UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pseudosubluxation

Keywords: Pseudosubluxation, swischuk Line, Hangman's Fracture, Cervical Injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/10/2007 by Sean Fox, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Pseudosubluxation Refers to the normal mobility of the cervical vertebrae, IN FLEXION, which may appear pathologic Distinguishing between Pseudosubluxation and Pathologic - The displacement should only occur in flexion (Not extension) (1) most pediatric c-spine films are in flexion due to the relatively larger occiput - Swischuk Line (1) Line that is drawn from anterior aspects of C1 to C3 spinous processes (2) This line should be within 2 mm of the anterior aspect of the C2 spinous process - Spinal-Laminar Line (1) The line drawn connecting the lamina of C1, C2, and C3 should remain intact even in flexion If you suspect that the misalignment represents pseudosubluxation, than you can reposition in extension; if it resolves, it is consistent with pseudosubluxation. But be careful, if mechanism warrants it, obtain CT to r/o hangman s fracture instead. Anterior displacement of C2 in children: physiologic or pathologic. LE Swischuk. Radiology. Vol 122(3) 1977. p 759-763.

Attachments

Swischuck Line.ppt (518 Kb)


Category: Toxicology

Title: Toxic Findings on CxR

Keywords: Chest radiograph, poisoning, amiodarone (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/9/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Here are some chest x-ray findings and cool toxins that can cause them (not an all-inclusive list): Diffuse airspace filling: salicylates, opioids, paraquat, phospgene, doxorubicin - Disease Process: Acute Lung Injury Focal airspace filling: hydrocarbons - Disease Process: Aspiration pneumonitis Pleural Effusion: Procainamide, hydralazine, INH, methyldopa - Disease Process: Drug-induced SLE Pneumothorax/Pneumomediastinum: "crack" cocaine and marijuana, IVDA into subclavian vein - Disease Process: Barotrauma Lymphadenopathy: Phenytoin, methotrexate - Disease Process: Pseudolymphoma Interstitial Patterns: Amiodarone - Disease Process: Phospholipidosis [Adapated from Goldfrank's Textbook of Toxicologic Emergencies, 8th Edition, Table 6-3, p. 74]

Category: Neurology

Title: TIA

Keywords: TIA, stroke (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/8/2007 by Aisha Liferidge, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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While TIA has historically been defined as lasting less than 24 hours, recent data clearly demonstrates that ischemic attack lasting longer than one hour is often associated with actual brain infarction. Most TIA's last less than 5 minutes. Evidence of acute infarction can be identified by MRI in up to 50% of patients who meet the 24 hour criteria for TIA. Diffusion MRI in patients with transient ischemic attacks. Kidwell CS; Alger JR; Di Salle F; Starkman S; Villablanca P; Bentson J; Saver JL. Stroke 1999, Jun;30(6):1174-80. Transient ischemic attack--proposal for a new definition. Albers GW; Caplan LR; Easton JD; Fayad PB; Mohr JP; Saver JL; Sherman DG. New England Journal of Medicine 2002, Nov 21;347(21):1713-6.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Post-intubation hypotension

Keywords: hypotension, pneumothorax, dynamic hyperinflation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/7/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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-Post-intubation hypotension can occur in a substantial proportion of patients -Before attributing this to the effects of your sedative medications, you must think about pnemothorax, hyperinflation from overzealous bag-valve mask ventilation, and hypovolemia -Pneumothorax - auscultate the lungs and repeat the CXR -Hyperinflation - disconnect the patient from the ventilator and allow them to "deflate" -Hypovolemia - give a fluid bolus

Category: Vascular

Title: Aortic Occlusion Masquerading as Cauda Equina Syndrome

Keywords: Aortic, Cauda Equina Syndrome (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/6/2007 by Rob Rogers, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Beware older patients who present with lower extremity weakness and evidence of cauda equina syndrome. Patients with aortic occlusive syndromes (thrombosis) can look exactly like a spinal cord patient. Pearl: Always perform a good pulse check and examination of the skin (looking for skin mottling, i.e. livedo) in older patients who for all practicle purposes look like cord compression. The two conditions can lool a lot alike. And missing aortic occlusion may be fatal.

