UMEM Educational Pearls - By Mimi Lu

Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with Kawasaki Syndrome as an acute vasculitis of small and medium-sized vessels, predominantly occurring in patients aged 6 months to 5 years.

Classic Kawasaki is diagnosed by fever for greater than 5 days plus 4 out of 5 classic signs.

  • Mnemonic: “CRASH and burn”
  • Conjunctivitis (bilateral and nonexudative)
  • Rash (polymorphous, ie can look like anything)
  • Adenopathy (cervical, usually greater than 1.5cm and usually unilateral)
  • Strawberry tongue or other oral changes (lip swelling/fissuring/erythema/bleeding, oropharyngeal hyperemia)
  • Hands and feet (induration and erythema, desquamation is a late sign)
  • Burn = fever lasting for >5 days

But what about an 8 month-old with 6 days of fever plus nonexudative conjunctivitis, unilateral cervical adenopathy and a diffuse maculopapular rash?   Send some labs!

Incomplete Kawasaki is defined as fever for >5 days with 2 or more of the classic findings plus elevated ESR (>40mm/hr) and CRP (>3.0mg/dL).  It is most common in infants under 12 months of age. 

Disposition for the 8 month-old?

  • If ESR and CRP are not elevated, discharge to home with f/u in 24 hours to re-evaluate symptoms and for repeat labs if fever persists.
  • If ESR and CRP are elevated, the child needs an echo to evaluate for coronary artery aneurysms. 

 If the echo is normal, follow up in 24-48 hours and will need a repeat echo if fever persists.

TREAT kids with IVIG and aspirin (which generally means admission) if echo is positive, or with normal echo and the presence of 3 or more supplemental criteria:

  • Anemia for age
  • Elevated ALT
  • Albumin<3.0mg/dL,
  • Sterile Pyuria (>10 WBC/hpf)
  • Platelets >450K after 7 days
  • WBC >15,000
1) Falcini F, Capannini S, Rigante D. Kawasaki syndrome: an intriguing disease with numerous unsolved dilemmas. Pediatric Rheumatology 2011;9:17
2) American Academy of Pediatrics. Kawasaki Disease. In: Pickering LK, Baker CJ, Kimberlin DW, Long SS, eds. Red Book: 2009 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009. 


1111251332_2009_Red_Book.doc (384 Kb)

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Child Passenger Safety

Keywords: Passenger Safety (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/18/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD
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Child Passenger Safety.

Perhaps one of the greatest contributions emergency physicians can provide to society comes in the  form of anticipatory guidance. It is important to take the opportunity during the ED encounter to provide information to parents to prevent future injuries. Child passenger safety is one clear example. With over 330,000 pediatric visits to EDs  across the US annually attributed to motor vehicle collisions, the need to provide clear recommendations to parents on how to restrain their children in their vehicle is paramount. Despite a recent survey of over 1000 EPs in which 85% of respondents indicated child passenger safety should routinely be a part of pediatric MVC discharge instructions, only 36% of EPs knew the latest guidelines on child passenger safety.   The American Academy of Pediatrics provides such guidelines. These recommendations were recently adjusted in 2011.

(1) Infants up to 2 years must be in REAR-facing car seats
(2) Children through 4 years in forward-facing car safety seats
(3) Belt-positioning booster seat for children through at least 8 years old
(4) Lap-and-shoulder seat belts for those who have outgrown booster seats. How does one know when the child has outgrown the booster seat?
     a. Can the child sit with his/her knees bent at the edge of the seat?
     b. Does the shoulder belt lie across the middle of the chest/shoulder?
     c. Does the lap belt lie across the upper thighs and not the abdomen?
(5) Children younger than 13 should sit in the rear seats

Special Thanks to JV Nable, MD, EMT-P for writing this pearl.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Trick of the Trade: foreign body removal

