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M2E Too! Mellick's Multimedia EduBlog
The M2E Too! Blog by Larry Mellick, MD, presents important clinical pearls using multimedia.

By its name, M2E Too! acknowledges that it is one of many emergency medicine blogs, but we hope this will serve as a creative commons for emergency physicians.

Friday, May 01, 2015

My father was a small-town preacher. I heard the Bible verse that begins with the phrase “For the wages of sin is death” many, many times. Admittedly, it comes to mind at least once every shift I work in the ED. The cyanotic and apneic heroin overdose patient dropped off by “friends,” the drunk driver who just killed someone, or the pack-a-day cigarette smoker receiving news of lung cancer are all examples of self-destructive scenarios that might stimulate this memory.

 

I had read about levamisole-adulterated cocaine causing a flesh-destructive vasculitis, but had not seen a patient with this condition until recently. That patient allowed the two videos included with this blog because she wanted others to know about this condition. My father’s words did come to mind again, but I felt nothing but compassion for this weeping middle-aged cocaine addict seeking help for the painful necrotic lesions on her ears, nose, and face.

 

Levamisole-induced vasculitis has been known since the 1970s. Levamisole was originally an anthelmintic agent that was later found to have significant immunomodulatory properties. It was used in cancer therapy and to treat various skin conditions and immunological renal diseases for a time, but the FDA withdrew it from the human market in 1999. Unfortunately, this veterinary medicine has found a fairly widespread role as an adulterant in illicit cocaine since 2003.

 

Levamisole not only “cuts” the drug, it potentiates the stimulant effects of cocaine by prolonging the action of catecholamines in the neuronal synapse and increasing the reuptake-inhibition effect of cocaine. The metabolites of levamisole also have a stimulatory effect.

 

Unfortunately, levamisole is responsible for inducing antibodies (p-ANCA, C-ANCA, and others) that cause a distinctive vasculopathic purpura typically involving the ears, nose, cheeks, and extremities. Treatment usually begins with intravenous steroids and opiates and discontinuation of cocaine.

 

Click here to watch video.

 

Click here to watch video. 

 

 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More than once, I’ve heard colleagues and residents make the statement, “I’m no good at pediatric rashes.” The truth is that there is usually a large waste basket of “nonspecific viral exanthems” that are easy to bring to closure in your conversation with parents, and then there are similar-appearing rashes associated with drug reactions.

 

Then there are the targeted lesions, which include acute annular urticaria or urticaria multiforme, erythema multiforme minor, and serum sickness-like rashes that are frequently confused for each other.

 

My simplistic approach continues by acknowledging that there are rare rashes like id reactions, Gianotti-Crosti rashes, fixed drug reactions, and others that may require an iPhone video or picture consultation with your dermatologist.

 

Finally, there is the subset of relatively easy rashes that are common and specific in appearance. (Chicken pox or varicella used to fit into this category, but now they’re so rare that most young physicians have never seen a case.) Nevertheless, other rash-associated conditions include hand-foot-mouth disease, scarlet fever, pityriasis rosea, and shingles that are easy to master, and you won’t forget after seeing one or two cases. This month’s videos demonstrate three of those relatively common pediatric rashes (scarlet fever, pityriasis rosea, and shingles.)

 

EPs are frequently heard to say they aren’t good at diagnosing pediatric rashes, but this video will help identify shingles in children.

 

Some rashes aren’t difficult to diagnose once you’ve seen a case or two. This video helps with diagnosing strep.

 

Once you see a case of pityriasis rosea fever, you won’t forget the rash. This video shows you what to look for.


Read more about rashes in our archive.

 

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Monday, March 02, 2015

Emergency medicine, since its inception as a specialty, has continuously redefined itself by absorbing intellectual and procedural expertise traditionally owned by other specialties. Whether it is performing advanced airway procedures formerly unique to anesthesia, reducing and splinting various orthopedic dislocations and fractures, or managing urological emergencies such as priapism or otolaryngology procedures, emergency physicians have relentlessly expanded their procedural expertise. Some consultants have forced our hands by delaying or being reluctant to see these emergencies in the emergency department. Others willingly ceded procedural expertise of routine procedures because of their busy practice demands. Nevertheless, in the end, our advances in a variety of procedures will continue. Short, high-quality procedure videos such as these included in Emergency Medicine News will play an important role in teaching new procedural skills just in time or even real-time.

 

Click here to watch a video of a tracheostomy tube replacement. 

 

Click here to watch a video of a naspharyngoscope placement.
 
Click here to watch a video of a needle aspiration of peritonsillar abscess.
 

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Shoulder dislocations are fairly common orthopedic emergencies presenting to the emergency department. And anterior to the glenoid fossa and labrum is far and away the most common final resting location of the humeral head. Consequently, most emergency physicians develop their own favorite technique for reducing anterior dislocations.

 

Factors such as the dislocation duration, patient comorbidities, prior dislocation events, and associated fractures or bony lesions will determine the specific technique used and whether procedural sedation is utilized. Posterior and inferior shoulder dislocations, however, are relatively rare. Moreover, the associated injuries differ (e.g., reverse Hill-Sachs lesion with posterior dislocations and neurologic dysfunction with inferior dislocations), and the technique for reduction changes. These three videos demonstrate the three different types of shoulder dislocations, their associated reduction techniques, and their unique injuries.

 

 

Click here to watch reduction of an inferior shoulder dislocation.

 

 

Click here to watch the reduction of a posterior shoulder dislocation.

 

 

Click here to watch the external rotation technique for a dislocated shoulder.

 

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Friday, January 09, 2015

EPs frequently discuss the issue of low-volume, high-acuity procedures that we must be ready to perform, and there is no higher stress or professionally memorable procedure than the open thoracotomy. This is one of the most time-sensitive procedures, and is unquestionably the most invasive procedure in emergency medicine. Hesitating for even seconds will guarantee failure or a poor patient outcome. Nevertheless, no matter how grisly and stressful this procedure may be, it has real potential for saving lives.

 

Controversies continue to surround this procedure. It is relegated to the trauma team in most Level I trauma centers. Emergency medicine residents must compete with surgery residents for opportunities to learn the procedure. Unfortunately, the physicians who will be doing the majority of these procedures in the real world (emergency physicians, not the surgeons) often don’t get first billing when it comes to training.

 

Other procedural controversies include the risk of injuries to health care providers (exposure to contaminated blood products and lacerations from broken ribs or scalpel blades) and whether to write off all blunt trauma cardiac arrest patients (even though a number of case series show a small success rate). There is also controversy about the value and associated complications of cross-clamping the aorta.

 

These videos demonstrate the real-life tension and the common opportunities for improvement associated with this procedure.

 

Click here to watch an open thoracotomy following blunt trauma.

 

Click here to watch an open thoracotomy from penetrating trauma.

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About the Author

Larry Mellick, MD
Dr. Mellick is a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, the former chairman of emergency medicine at Georgia Regents Health System, and a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at Georgia Regents Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Georgia.