Category: Learning

COVID-19 (X-Ray learning resource)

British Society of Thoracic Imaging (BSTI) have released a free learning resource containing CXR and CT of confirmed Covid-19 cases, will short history including time image was taken from onset of symptoms.

From the China experience CXR/CT doesn’t seem to be a rule out strategy in ED at the moment – However, its a useful resource to help recognition of Covid-19 CXR’s

BSTI Covid-19 image bank



Hyponatraema is a common finding, especially within our elderly population. However, its significance is is not a simple numbers game, and needs senior input. Prior to treatment the following need to be considered and balanced.

  1. Symptoms Severity – these are not exclusive to hyponatraemia and may be due to other disease processes (esp. if the low sodium is long-term)
  2. Sodium Level – the sodium concentration doesn’t always correlate to the clinical picture, and is dependant on speed of change, and co-morbidities
  3. Rate of Drop – the faster sodium levels drop the more symptomatic the patient often is (i.e. with long term hyponatraema the patient may be profoundly hyponatraemic but asymptomatic)
  4. Co-morbidities – Increasing sodium too quickly risks osmotic demyelination. How well will the patient cope with treatment?

Emergency treatment (hypertonic saline) is generally indicated in those with Severe Symptoms ONLY

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Silver Trauma

The population is ageing and thus our ‘typical’ trauma patient is also changing. In 2017 the TARN report “Major injury in older people” highlighted the following issues:

  • The typical major trauma patient: has changed from a young and male to being an older patient.
  • Older Major Trauma Patients (ISS>15): A fall of <2m is the commonest mechanism of injury
  • Triage/Recognition of ‘Silver Trauma’ is POOR
    • Pre-hospital: Not identified hence taken to TU’s (Here) not MTC’s (Leeds).
    • The ED: Often seen by Junior Staff and endure significant treatment delays.
    • Hospital: Much less likely to be transferred to specialist care.
    • Outcomes: More likely to die, but those who survive have similar levels of disability to younger people.

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TXA – Tranexamic Acid

TXA a bleeding wonder drug!

Crash 2 Study (2010)

  • Multi-Centre RCT of the use of TXA in trauma
  • Inclusion – Adult trauma patients with ≥1 of
    • Suspicion of significant haemorrhage
    • HR ≥110bpm
    • sBP ≤90mmHg
  • Treatment – 1g TXA IV over 10min then a second 1g TXA IV over 8hrs
  • Outcome – Significant reduction in Death, bleeding with NO increase in clots(thrombotic disease)
    • Most benefit seen if given early (<3hr – NNT 53)

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Acidosis & VBG’s

We are frequently asked to check the lactate on Venous Blood Gases (VBG’s), by the nursing staff. However, remember to look at the first result (pH) it is the most important.

Acidosis: Unless you have a good reason (e.g. you know its due to DKA) you should be investigating and performing an Arterial Blood Gas (ABG)

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Parkinson’s Disease & can’t swallow

We all recognise the importance of ensuring patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) get their medication, but..

What do you do if the patient can’t swallow?

We will need to work out what alternative routes we could use, for example dispensable via NG or patches, and what dose. For an ED clinical it is most likely beyond us and we need help! However, that may be extremely difficult to get especially Out of Hours


Excellent website that can give you options – select the patients normal regime (initially just one line but you can add as many as needed) and press calculate.  It gives you a dispensable and patch dose, which can help the discussion with pharmacy about where we can get it

Haematoma Block – Colles’

Haematoma blocks can be a safe and effect method of pain relief to facilitate reducing Colles’ fractures.

What to give?

  • 1% Lidocaine
    • Onset 10-15min
    • Offset up to 2hr
  • 3mg/kg (maximum dose)
    • 70kg patient could have up to 210mg
  • Volume 1% Lidocaine = 10mg/ml 
    • 70kg = 210mg / 10 = 21ml
  • Signs of TOXICITY 
    • Sensory Disturbance: Facial tingling,  Numbness, Metallic taste, Tinnitus, Vertigo
    • Functional Disturbance: Slurred speech, Seizures, Reduced GCS
    • Cardiovascular: Hypotension, Palpitations
    • Treatment – ABCD, see LA-Toxicity [HERE]


Remember you are putting a needle into a sterile fracture and bone infection never ends well.

  • Chloro prep or Betadine – ensure it has time to dry
  • Sterile field
  • Sterile Gloves (particularly when learning)
  • No-Touch technique (Only if proficient)


a. Insertion

  • Find fracture site – move approx. 1cm proximally
  • Insert needle – bevel down & at approx. 30°, towards the fracture
  • Hit bone & slide – forward into the fracture
  • Aspirate – you should be able to aspirate some blood, but not always (however, its should not flow too easily, if it does are you in a vessel?)
  • Inject –  this often needs a bit of pressure, infiltrate approx. 1/4 of the volume.

b. Fanning (this is not always necessary but seems to improve outcome)

  • Withdrawal needle a little – keeping it under the skin.
  • Change angle & advance – into the fracture
  • Aspirate and Infiltrate – more lidocaine
  • Repeat – do this several times so you have walked needle across the fracture (Use approx. 1/2 the lidocaine)

c. Ulna styloid (Only needed if fracture or tender)

  • Find Ulna styloid
  • Insert needle – straight onto the styloid
  • Aspirate
  • Inject – you are not normally going into the fracture but leaving a bolus approx.1/4

Give the patient 10-15min while you set up for reduction for it to achieve peak effect –  then check how its working. (getting the patine to move their wrist is a good test)


ENP’s – DOP’s forms can be found here