UMEM Educational Pearls - By Adam Friedlander

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Button Batteries in Button Noses

Keywords: nasal foreign bodies, button battery, batteries, ENT (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/10/2009 by Adam Friedlander, MD
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While it is often ok to defer removal of pesky nasal foreign bodies until ENT follow up, if the foreign body may be a button battery, emergent identification and removal is indicated.

Damage can occur in 3 hours, and by 24 hours, near complete necrosis of turbinates and ala has been described.

  • If the object may be a button battery, consider a plain film - if it doesn't show up, it isn't a battery, and you are in the clear.
  • If you can clearly see the button battery, you can try to remove it - consider using a magnet if one is available - more on that in a future pearl.
  • Lastly, if you cannot visualize the battery, if there is any evidence of content leakage, or if there is any tissue damage, emergently consult ENT for assistance - this is a surgical emergency.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Sickle Cell Trait and Sudden Death

Keywords: Sickle Cell Trait, Sudden Death, Pediatrics, Military, Sports Medicine, Law Enforcement, Medical Legal (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/18/2009 by Adam Friedlander, MD (Updated: 7/17/2024)
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You've probably long been taught that Sickle Cell Trait is an irrelevant piece of the PMH, unless you are a genetic counselor.  Well, thanks to Dr. Rolnick and a literature search, I (and now you) know that that is incorrect.

Though Sickle Cell Trait (SCT) does not cause exactly the same pathologies as Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), there are believed to be a variety of RBC abnormalities associated with HgbS (such as measurably lower RBC deformability, and low levels of sickling under extreme heat and exercise conditions) which contribute to increased exercise-related sudden death.  In one NEJM study of all deaths among 2 million (MILLION) military recruits over a 4 year period, the relative risk of otherwise unexplained sudden death for black recruits with HgbAS vs. black recruits without HgbS was 27.6 (p<0.001), and 39.8 (p<0.001) for all recruits (HgbAS vs. no HgbS).

I must say that this topic is not controversy-free, however, I should also note that my search for "Sickle Cell Trait and Sudden Death" turned up quite a few articles directed at plaintiff's attorneys. 

The take-home point is that SCT is likely not a benign condition, and you must be cautious in telling patients that it is.  Again, this phenomenon is best described in patients undergoing extreme physical exertion, but hopefully this will change how you think about SCT.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Sickle Cell and ACS

Keywords: ACS, Sickle Cell (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/14/2009 by Adam Friedlander, MD (Updated: 7/17/2024)
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PEARL: Any patient that in your Emergency Department with a sickle cell disease (SCD)-related diagnosis requires incentive spirometry and frequent monitoring for acute chest syndrome (ACS).


BRIEF WHY: ACS is the most common cause of hospitalization and death in patients with SCD.1,2 

Nearly half of all patients who develop ACS are admitted for diagnoses other than ACS.  Of those not admitted with ACS, radiographic and clinical findings of ACS appeared a mean of 2.5 days after admission.2 It is because of this that all patients with SCD related diagnoses at presentation, must be treated as though they are in the prodrome stage of ACS, and all require incentive spirometry to reduce the risk of progression to ACS.2


More to come... 

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