PERCs of the Wells Score

PERCs of the Wells Score

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is one of the big “can’t miss” diagnoses in the emergency department. Unfortunately, presenting symptoms are often vague, and definitive diagnostic testing is expensive and comes with risks of radiation and contrast to the patient. In order to avoid missing a PE while mitigating the risks associated with overtesting, some clinical decision tools have been created to aid in the diagnostic process. We will focus on two of these commonly used decision tools: the PERC rule and the WELLS score for PE.

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Diagnostics: C-Spine Rules

Diagnostics: C-Spine Rules

Clearance of cervical spine is more within the house of Emergency Medicine than anywhere else, so it implores that when we clear a cervical spine using our rules, we take a second to consider the sensitivity, specificity and even more importantly the exclusions that were used in the derivation and validations in these studies. Dr. Gawron takes a look through these rules for our review

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Diagnostics: Alternative EKG Leads

Diagnostics: Alternative EKG Leads

Ever have a patient that looks more concerning than their EKG? Perhaps their ischemia is in that anatomically difficult to access right ventricle or even posterior. Join Dr. Connelly in looking at the utility of right sided, posterior and Lewis leads and bring something new to your next chest pain patient.

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The CBC and the Man Behind the Curtain

The CBC and the Man Behind the Curtain

It’s been called “the refuge of the intellectually destitute (physician)” by Amal Muttu. The CBC is a much maligned test that is nevertheless one of the the most frequently ordered diagnostic tests in the ED. To truly know how to interpret this test, one must understand its individual components, the possible causes of variations from normal for those components, and how it integrates into the clinical presentation of the patient. Also, it can’t help but to know and understand some of the historical background…

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The Importance of the RUG

The Importance of the RUG

It is early on in your residency training, when you receive sign-out of a patient who was involved in an MVC with multiple injuries including a stable pelvic injury. The patient, a middle-aged male, has not voided three hours into his visit and there is no mention of any obvious genital trauma.  He has had a negative FAST exam in addition to the rest of your primary and secondary assessment. The patient mentions to the nurse that he is trying to urinate but cannot void and has some discomfort. The bladder scan shows that the patient has about 500cc of urine and when the nurse goes to place a urinary catheter she pauses as she sees what appears to be dried blood at the urethral opening. After reassessing the patient who is still hemodynamically stable with normal mentation, his findings are discussed with Urology who recommend getting a retrograde urethrogram prior to any additional procedures. 

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Massive Transfusion Triggers: Back to the ABCs (score)

Massive Transfusion Triggers: Back to the ABCs (score)

Massive Transfusion (MT) is a life-saving trigger in trauma centers, but heavy is the burden of activating significant resources without knowing the blood products will go to good use. The ABC is the ACS recommendation, is easy and requires no additional testing, however newer weighted scores like PWH and TASH have showed promise in external validations. This week, Dr. Laurence takes a deep dive into the literature behind these triggers, their validation as well as some take aways for your use of life-saving Massive Transfusion.

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To Scan or Not to Scan? PECARN for Pediatric Head Trauma.

To Scan or Not to Scan? PECARN for Pediatric Head Trauma.

When a child comes in to the emergency department for head trauma, it can be difficult to balance unwanted, and possibly unnecessary radiation, with the risk of missing clinically significant head trauma. CT scans of the head allow providers to rapidly identify, and subsequently address dangerous and potentially life-threatening intracranial trauma and hemorrhages. However, as with everything in medicine, a CT scan is not without risks, particularly in the pediatric patient. With over 500,000 ED visits per year dedicated to pediatric head traumas, this is a challenge that emergency medicine providers face frequently (1).  A study published in 2001 suggests that approximately 170 deaths were attributable to one year of CT head examinations in pediatric patients (2), and utilization of CT imaging has only increased since. Therefore, as with any radiation based imaging, careful consideration should be given to whether the test is truly necessary. As mechanism of injury and post-trauma symptoms can range drastically, it can be difficult to accurately assess the appropriateness of imaging in a child. As such, the pediatric emergency care applied research network (PECARN) worked to develop a clinical decision tool to guide clinicians in the need for head CT following pediatric head trauma.

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Diagnostic Questions of the HEART

Diagnostic Questions of the HEART

Chest pain is a part of our everyday practice, as has become utilization of the HEART score. Successfully weathering a storm of validation, it is incumbent upon us to know the data and variability to its use in the ED. This week Dr. Hunt will take us through the diagnostic view on the HEART score and the data behind it.

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What's in a Blood Gas? VBG vs ABG

What's in a Blood Gas? VBG vs ABG

You’re deep into a busy shift. Pushing yourself to see more volume towards the end of the year, you find yourself actively managing 8 patients.  You have 2 patients with difficulty breathing you believe have COPD exacerbations and 1 patient with a history of T1DM who has a critical high finger stick blood sugar and ketones in their urine.  You send VBGs as part of the work up for all these patients finding hypercarbia for the patients who have COPD exacerbations and a significant metabolic acidosis in the patient with T1DM confirming your diagnosis of DKA. You are in the process of admitting these patients when you face questions from your colleagues in-house as to why you didn’t perform an ABG on these patients?

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EKG Toxicology

EKG Toxicology

Emergency medicine physicians frequently assess and treat patients who have accidental or intentional poisonings. United States poison centers receive over two million case referrals per year. And, about 20% of these poisonings present to an Emergency Department for evaluation. Evaluation of these patients always includes a history and physical, but further testing can provide valuable information. Blood work is often be needed, but an EKG is a faster, cheaper tool that can provide key pieces of information prompting early interventions. 

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