September 17, 2021 It's What's Inside Us

Category: Trauma

Blunt chest trauma

Being in a car accident, even the most benign one imaginable, can be stressful for patients. Inherently, if they have any chest pain they’re going to be convinced they’ve sheared their aorta right off its hinges. While that may be of concern to them, we are pretty certain that their aorta is still intact if they still are alive, but did they sustain a cardiac contusion? How do we even figure out if they had one? And what the heck do we do with them if they did in fact have a cardiac contusion?

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Fat embolism syndrome

Typically when we start talking about anything related to fat embolisms our minds go immediately to trauma and long bone fractures as the cause, but this isn’t always the case. The constellation of signs and symptoms of respiratory insufficiency, neurologic dysfunction and petechial rash which are typically associated with fat embolism syndrome can also be caused by pancreatitis, sickle cell disease and liposuction; all of which show up regularly in the Emergency Department. With mortality rates as high as 20%, despite the fact that FES usually doesn’t present for at least 12 hours after the initial event, it should be something that we are aware of.

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