Category: Cardiology

Title: heparins in ACS

Keywords: enoxaparin, heparin, bleeding, complications (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/5/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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The risk of bleeding complications related to enoxaparin increases in patients with renal insufficiency. In fact, many recommend that unfractionated heparin be used instead of low molecular weight heparin in these patients because there is more safety data regarding unfractionated heparin. If enoxaparin is used, the dose should be cut in half (or given only once per day instead of every 12 hours) when the GFR is < 30 mL/min (GFR can be easily calculated by google-able GFR calculators on the internet).

Category: Med-Legal

Title: ED Documentation

Keywords: Documentation, Legal, Chart (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/4/2007 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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ED Chart Documentation ==> Provide documentation that you ruled out the worst possible outcome. ==> Read and acknowledge the nurse s notes especially if a conflict exists. ==> Always address abnormal vital signs. ==> Provide times for all notes. ==> Don t use demeaning terminology to describe patients. ==> Write interval progress notes when a patient s condition changes. ==> Document lab, EKG, and x-ray abnormalities. Disclaimer:This information does not constitute legal advice, is general in nature, and because individual circumstances differ it should not be interpreted as legal advice. The speaker provides this information only for Continuing Medical Education purposes.

Category: Procedures

Title: Lumbar Puncture

Keywords: Meningitis, Lumbar Puncture, (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/28/2007 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 8/3/2007) (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Lumbar Puncture Pearls On obese patients, it can be easier to obtain a lumbar puncture with the patient in the sitted position. If you require an opening pressure (eg, pseudotumor cerebri), replace the stylet and have an assistant help the patient into the left lateral recumbent position

If the CSF flow is too slow, ask the patient to cough or bear down as in the Valsalva maneuver, or intermittently press on the patient s abdomen to increase the flow. The needle can also be rotated 90 degrees such that the bevel faces cephalad.

In children, a recent study has shown that performing an LP can be more successful by using adequate analgesia and advancing the needle through the dura without the stylet.

In adults with suspected meningitis, a CT scan of the head does NOT need to be done prior to the lumbar puncture unless the patient has one of the following
  • Immunocompromised state: HIV infection or AIDS, receiving immunosuppressive therapy, or after transplantation
  • History of CNS disease: Mass lesion, stroke, or focal infection
  • New onset seizure: Within 1 week of presentation;
  • Papilledema: Presence of venous pulsations suggests absence of increased intracranial pressure
  • Abnormal level of consciousness...
  • Focal neurologic deficit


Nigrovic LE et al. Risk factors for traumatic or unsuccessful lumbar punctures in children. Ann Emerg Med 2007 Jun; 49:762-71.

Tunkel AR, Hartman BJ, Kaplan SL, et al. Practice guidelines for the management of bacterial meningitis. Clin Infect Dis 2004; 39:1267 84.

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Painless Neck Masses

Keywords: Neck Mass, thyroglossal duct cyst, Second Brachial Cleft Cyst, ectopic Thyroid tissue (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/3/2007 by Sean Fox, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Painless Neck Masses Thyroglossal Duct Cyst = most common congenital midline mass ==> Concern that it may be ectopic thyroid tissue ==> Painless ==> Elevates with the tongue during swallowing (It is attached to the base of the tongue) ==> Requires ultrasound. Thyroid Scan if thyroid is abnormal. ==> Tx; Sistrunk procedure excsion of cyst and and mid-portion of the hyoid bone (not removing the portion of the hyoid leads to high rate of recurrence). Second Branchial Cleft Cyst = Most common branchial anomaly (90%) ==> Painless fluctuant mass in the anterior triangle ==> Arise due to failure of the embryonic branchial cleft to obliterate. ==> Ultrasound or CT may be useful to define mass and for pre-operative evaluation. Both are mostly asymptomatic, but may cause symptoms due to compression of local structures. Both may become infected secondarily, at which time they will no longer be painless. Treat with Abx if infected. Surgical excision should be delayed until active infection is resolved.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioids with Unique Toxicity

