Items in AFP with MESH term: Emergencies
ABSTRACT: Careful examination of the neonate at delivery can detect anomalies, birth injuries, and disorders that may compromise successful adaptation to extrauterine life. A newborn with one anatomic malformation should be evaluated for associated anomalies. If a newborn is found to have an abdominal wall defect, management includes the application of a warm, moist, and sterile dressing over the defect, decompression of the gastrointestinal tract, aggressive fluid resuscitation, antibiotic therapy, and prompt surgical consultation. Hydroceles are managed conservatively, but inguinal hernias require surgical repair. A newborn with developmental hip dysplasia should be evaluated by an orthopedist, and treatment may require use of a Pavlik harness. The presence of ambiguous genitalia is a medical emergency, and pituitary and adrenal integrity must be established. Early diagnosis of spinal lesions is imperative because surgical correction can prevent irreversible neurologic damage.
ABSTRACT: Venomous snakebites, although uncommon, are a potentially deadly emergency in the United States. Rattlesnakes cause most snakebites and related fatalities. Venomous snakes in the United States can be classified as having hemotoxic or neurotoxic venom. Patients with venomous snakebites present with signs and symptoms ranging from fang marks, with or without local pain and swelling, to life-threatening coagulopathy, renal failure, and shock. First-aid techniques such as arterial tourniquets, application of ice, and wound incisions are ineffective and can be harmful; however, suction with a venom extractor within the first five minutes after the bite may be useful. Conservative measures, such as immobilization and lymphatic constriction bands, are now advocated until emergency care can be administered. Patients with snakebites should undergo a comprehensive work-up to look for possible hematologic, neurologic, renal, and cardiovascular abnormalities. Equine-derived antivenin is considered the standard of care; however, a promising new treatment is sheep-derived antigen binding fragment ovine (CroFab), which is much less allergenic. Although there is no universal grading system for snakebites, a I through IV grading scale is clinically useful as a guide to antivenin administration. Surgical intervention with fasciotomy is now reserved for rare cases. Snakebite prevention should be taught to patients.
Common Dental Emergencies - Article
ABSTRACT: Dental caries, a bacterial disease of teeth characterized by destruction of enamel and dentine, is often the underlying cause of dental pain. When a carious lesion impinges on the dental pulp, pulpitis follows and, ultimately, necrosis of the pulp occurs. Untreated necrosis may lead to a localized abscess or a spreading infection into the surrounding soft tissue that results in cellulitis. Immediate treatment involves antibiotic therapy for cellulitis, perhaps with drainage of abscesses, while definitive treatment requires root canal therapy or extraction of the involved tooth. Pericoronitis is an inflammation of the soft tissue overlying a partially erupted tooth. Localized cases respond to irrigation. Secondary cellulitis can develop. Definitive treatment may require surgical extraction of the underlying tooth or excision of the gum flap. Avulsion of a permanent tooth secondary to trauma is a true dental emergency. The tooth should be reimplanted on the spot, and the patient should be seen immediately by a dentist for splinting and antibiotic prophylaxis. Most dental problems can be prevented with regular dental care and steps to minimize risks of oral trauma.
ABSTRACT: Transient ischemic attack is no longer considered a benign event but, rather, a critical harbinger of impending stroke. Failure to quickly recognize and evaluate this warning sign could mean missing an opportunity to prevent permanent disability or death. The 90-day risk of stroke after a transient ischemic attack has been estimated to be approximately 10 percent, with one half of strokes occurring within the first two days of the attack. The 90-day stroke risk is even higher when a transient ischemic attack results from internal carotid artery stenosis. Most patients reporting symptoms of transient ischemic attack should be sent to an emergency department. Patients who arrive at the emergency department within 180 minutes of symptom onset should undergo an expedited history and physical examination, as well as selected laboratory tests, to determine if they are candidates for thrombolytic therapy. Initial testing should include complete blood count with platelet count, prothrombin time, International Normalized Ratio, partial thromboplastin time, and electrolyte and glucose levels. Computed tomographic scanning of the head should be performed immediately to ensure that there is no evidence of brain hemorrhage or mass. A transient ischemic attack can be misdiagnosed as migraine, seizure, peripheral neuropathy, or anxiety.