Keywords: dermabond, glue, foreign body, (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/21/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD
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Next time you have a small round foreign body that you can't grasp with alligator forceps in the nose or ear.  Advantages: non-traumatic and easy to use. Disadvantages: foreign body must be visualized, adhesion of glue to patient
- apply a small amount of cyanacrylate (e.g. Dermabond) to the wood or plastic end of of a cotton-tipped applicator 
 - under direct visualization, slowly advance the tip until contact is made with the foreign body and allow 30-60 seconds of dry time before extracting the object in a gentle smooth motion .
Helpful hints:
- This technique requires: a cooperative patient, good lighting, direct visualization and manual dexterity... if any of the these are missing, you may want to consider an alterative method.-
- The foreign body should be dry and easily visualized so that the risk of accidental contact with the mucosa or tympanic membrane is avoided.
Picture submitted by Dr. Adam Friedlander
Davies P and Benger J. Foreign bodies in the nose and ear: a review of techniques for removal in the emergency department. J Accid Emerg Med 2000;17:91–94

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric Concussions - submitted by Mike Santiago

Keywords: Concussion, sports injury, TBI, return to play (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/30/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD
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You are seeing a high school football player following a head injury.  After your exam or head CT, you determine the child to have had a mild traumatic brain injury (aka concussion).  You are ready to discharge him home when the parents or coach ask you when he can return to playing football.

A concussion is a form of functional, rather than structural, brain injury that displays no evidence of injury on structural neuroimaging.   Symptoms include transient loss of consciousness, amnesia, vomiting, headache, poor school work, sleep changes, and emotional lability.  Remember that children’s brains (even adolescents) are still developing, and are more prone to prolonged recovery following injury.

Recovery of symptoms usually follows a sequential course.  Current guidelines recommend a stepwise return to play (aka concussion rehabilitation) involving both physical and cognitive rest (e.g. no texting, video games, limited school work).  Once asymptomatic, the patient goes through each stage with at least 24 hours between stages.  If symptoms return during a stage, then the patient is expected to return to the previous stage for 24 hours before attempting the higher stage again. 


Return to Play Guidelines:

Rehabilitation stage

Functional Exercise

  1. No activity

Complete physical and cognitive rest

  1.  Light aerobic activity

Walking, swimming, stationary cycling at 70% maximal heart rate, no resistance exercise

  1. Sport-specific exercise

Specific sport related drills but no head impact

  1. Noncontact training drills

More complex drills, may start light resistance training

  1. Full-contact practice

After medical clearance, participate in normal training

  1. Return to play

Normal game play



  1. Halstead ME, Walter KD, and The Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.  Pediatrics. 2010;126:597-615.

Category: Pediatrics

Title: FAST in blunt pediatric abdominal trauma - submitted by John Greenwood, MD

Keywords: ultrasound, intra-abdominal injury, free fluid, blunt trauma (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/23/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD
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Focused assessment of sonography in trauma (FAST) has been shown useful to detect clinically significant hemoperitoneum in adults, but not in children.  Several studies, including a meta-analysis have attempted to assess the performance of FAST in identifying children with intra-abdominal injuries (IAIs) from blunt abdominal traumas (BAT).
In a prospective observational study on 357 children with blunt abdominal trauma, FAST sensitivity = 52% for significant hemoperitoneum, specificity = 96%, PPV = 48%; NPV = 97%.  In the meta-analysis, the identification of hemoperitoneum using FAST protocol (for intra-peritoneal fluid only) the pooled estimate of sensitivity was 80% and specificity 96%.  For the identification of any IAI using FAST protocol the pooled estimate of sensitivity was 66% and specificity was 93%.
Bottom line:
In children with BAT, FAST has a low to moderate sensitivity but high specificity to detect clinically important free fluid.  While a positive FAST suggests hemoperitoneum and abdominal injury, a negative FAST cannot be used to reliably rule out IAI.


1. Holmes J F, Gladman A, Chang C H. Performance of abdominal ultrasonography in pediatric blunt trauma patients: a meta-analysis. Journal of Pediatric Surgery 2007; 42(9): 1588-1594.
2. Fox JC, Boysen M, et al. Test characteristics of focused assessment of sonography for trauma for clinically significant abdominal free fluid in pediatric blunt abdominal trauma. Acad Emerg Med. 2011 May;18(5):477-82. 

