“Lower back pain…” Case Conclusion
July 8, 2013


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Musculoskeletal Emergencies, Neurologic , add a comment

Case re-cap:

A 45-year-old man presents after 7 days of pain in his lower back. He reports that it began the day after he started at a new job site. The pain initially improved with ibuprofen, but he woke up this morning with a severe exacerbation of the pain. He denies a fall or other trauma, and he states that the pain radiates from his left buttock to his left foot. He has had intermittent back pains in the past, but he never required any imaging or interventions. Employed in the construction industry, he has a history of hypertension and is going through a divorce. He is afebrile, has a benign abdominal exam, and displays an antalgic gait. He has intact patella and Achilles reflexes, and he has a positive left straight-leg raise sign and crossed straight-leg raise sign. Strength and sensation, including the perineum, are intact and symmetrical. The patient insists that he needs an MRI but you’re not convinced that’s necessary. read more

Lower back pain…
June 24, 2013


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Musculoskeletal Emergencies, Neurologic , 10 comments

A 45-year-old man presents after 7 days of pain in his lower back. He reports that it began the day after he started at a new job site. The pain initially improved with ibuprofen, but he woke up this morning with a severe exacerbation of the pain. He denies a fall or other trauma, and he states that the pain radiates from his left buttock to his left foot. He has had intermittent back pains in the past, but he never required any imaging or interventions. Employed in the construction industry, he has a history of hypertension and is going through a divorce. He is afebrile, has a benign abdominal exam, and displays an antalgic gait. He has intact patella and Achilles reflexes, and he has a positive left straight-leg raise sign and crossed straight-leg raise sign. Strength and sensation, including the perineum, are intact and symmetrical. The patient insists that he needs an MRI but you’re not convinced that’s necessary. read more

“Motor collision…” Case Conclusion
March 7, 2013


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Neurologic , add a comment

Case re-cap:

It is 2 am on a relatively busy shift on a Saturday night in the ED. EMS arrives with a 27-year-old male involved in a high-speed motor vehicle collision. He was not wearing a seat belt, and he was found ejected from the vehicle. Upon EMS arrival on scene, the paramedics found him unresponsive, with a GCS score of 9 (E2, V3, M4). The patient had been alone in the car, and he did not have identifying information with him. His vital signs included: blood pressure of 110/80 mm Hg, heart rate of 126 beats per minute, shallow respiratory rate of 8 breaths per minute, and oxygen saturation of 96% on room air. The paramedics attempted an oral airway, but it was aborted, because the patient exhibited a gag reflex. Bilateral nasal trumpets were placed, and a nonrebreather facemask with 100% oxygen was administered. He had deformities to his right ankle and left forearm. He smelled of alcohol. The patient was transported on a backboard with a rigid cervical spine collar to maintain immobilization. As you evaluate him on arrival to the ED, his vitals are essentially unchanged; however, you note that his GCS score is now 7 (E2, V2, M3), as he flexes his right arm to painful stimulus. IV access is established, and as you prepare to endotracheally intubate him, you recognize that this patient’s survival and ultimate neurologic outcome may depend on your initial management. read more

Motor collision…
February 27, 2013


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Neurologic , 11 comments

It is 2 am on a relatively busy shift on a Saturday night in the ED. EMS arrives with a 27-year-old male involved in a high-speed motor vehicle collision. He was not wearing a seat belt, and he was found ejected from the vehicle. Upon EMS arrival on scene, the paramedics found him unresponsive, with a GCS score of 9 (E2, V3, M4). The patient had been alone in the car, and he did not have identifying information with him. His vital signs included: blood pressure of 110/80 mm Hg, heart rate of 126 beats per minute, shallow respiratory rate of 8 breaths per minute, and oxygen saturation of 96% on room air. The paramedics attempted an oral airway, but it was aborted, because the patient exhibited a gag reflex. Bilateral nasal trumpets were placed, and a nonrebreather facemask with 100% oxygen was administered. He had deformities to his right ankle and left forearm. He smelled of alcohol. The patient was transported on a backboard with a rigid cervical spine collar to maintain immobilization. As you evaluate him on arrival to the ED, his vitals are essentially unchanged; however, you note that his GCS score is now 7 (E2, V2, M3), as he flexes his right arm to painful stimulus. IV access is established, and as you prepare to endotracheally intubate him, you recognize that this patient’s survival and ultimate neurologic outcome may depend on your initial management. read more

