UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Vascular

Title: Pulmonary Embolism Rule Out

Keywords: D-Dimer, PE, Well's (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Rob Rogers, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Update on the Wells Criteria for PE-patients with a score of 4 or less (which means low to moderate probability) can be considered for a "d-dimer negative" rule out approach. This is a bit of a change from the low risk only approach. Additionally, the British Thoracic Society guidelines support the low and moderate risk group patient rule out strategy. So, if you have a low or even moderate risk patient, you can use the approach of obtaining a highly sensitive d-dimer and if it is negative, the hunt for PE is over.

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Inborn Errors of Metabolisn

Keywords: Inborn Errors of Metabolism, Hypoglycemia, organomegaly (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Sean Fox, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Inborn Errors of Metabolism For the child with neurologic abnormalities, vomiting, acidosis, hypoglycemia, organomegaly, or cardiopulmonary arrest remember to consider Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM) on your DDx. There are over 300 disorders of the various biochemical pathways, and while the individual incidence for each disorder may be rare, the collective incidence for IEM is 1-2 / 1,000 births. Treat dehydration and hypoglycemia promptly but FIRST, draw EXTRA blood samples (at UMMS, two adult Green Tops and one adult Red Top) in addition to the basic labs. ==> Once you begin therapy to correct the acid/base disturbance, hypoglycemia, and dehydration the abnormal metabolites present in their serum will be reduced and possibly confound the diagnosis. ==> Draw the extra blood, before your give the NS bolus or the Dextrose! ==> Basic Labs (1) ABG, BMP, Ammonia, U/A are helpful immediately (2) CBC, Blood and Urine Cultures (look for concurrent infection, possibly the inciting event) (3) Urine Reducing Substances, serum organic acids, urine and serum amino acids are also useful

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Bacterial tracheitis

Keywords: Bacterial tracheitis, stridor, croup, epiglottitis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Sean Fox, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Bacterial Tracheitis Considered bacterial tracheitis in a patient who has fever, stridor, and symptoms that do not respond to therapy for croup (racemic epinephrine and steroids). The epidemiology of acute infectious upper airway disease in pediatrics has been altered with immunization against Haemophilus influenza- b and the widespread use of corticosteroids for the treatment of viral croup. Bacterial Tracheitis has replaced epiglottitis and croup as the most common cause of acute respiratory failure. One study found it to be 3 times more likely to cause respiratory failure than croup and epiglotittis combined. The mortality rates had been reported as high as 18% to 40%. Hopkins, A., et al., Changing epidemiology of life-threatening upper airway infections: the reemergence of bacterial tracheitis. Pediatrics, 2006. 118(4): p. 1418-21.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Cyanide

Keywords: cyanide, poisoning, hydroxycobalamin (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Cyanide Presents with arterialization of venous blood (venous blood draw looks like ABG) Reason: o Hemoglobin is not able to offload oxygen o CN poisons cytochrome c oxidase preventing conversion of oxygen to water and thus production of ATP Old antidote: sodium thiosulfate New antidote: hydroxycobalamin binds CN producing cyanocobalamin (Vit B12) When you give it expects a dip in pulse because of its blue color. Remember CN will give you a beautiful 100% pulse all the way to death. Lee J, et al. Potential interference by hydroxocobalamin on cooximetry hemoglobin measurements during cyanide and smoke inhalation treatments. Ann Emerg Med. 2007 Jun;49(6):802-5. Epub 2007 Jan 8.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Hydrofluoric Acid (HF)

Keywords: hydrofluoric acid, hypocalcemia, burn (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) Used in glass etching, brick/porcelain cleaning and available in hardware stores Death has been reported after JUST 2-3% body surface area exposure! Systemic toxicity: hypocalcemia, hyperkalemia and hypomagensemia Local effects: paucity of skin findings with tremendous pain Treatment: skin decontamination, correct electrolyte abnormalities and topical calcium gel for local pain Mayer TG, GrossPI. Fatal systemic fluoride due to hydrofluoric acid burns. Ann Emerg Med 1985; 14: 149-153.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Toxic Alcohols

Keywords: Ethylene glycol, methanol, toxic alcohol (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Toxic Alcohols Unexplained anion gap metabolic acidosis => give fomepizole (antidote) Hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, elevated creatinine => think ethlylene glycol Visual disturbances => think methanol Ketosis without acidosis and high osmol gap => think isopropanol If osmol gap is >70; high specificity for a toxic alcohol ingestion

Category: Cardiology

Title: Dyspnea

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Elderly are more likely to present with dyspnea (49% [the most common anginal equivalent]), diaphoresis (26%), nausea and vomiting (24%), and syncope (19%) as a primary complaint. The takeaway point: always get that ECG early in elderly patients with these complaints, even when CP is absent!

