Brain Teaser: Do you know which of the following patients meets the criteria for anaphylaxis? June 24, 2019

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Test your knowledge and see how much you know about recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis in pediatric patients.

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The correct answer: A.

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From the author of the very first issue of Emergency Medicine Practice June 24, 2019

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Stephen Colucciello, MD, FACEP
Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine-Charlotte Campus,
Charlotte, NC

When we first published Emergency Medicine Practice 20 years ago, emergency clinicians were becoming skeptical of established dogma, which was often based on an “expert” who defined best practices; otherwise known as “eminence-based” medicine. For example, abdominal pain patients were never to get opioids, oral contrast should always be used for abdominal CT scans and the rectal exam was essential in the abdominal pain workup.

Instead of blindly accepting such “textbook facts”, we created Emergency Medicine Practice to advance an evidence-based approach. Evidence-based medicine depends upon the best available evidence, while incorporating personal experience and individual patient values. The size and quality of the study, the research methodology, and the reproducibility of results matters in assessing practice validity.

For Emergency Medicine Practice’s 20th anniversary, we turn back to our roots and revisit and revive our very first issue on abdominal pain. I understand from EB Medicine that hundreds – if not thousands – of emergency clinicians have said this course has aided them in their training and practice in the 20 years since its publication. The editors tell me it is oft-referenced even to this day.

Abdominal pain is one of the complaints seen most frequently in the ED, and the degree of pathology runs from the mundane to catastrophic. Unfortunately, the severity of illness is easily overlooked, especially in the elderly and immunosuppressed. Identifying the high-risk patient is crucial to avoiding a life-threatening diagnostic mistake.

There are many changes in best practices for assessing patients with abdominal pain compared to 20 years ago. Bedside ultrasound by the emergency provider is certainly revolutionizing ED practice. Radiation-reduction strategies are also becoming more commonplace. MRI is a growing modality, especially in pregnant women with suspected appendicitis. In the past two decades, we have learned that oral contrast provides no additional benefit to IV contrast in abdominal CT scans (with some exceptions). We also have seen a dramatic decrease in abdominal plain films and a corresponding increase in abdominal CT scans, especially in the elderly.

In the end, all the thinking, research, peer reviewing, and thought-provoking discussions that go into each issue of Emergency Medicine Practice are to ensure that every topic makes a difference in your diagnostic or treatment routine. I would be honored if you change your daily practice after reading this new edition of “Assessing Abdominal Pain In Adults.”

Stephen Colucciello MD

Click here to read the updated version of our inaugural issue prepared specifically for our 20th anniversary this June!

For two decades, we have helped emergency medicine clinicians like you, who are committed to lifelong learning, providing excellent patient care, and saving lives, with the resources and information you need to do the things that you do best. Tap here to take advantage of the 20th anniversary sale!

It’s our way of saying thank you for helping us reach this significant landmark in our company’s history, which is your history, too. Here’s to 20 more!

Managing pediatric patients in the ED June 11, 2019

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During a busy shift in the ED, an adolescent girl is wheeled back from triage. Her right arm is resting on the arm of the wheel chair, and she is holding her head. Her eyes are downcast, and she appears weak. She saw her doctor the day before with complaints of fever, nausea without vomiting, and generalized muscle aches. Her pediatrician diagnosed her with a flu-like illness and recommended plenty of fluids and ibuprofen.

Earlier that morning when her parents went to check on her, she was weak and could barely get out of bed. Her vital signs in the ED are: temperature, 39.4°C: heart rate, 141 beats/min; and blood pressure, 80/30 mm Hg. You begin examining the patient as a nurse inspects her upper extremities for a site to place a peripheral IV line. She has a generalized erythematous non­palpable rash, a slightly red posterior oropharynx, supple neck, clear lung fields, tachycardia with an otherwise normal cardiac examination, lower abdominal tenderness without peritoneal signs, and extremities with 1+ peripheral pulses, 2+ central pulses, and a capillary refill time of 4 to 5 seconds. You ask the respiratory therapist to provide her oxygen by facemask, and now that the nurse has established an IV line, you ask for a rapid bolus of fluid and start to consider antibiotics.

The nurse asks, “What type of fluid and how fast?” You think to yourself, “Which antibiotic should I use, and what will I do if her condition continues to decline?” Then you recall that you didn’t ask when her last menstrual period occurred.

There may be nothing more anxiety-provoking for a clinician than caring for a previously healthy infant or young child who presents in shock. Once a child’s condition has progressed to this point, it can be very difficult to determine the exact cause. Shock is a common pathway for a multitude of life-threatening illnesses and injuries. As the child’s condition worsens, the similarities among the clinical presentations of the divergent causes of shock overwhelm the differences. Fortunately, there are fundamental principles applicable to multiple causes of shock in children.

The first fluid bolus given to the adolescent girl was provided rapidly using a liter of normal saline, a 60-ml syringe, and a 3-way stopcock. You ordered a dose of vancomycin, ceftriaxone, and clindamycin because of your concern for tampon-related toxic-shock syndrome. A brief gynecologic examination revealed a retained tampon, which was removed. A second and third normal saline bolus was given.

You asked the nurse to prepare dopamine to be given peripherally, if the patient continued to demonstrate signs of shock. Her blood pressure improved, but she still had signs of poor peripheral perfusion, such as delayed capillary refill, so you started her on a dopamine infusion. She was then transferred to the PICU for further management.

Catch up on best practices in cases such as this and for treating pediatric rashes, shock, chest pain, and viral challenges at the pediatric sessions in Ponte Vedra, FL, at the 18th Annual Clinical Decision Making in Emergency Medicine conference.

Enjoy the sea breeze and welcoming sun while earning CME in Ponte Vedra, FL – June 26-29, 2019.

Clinical Pathway for Diagnosis of Anaphylaxis in Pediatric Patients June 7, 2019

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Anaphylaxis is a time-sensitive, clinical diagnosis that is often misdiagnosed because the presenting signs and symptoms are similar to those of other disease processes. An allergic reaction is an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance (allergen). Anaphylaxis is a type of an allergic reaction that is an
acute, severe systemic hypersensitivity reaction that can rapidly lead to death.

The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis are similar to other common illnesses, which can make diagnosis challenging. Atypical anaphylaxis can be even more difficult to diagnose, because some of the typical signs of anaphylaxis are not present.

This clinical pathway will help you diagnose pediatric patient with anaphylaxis. Download now.

Get access to more pathways with an individual or group subscription. Visit to find out more!

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Click here to review the issue!

Clinical Pathway for Patients Aged < 50 Years With Abdominal Pain June 7, 2019

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The management of abdominal pain has changed significantly in the past 20 years, with increasing emphasis on identifying patients who are at high risk for occult pathology and worse outcomes. With abdominal pain still the most common chief complaint seen in the emergency department, a new look at the evolution of assessment strategies is in order.

After an extensive workup, patients with severe pain may prove to have gastroenteritis, while those with a seemingly benign belly are hiding a surgical catastrophe.

This clinical pathway will help you improve care in the management of patients with abdominal pain and recognize a surgical abdomen. Download now.

Clinical Pathway for Patients Aged < 50 Years With Abdominal Pain

Get access to more pathways with an individual or group subscription. Visit to find out more!

Need more information?
Click here to review the issue!