UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Title: Shoulder Dystocia Legal Pearl

Keywords: Erb's Palsy, Dystocia, Legal (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Michael Bond, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Michael Bond, MD

In follow up to my Shoulder Dystocia Pearl

Dr. DePriest Whye has some legal pearls for us:

Erbs Palsy( Brachial Plexus Injury) is a known complication of shoulder dystocia and is due to traction on the arm that causes stretching of the brachial plexus.

  • Should an Erb's Palsy result as a consequence of a shoulder dystocia, a medical malpractice suit is inevitable.
  • The medical record documentation is particularly critical in defending the medical care rendered.
  • The medical record should reflect timely recognition of the shoulder dystocia.
  • It is important that appropriate implementation of the maneuvers described last week are done in a timely fashion.
  • Vital documentation should describe the amount of traction placed if any.
  • Terms such as minimal or mild or light traction should be used.
  • Terms such as strong, forceful, significant traction should be avoided.
  • Never state in the record that uterine pressure was used as opposed to suprapubic pressure.
  • Uterine pressure is contraindicated.

Erb's Palsy cases are difficult to defend. They are impossible to defend with improper documentation.


Category: Toxicology

Title: Heavy Metal Poisoning Clues for Diagnosis

Keywords: metal, poisoning, thallium (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

Heavy Metal Poisoning Clues for Diagnosis Mees lines, indication of arrested nail growth, occurs in lead, arsenic and others Most heavy metals will cause a proteinuria Microcytic anemia and basophilic stippling seen in lead, arsenic, mercury Peripheral neuropathies in otherwise healthy person Thallium causes classic painful paresthesias in lower extremities

Category: Cardiology

Title: Cardiac Output After Age 35

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

After the age 35, cardiac output decreases by approximately 1% per year. That means that elderly patients are at much higher risk for CHF, especially when they are stressed in some way. CHF can develop in the elderly as a result of any stype of infection or other non-cardiac insult. If decompensated CHF is diagnosed in an elderly patient, don't forget to evaluate the patient carefully for potential non-cardiac causes.

Category: Cardiology

Title: Syncope

Keywords: Syncope, CHESS, San Francisco (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Amal Mattu, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Amal Mattu, MD

Syncope Patients with syncope that are considered to be relatively low risk for complications clinically (i.e. those patients that are not clear-cut admissions) should be evaluated for the 5 CHESS criteria (from the San Francisco Syncope Rules). If they meet none of those criteria, then they are considered to be at very low risk for short-term adverse outcomes and they can be discharged for outpatient follow-up. If they do have any CHESS criteria, they are considered to be at higher risk and admission should be strongly considered. CHESS criteria: history of CHF, hematocrit < 30, ECG abnormalities, shortness of breath, presenting systolic pressure < 90.

Category: Airway Management

Title: Plateau Pressure

Keywords: Plateau, Peak, Pressure, airway (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Mike Winters, MD

Use plateau pressure, rather than peak inspiratory pressure, as a means of assessing the risk of barotrauma * One mechanism (of many) by which mechanical ventilation can induce acute lung injury in patients with ARDS is overdistention of the alveoli * 2 common parameters used to assess airway pressures are plateau pressure (Pplat) and peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) * Pplat approximates small airway and alveolar pressures more closely than PIP * ARDSnet trial demonstrated a reduction in the number of ventilator days and mortality when Pplat was maintained < 30 cm H2O. References: 1. ARDS Network. Ventilation with lower tidal volumes as compared with traditional tidal volumes for acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. NEJM 2000;342:1301-8. 2. Marcucci L, ed. Avoiding common ICU errors. Philadelphia; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007:275-6.

Category: Airway Management

Title: Venous Air Embolism

Keywords: Air, Embolism, Catheter (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/14/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 7/8/2007) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Mike Winters, MD

Recognize the signs of venous air embolism when inserting a central venous catheter * Although rare, a feared complications of CVC insertion is venous air embolism (VAE) * Conditions that increase the risk of VAE are detachment of catheter connections, failure to occlude the needle hub during insertion, hypovolemia, and upright positioning of the patient * Clinically, VAE presents with acute dyspnea, cough, chest pain, altered mental status, tachypnea, tachycardia, and/or hypotension * Treatment includes placing the patient in a left lateral decubitus position, reverse Trendelenburg, and providing 100% oxygen via NRB * Also consider hyperbaric oxygen therapy * Aspiration of air, as recommended in some textbooks, is rarely successful Reference: Mirski MA. Lele AV. Fitzsimmons L. Toung TJ. Diagnosis and treatment of vascular air embolism. Anesthesiology 2007;106(1):164-77.

