To Give Steroids or Not: That is the Question

Steroid molecule. (Wikimedia Commons)

In Hamlet Act 3, scene 1, Shakespeare wrote; “To be, or not to be: that is the question”. Hamlets most famous soliloquy is both memorable and intriguing because he was contemplating profound ideas. Something you do every day, every shift and every hour while working…you contemplate decisions based on best practice, cutting-edge articles, and new research. One such question has haunted us for decades…to give or not to give steroids to septic patients.

Take a listen or read the August EMRAP article titled: Critical Care Mailbag: Steroids for Septic Patients by Anand Swaminathan MD and Scott Weingart MD for a fresh perspective.

On Jan 19th, 2018 the ADRENAL Trial results were published trying once and for all to answer the question of adjunctive steroids in septic shock. Take a look at this condensed version.

Rheumatoid arthritis (Wikimedia)

Who Knew? In 1948 the first patient with rheumatoid arthritis was treated with cortisone.  Between 1954 and 1958 six synthetic steroids were introduced for systemic anti-inflammatory therapy. By 1960 all of the toxic effects of chronic corticosteroid administration had been appreciated. In the 1970s the introduction of methotrexate helped restrict the dosages and indications for corticosteroids in the rheumatic diseases.

 

 

Testicular Torsion – A Convoluted Case

What do Chubby Checker and testicular torsion have in common? (Wikimedia photo)

The 14-year-old male patient complained of right lower quadrant pain which varied in intensity for 1 day. He denied nausea, vomiting or fever. The abdominal exam revealed bowel sounds and mild tenderness to palpation in the right lower quadrant without rebound. His abdominal ultrasound was inconclusive; the white blood cell count mildly elevated, and the urine microscopy normal. He was admitted for observation. Twelve hours later the patient developed a fever and severe groin pain. A genital exam revealed classic findings for testicular torsion. The testicle was not salvageable. Unfortunately, the patient was born monorchism and rendered sterile by the orchidectomy. The lesson from this case: always include a genital exam in patients with lower abdominal pain.

Can you rely on the history and physical exam to rule out testicular torsion? Is the testicle salvageable after 6 hours? Wrench yourself away from your music downloads and listen to the EM:RAP August podcast called Testicular Torsion by Rob Orman MD and Larry Mellick MD. Get an update and review on this twisted entity and you won’t spiral out of control when faced with the possibility.

Who Knew? “The Twist” is an American pop song written and originally released in 1959 by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. It was made popular by Chubby Checker, an American rock n’ roll icon, who put his stamp on the song with the twist dance style.

So what do Chubby Checker and testicular torsion have in common? As Mr. Checker said, “Come on let’s twist again…”. Testicular torsion pain can come and go.