RCP – Wired shut: cutting jaw wires in an emergency

Wired shut: cutting jaw wires in an emergency

Resident Clinical Pearl (RCP) – January 2018

Kavish Chandra R3 FMEM, Dalhousie University, Saint John, New Brunswick

Reviewed by Dr. Awdesh Chandra

 

It’s 0300 and you are on a solo night shift when a couple are rushed into the resuscitation bay by the triage nurse. The woman says that the man had his jaw “wired shut” three weeks ago and began retching an hour ago. Your suspicions are confirmed when you look at his mouth and see the image below:

Figure 1. Arch bars (green arrows) are used for mandibular fixation, adapted from Jones and Read (2006).

 

As your patient is being placed on cardiac and oxygen monitoring, you can see they are agitated and hypoxic. You ask yourself, how can I get access to their oropharynx and begin my resuscitation?

 

Background

Arch bars and intermaxillary fixation are placed after mandibular fractures. In Figure 1, the arch bars, horizontal bars indicated by the green arrow, are fixated by circumferential wires around the teeth.1 In order to fixate the mandible and maxilla, fixation wires (vertical wires indicated by the red arrow seen in Figure 2) bring together and upper and lower arch bars, effectively eliminating mouth opening.1

Figure 2. Intermaxillary fixation wires, vertical wires indicated by the red arrows. Adapted from Jones and Read (2006).

 

While it is standard procedure for dentists and oral surgeons to provide patients with wire cutters and instructions following intermaxillary fixation for emergencies, this may not be readily available in the emergency department when needed the most.

 

The materials required:

  1. A deep breath
  2. Wire cutters (or if not, heavy metal scissors)
  3. Hemostat or needle driver

 

The steps:

  1. Identify and cut the vertical fixation wire on one side of the twist as seen in Figure 2. This is similar to cutting a single interrupted suture.
  2. Pull on the twist with a hemostat or needle driver and pull the wire out. There are generally 2-4 fixation wires per each side that require cutting in order to open the mouth.
  3. In some instances, there may be heavy elastics vertically as well, pull and cut those as well.
  4. Proceed with the resuscitation as deemed necessary (airway access or allowing the patient to vomit)
  5. The dentist or oral surgeon can re-fixate the wires non-urgently after the emergency has passed

 

See the following links on how arch bars and intermaxillary fixating wires are placed (to get an understanding of where to cut to release the mandible)

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGp46yHoVag&feature=youtu.be (minute 14 and on for application of intermaxillary fixation wires)
  2. https://emcrit.org/racc/airway-decisions/

 

Pearl: consider having wire cutters as part of your difficult airway cart or kit

 

Bottom Line: intermaxillary fixation can pose a serious threat to a patient needing to vomit or one that requires emergency airway access. Be prepared to cut the right wires in order allow mouth opening.

 

References

(1) Jones TR, Read L. Emergent separation of arch bars. J Emerg Med 2006; 35(2):205-206.

 

This post was copyedited by Kavish Chandra @kavishpchandra

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RCP – Dental Block, ER Doc

Another Solution for Dental Pain when “NSAIDs do nothing for me Doc!

Resident Clinical Pearl (RCP) – Guest Resident Edition

Peter Leighton,  R3 FMEM 2+1, Dalhousie University, Halifax

Reviewed by Dr. David Lewis

 

Dental pain is a common problem encountered in the Emergency Department (ED), yet physicians in the ED often have no to little education regarding management of dental pain. Depending on where you read, dental pain complaints account for 1-5% of emergency department visits. A common approach consists of looking for infection and providing a prescription for antibiotics and NSAIDs along with recommendation to follow up with a dentist. Although, there is good evidence for NSAIDs in dental pain, some patients find that it does not help enough with their pain or they have contraindications to NSAIDs. This often leads to the prescription of opioids for dental pain. Given the recent opioid crisis in Canada, there has been a search for other forms of management of toothache/dental pain in the ED. Insert the dental block! It’s fast, easy, and provides good pain relief, while providing a chance for patients to book an appointment to see their dentist the following day. There has been some evidence that this method achieves good pain control for the patient and may help lower opioid prescriptions in the ED for dental pain.

