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Topics in Emergency Medicine CME Course

Posted Oct 20 2009 10:06pm

"Topics in Emergency Medicine" is one of two national CME courses that our UCSF department hosts annually, in addition to "High Risk Emergency Medicine" every May. This week Topics is being held in the fancy-schmancy Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. It has an amazing line-up of speakers, most of whom are from UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH).

I just gave a lecture yesterday on High Risk Back Pain, which focuses on key history and physical exam elements, imaging options, and advanced concepts in the 4 red flags of back pain (spinal fracture, cauda equina syndrome, spinal infection, and vertebral malignancy). My talk incorporates Flash-based modules, such as on the topic of reading thoracolumbar films. Basically, you should use an ABCS approach:
  • A- Alignment
  • B- Bone
  • C- Cartilaginous (i.e. disk space height)
  • S- Soft tissue


Thoracic spine
  • A- Anterior and posterior vertebral line
  • B- Vertebral body, pedicle, lamina, facet jt, spinous process
  • C- Intervertebral disk space
  • S - Paraspinous stripe





Lumbar spine
  • A- Anterior and posterior vertebral line
  • B- Vertebral body, pedicle, lamina, facet jt, spinous process
  • C- Intervertebral disk space
  • S - Psoas shadow



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