December 2011 archive

Dec 23 2011

Macintosh and Miller Laryngoscope Blades Mnemonic

There are two main types of laryngoscope blades used for intubation. These are named the Macintosh (or Mac) and Miller blades. The main difference between these two blades is that the Macintosh blade is curved, while the Miller blade is straight. It can be easy to confuse which blade is which, so here is the …

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Dec 21 2011

Causes of Hyperglycemia Mnemonic: The “Eight I’s”

Hyperglycemia is a common finding encountered in the emergency department and on the hospital floor. The two main conditions associated with hyperglycemia are diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS). Aside from treating the symptoms of these conditions and lowering the glucose, it is important to determine the etiology so that the underlying problem …

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Dec 20 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Bull’s-Eye Rash

The buzzword “bull’s-eye rash” is used to describe the appearance of a rash located on the skin. The rash has either a cleared area or red area in the center, with red rings circling it. It can also be known as a “target-rash.” I came across four main conditions that cause a bull’s-eye rash. They …

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Dec 19 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Envelope Crystals

This buzzword refers to the appearance of calcium oxalate dihydrate crystals that can be found in the urine of patients with ethylene glycol toxicity, or kidney stones (nephrolithiasis). They look like squares with an “X” in the center, which appear similar to a mail envelope. The “envelope” appearance is specific to the calcium oxalate dihydrate …

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Dec 17 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Kanavel Signs

This buzzword deals with the diagnosis of septic flexor tenosynovitis, which can occur in a finger when the flexor tendon becomes infected. The most common cause of this infection is from an injury. The term is an eponym, named after the surgeon Allen Kanavel. There are four different Kanavel signs. If all are exhibited in …

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Dec 16 2011

Bury the Buzzword: Mittelschmerz

The medical term mittelschmerz (pronounced mittelschmerts) is one of those classic buzzwords, in that knowing the word tells you nothing about its meaning. However, if you know German you could get a clue as to what the word means, because it literally translates to “middle pain.” Interestingly, the “middle” part of the translation does not …

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Dec 14 2011

Bury the Buzzword: B Symptoms

“B symptoms” is a buzzword used to describe the systemic (constitutional) symptoms of: – Fever (unexplained, > 38⁰C or > 100.4⁰F) – Night sweats (soaking) – Weight loss (> 10% over past 6 months) These symptoms are used in the Ann Arbor Staging Classification for Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, published in Cancer Research in …

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Dec 13 2011

Internalize Info of the Week: Lichen Planus Buzzwords

Lichen planus is an autoimmune disease that can cause a rash on the skin, mucous membranes of the mouth and genital area, nails, and head. The exact cause of this condition is not known. There are several key buzzwords associated with lichen planus which will be defined in this post. The entire pathogenesis will not …

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Dec 11 2011

Medical Buzzwords are Convenient, but it is Important to Remember the Underlying Meaning

This week I started a new series of posts called “Bury the Buzzword.” I already explained what this series will entail in its first post, but I think the subject of medical buzzwords deserves further thought. Buzzwords are not exclusive to the medical profession, but I would venture to say that they are not as …

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Dec 08 2011

Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Don’t miss this diagnosis in a patient who presents with unilateral hearing loss occurring within 72 hours and has a normal ear examination. These patients frequently get misdiagnosed as having fluid in the middle-ear or having an infection. It is important to recognize this diagnosis, initiate treatment early, and refer to a specialist so that …

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