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Ipratropium in severe asthma

Keywords: severe asthma, decreased hospitalization (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/26/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD
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Ipratropium bromide (IB, Atrovent) is most efficacious in improving symptoms and preventing hospital admissions due to severe asthma exacerbations when used early and aggressively.  Even in patients with mild to moderate exacerbations, there is also benefit in symptom reduction, decreased number of treatments and duration of treatment, and improved lung function.
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) consensus recommends multidose protocol of IB every 20 minutes (either 250 or 500 Kg per dose) for 3 doses, during the initial management of severe exacerbations. For those institutions who prefer to give IB by metered dose inhaler (18 Kg per puff, with face mask and spacer for children younger than 4 years),
Bottom line:
Give ipratropium bromide (atrovent) early and aggressively to decrease hospitalization rates in severe asthma exacerbation.
1. Dotson K et al. Ipratropium bromide for acute asthma exacerbations in the emergency setting. PediatrEmergCare. 2009 Oct;25(10):687-92; Review.
2. National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (Summary Report 2007). In: BusseW, ed. J Allergy Immunol. 2007;120(5):S94Y138. National Institutes of Health National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute.

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Infantile botulism

Keywords: weakness, constipation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/20/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD
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Infantile botulism

- acute weakness in previously well infant < 6 months of age
- due to intestinal colonization by Clostridium botulinum, which produces neurotoxin
- spores found in soil, agricultural products and honey
initial constipation, followed by lethargy and feeding difficulties
hypoactive deep tendon reflexes, decreased suck and gag, poorly reactive pupils, bilateral ptosis, oculomotor palsies, and facial weakness.
C. botulinum toxin in feces or isolation in stool culture (less sensitive)
supportive, admission to observe for respiratory compromise (77% require eventual intubation), antitoxin has resulted in anaphylaxis in infants, no additional benefit with antibiotics (although often used)

Acute Poststreptococcal Glomerulonephritis (APSGN) is a sequela of group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GAS) infection of the skin or pharynx with nephrogenic strains of GAS.  Damage to the kidneys is due to deposition of antigen-antibody complexes in the glomeruli


- Onset of APSGN averages 10 days after pharyngitis and 3 weeks following cellulitis.
- Nephritic syndome - hematuria (classically "coa-colored"), mild proteinuria, edema (periorbital), hypertension
- Additional symptoms: orthopnea, dyspnea (volume overload), lethargy, vomiting, fever, headache


- Urinalysis (hematuria, proteinuria), creatinine (with subsequent hyperkalemia, acidosis)
- Bacterial cultures of skin or pharynx not useful as rarely positive at time of presentation
- Antistreptolysin O (ASO) titer elevated if preceding pharyngitis but rarely skin infections
- Antideoxyribonuclease B (anti-DNAse B) titers typically elevated in both
- Suppressed C3 level


- Predominately symptomatic: salt an water restriction
- Treatment of hyperkalemia, hypertension (loop diuretics)
- Antibiotics vs GAS (although does not affect clinical course of APSGN, eradicates GAS in individual and reduces transmission of nephrogenic GAS to community
- Profound renal failure may require hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis

Prognosis (favorable):

- Hypertension and gross hematuria resolve over weeks (microscopic may last years)
- Proteinuria resolves over months
- Creatinine returns to baseline over 3-4 weeks



Kit, Brian. Assess the volume status and electrolytes in children with poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis. Avoiding Common Pediatric Errors. 2008. p356-57.

You're called to bedside to evaluate a "lethargic" infant.  You wisely ask for a POCT glucose which returns at 35.  How much dextrose do you give (since you know it's not just "an amp" of D50?

Here's a simple mnemonic:

Rule of 50-100 = multiply type of dextrose solution by ____ factor (ml/kg) to total 50-100

D10 (neonate) x 5-10 ml/kg = 50-100

D25 (infant) x 2-4 ml/kg = 50-100

D50 (child/adolescent) x 1-2 ml/kg = 50-100

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Enterovirus Meningitis

Keywords: Enterovirus, infant, CSF (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/15/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD (Updated: 7/22/2011)
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Now that summer is in full swing, the question is: Should the evaluation of the febrile young infant change during the summer and fall months?  And can that affect length of hospitalization and antibiotic use?

Two retrospective cohort studies from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) suggest yes!  The addition of enterovirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may improve the care of infants with fever during enterovirus season (early June through late October). 

Of note, at CHOP: 1) infants 56 days or younger routinely undergo lumbar puncture during evaluation for fever.  2) Most CSF enterovirus PCR test results (90%) were available within 36 hours; 95% of results were available within 48 hours.

In the King study, having positive enterovirus PCR CSF results decreased the length of hospitalization and the duration of antibiotic use for young infants less than 90 days, supporting the routine use of this test during periods of peak enterovirus season.  In multivariate
analysis, a positive CSF enterovirus PCR result was associated with a 1.54-day decrease in the length of stay and a 33.7% shorter duration of antibiotic use.