Category: Cardiology

Title: AMI versus Aneurysm

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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AMI versus Aneurysm For ECG distinction between AMI versus ventricular aneurysm, look for reciprocal changes and height of T-waves: 1. Reciprocal ST depression strongly favors AMI. 2. Large T-waves in leads with Q waves and STE is likely AMI. Ventricular aneurysm usually gives you "blunted" or flat T-waves in those leads.

Category: Cardiology

Title: Non-ACS causes of elevation troponins

Keywords: Troponin, cause, Non-ACS (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Non-ACS causes of elevation troponins: 1. acute PE 2. Stanford A aortic dissections 3. acute heart failure 4. strenuous exercise (e.g ultra-endurance activities) 5. cardiac toxins 6. ablation therapy/cardiversion 7. cardiac infiltrative diseases 8. post-heart transplant (may persist up to 3 mos) 9. cardiac contusion 10. sepsis 11. rhabdomyolysis

Category: Airway Management

Title: Venous Air Embolism

Keywords: Air, Embolism, Catheter (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Recognize the signs of venous air embolism when inserting a central venous catheter * Although rare, a feared complications of CVC insertion is venous air embolism (VAE) * Conditions that increase the risk of VAE are detachment of catheter connections, failure to occlude the needle hub during insertion, hypovolemia, and upright positioning of the patient * Clinically, VAE presents with acute dyspnea, cough, chest pain, altered mental status, tachypnea, tachycardia, and/or hypotension * Treatment includes placing the patient in a left lateral decubitus position, reverse Trendelenburg, and providing 100% oxygen via NRB * Also consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy * Aspiration of air, as recommended in some textbooks, is rarely successful Reference: Mirski MA. Lele AV. Fitzsimmons L. Toung TJ. Diagnosis and treatment of vascular air embolism. Anesthesiology 2007;106(1):164-77.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Pacer Cordis

Keywords: Pacer, Cordis, transvenous (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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Make sure the Cordis is the right size when floating a pacing wire * At some point in your career, you may need to "float" a transvenous pacing wire * When inserting the wire, you need to make sure you have the right size Cordis * In general, a pacing wire should be inserted through a 6F Cordis (0.198 mm) * Many introducer kits have a 7.5F Cordis (0.2475mm) that is used for insertion of a PAC * Blood loss, infection, and air embolism are risks that can occur when the Cordis catheter used is too large Reference: 1. Marcucci L, ed. Avoiding common ICU errors. Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:275-6.

Category: Critical Care

Title: TRALI - Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury

Keywords: Transfusion, Lung, Injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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TRALI - Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury * TRALI has now emerged as the primary cause of transfusion-associated mortality, surpassing infectious complications and ABO mismatch * TRALI is defined as new ALI in a patient receiving, or having just received (within the past 6 hours), a blood product transfusion * All plasma-containing products have been implicated (FFP and platelets are the top offenders) * Clinically, patients present with dyspnea, tachypnea, and hypoxia * CXR findings are consistent with noncardiogenic pulmonary edema * There is no unique treatment for TRALI; most patients have resolution within 96 hours * AVOID diuretics as these patients are often volume depleted Reference: 1. Looney MR. Newly recognized causes of acute lung injury: transfusion of blood products, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and avian influenza. Clin Chest Med 2006;27:591-600.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Critical care of patients with HIV/AIDS - Lactic Acidosis

Keywords: HIV, Lactic, Acidosis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
Click here to contact Mike Winters, MD

Critical care of patients with HIV/AIDS - Lactic Acidosis * Lactic acidosis can be a life-threatening complication of HAART - mortality as high as 77% * It can occur with any of the nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (most common are didanosine and stavudine) * Common presenting symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, myalgias, and elevation of transaminases * In patients with these symptoms check a lactate -> a value > 5 mmol/L is considered life-threatening * Treatment is supportive care with removal of the offending medication * In anecdotal reports, L-carnitine, thiamine, and riboflavin may reverse toxicity Reference: Morris A, Masur H, Huang L. Current issues in the critical care of the human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient. Crit Care Med 2006;34:42-9.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse - The Pattern of Abuse

Keywords: opioids, toxicology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2014 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 5/26/2019) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

The pattern of prescription drug abuse continues to center around semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Federal regulations have now raised hydrocodone to a schedule II drug like oxycodone. Despite efforts, the slope for natural and semisynthetic opioids remains steep.  The ED measures of education, limit prescriptions for acute pain, minimize number of days/pills prescribed and utlize the prescription drug monitoring program are some basics that can assist you in better prescribing habits.

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Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse - The Pattern of Abuse

Keywords: opioids, toxicology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2014 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 5/26/2019) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

The pattern of prescription drug abuse continues to center around semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Federal regulations have now raised hydrocodone to a schedule II drug like oxycodone. Despite efforts, the slope for natural and semisynthetic opioids remains steep.  The ED measures of education, limit prescriptions for acute pain, minimize number of days/pills prescribed and utlize the prescription drug monitoring program are some basics that can assist you in better prescribing habits.

