SplintER Series: Common ED Splint Techniques | Splint Principles 104

The SplintER series is back with its fourth installment! In this series, we review splinting fundamentals, introduce advanced concepts, and highlight ways to implement these into your next shift. In this post, we summarize some of the most commonly deployed splints in the ED. Peer-reviewed by sports medicine experts (Dr. Kori Hudson and Dr. Anna Waterbrook), these injury-splint summary tables provide information on the origin, insertion, and positioning for each splint, along with the recommended number of layers of plaster. Learning Objectives Review splint techniques associated with [...]

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PEM Practice Changing Paper: Clinical Trial of Fluid Infusion Rates for Pediatric DKA

Most protocols for managing pediatric patients with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) are based on a theoretical association between fluid resuscitation and subsequent neurological decline. Although the evidence for an association between IV fluids and cerebral edema comes from retrospective reviews, for over 20 years, it is an accepted teaching principle of pediatric DKA. Clinical Trial of Fluid Infusion Rates for Pediatric Diabetic Ketoacidosis, published just days ago in the New England Journal of Medicine, challenges this teaching with the first randomized controlled trial designed to investigate the [...]

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The Myth of Vasopressors and Ischemia

Despite the widespread clinical use, and their well-documented life-saving properties, vasopressors are often maligned, accused of causing ischemia to fingers, toes, mesentery, kidneys, and so forth. Not only is the evidence that this happens poor, but, a fear of this dreaded complication can unwarrantedly lead good clinicians to limit or withhold potentially life- and organ-saving medications. This article showcases the importance of end-organ perfusion and explains how vasopressors may in fact be one of the most important therapies in [...]

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Trigger Point Injection for Musculoskeletal Pain in the ED

Musculoskeletal pain is a common ED presentation and emergency providers can often manage it with NSAIDs alone.1 On the other hand, when patients present with small localized areas of intense muscle spasm called trigger points, NSAIDs won’t cut it. A trigger point injection (TPI), however, is a safe and easy way to treat the underlying cause of trigger point pain, and requires only basic equipment already available in most the EDs. Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain Syndrome Trigger points are the hallmark of Myofascial Pain [...]

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Ketamine for Severe Ethanol Withdrawal: A New Hope?

Ethanol withdrawal is a complex disease state. Two of the main players are GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) and glutamate (an excitatory transmitter that can act on NMDA receptors). Simplistically, chronic ethanol use leads to a down-regulation of GABA receptors and an up-regulation in glutaminergic receptors, such as NMDA. When ethanol is abruptly discontinued, we are left with a largely excitatory state with less ability for GABA-mediated inhibition and more capacity for NMDA/glutamate-mediated excitation. While much of the treatment of severe ethanol withdrawal is [...]

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Confronting Stress Before and After High Acuity Shifts: A Discussion with Performance Psychologist Dr. Jason Brooks

It’s almost the end of your sixth shift in a row. You are trying to finish up notes when you hear an overhead page. You find yourself in the middle of a pediatric code that has a poor outcome and you have 5 minutes to spend with the family before being pulled into another patient’s room. You have no time to address the difficult case you just encountered. As an emergency physician, this may happen on a daily basis [...]

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Climate Change and Emergency Medicine: A Specialty on the Frontline

Emergency medicine (EM) is on the frontlines of climate change, which the Lancet Commission declared “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” with “potentially catastrophic risk to human health.”1,2 Climate change is having broad and profound negative impacts on the health of our patients, especially for the vulnerable populations. It is also affecting our healthcare systems and mandating the creation of climate-resilient emergency departments (ED) with robust disaster preparedness. EM needs to engage climate change advocacy efforts for [...]

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MEdIC: Case of the Night Shift Stimulants – Expert Review and Curated Community Commentary

Our fifth case of season 5, The Case of the Night Shift Stimulants, presented the scenario of a junior emergency medicine (EM) resident who witnesses her attending physician taking stimulants in order to function during his night shift. The MEdIC team (Drs. Tamara McColl, Teresa Chan, Sarah Luckett-Gatopoulos, Eve Purdy, John Eicken, Alkarim Velji, and Brent Thoma), hosted an online discussion around the case over the last 2 weeks with insights from the ALiEM community. We are proud to present to you [...]

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