Category: Medicine

PICC Lines and Midlines

You may well be asked to take blood from a PICC line or be called to see a patient because their PICC line is not working. In this article we will take you through the basics of PICC lines, why they are needed, how to use them and some common pitfalls. Please note that procedures

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ECG Basics

The electrocardiogram (ECG) is one of the most common, and important, investigations interpreted by doctors. In order to help the interpretation process, it is necessary to understand the physiology behind the ECG. In this article, we will explore the basics of ECG physiology, and build on this knowledge for interpretation in later articles. In a

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Pneumothorax

A pneumothorax is defined as the abnormal collection of air between the visceral and parietal space of the lung i.e. the pleural space. It typically presents with acute shortness of breath, pleuritic chest pain and is more common in those with damaged or stretched lungs. Despite clear cut guidelines from BTS, real-life management varies considerably

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Superior Vena Cava Syndrome

SVC syndrome is an oncological emergency. There is obstruction of the superior vena cava resulting in stagnating blood and a high risk of thrombosis. Due to this obstruction, collaterals develop to drain the head, neck & upper extremities which dilate over several weeks. Cardiac output is usually not severely diminished as the quick rise in

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Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blocked blood vessel in your lungs, most often due to a blood clot. It is common and can be asymptomatic but can be life-threatening if the clot is large and near the centre of the lung. With a massive PE immediate management is necessary. Causes A common cause of

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Suturing

Sutures are placed to aid with wound healing following a traumatic laceration or surgical incision and to promote haemostasis. In this article, we will look at the different types of suture classifications, the indications for each type of suture and the common suturing techniques that are used. Alternative methods of tissue closure Steri-strips Often used

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Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is characterised by repeated pancreatic inflammation. This leads to the destruction of pancreatic tissue leading to irreversible loss of both endocrine and exocrine function and formation of calcifications, pseudocysts and fibrosis. Risk factors The most common causes of chronic pancreatitis are alcohol and smoking. It is estimated that alcohol causes up to 80%

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Palpitations

Palpitations can be described as the sensation of an abnormally received heartbeat. It can be rapid, irregular, forceful or just an unusual awareness. Palpitations are a common presentation with patients of all ages and demographics. Occasionally palpitations can be life-threatening, however, most palpitations are non-urgent, treatable conditions. The key to decision making is a thorough

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers to a relapsing and remitting inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which may be accompanied by extra-GI manifestations. What are the main types of IBD? The term IBD encompasses two types: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). CD can affect any part of the GI tract, although in

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Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell diseases are a disorder of haemoglobin affecting red blood cells. This autosomal recessive, single gene defect results in the formation of HbS (sickle cell haemoglobin). Types of Sickle Cell Disorders Sickle cell trait: heterozygous (AS) which is typically asymptomatic & usually not life-limiting Sickle cell anaemia: homozygous (SS) which leads to many complications

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