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Category: Orthopedics

Title: Sports Hernia/Athletic pubalgia

Keywords: Sports Hernia, groin pain (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/6/2014 by Brian Corwell, MD (Emailed: 5/26/2019)
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Sports Hernia/Athletic pubalgia

 

Hx: Gradually increasing lower abdominal/proximal adductor pain. Usually activity related, resolves with rest. Frequent return despite rest when sports activity resumes.

Most common in athletes who perform cutting/maneuvers in addition to frequent acceleration/deceleration. Think ice hockey and soccer.

Bilateral symptoms not uncommon.

PE:  Resisted sit up with palpation of the inferolateral edge of the distal rectus may recreate symptoms. Similarly, resisted hip adduction may elicit symptoms. 

If for no other reason than to make the diagnosis harder to make, valsalva induced pain may also occur.

Fluoroscopic guided injections can be helpful to isolate the site of pain generation.

First line therapy is rest, non-narcotic analgesia and physical therapy.

With surgery, >80% return to pre injury level of play.

 

http://atlantasportsmedicine.com/orthopedic-surgeon/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/groin-injuries.jpg

 

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Category: Neurology

Title: Phantoms in EMS

Keywords: Stroke, EMS, prehospital care, tPA, emergency medical services, fibrinolysis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/15/2014 by Ben Lawner, DO (Emailed: 5/26/2019) (Updated: 7/3/2014)
Click here to contact Ben Lawner, DO

The Prehospital Acute Neurological Treatment and Optimization of Medical Care in Stroke Study (PHANTOM-S) was a randomized prehospital  clinical trial. On certain days, a dedicated Stroke Emergency Mobile (STEMO) responded to possible ischemic stroke incidents. Outcomes measured included time to thrombolysis and adverse events such as intracerebral hemorrhage. As opposed to usual prehospital care, a STEMO ambulance was equipped with a CT scanner, point of care laboratory, and a neurologist. According to the study, STEMO use resulted in reduced time to treatment (tPA) without adverse events. 

Though this trial did not specifically measure clinical endpoints, it addresses issues central to the delivery of specialized prehospital care:

1) Are there certain conditions which might warrant a tailored, super-specialized EMS response?
2) Are EMS systems capable of delivering definitive care to the patient as opposed to delivering the patient to definitive care? 

Stateside study has already started.  The Houston Fire Department, in partnership with UTHeath, has already loosed a "Mobile Stroke Unit" on the streets. Like the STEMO, the specialized ambulance will be University hospital based, carry a neurologist, and have the capability to administer tPA. 

STEMO pictures courtesy of the "NeuroEMS Blog"
http://www.neuroems.com/2014/05/14/tpa-in-the-truck-results-of-the-phantom-s-trial/

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Category: Critical Care

Title: Predicting peri-Intubation hypotension

Keywords: peri-Intubation, shock index (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/7/2017 by Rory Spiegel, MD (Emailed: 5/26/2019)
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Identifying patients at risk of hypotension during intubation is not always straight forward. The prevalence of peri-intubation hypotension in the Emergency Department has been demonstrated to be approximately 20%.1 And while certain variables increase the likelihood of peri-intubation hypotension (ex. Shock index> 0.80), no single factor predicts it accurately enough to be used at the bedside.2 In the majority of patients undergoing intubation, clinicians should be prepared for peri-intubation hypotension with either vasopressor infusions or push dose pressors.

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Category: Toxicology

Title:

Keywords: vaping (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/6/2018 by Kathy Prybys, DO (Emailed: 5/26/2019) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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 Vaping. is the use of electronic device to heat a liuid to generate an aersol or vapor to inhale. The lqiud usually contains nicotine, propylene gylcol, gylcerine, and flavoring. E cigarettes are popular for various reasons simulate tobacco use, odorless, believed to be healthier than tobacco, circumvent no smoking laws, delivery system for cannabinoids. The JUUL, is a sleekly designed e-cigarette which resembles a a USB drive and is increasingly being used by youth and young adults.

 

Although e-cigarettes cause less health effects than tobacco, current evidence indicates that they are not without risk.


Category: Vascular

Title: D-Dimer in Pregnancy

Keywords: D-Dimer, Pregnancy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/9/2008 by Rob Rogers, MD (Emailed: 5/26/2019) (Updated: 5/26/2019)
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D-Dimer levels are known to be elevated in pregnancy. But how high is too high and can this test be used in the workup of VTE in pregnant patients?

Recent literature indicates that D-dimer levels in each of the three trimesters are approximately 39% higher: 700, 1000, and 1400 ng/dL for each trimester (normal cutoff 500 ng/dL). So, figure out what trimester your patient is in and use the corresponding D-Dimer level for that trimester.

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