Keywords: opioids, adverse drug effect, methadone (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/2/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Opioids Opioids in general cause respiratory depression, miotic pupils and some mild hypotensions and bradycardia when the patient is comatose. All opioids can cause varying degrees of histamine release. However, not all opioids are similiar, here are the unique toxicities of some various opioids - keep them in mind when you prescribe them: 1) Propoxyphene - seizures and TCA like effects, also not very effect analgesic 2) Meperidine - seizures, serotonergic (thus increased abuse potential) 3) Methadone - long half-life (30+hrs) and QT prolongation 4) Hydromorphone - rare seizures and most common opioid that causes iatrogenic overdose because of its potency. (Easy to write 2 mg of "Dilaudid" but that is equivalent to 14 mg of morphine!) 5) Tramadol - seizure (common) and serotonergic, this is only 20% opioid 6) Fentanyl - rigid chest syndrome with rapid IV administration causes intercostal muscle contraction - not good

Category: Neurology

Title: Stroke Mimics

Keywords: stroke, stroke mimics, complex migraine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/1/2007 by Aisha Liferidge, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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One study found that the top 4 stroke mimics confused for a true stroke are: 1) Unrecognized seizure with post-ictal phase 2) Systemic infections 3) Brain tumor 4) Metabolic disturbances Complex migraine, specifically hemiplegic migraine, is also a common stroke mimic. This diagnosis is especially difficult to make on initial presentation and should be a diagnosis of exclusion. The hemiparesis associated with the migraine can actually outlast the actual headache. Libman RB, Wirkowski E, Alvir J, Rao TH. Conditions that mimic stroke in the emergency department. Implications for acute stroke trials. Archives of Neurology. 1995;52:1119-1122.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Mechanical Ventilation "Knobology" - tidal volume

Keywords: mechanical ventilation, tidal volume, ideal body weight (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/31/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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-When setting the ventilator, many of us use an initial tidal volume of 6 ml/kg -This number comes from ARDSnet data that demonstrated improved mortality with low tidal volumes in patients with ARDS/ALI -It is important to note that your calculation of 6 ml/kg is based upon IDEAL BODY WEIGHT (not total body weight) -For males: IBW = 50 kg + 2.3 kg for each inch over 5 feet. -For females: IBW = 45.5 kg + 2.3 kg for each inch over 5 feet.

Category: Vascular

Title: Serum Markers of Right Ventricular Dysfunction in PE

Keywords: PE, Right Ventricular Dysfunction (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/30/2007 by Rob Rogers, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Elevation of Troponin I and BNP have been shown to be reliable serum markers of right ventricular dysfuncion in pulmonary embolism. Two pearls: 1. Don't forget PE in patients with chest pain and or dyspnea who have elevated troponins. 2. Elevation of serum BNP and Troponin in PE has been linked to worse outcomes. Get that ECHO early and consider lytics for PE patients who have elevated biomarkers.

Category: Neurology

Title: Migraine Headaches

Posted: 7/29/2007 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 7/30/2007) (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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*Hormone-related migraine headaches are largely related to changes in levels of estrone glucuronide (EIG). *Studies have shown that in addition to an increase in symptoms for female migraneurs during the menstrual phase (during first 3 days of menses), there are also 3 distinct midcyle (around day 14) phases during which migraines are most prevalent. They are: 1) Late follicular phase (LF) (rapid rise in estrodiol level) 2) Early follicular 1 phase (rapid drop in estrodiol level) 3) Early follicular 2 phase (rapid rise in progesterone level) American Headache Society 49th Annual Scientific Meeting: Abstract 150. June 7-10, 2007.

