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Snapshot Case- No Day at the Beach

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It is a beautiful summer afternoon when you and your partner are called to the beach for a “swimmer in distress”. Upon your arrival, you find a 48 year old male sitting on a beach towel, appearing to be in some distress. You are told that he was swimming in the ocean when he began […]

ST-segment elevation in lead aVR. Is this a STEMI equivalent?

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EMS was called for a young adult male who had collapsed at home. He had been walking through the kitchen when he complained of some chest discomfort, appeared to perhaps have trouble breathing, and then had a syncopal episode. He had a PMHx history of trisomy 21, sleep apnea, DM type 2, and right-sided CHF […]

Heroin Withdrawal: QT Prolongation & Torsade de Pointes

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This is the case of a 61 year old male who presented to the emergency department with a chief complaint of nausea and vomiting. The patient was alert and oriented, reporting intermittent chest pressure for the last 12 hours that he rated as a 9/10 pain level. He also reported multiple syncopal episodes within the […]

“You Make the Call” — 86 Year old Female: Dizzy

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  It is a beautiful September morning when the tones go off for a 86 year old female, “altered mental status”. “Guess breakfast will have to wait”, as you and your partner head towards the residence. As you enter the one level home, you are directed to a back bedroom where you find your patient […]

I “over-diagnosed” an ECG. Maybe you should too.

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It’s important to be wrong now and then. Not just for the usual blather about being humble, understanding cognitive biases, or even nailing the Kobayashi-Maru test. No, it’s important to be wrong in the right sort of way, a willingness to be humble in the interest of patient care. Let me explain! Case #1: I […]

Proficiency vs Deficiency… The Art Of Electrocardiography Analysis

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Understanding the different types of assessments, assessment tools, and findings acquired from these assessments, are all part of proper patient care in both acute and chronic emergency medicine management, in every realm of the term “PATIENT CARE”. One of the most important tools, in both the prehospital setting and long term care, is the 12 […]

The role of 12 lead ECG in Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension

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An 11  year old male presents with complaint of substernal chest pain, 6/10, unable to describe the sensation but non-radiating, which started during a basketball game, while running. Primary assessment: Patent airway Adequate respiratory effort with no signs of distress skin is pink, warm and dry, with no signs of hypoperfusion Pertinent medical Hx: Chronic Interstitial Lung Disease […]

Calcium and Hyperkalemia

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“Calcium Chloride/Gluconate are used during Hyperkalemia induced ECG changes to reduce Serum Potassium.” The answer is:    False! The majority of Potassium in our body is found intracellular. Only a very small percentage (about 2%) is found extracellular, ranging between 3.5- 5.5 mEq/L. As extracellular Potassium levels increase, the action potential threshold decreases, for example, instead of […]

Conclusion: Rate Related VS Primary ST-T Changes

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  This is the conclusion to our previous case, “RATE RELATED VS PRIMARY ST-T CHANGES“. Check it out before you read this final portion.   This was the initial 12 lead ECG obtained by EMS prior ED arrival: There is an irregularly irregular tachycardia with no signs of P waves, which the Lifepak 15 determined to […]

68 y.o. male with weakness: “Treat the monitor, not the patient?”

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A recent graduate of our hospital’s paramedic program brought this case to me. Leigh works for Stratford EMS, an excellent local service in Southwestern Connecticut. (A quick note on the specific details of the case: This patient did not necessarily come to my hospital. Additionally, several features of the case have been altered; some to […]

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