Atypical Presentations in the Older ED Patient

A Geri-EM.com E-learning Module

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Course Summary

This module follows one patient on his midnight arrival in the ED. It uses his case to explore the anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology behind his atypical presentation. It introduces lots of material about history, physical exam, and differential diagnosis that will help you the next time you pick up a chart that says “weakness.”

Learning Objectives

Upon conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to:

  1. Explain the link between non-specific symptoms (weakness, fatigue, “dizziness,” confusion, increased falls, functional decline) and life-threatening or treatable conditions.
  2. Describe how adverse drug reactions, drug-drug interactions, and drug-disease interactions can present as “new” medical conditions.
  3. Recognize normal age-related changes in anatomy, physiology, and lab investigations that influence symptom presentation.
  4. List reasons that medical diagnoses in older patients can present with atypical symptoms (altered immune response, decreased adrenergic response, polypharmacy (one drug masks symptoms), cognitive impairment (inability to describe symptoms), decreased psycho-social support (no one around to monitor changes).
  5. Keep a broad differential diagnosis for vague symptoms, especially in the older population.

Attendance at this Mayo Clinic course does not indicate nor guarantee competence or proficiency in the performance of any procedures which may be discussed or taught in this course.

Credit Statements

  • AMA

    Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

  • ANCC

    Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science designates this activity for a maximum of 1.00 ANCC contact hours. Nurses should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclaimer

Participation in this Mayo Clinic educational activity does not indicate nor guarantee competence or proficiency in the performance of any procedures which may be discussed or taught in this course. You should be aware that substantive developments in the medical field covered by this recording may have occurred since the date of original release.

Copyright

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved. Copyright 2022

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