Bottom line: Consider adding enterovirus PCR testing to CSF obtained during the evaluation of febrile young infants during enterovirus season, as this may reduce length of hospitalization and duration of antibiotic use.  The effects, however, may be limited at institutions with slower lab turnaround times.



1) King RL, Lorch SA, Cohen DM, Hodinka RL, Cohn KA, Shah SS. Routine cerebrospinal fluid enterovirus polymerase chain reaction testing reduces hospitalization and antibiotic use for infants 90 days or younger. Pediatrics. 2007 Sep;120(3):489-96.

2) Dewan M, Zorc JJ, Hodinka RL, Shah SS. Cerebrospinal fluid enterovirus testing in infants 56 days or younger. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010 Sep;164(9):824-30.

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pre-term tube sizes

Posted: 4/22/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD (Emailed: 5/6/2011) (Updated: 5/6/2011)
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Continuing the theme of endotracheal tube size pearls...  You get a box call for a pre-term baby delivered precipitously by mom at home and baby is blue.  EMS is bagging but unable to secure a definitive airway.  What size ETT do you reach for?  If you try to apply the formula "uncuffed ETT = (age/4) + 4", how much smaller than size 4 can you go?

Here's a nice mneumonic about guessing pre-term "tube" sizes.  Please note ETT = uncuffed endotracheal tube size.
20-25 week gestation: 2.5 ETT
25-30 week gestation: 3.0 ETT
30-35 week gestation: 3.5 ETT
35-40 week gestation: 4.0 ETT
Basically, a 25-week neonate gets a 2.5 tube, a 30-week neonate gets a 3.0 tube, etc.  As always, be prepared and have an additional ETT a 1/2 size smaller readily available.

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Tube sizes

Posted: 4/22/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD (Emailed: 4/30/2011) (Updated: 4/30/2011)
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You decided to intubate a child and wisely remembered that you should also follow with an NG/ OG after intubation to decompress the stomach.  In order to avoid the blank stare when asked "what size"?  Here's a nice mneumonic about Pediatric "tube" sizes... easy as 1-2-3-4!!!  Please note ETT = endotracheal tube size.

  • 1 x ETT = (age/4) + 4 (formula for uncuffed tubes)
  • 2 x ETT = NG/ OG/ foley size
  • 3 x ETT = depth of ETT insertion
  • 4 x ETT = chest tube size (max, e.g. hemothorax)

So for example, a 4-year-old child would get intubated with a 5-0 ETT inserted to depth of 15 cm (3x ETT), a 10Fr NG/OG/foley (2x ETT), and a 20Fr chest tube (4x ETT).

Also, remember that you can use cuffed tubes in any child except neonates but the formula needs to be adjusted as follows: cuffed endotracheal tube ID (mm) = (age/4) + 3.5

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Category: Pediatrics

Title: Influenza

Keywords: Influenza (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/2/2011 by Mimi Lu, MD (Emailed: 3/5/2011) (Updated: 3/5/2011)
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Now that influenza season is in full swing, remember that early antiviral treatment can reduce the risk of complications in high-risk individuals. One of those high-risk groups is children <2 years, with the highest hospitalizations and mortality in infants <6 months.

According to the CDC website:
Recommended antiviral medications (neuraminidase inhibitors) are not FDA-approved for treatment of children aged <1 year (oseltamivir) or those aged <7 years (zanamivir). Oseltamivir was used for treatment of 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in children aged <1 year under an Emergency Use Authorization, which expired on June 23, 2010. Nevertheless,

  •  3-11 months => Treatment: 3 mg/kg/dose BID, Chemoprophylaxis: 3 mg/kg/dose once daily
  •  infants <3 months => Treatment: 3 mg/kg/dose BID, Chemoprophylaxis: not recommended
  • newborns <14 days => 3 mg/kg/dose once daily
  • treatment doses for children >1 year of age varies by weight:
  •  <15 kg: 30 mg BID
  • 15-23 kg: 45 mg BID
  • 23-40 kg: 60 mg BID
  • >40 kg: 75 mg BID

Current CDC guidance on treatment of influenza should be consulted; updated recommendations from CDC are available at


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