Category: Toxicology

Title: Valproic acid toxicity

Keywords: Valproic acid (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/16/2014 by Hong Kim, MD, MPH (Emailed: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Hong Kim, MD, MPH

Valproic acid (VPA) is often used to treat seizure disorder and mania as a mood stabilizer. The mechanism of action involves enhancing GABA effect by preventing its degradation and slows the recovery from inactivation of neuronal Na+ channels (blockade effect).

VPA normally undergoes beta-oxidation (same as fatty acid metabolism) in the liver mitochondria, where VPA is transported into the mitochondria by carnitine shuttle pathway.

In setting of an overdose, carnitine is depleted and VPA undergoes omega-oxidation in the cytosol, resulting in a toxic metabolite.

Elevation NH3 occurs as the toxic metabolite inhibits the carbomyl phosphate synthase I, preventing the incorporation of NH3 into the urea cycle.

Signs and symptoms of acute toxicity include:

  • GI: nausea/vomiting, hepatitis
  • CNS: sedation, respiratory depression, ataxia, seizure and coma/encephalopathy (with serum concentration VPA: > 500 mg/mL)

Laboratory abnormalities

  • Serum VPA level: signs of symptoms of toxicity does not correlate well with serum level.
  • NH3: elevated
  • Liver function test: elevated AST/ALT
  • Basic metabolic panel: hypernatremia, metabolic acidosis
  • Complete blood count: pancytopenia

Treatment: L-carnitine

  • Indication: hyperammonemia or hepatotoxicity
  • Symptomatic patients: 100 mg/kg (max 6 gm) IV (over 30 min) followed by 15 mg/kg IV Q 4 hours until normalization of NH3 or improving LFT
  • Asymptomatic patients: 100 mg/kg/day (max 3 mg) divided Q 6 hours.

Show References


Category: Airway Management

Title: Flush-Rate O2 for Preoxygenation prior to RSI

Keywords: RSI, Preoxygenation (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/13/2016 by Rory Spiegel, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Rory Spiegel, MD

During rapid sequence intubation (RSI) we endeavor to avoid positive pressure ventilation, prior to securing a definitive airway. As such, an adequate buffer of oxygen is necessary to ensure a safe apneic period. This process involves replacing the residual nitrogen in the lung with oxygen. It has been demonstrated that a standard nonrebreather (NRB) mask alone does not provide a high enough fractional concentration of oxygen (FiO2) to optimally denitrogenate the lungs (1). Even when a nasal cannula at 15L/min is utilized in addition to the NRB, the resulting FiO2 is not ideal. A bag-valve mask (BVM) with a one-way-valve or PEEP valve has been demonstrated to provide oxygen concentrations close to that of an anesthesia circuit. But its effectiveness is drastically reduced if a proper mask seal is not maintained during the entire pre-oxygenation period (1). This is not always logistically possible in the chaos of an Emergency Department intubation.

A standard NRB with the addition of flush-rate oxygen appears to be a viable alternative. Recently published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, Driver et al demonstrated that a NRB with wall oxygen flow rates increased to maximum levels, rather than the standard 15L/min, provided end-tidal O2 (ET-O2) levels similar to an anesthesia circuit (2). 

Show References


Category: Critical Care

Title: Utilization of the Mechanical Ventilator in Cardiac Arrest

Keywords: CPR, Cardiac Arrest (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/15/2016 by Rory Spiegel, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Rory Spiegel, MD

It is well documented that when left to our own respiratory devices we will consistently over-ventilate patients presenting in cardiac arrest (1). A simple and effective method of preventing these overzealous tendencies is the utilization of a ventilator in place of a BVM. The ventilator is not typically used during cardiac arrest resuscitation because the high peak-pressures generated when chest compressions are being performed cause the ventilator to terminate the breath prior to the delivery of the intended tidal volume. This can easily be overcome by turning the peak-pressure alarm to its maximum setting. A number of studies have demonstrated the feasibility of this technique, most recently a cohort in published in Resuscitation by Chalkias et al (2). The 2010 European Resuscitation Council guidelines recommend a volume control mode at 6-7 mL/kg and 10 breaths/minute (3).

