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Ultrasound Soft Tissue Applications in the Pediatric Emergency Department: To drain or not to drain?

Ramirez-Schrempp, Daniela MD*; Dorfman, David H. MD*; Baker, William E. MD; Liteplo, Andrew S. MD, RDMS

doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318191d963
Review Article
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Soft tissue infections frequently prompt visits to the pediatric emergency department. The incidence of these infections has increased markedly in recent years. The emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is associated with an increasing morbidity, mortality, and frequency of abscess formation. Bedside ultrasound may have a significant impact in the management of patients that present to the pediatric emergency department with soft tissue infections, including cellulitis, cutaneous abscess, peritonsillar abscess, and necrotizing fasciitis. Ultrasound is an efficient, noninvasive diagnostic tool which can augment the physician's clinical examination. Ultrasound has been shown to be superior to clinical judgment alone in determining the presence or the absence of occult abscess formation, ensuring appropriate management and limiting unnecessary invasive procedures.

From the *Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine; †Department of Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine; and ‡Division of Emergency Ultrasound, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

Reprints: Daniela Ramirez-Schrempp, MD, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, 91 E Concord St, 6th floor, Boston, MA 02118 (e-mail: daniela.ramirez-schrempp@bmc.org).

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.