Category: Neurology

Title: Stroke

Keywords: Stroke, Carotid Artery Lesion, CVA (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/29/2007 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 7/30/2007) (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Learn the Lingo for Stroke Manangement: Patients with acute stroke due to a carotid artery thrombotic lesion that then embolizes to a cerebrovascular artery, have two problems that can be addressed with one coordinated intervention. * "Triple Play" = (1) Carotid artery lesion stenting followed by (2) retrieval of the embolic clot from the cerebrovascular artery via the Merci device followed by (3) intra-arterial tPA (the latter prevents complications that could result from removal of embolic clot). * "Double Play" = (1) Retrieval of the clot from the cerebrovascular artery via the Merci device followed by (2) intra-arterial tPA. Merci Device information: http://www.concentric-medical.com/products_retrieval.html

Category: Neurology

Title: Migraine Headache Diagnosis

Keywords: Migraine, Headache, Diagnostic Criteria (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/29/2007 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 7/30/2007) (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Diagnostic Criteria for Migraine Headaches: * Migraine w/o aura- A. At least five headache attacks lasting 4 - 72 hours, with at least two of the four following characteristics: 1. Unilateral location. 2. Pulsating quality. 3. Moderate or severe intensity (inhibits or prohibits dailyactivities). 4. Aggravated by walking stairs or similar routine physical activity. B. During headache, at least one of the two following symptoms occur: 1. Phonophobia and photophobia. 2. Nausea and/or vomiting. * Migraine w/ aura (remember: aura is not always visual) - A. At least two attacks with at least three of the following: 1. One or more fully reversible aura symptoms indicating focal cerebralcortical and/or brain stem functions. 2. At least one aura symptom develops gradually over more than four minutes,or two or more symptoms occur insuccession. 3. No aura symptom lasts more than 60 minutes; if more than one aura symptomis present, accepted duration is proportionally increased. 4. Headache follows aura with free interval of at least 60 minutes (it mayalso simultaneously begin with the aura). B. At least one of the following aura features establishes a diagnosis ofmigraine with typical aura: 1. Homonymous visual disturbance. 2. Unilateral paresthesias and/or numbness. 3. Unilateral weakness. 4. Aphasia or unclassifiable speech difficulty. Headache 44(5):426-435, 2004. Headache classification committee of the IHS. Classification and diagnostic criteria for headache disorders, cranial neuralgias and facial pain. Cephalalgia 1988 8: 1-96.

Category: Cardiology

Title: post-MI complications

Keywords: myocardial, infarction, complications, papillary, VSD, murmur (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/29/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Post-MI patient develops acute pulmonary edema + hypotension + new systolic murmur = VSD or paplillary muscle rupture Treatment = inotropic support + afterload reduction (as tolerated) + OR ASAP (balloon pump is temporizing)

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Hirschsprung Disease

Keywords: GI, Hirschsrung Disease, Constipation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/26/2007 by Sean Fox, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Hirschsprung Disease Is the absence of parasympathetic ganglion cells in the rectum and colon. May present in neonates or young children. Consider it in any child with constipation, bilious emesis, delayed passage of meconium (after the first 48-72 hrs), abdominal distension, or enterocolitis. Classic physical finding: tight anal sphincter, empty rectal vault, followed by an explosive bowel movement (due to releasing the pressure by loosening the anal sphincter). Definitive Dx made by rectal biopsy. May be complicated by bacterial overgrowth causing enterocolitis.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction

Keywords: Nerve agents, organophosphates, blistering agents (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/26/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction There are a variety of chemicals utilized as WMD and can be categorized as: nerve agent, blistering agent or incapacitating agent: Nerve Agents: (Sarin, VX) cause a parasympathetic toxidrome due to inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase. Antidote is pralidoxime, benzodiazepines and atropine. Blistering Agents: (Mustard Gas) Must be treated like a severe burn patient causing extreme pain and sloughing of the skin. Incapacitating Agents: (BZ) Causes anticholinergic toxidrome, your whole army starts to hallucinate and develop urinary retention. People armed, hallucinating and needing to pee makes for a highly ineffective military force.

Category: Critical Care

Title: Mechanical Ventilation "Knobology" - ventilation

Keywords: mechanical ventilation, pCO2, tidal volume, pH (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/24/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 12/9/2019)
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-Remember that oxgenation is affected by changes in PEEP and/or FiO2 -For changes needed in ventilation (pH and pCO2), you alter the respiratory rate (RR) and/or tidal volume (TV) -Changes in RR produce a greater effect on pH and pCO2 than changes in TV -Focus more on maintaining a pH between 7.3 - 7.4, rather than on returning pCO2 to normal