Show References


Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse - The Pattern of Abuse

Keywords: opioids, toxicology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2014 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

The pattern of prescription drug abuse continues to center around semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Federal regulations have now raised hydrocodone to a schedule II drug like oxycodone. Despite efforts, the slope for natural and semisynthetic opioids remains steep.  The ED measures of education, limit prescriptions for acute pain, minimize number of days/pills prescribed and utlize the prescription drug monitoring program are some basics that can assist you in better prescribing habits.

Show References


Category: Toxicology

Title: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse - The Pattern of Abuse

Keywords: opioids, toxicology (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/20/2014 by Fermin Barrueto, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Fermin Barrueto, MD

The pattern of prescription drug abuse continues to center around semisynthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Federal regulations have now raised hydrocodone to a schedule II drug like oxycodone. Despite efforts, the slope for natural and semisynthetic opioids remains steep.  The ED measures of education, limit prescriptions for acute pain, minimize number of days/pills prescribed and utlize the prescription drug monitoring program are some basics that can assist you in better prescribing habits.

Show References


Category: Orthopedics

Title: Sports Hernia/Athletic pubalgia

Keywords: Sports Hernia, groin pain (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/6/2014 by Brian Corwell, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

Sports Hernia/Athletic pubalgia

 

Hx: Gradually increasing lower abdominal/proximal adductor pain. Usually activity related, resolves with rest. Frequent return despite rest when sports activity resumes.

Most common in athletes who perform cutting/maneuvers in addition to frequent acceleration/deceleration. Think ice hockey and soccer.

Bilateral symptoms not uncommon.

PE:  Resisted sit up with palpation of the inferolateral edge of the distal rectus may recreate symptoms. Similarly, resisted hip adduction may elicit symptoms. 

If for no other reason than to make the diagnosis harder to make, valsalva induced pain may also occur.

Fluoroscopic guided injections can be helpful to isolate the site of pain generation.

First line therapy is rest, non-narcotic analgesia and physical therapy.

With surgery, >80% return to pre injury level of play.

 

http://atlantasportsmedicine.com/orthopedic-surgeon/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/groin-injuries.jpg

 

Show References


Category: Neurology

Title: Phantoms in EMS

Keywords: Stroke, EMS, prehospital care, tPA, emergency medical services, fibrinolysis (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/15/2014 by Ben Lawner, DO (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 7/3/2014)
Click here to contact Ben Lawner, DO

The Prehospital Acute Neurological Treatment and Optimization of Medical Care in Stroke Study (PHANTOM-S) was a randomized prehospital  clinical trial. On certain days, a dedicated Stroke Emergency Mobile (STEMO) responded to possible ischemic stroke incidents. Outcomes measured included time to thrombolysis and adverse events such as intracerebral hemorrhage. As opposed to usual prehospital care, a STEMO ambulance was equipped with a CT scanner, point of care laboratory, and a neurologist. According to the study, STEMO use resulted in reduced time to treatment (tPA) without adverse events. 

Though this trial did not specifically measure clinical endpoints, it addresses issues central to the delivery of specialized prehospital care:

1) Are there certain conditions which might warrant a tailored, super-specialized EMS response?
2) Are EMS systems capable of delivering definitive care to the patient as opposed to delivering the patient to definitive care? 

Stateside study has already started.  The Houston Fire Department, in partnership with UTHeath, has already loosed a "Mobile Stroke Unit" on the streets. Like the STEMO, the specialized ambulance will be University hospital based, carry a neurologist, and have the capability to administer tPA. 

STEMO pictures courtesy of the "NeuroEMS Blog"
http://www.neuroems.com/2014/05/14/tpa-in-the-truck-results-of-the-phantom-s-trial/

Show References


Category: Critical Care

Title: Predicting peri-Intubation hypotension

Keywords: peri-Intubation, shock index (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/7/2017 by Rory Spiegel, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Rory Spiegel, MD

Identifying patients at risk of hypotension during intubation is not always straight forward. The prevalence of peri-intubation hypotension in the Emergency Department has been demonstrated to be approximately 20%.1 And while certain variables increase the likelihood of peri-intubation hypotension (ex. Shock index> 0.80), no single factor predicts it accurately enough to be used at the bedside.2 In the majority of patients undergoing intubation, clinicians should be prepared for peri-intubation hypotension with either vasopressor infusions or push dose pressors.

