Falling Out - Syncope Evaluation in the Emergency Department

Falling Out - Syncope Evaluation in the Emergency Department

Syncope is a common presenting complaint to the emergency department. Estimates suggest that 1- 3 percent of ED visits are for syncope.(1) While the large majority of these episodes are often benign, they can suggest underlying life-threatening etiologies such as arrhythmias, pulmonary embolism, and stroke. The disposition of these patients can represent a difficult quandary at times. In fact, emergency physicians are only able to establish a clear underlying diagnosis in approximately 50% of syncope patients after obtaining an HPI, physical exam and ECG. (2

Should these patients be observed in the ED? And, if so, for how long? Should they be admitted to the hospital for further workup and observation? Should they instead be discharged home with close follow-up? 

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Pneumonia Alphabet Soup

Pneumonia Alphabet Soup

Pneumonia. It’s one of the first conditions we learn to diagnose as medical students. It was probably the cause of the first really sick, septic geriatric patient you saw in residency. Conversely you have also probably sent a fair share of patient’s home with an outpatient course of antibiotics and PCP follow-up.  While determining the appropriate treatment and disposition for patients on the extreme ends of illness severity is quite straight forward; that pesky majority in the middle can be a conundrum at times. Who can go home? Who needs broad spectrum? Who needs step-down? Over the last two decades there has been a smorgasbord of pneumonia related acronyms used in clinical practice to predict severity, guide therapeutics and recommend disposition. During our most recent resident Journal Club, we took a look at a handful of the more familiar acronyms as well as some new ones coming down the pipeline.

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Clinical Approach to Knee Radiographs

Early in the morning, you begin your day in your local emergency department. After getting yourself situated, a slow trickle of patients begin to appear on the board. It appears to be a normal morning, all except for the fact that five patients appear, one after the other, who have the same chief complaint: “Knee pain”. It is a good thing you brushed up on reading knee x-rays recently!

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