High risk emergency medicine – back pain

photoRecently I was lucky enough to attend the UCSF ‘High Risk Emergency Medicine 2013‘ Conference in San Francisco.

One of many highlights was hearing Michelle Lin (Associate Professor of EM, UCSF; and creator of Academic Life in Emergency Medicine) deliver a presentation on back pain.

Back pain is a common ED complaint with a differential diagnosis ranging from benign to life-threatening.

Below is a pdf version of the presentation (NOT hosted on this site). It consists of a superb emergency medicine focused history-examination-investigation review of back pain in the ED, including pearls and pitfalls.

Examples include:

  • plain film poorly differentiates wedge from burst fractures – between 14 and 22% of burst fractures look like wedges on plain film
  • the classic triad of back pain/fever/neurological deficits occurs in only 13% of patients with spinal epidural abscess, and between 75 and 89% of patients have a delayed diagnosis

Read the rest below!

If the document is too small to view in your browser click the arrow in the top right corner to view it in full-screen mode

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