Charles Vega, MD: Common Urgent Care Presentations, Acute Pain Concerns

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A discussion regarding highlights from Dr. Charles Vega’s presentation on common urgent care presentations and concerns regarding acute pain.

In an interview with HCPLive, Charles Vega, MD, Health Sciences Clinical Professor at the UC Irvine Department of Family Medicine, highlighted some key points made in his presentation at Pri-Med Midwest 2022.

Vega went into a description of his experiences as a clinician in dealing with urgent care presentations, and described points of interest for primary care clinicians.

“I have worked in urgent care in the past,” he explained. “But right now with our clinical practice, I have same day patients added in so I see a couple of same day patients and my average schedule per half day, what I usually see is acute pain syndromes.”

Vega went into his experiences treating patients with acute pain issues, specifically describing the more personal elements of what patients face and other trends he has observed lately.

“This could be a headache, this could be acute knee pain injuries, I also see some folks who have exacerbations of chronic illnesses, blood pressure that's less controlled,” he said. “And then, unfortunately, especially during COVID-19, of course, we're seeing a lot more acute respiratory infections. But I've also seen some folks who have not been able to get the care they need, maybe for chronic conditions of any type, and also some more mental health concerns even coming through the same day because they don't have access to other services.”

Additionally, Vega described some of the major red flags clinicians can look for with regard to patients’ major complaints. He explained the ways in which vital signs such as oxygen saturation and blood pressure are obvious but essential for noticing these red flags.

“Otherwise, I'd say broadly, just listen to the patients and know when they're talking about their headache, for example, and they had, it's a thunderclap that came on, they've never had a headache like this, it's out of character for everything else,” he said. “All of those are risk factors. If it's part of the routine that they've had, they've had this three months ago, nine years ago, 22 years ago, and it always was the same, whether it's a headache, or that knee pain or any other type of acute symptom, I feel better about it. But when it's new, it needs further exploration and a good physical exam, too.”

Watch the full interview with Dr. Vega to find out more about key takeaways from his Pri-Med Midwest presentation.