Non-traumatic urologic emergencies in men: a clinical review.
Although true urologic emergencies are extremely rare, they are a vital part of any emergency physician's (EP) knowledge base, as delays in treatment lead to permanent damage. The four urologic emergencies discussed are priapism, paraphimosis, testicular torsion, and Fournier's gangrene. An overview is given for each, including causes, pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and new developments. The focus for priapism is on diagnosis and distinguishing high-flow from low-flow forms, as the latter requires emergent treatment. For paraphimosis, we describe various methods of relieving the stricture, from manual reduction to surgery in extreme cases. For testicular torsion, the most important factor in salvaging the testicle is decreasing time to treatment. This is accomplished through experience and understanding which signs and symptoms strongly suggest it, so that time-consuming tests are avoided. Lastly, Fournier's gangrene is potentially fatal. While aggressive medical and surgical therapy will improve chances of survival and outcome, it is vital for the emergency department (ED) physician to diagnose Fournier's. It often presents in the elderly, immunocompromised, or those with depressed mental status. The goal of this paper is to arm EPs with information to recognize urological emergencies and intervene quickly to preserve tissue, fertility, and life.
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