Show References


Category: Toxicology

Title: Hydrofluoric Acid Burns

Keywords: hydrofluoric acid, burn, chemical burn, HFA, calcium gluconate (PubMed Search)

Posted: 9/5/2010 by Dan Lemkin, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 10/2/2010)
Click here to contact Dan Lemkin, MD

Hydrofluoric acid is a weak acid used primarily in industrial applications for glass etching and metal cleaning/plating. It is contained in home rust removers. Although technically a weak acid, it is very dangerous and burns can be subtle in appearance while having severe consequences.

Hydrofluoric acid burn

Wilkes G. Hydrofluoric Acid Burns. Jan 28, 2010. 
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/773304-overview

  • 2 mechanisms that cause tissue damage*
    • corrosive burn from the free hydrogen ions
    • chemical burn from tissue penetration of the fluoride ions
  • Clinical features*
    • Cutaneous burns - absent findings to white-blue appearance
    • Pulmonary edema
    • Hypocalcemia, hyperkalemia, hypomagnesemia
  • Treatment*
    • Decontaminate by irrigation with copious amounts of water.
    • With any evidence of hypocalcemia, immediately administer 10% calcium gluconate IV.
    • Cutaneous burns:
      • Apply 2.5% calcium gluconate gel to the affected area. If the proprietary gel is not available, constitute by dissolving 10% calcium gluconate solution in 3 times the volume of a water-soluble lubricant (eg, KY gel). For burns to the fingers, retain gel in a latex glove.
      • If pain persists for more than 30 minutes after application of calcium gluconate gel, further treatment is required. Subcutaneous infiltration of calcium gluconate is recommended at a dose of 0.5 mL of a 5% solution per square centimeter of surface burn extending 0.5 cm beyond the margin of involved tissue (10% calcium gluconate solution can be irritating to the tissue).
        • Do not use the chloride salt because it is an irritant and may cause tissue damage.

*Extracted from emedicine article.

Show References


Question

50 year-old male with cough and dyspnea. What's the diagnosis?

Show Answer

Show References


Category: Critical Care

Title: Oxygenation goals

Posted: 3/11/2009 by Mike Winters, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Mike Winters, MD

Oxygenation goals

  • In recent pearls we have talked about 'lung protective' ventilation strategies to reduce volutrauma, barotrauma, and oxygen toxicity.
  • Using 'lung protective' strategies, such as low tidal volumes, results in higher levels of CO2 and a lower pH.  These are tolerated in favor of lower and safer alveolar pressures.
  • In addition to higher pCO2 values and lower pH, oxygenation goals are slightly lower than conventional teaching.
  • In these patients, you want to maintain SpO2 > 88% and PaO2 > 55 mm Hg.

Category: Vascular

Title: D-Dimer in Pregnancy

Keywords: D-Dimer, Pregnancy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/9/2008 by Rob Rogers, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Rob Rogers, MD

D-Dimer levels are known to be elevated in pregnancy. But how high is too high and can this test be used in the workup of VTE in pregnant patients?

Recent literature indicates that D-dimer levels in each of the three trimesters are approximately 39% higher: 700, 1000, and 1400 ng/dL for each trimester (normal cutoff 500 ng/dL). So, figure out what trimester your patient is in and use the corresponding D-Dimer level for that trimester.

Show References


Category: Visual Diagnosis

Title: An alcoholic with fever and cough

Keywords: fever, cough, alcoholic (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/7/2012 by Rob Rogers, MD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 9/26/2017)
Click here to contact Rob Rogers, MD

Question

An alcoholic patient presents with a cough, fever, and very foul smelling breath (worse than usual)

What's the diagnosis? And what are the risk factors?

 

 

Show Answer

Show References


Category: Toxicology

Title: Octreotide for Pediatric Sulfonylurea Poisoning

Keywords: octreotide, sulfonylurea (PubMed Search)

Posted: 4/12/2013 by Bryan Hayes, PharmD (Emailed: 9/26/2017) (Updated: 4/13/2013)
Click here to contact Bryan Hayes, PharmD

Methods: A large retrospective case series evaluated 121 children under 6 years old with hypoglycemia from a sulfonylurea ingestion.

Results:

  • In addition to dextrose, patients who received octreotide had a median of zero hypoglycemic episodes after octreotide (compared to 2 before treatment, p < 0.0001).
  • Median blood glucose concentrations after receiving octreotide were also higher (62 mg/dL vs 44, p < 0.001).
  • Most required only 1 dose of octreotide with no reported adverse effects.


Authors' Conclusion: Octreotide administration decreases the number of hypoglycemic events and increases blood glucose concentrations in children with sulfonylurea ingestion.

Show References