auricular Foreign Body

Keywords: foreign body, ear, insect, button battery (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/7/2022 by Natasha Smith, MD (Updated: 5/17/2022)
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Many types of foreign bodies may be found in a child's ear. Some examples include: beads, cotton swabs, food, insects, and button batteries. 

Patients can be asymptomatic. However, they often have otalgia, pruritus, fullness, tinnitus, hearing loss, otorrhea, or bleeding. Obtain a history of the type of foreign body, when/how it entered the ear, and if there was a prior attempt at removal. Also ask if there are foreign bodies elsewhere, such as in the nose. Perform Rinne and Weber tests before and after removing the foreign body if the child is old enough to participate. 

Delayed presentation can result in edema and otitis externa. When the foreign body is sharp, there may be damage to the tympanic membrane (TM) and ossicles. 

Consult ENT when there is suspicion of damage to TM, when hearing loss is present, or when removal is especially challenging. Spherical foreign bodies are more difficult to remove. 

Remove foreign body if it can be visualized. Wax curettes, right-angled hooks, alligator forceps, and Frazier tip suctions can facilitate removal. Avoid additional trauma due to concern for edema, bleeding, TM perforation, or distal displacement of the object. Anxiety in the child will lead to increased difficulty with removal. 

A button battery in the ear is an emergency that can result in severe damage, including TM perforation, scarring or stenosis of the ear canal, and deeper injury. Seeds such as beans or peas and other absorptive material in the ear can expand, so do not irrigate when such foreign bodies are present. Living insects should be killed with alcohol, lidocaine, or mineral oil prior to performing foreign body removal. 

After removal, reassess ear canal and TM. Some foreign bodies require removal in the operating room. If the object has been successfully removed, evaluate for otitis externa or iatrogenic injury to the ear canal, and prescribe antibiotic otic drops when needed. When TM has perforated, refer for formal audiogram. ENT follow up is recommended for all patients.  

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Incidence of T1DM is 1.93/1000 of youth <20 years old in the United States, with a bimodal distribution of onset. Onset peaks from ages 4-6 and again at puberty. 

 

Prior to the development of DKA, diabetes often has an insidious onset with symptoms of polydipsia, polyphagia and polyuria with weight loss in children. It can also be asymptomatic. 

 

When DKA is present, symptoms will include neurological manifestations (confusion, lethargy), GI symptoms (abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting), or respiratory abnormalities (Kussmaul respirations.) Polyuria and polydipsia are frequently present as well.

 

Diagnosis of DKA includes: serum glucose of >200 mg/dL, serum or urine ketones, and a pH <7.30 or bicarbonate <15 mEq/L. 

 

DKA is classified as mild, moderate or severe:

Mild: pH 7.21-7.30, HCO3 11-15 mEq/L

Moderate: pH 7.11-7.20, HCO3 6-10 mEq/L 

Severe: pH < 7.10, HCO3 <5 mEq/L

 

Initial treatment is 10 ml/kg of isotonic fluid bolus to a max of 500 ml, then reassess. Continue to replace fluids gradually to cover maintenance fluids as well as to treat dehydration. Do NOT bolus insulin. Rather, start a drip at 0.05-0.1 units/kg/hr. Continue insulin until acidosis has completely resolved. Once the serum glucose falls below 250 mg/dL, start dextrose to prevent hypoglycemia until the gap closes. 

 

Cerebral edema can develop 4-12 hours after treatment has been initiated. Observe for change in mental status, posturing, decreased response to pain, cranial nerve palsy, bradycardia, or abnormal respiratory pattern. This is a clinical diagnosis! Although a head CT can be obtained, it is often negative and treatment with mannitol or hypertonic saline should be started as soon as there are clinical changes.

 

DKA has resolved when pH > 7.3 and HCO3 is >15.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Sickle Cell Disease and Fever

Keywords: sickle cell, HgSS, fever, sepsis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/3/2021 by Natasha Smith, MD
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  • Watch out for Streptococcus pneumoniae sepsis! Patients can look well for several hours, then suddenly decline, leading to shock or death.
  • Note that nearly half of patients with HgSS will have diminished spleen function by 1 year of age
  • Start antibiotics early, even if patients are immunized or are taking prophylactic penicillin
  • Antibiotic recommendations: long-acting cephalosporin +/- Vancomycin 
  • Order CBC, reticulocyte count, blood culture, CXR, and other testing as needed based on presentation
  • Admit patients with high fever, toxic appearance, infiltrate on CXR, hypoxia, tachypnea not explained by fever, poor intake/dehydration, severely abnormal CBC, history of S. pneumoniae sepsis, pain crisis + fever

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