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Global Health Blog - December 2011
I just got back to Botswana after attending the Emergency Medicine in the Developing World conference in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa! It was exciting to meet so many emergency physicians, residents, paramedics, and nurses from across Africa. Emergency Medicine (EM) is one of the newest specialties in the world with a 30-year history in the United States, and a 10-year history in South Africa. EM training programs have recently launched in Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and in Botswana. The conference was a good opportunity to compare notes, share experiences, and discuss future collaboration. We even have our own medical journal now, the African Journal of Emergency Medicine, and my team from Botswana co-authored a paper describing the history of our work:
Development of Emergency Medicine in Botswana
Alongside academic EM training programs, we are all working to build acute care, emergency, and pre-hospital services in our respective countries. The sustainability of these models will depend on the success of our advocacy in demanding these services from the health systems in which we work. New international campaigns focusing on road traffic injuries (the decade of action for road safety launched this year) and non-communicable diseases will hopefully overlap with and reinforce our efforts...
The traditional landmark-guided needle lumbar puncture technique was first described by Heinrich Quincke in 1891This technique utilizes the iliac crest and the posterior lumbar spinous processes to determine the optimal sites for spinal needle introduction in either the L3-4 or the L2-3 interspinous spaces. The landmark-guided technique of lumbar puncture is usually successful in experienced hands as long as the patient is not obese, pregnant, edematous, or have scoliosis, degenerative joint disease, or a history of lumbar spine surgery. Patients who have any of these characteristics or conditions can lead to more difficult landmark-guided lumbar punctures. It is in these cases when bedside ultrasound can increase the success rate of lumbar punctures.[2,3,4,5]
Ultrasound-guided regional neuraxial anesthesia has been described in the anesthesia literature since 1971. The literature reports a reduction in the number of attempts, need for repositioning, and interspaces accessed compared with landmark-guided spinal or epidural anesthesia.[7,8] The use of bedside ultrasound to help guide difficult lumbar punctures has spread to the emergency room, ICU, and the hospital wards over the last 7 years. Observational studies have demonstrated that lumbar landmarks can be correctly identified using ultrasound about 76% of the time when they are difficult to palpate.[2,3,9]
Topics: Dr. Joseph Esherick, emergency physician, Heinrich Quincke, Authors, bedside ultrasound, Hospital Medicine Blog, emergency medicine, hospital medicine, hospitalist, landmark-guided, lumbar puncture