There are essentially 2 blocks you will need to know:

  • The Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block (Mandibular teeth)
  • Supraperiosteal Infiltrations (Maxillary teeth)

Indications

  • Dental abscess
  • Toothache
  • Pulpitis
  • Root impaction
  • Dry socket
  • Post-extraction pain
  • Trauma – lacerations, fractures

Contraindications

  • Allergy to local anesthetic
  • Distortion of landmark
  • Uncooperative patient
  • Injecting through infected tissue – may cause bacteremia
  • Cardiac congenital abnormalities and mechanical valves – require prophylaxis for endocarditis
  • Coagulopathy

What you will need

  • Syringe
  • Needle – 25-27 gauge and 1.5 inch
  • Lidocaine with epinephrine (max dose 7 mg/kg)
  • Bupivicaine +/- epinephrine (max dose 2 mg/kg)
  • Non-sterile gloves
  • Suction and light source may be required

 

The combination of Lidocaine and Bupivicaine allow the mix of immediate analgesia from the Lidocaine and prolonged duration of action by the Bupivicaine. The addition of Epinephine will also increase duration of effect. This combination should provide approximately 8 or more hours of anesthetic effect.

 

Technique:

Supraperiosteal Infiltration

Pull out patient’s cheek laterally to have a good view of the patient’s tooth and gingiva. Insert needle into the mucobuccal fold just above the apex of the tooth to be anesthetized. Keep the needle parallel to the tooth and insert it a few millimeters until needle tip is above the apex of the tooth. If bone is contracted, withdraw 1-2mm and aspirate. If no blood is aspirated then inject 1-2 ml of anesthetic. If blood is aspirated then withdraw and reposition.

 

From: www.ebmedicine.net – click here for full article

 


 

Inferior Alveolar Nerve Block

Place your thumb in the coronoid (mandibular) notch of the patient and extend the patient’s cheek out laterally so you can see the patient’s pterygomandibular raphe. Place your syringe in the opposite corner of the mouth and with your needle at the middle level of the raphe, aim just lateral to the raphe. Insert your needle approx. 2-2.5cm until you hit bone. Pull back a millimeter and aspirate twice. If any blood on aspiration, withdraw and reposition more laterally. If no blood with aspiration then inject 1-2ml of anesthetic.

 

From: Jason Kim’s Blog – click here for full article

 

 

From: www.ebmedicine.net – click here for full article

 


 

Videos:

Please see the dentistry videos below to review anatomical landmarks of both techniques:

 

Supraperiosteal technique

 

Inferior Alveolar Block

 


 

References

 

  1. Complications, diagnosis, and treatment of odontogenic infections [Internet]; c2017 [cited 2017 November 10]. Available from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/complications-diagnosis-and-treatment-of-odontogenic-infections?source=search_result&search=dental%20pain&selectedTitle=1~150.
  2. Fixing Faces Painlessly: Facial Anesthesia In Emergency Medicine [Internet]; c2017 [cited 2017 November 12]. Available from: https://www.ebmedicine.net/topics.php?paction=showTopicSeg&topic_id=207&seg_id=4229
  3. Fox TR, Li J, Stevens S, Tippie T. A performance improvement prescribing guideline reduces opioid prescriptions for emergency department dental pain patients. Annals of Emergency Medicine 2013;62(3):237-40.
  4. IA with a Short Needle [Internet]; c2015 [cited 2017 November 10]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Mf3f0XmsqI.
  5. 5. Local Infiltration [Internet]; c2014 [cited 2015 November 10]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2NSuxd7j_g.
  6. How I learned to love dental blocks [Internet]; c2014 [cited 2017 November 10]. Available from: http://www.clinicaladvisor.com/the-waiting-room/dental-blocks-useful-in-emergency-medicine/article/382951/.
  7. M2E Too! Mellick’s Multimedia EduBlog [Internet]; c2014 [cited 2017 November 10]. Available from: http://journals.lww.com/em-news/blog/M2E/pages/post.aspx?PostID=32.
  8. Moore PA, Hersh EV. Combining ibuprofen and acetaminophen for acute pain management after third-molar extractions: Translating clinical research to dental practice. J Am Dent Assoc 2013 Aug;144(8):898-908.
  9. Okunseri C, Dionne RA, Gordon SM, Okunseri E, Szabo A. Prescription of opioid analgesics for nontraumatic dental conditions in emergency departments. Drug Alcohol Depend 2015 Nov 1;156:261-6.
  10. Patel NA, Afshar S. Addressing the high rate of opioid prescriptions for dental pain in the emergency department. Am J Emerg Med 2017 Jul 3.
  11. Oral Nerve Block [Internet]; c2016 [cited 2017 November 10]. Available from: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/82850-overview#a1.
  12. Dental Pain in the ED: Big Solution in a Small Package [Internet]; c2005 [cited 2017 November 10]. Available from: http://journals.lww.com/em-news/Fulltext/2005/06000/Dental_Pain_in_the_ED__Big_Solution_in_a_Small.12.aspx.

 

 

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