“High-risk of stroke…” Case Conclusion
January 7, 2013


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Cardiovascular, Neurologic , add a comment

Case re-cap:

A 72-year-old woman with a history of hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and chronic kidney disease presents shortly after experiencing a 20-minute episode of slurred speech and right facial droop. She denies experiencing similar events in the past, but she does endorse a transient episode of vision loss a week ago, intermittent vertigo, and left-sided weakness last month. On exam, her blood pressure is 178/100 mm Hg, her heart rate is 80 beats per minute and regular, and the ECG shows a sinus rhythm. Her stroke scale is zero, and noncontrast cranial CT scan shows an old small cerebellar infarct. It is Friday evening, and you have no inhouse neurology and no MRI capabilities overnight. The patient attributes her symptoms to stress and states that she has experienced anxiety and palpitations recently. She asks if it is necessary for her to be admitted or whether she can seek follow-up with her primary care physician next week. read more

High-risk of stroke…
December 28, 2012


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Cardiovascular, Neurologic , 16 comments

A 72-year-old woman with a history of hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and chronic kidney disease presents shortly after experiencing a 20-minute episode of slurred speech and right facial droop. She denies experiencing similar events in the past, but she does endorse a transient episode of vision loss a week ago, intermittent vertigo, and left-sided weakness last month. On exam, her blood pressure is 178/100 mm Hg, her heart rate is 80 beats per minute and regular, and the ECG shows a sinus rhythm. Her stroke scale is zero, and noncontrast cranial CT scan shows an old small cerebellar infarct. It is Friday evening, and you have no inhouse neurology and no MRI capabilities overnight. The patient attributes her symptoms to stress and states that she has experienced anxiety and palpitations recently. She asks if it is necessary for her to be admitted or whether she can seek follow-up with her primary care physician next week. read more

“4 cases, 4 head injuries…” Case Conclusion
September 6, 2012


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Neurologic, Radiology, Trauma , add a comment

Your 16 year-old soccer champ had no history of loss of consciousness, and while in the ED, his symptoms resolved completely within 2 hours. Using the CDC guidelines, you determined that a CT was not indicated. You discussed this with his parents, and he was discharged home symptom-free 6 hours after his injury. You instructed him and his parents about the importance of physical and cognitive rest (based on the Zurich Guidelines) until cleared by his primary care provider. read more

4 cases, 4 head injuries…
August 23, 2012


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Neurologic, Radiology, Trauma , 8 comments

It’s 8 PM and you are just getting into the groove of your first in a series of several night shifts. After picking up your fourth head injury chart, you think to yourself, “Good grief, are we having a sale on head injury tonight?” Your patients are: read more

“Treating Stroke…” Case Conclusion
July 5, 2012


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Neurologic , add a comment

You recognized the severity of the patient’s acute ischemic stroke and responded quickly. With the knowledge of ECASS III data on extending the rt-PA window to 4.5 hours, you immediately consulted with your stroke neurologist. You treated the patient with IV rt-PA and admitted him to your stroke unit, where he had a meaningful neurological recovery. read more

Treating Stroke…
June 26, 2012


Posted by Andy Jagoda, MD in: Neurologic , 9 comments

A 64-year-old male presents to the ED with the acute onset of profound right-sided motor weakness and expressive aphasia. The patient has no headache, no history of trauma, and no other problems upon presentation. His only chronic medical problem is hypertension that is well controlled on his medications. His wife witnessed the onset of his symptoms while they were eating dinner 3.5 hours prior to arrival. He has normal vital signs, and a stat CT scan of the head is normal as are his laboratory studies. His deficits have persisted throughout his expedited workup and he is now 4 hours into an acute ischemic stroke (an hour beyond the FDA-approved treatment window for intravenous rt-PA), with a calculated NIHSS score of 16. read more