Mnemonic Monday: “Sometimes ‘Cuz of A Hypoperfusion”


By Haley Masterson

Using this mnemonic, you can simplify the order of the four types of respiratory failure as Shunting, increased CO2 (hypoventilation), Atelectasis, and Hypoperfusion. Shunting is commonly caused by pulmonary edema, hypoventilation is either neurological or neuromuscular in etiology, atelectasis is commonly seen in perioperative patients, and cases of hypoperfusion can be found in shock.


Mnemonic Monday: Partial Thromboplastin Time vs Prothrombin Time


By Haley Masterson

While PTT and PT will both be affected by disorders of the common pathway of coagulation cascade, the PTT is used as a lab test marker for the function of the intrinsic branch of the coagulation cascade, and the PT for the extrinsic.

Confused yet? Don’t be. Try using this heartbreaking visual mnemonic: (more…)

Mnemonic Monday: Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Crohn’s vs. Ulcerative Colitis


By Haley Masterson

The two types of Inflammatory Bowel Disease are both idiopathic diseases of the immune system. However, they differ in several commonly tested ways that can be explained using a simple mnemonic: Only GALS can be Crones (Crohn’s).

Granulomas – While a lack of granulomas won’t rule out Crohn’s Disease, if a test question mentions them, you should be thinking about Crohn’s. Granulomas don’t appear in Ulcerative Colitis.

All Layers – Crohn’s affects all of the layers of the bowel– it’s a transmural disease, whereas Ulcerative Colitis is confined to the mucosa (with occasional submucosa inflammation). Only Crohn’s has muscularis and serosa involvement.

You can also think of “All Layers” as being “All levels” of the bowel – Crohn’s can affect anything from the ileum (the most commonly involved segment) to the sigmoid colon, whereas Ulcerative Colitis is generally limited to colonic lesions. This becomes easy to remember when you consider that Ulcerative Colitis has “colon” right in its name. (more…)

Mnemonic Monday: Sensory and Motor Anatomy


By Haley Masterson

“Afferent” and “Efferent” may be among the most confusing similar-sounding words in medicine. Luckily, there’s a mnemonic to help tell them apart – as a bonus, this study trick also covers the difference between dorsal and ventral neurological systems. (more…)

Napkin Drawing #2: D-dimer, FDP, and Rabbit Holes


By Mark Ard

Napkin Drawing 2 D-dimer, FDP, and Rabbit HolesI vividly remember this topic from Kaplan Q bank, UWorld, and my Step 1 test. It always boiled down to the same question, what’s the difference between elevated d-dimer and elevated fibrin degradation products (FDP). (If Step 1 questions were written like that, life would be so much easier).

Of course, a good Step 1 question will assume you know the basics and wants a deeper understanding. Did this patient recently have a radical prostatectomy and release a large amount of urokinase? Do you think his nosebleed is from picking it too aggressively, or is it the first sign of DIC, followed by bleeding out of every orifice and IV site? Does the fact that his liver enzymes are sky high explain the high FDP and low d-dimer (the answer is yes, the liver makes anti-plasmin). (more…)

Mnemonic Monday: Argyll-Robinson Pupil


By Haley Masterson

To remember the ocular symptoms of Argyll-Robinson Pupil, just take the first letter of each word – ARP – and read it forwards and backwards. Forwards, you have ARP – Accommodation Reflex Present. Backwards, you have PRA – Pupillary Reflex Absent.

Usually the constriction to light is stronger than constriction to a near stimulus, but the reverse is true in the case of Argyll-Robinson pupil. Remember that “accommodation” refers to the ability of the eyes to focus on a near object. This reflex is carried out in part by pupillary constriction – so the pupils will constrict as you bring a far object into the near eye field – for example, moving your finger close to the patient’s nose. However, the “pupillary reflex” refers to the ability of the eye to constrict when exposed to a bright stimulus, such as your pen light. (more…)

An Attempt to Clean the Mess of the GI Tract Plexuses


By Joe Savarese

Perhaps I am the only one out there with this particular problem, but for some reason, I would always confuse the gastrointestinal tract plexuses. Like most miscellaneous Step 1 topics, I remembered the concept well when as I was reviewing it, but give me a week or two during Step 1 studying and those layers became a mess.

So here is my gift to you. Since I created this mnemonic, I have never mixed up these layers. (more…)

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