Most of us will have lower back pain in our lives (80–90% lifetime prevalence) and it accounts for 2–3% of ED visits (so quite a bit).
As with everything in EM, there are benign and serious causes and we need to differentiate between the two. The serious causes include diagnoses in the back and those in the abdomen or retroperitoneum.
- Benign: muscular and ligament strain, sciatica (posterolateral disk herniation) and spinal stenosis
- Serious back: cancer, spinal epidural abscess, vertebral osteomyelitis, infectious diskitis, spinal epidural hematoma and giant (central) disk hernation (cauda equina syndrome).
- Serious non-back: AAA, renal stones, renal infarct, tumor, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, PUD, cholecystitis, retroperitoneal hemorrhage, psoas abscess
Continue reading “Non-Traumatic Lower Back Pain”
ALTE has been deprecated and replaced with BRUE. Apparent Life-Threatening Events scared parents and led physicians to unnecessary testing. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued the following guideline.
STEP 1: Meets DEFINITION of BRUE
- BRIEF: less than 1 minute episode
- RESOLVED: back to baseline/normal
- UNEXPLAINED: no other etiology (no URI, vomiting, etc)
- cyanosis or pallor (not erythema)
- absent, decreased or irregular breathing
- marked change in tone
- altered level of responsiveness
- in a normal child, less than 1 year old
STEP 2: Stratify as LOW risk
- more than 60 days old
- full term (gestational age more than 32w)
- 1st event and not in clusters
- less than 1 minute
- no CPR by *trained medical provider*
- no concerning features on H&P
STEP 3: Consider TREATMENT options for LOW risk
- SHOULD DO: educate care giver, shared medical decision making regarding can-do items, CPR training for parents
- CAN DO: pertussis testing, ekg, serial observation, pulse oximetry
- DONT HAVE TO DO: admit, viral PCR, glucose, HCO3, lactate, Hgb, CT head (unless judgement says differently), UA
- SHOULD NOT DO: WBC, CSF, Cx, BMP, urine organic acids, CXR, echo, EEG, GERD tests, H2 blockers, anti-epileptics, no home monitoring
HIGH risk patients consider
- cardiac arrhythmias (family history of sudden death)
- infection (URI Sx)
- others guided by context
- Tieder JS, Bonkowsky JL, Etzel RA, Franklin WH, Gremse DA, Herman B, Katz ES, Krilov LR, Merritt JL 2nd, Norlin C, Percelay J, Sapién RE, Shiffman RN, Smith MB; SUBCOMMITTEE ON APPARENT LIFE THREATENING EVENTS. Brief Resolved Unexplained Events (Formerly Apparent Life-Threatening Events) and Evaluation of Lower-Risk Infants: Executive Summary. Pediatrics. 2016 May;137(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27244836
Today, September 16, 2013, marks yet another day when a gunman opened fire upon civilians, killing unnecessarily. It seems that this is happening more frequently, and it would be foolish to think it is limited to schools, movie theaters and military compounds. As grim as it sounds, we should open the conversation as to what would we do? Is it possible to prepare. In this episode of EM:RAP, Ilene Claudius speaks with Mike Clumpner, paramedic, PhD, and active shooter expert. A lot of this seemed counter-intuitive to me.
Listen and feel free to comment below.
We’re all expected to get great patient satisfaction scores in addition to providing excellent care. No one does this more consistently than Ed Ward (click for his scores). So, we talked and he let me know what he does to get great scores. Not only are his scores good, but he also gets more surveys submitted.
This is an open-book heavily-weighted test and you know the questions already. So why not play to these questions and get a good grade? Doe these things every time.
- Overall doctor’s score: give them your card and let them complain to you instead of someone else
- Doctor was courteous: introduce yourself to everyone, shake hands
- Concern for comfort: keep asking them if they are comfortable
- Informed about treatment: tell them about delays, explain results to them, put your Cisco phone number on the board
- Took time to listen: sit down on the bed or available chair
One more thing I read which may help is explaining what every maneuver you do is for and how it affects your thinking. For example, when checking for meningeal signs tell the patient “the fact that your neck bends like this really reassures me that you don’t have meningitis” or “pain in this part of your belly makes me worry about appendicitis.” Patients like knowing what’s going on.
Feel free to put questions and comments below.
Here’s a great chapter on Service Recovery in the ED (Complaint Management)
We have a lot of people with great skills in our department with whom we can share our best practices. One thing Yanina excels at is efficiency. No one can deny she’s a machine when it comes to seeing patients. Here she describes how she’s able to keep her patients and the entire department moving.
You can also refer to ACEP’s 2004 Reference and Resource Guide: Doing Things Faster Without Sacrificing Quality.
Feel free to share any of your own efficiency hints in the comments.