How is a partial flexor tendon injury diagnosed? Treated?

Partial flexor tendon injuries are diagnosed by visual inspection as motor activity of the finger may not be compromised.  It is important to visualize the tendon in its position at the time of injury.

Flexor tendon injuries less than 20% often to don't need to be sutured, however tattered tendinous tissue should be cleaned up to prevent a trigger finger.  Lacerations more than 20% should be sutured.


Hart, R. et al.  Emergency and Primary Care of the Hand.  2001.

Davenport M. Chapter 47. Injuries to the Arm, Hand, Fingertip, and Nail. In:Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski J, Ma O, Cline DM, Cydulka RK, Meckler GD, T. eds.Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 7eNew York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2011.

Fill in the blanks: Patients with a history of adrenal insufficiency should increase their home dose of steroids by ______ times the normal dose for ______ days when confronted with an acute illness (fever, URI, tooth extraction, etc ...)

Patients with a history of adrenal insufficiency should increase their home dose of steroids by two to three times the normal dose for three days when confronted with an acute illness (fever, URI, tooth extraction, etc ...)


Burgess, B. and Roe, J.  "Adrenal Insufficiency"  Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine.  July 2012.

What are the indications for inotropic agents (dobutamine and/or milrinone) in treatment of acute decompensated congestive heart failure?


  • advanced systolic heart failure (reduced left ventricular ejection fraction) with marginal systolic blood pressure (less than 90 mmHg)
  • advanced systolic heart failure with intolerance or minimal responsive to intravenous vasodilators and/or diuretics 


Colucci, W.  "Treatment of decomensated heart failure: Components of therapy"  Up to Date.  2012 Nov. 

What are some clues to help distinguish viral from drug-induced exanthems?

It is often difficult to distinguish but here are some clues ...
  • viral exanthems often have associated fever, malaise, sore throat and conjunctivitis; although drug reactions may have these features also
  • viral exanthems happen more frequently in children; although adults can get them too 
  • a rash that develops within 3 days of a drug being initiated for an infection is more likely secondary to the infection because of the time required for hypersensitivity to develop in a patient not previously sensitized to a particular drug

Selected infections and Other Conditions that Often Include an Exanthem and Characteristics that Help Differentiate Them from an Exanthematous Drug Eruption.  (click image to enlarge)


 Stern, R.  "Exanthematous Drug Eruptions"  NEJM.  28 June 2012.

For treatment of burns, why might bacitracin be favored relative to silver sulfadiazine even though its antimicrobial coverage is less broad?

because silver sulfadiazine causes:
  • allergy in patients with sulfa sensitivity
  • permanent silver staining of the skin and therefore should not be used on the face or other cosmetically sensitive areas
  • severe hemolysis in patients with G6PD
  • sulfonamide kernicterus in children less than 2 months and therefore should be avoided in pregnant women, newborns and nursing mothers


Hall, R., Watts, L., and Bashiti, S.  "Thermal Burns"   Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine.  March 2012.

What is the treatment of hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP)?

Plasma exchange.  This will remove antibodies to a von Willebrand factor-cleaving protease (ADAMTS13), deplete very high circulating levels of von Willebrand factor (VWF) multimers, and replace the missing protease (ADAMTS13).   If there is a delay in initiating plasma exchange, give FFP which contains ADAMTS13.

Consider the diagnosis of HUS and/or TTP when there is unexplained thrombocytopenia (typically less than 20K) + microangiopathic hemolytic anemia (MAHA) [schistocytes, normal PT/PTT, elevated LDH, elevated indirect bili, dereased haptoglobin)


Kaplan, A. and George, J.  "Treatment of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and hemolytic uremic syndrome in adults"  Up to Date.  Jan 2013.

Sabatine, M.  Pocket Medicine: The Massachusetts General Hospital Handbook of Internal Medicine.  3rd ed.