Category: Medical

Hyponatraemia

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

Read more

Influenza POCT (Adult)

The 2019-20 Flu season has arrived, and we need to be thinking about who to test and who to treat. Full guide HERE But don’t forget MERS!!

Q1. Do you suspect Flu?

  • Fever
  • Coryza
  • Arthralgia and/or Myalgia
  • Malaise
  • GI symptoms – with or without signs of respiratory/other involvement e.g. CN

Yes! – Respiratory precautions

  • Isolated in a side room
  • Surgical face mask worn on entry to room + gloves and apron
  • FFP3 mask or hood worn for aerosol generating procedures
  • Bare below the elbow / good quality hand hygiene
  • Proceed to Q2

 

Read more

Lower Back Pain: Red & Yellow Flags

Each year 1:15 of the adult population will seek medical help for Lower Back Pain, that is 2.6 million patients in the UK. Most Lower Back Pain is not serious and will revolve within 8 weeks, with analgesia and self physio.

However, this is not the case for some. This may be due to serious underlying pathology ‘RED Flags‘, or psychological factors that indicate chronicity ‘Yellow Flags‘.

Read more

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)

Read more

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

pdmedcalc

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

Pulmonary Embolism in Pregnancy

Unfortunately the the normal pathway for investigation of PE performs poorly in pregnancy RCOG have the following pathway

1. Investigation – of suspected PE

  • Clinical assessment – its all on the history and exam scoring doesn’t work
  • Perform the following tests:
    • CXR – sheilding can protect the baby and may avoid further radiation
    • ECG
    • Bloods: FBC, U&E, LFTs
  • Commence Dalteparin (unless treatment is contraindicated) – BNF
  • Arrange admission to AAU/AMU (>20/40  AMU @CRH and inform Obstetrics)

Read more