Emergency Contraception - Article
ABSTRACT: Women can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after known or suspected failure of birth control or after unprotected intercourse. Many patients do not ask for emergency contraception because they do not know of its availability. Emergency contraception has been an off-label use of oral contraceptive pills since the 1960s. Dedicated products, the Yuzpe regimen (Preven) and levonorgestrel (Plan B), were marketed in the United States after 1998 but had been available in Europe for years before that. A third approved method of emergency contraception is the insertion of an intrauterine device. Emergency contraception is about 75 to 85 percent effective. It is most effective when initiated within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. The mechanism of action may vary, depending on the day of the menstrual cycle on which treatment is started. Despite the large number of women who have received emergency contraception, there have been no reports of major adverse outcomes. If a woman becomes pregnant after using emergency contraception, she may be reassured about the lack of negative effects emergency contraception has on fetal development. It may be beneficial for physicians to offer an advance prescription for emergency contraception at a patient's regular gynecologic visit to help reduce unwanted pregnancies. Advance provision of emergency contraception can increase its use significantly without adversely affecting the use of routine contraception.
ABSTRACT: Apparent life-threatening event syndrome predominantly affects children younger than one year. This syndrome is characterized by a frightening constellation of symptoms in which the child exhibits some combination of apnea, change in color, change in muscle tone, coughing, or gagging. Approximately 50 percent of these children are diagnosed with an underlying condition that explains the apparent life-threatening event. Commonly, the problems are digestive (up to 50 percent), neurologic (30 percent), respiratory (20 percent), cardiac (5 percent), and endocrine or metabolic (less than 5 percent). Fifty percent of these events are idiopathic, which causes great concern to parents and physicians. The evaluation of an affected infant involves a thorough description of the event as well as prenatal, birth, medical, social, and family history. The physical examination, including careful neurologic examination and notation of any apparent anatomic abnormalities, helps diagnose congenital problems, infection, and conditions contributing to respiratory compromise. The laboratory evaluation is driven by historical and physical findings. Inpatient evaluation and monitoring are recommended in virtually all cases unless investigations are normal. Should the history reflect a severe episode, or should the child require major interventions such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, inpatient observation and monitoring are recommended, even if physical examination and laboratory findings are normal. Once a presumptive diagnosis is made, events should cease after appropriate intervention. If not, reviewing the history, performing another physical examination, and reassessing the need for laboratory and imaging studies are the next steps. Although consensus statements by the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics support home monitoring, the relationship of apparent life-threatening event syndrome to sudden infant death syndrome is controversial.
Common Peripartum Emergencies - Article
ABSTRACT: Peripartum emergencies occur in patients with no known risk factors. When the well-being of the fetus is in question, the fetal heart rate pattern may offer etiologic clues. Repetitive late decelerations may signify uteroplacental insufficiency, and a sinusoidal pattern may indicate severe fetal distress. Repetitive variable decelerations suggesting umbilical cord compression may be relieved by amnioinfusion. Regardless of the etiology of the nonreassuring fetal heart pattern, measures to improve fetal oxygenation should be attempted while options for delivery are considered. Massive obstetric hemorrhage requires prompt action. Clinical signs, such as painless bleeding, uterine tenderness and nonreassuring fetal heart patterns, may help to differentiate causes of vaginal bleeding that may or may not require emergency cesarean delivery. The causes of postpartum hemorrhage include uterine atony, vaginal or cervical laceration, and retained placenta. The challenge of managing shoulder dystocia is to effect a rapid delivery while avoiding neonatal and maternal morbidity. The McRoberts maneuver has been shown to be the safest and most successful technique for relieving shoulder dystocia. Eclampsia responds best to magnesium sulfate, supportive care and supplemental hydralazine or labetalol as needed for severe hypertension.
Emergency Contraception: An Ongoing Debate - Editorials
Emergency Response: Physician Training and Obligations - Curbside Consultation