June 22, 2020

Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) complaints are commonly seen in the emergency department. When you hear “ENT emergencies,” you probably think about epistaxis, sinusitis, and possibly foreign body removal (either from the ear or nose). While not as common, auricular hematomas are equally important to both understand and know how to manage. As a former wrestler, I can attest to the importance of 1) knowing how to accurately diagnose and 2) how to treat this injury to prevent future development of “cauliflower ear”. An auricular hematoma is a collection of blood underneath the perichondrium of the ear that typically occurs secondary to trauma. Common mechanisms of injury include an ear-piercing gone wrong or blunt trauma in contact sports (wrestling, boxing, and martial arts). Inadequate treatment of an auricular hematoma can lead to the development of an auricular deformity commonly known as “cauliflower ear,” which develops from permanent cartilage destruction.

October 9, 2019

Take Home Points 
  • Acute closed angle glaucoma is an ophthalmologic emergency that usually presents with sudden, painful, monocular vision loss.
  • Physical exam will reveal conjunctival redness, corneal haziness or cloudiness due to edema and a pupil that is mid sized and minimally reactive to light, a rock hard globe and IOP >/= 21.
  • These patients require emergent ophthalmology evaluation but treatment should be started empirically while waiting for the evaluation. Initial treatment to decrease IOP usually includes a topical BB such as timolol and topical AB such as apraclonidine and either IV or PO acetazolamide.  

May 24, 2018

Background: Sore throat is among the most common complaints in the emergency department (ED). Sometimes, the etiology is bacterial, and in those cases antibiotics may shorten the duration of disease and provide symptomatic relief. The majority of cases are viral and though most are appropriately treated with symptom management in the forms of NSAIDS and acetaminophen, some are prescribed antibiotics before cultures result in the hopes of alleviating pain. Corticosteroids are another treatment modality with prior studies suggesting their effectiveness. That said, steroids remain an uncommon therapy for a common disease.

December 7, 2017

Background: Epistaxis is a common Emergency Department (ED) complaint with over 450,000 visits per year and a lifetime incidence of 60% (Gifford 2008, Pallin 2005). Standard anterior epistaxis treatment consists of holding pressure, use of local vasoconstrictors, topical application of silver nitrate and placement of an anterior nasal pack. ED patients with epistaxis often fail conservative management and end up with anterior nasal packs which are uncomfortable. This is even more common in the group of patients who are taking antiplatelet agents like aspirin or clopidogrel. Recently, the use of topical tranexamic acid (TXA) has been described in patients with anterior epistaxis with shorter time to epistaxis control and shorter ED length of stay (Zahed 2013). However, prior studies have not focused specifically on patients taking antiplatelet agents.

October 5, 2017

Corneal abrasions account for 10% of all ocular complaints, and are the most common cause of ocular trauma (Alotaibi 2011, Bhatia 2013).  The diagnosis of corneal abrasions typically involves fluorescein staining of the eye and visualization of the abrasion via slit lamp exam. This review focuses specifically on pain control for corneal abrasions. Although corneal abrasions typically heal within 24-72 hours without complications, the pain in the acute phase is usually significant (Wilson 2004).  Treatments described include patching, topical anesthetics, topical NSAIDS, cycloplegics or oral analgesics.  Utilization of topical anesthetics has been described in a previous post.  Oral analgesics are usually prescribed as a rescue modality when topical treatment is ineffective at managing pain.