A significant number of the urological complaints seen in hospitals are acute urological emergencies. These complaints are serious and require immediate, often life-saving treatment, which can be either surgical intervention or pharmacological treatment.
In many cases, there is an underlying disease that can trigger a urological emergency, for example, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) that can cause acute urinary retention - the inability to voluntarily pass urine - which is the most common urologic emergency.
Other urological emergencies include Fournier's gangrene, paraphimosis, priapism, testicular torsion, renal calculi, and more. While these emergency conditions are unrelated and presented with different symptoms, they all require urgent care.
Failure to recognize urologic emergencies or delaying the treatment may result in serious complications such as renal failure, organ damage, or loss of sexual function (impotence), or may require the surgical removal of testicles (orchiectomy) or other tissue. If not recognized and treated on time, urological emergencies also may be fatal.
That's why it is important that physicians caring for patients must be able to rapidly recognize, diagnose, and treat urologic emergencies.
However, this isn't an easy task. Often the diagnosis of urological emergency is obvious and the course of treatment self-evident. But, there are times when the symptoms may be more subtle and the best treatment less obvious.
In order to be able to provide the best possible care for their patients, healthcare professionals in the field of Urology may use many references, including those available for smartphones and tablets.
Mobile apps can provide urologists, nephrologists, and other clinicians caring for urology patients with useful resources and tools helping them diagnose and formulate a treatment plan for the most common urologic emergency conditions.
British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) and BrainyDoc developed an app for this purpose called Urological Emergencies.
The app is a simple guide giving clinicians a structured approach to the acute management of a wide range of common urological emergencies, covering diagnosis, initial management, investigation, and subsequent treatment options (medication or surgical).
The Urological Emergencies app opens to the page with the interface similar to that of another app from BrainyDoc called Urology News.
The main page features a list of the common urological emergencies, including acute urinary retention, Emphysematous pyelonephritis (EPN), Epididymo-orchitis, paraphimosis, trauma, UTI, and more.
Tap on the condition reveals more on each emergency, on a single page that can be navigated by either scrolling or via section shortcuts at the top of each page that can be collapsed or expanded.
These sections vary from condition to condition and they cover the main components of a structured approach to the diagnosis, investigation, and management of common urological emergencies.
For example, sections in Acute Urinary Retention include Incidence, Risk factors, Aetiology, IPSS: International Prostate Symptom Score, History, Examination, Investigations, Management, and Trail of Void and Follow Up.
Other conditions may include additional components, such as Surgery management in Fournier's gangrene, tools used in management such as a 3-way catheter in Haematuria, or explaining different causes for particular urology emergencies, for example in testicular swellings.
The content is provided in a concise manner in a form of bulleted text, which makes the app perfect to use as a quick reference at the point of care.
The app also contains photos depicting some of the conditions, their presentations, equipment, radiology scans, and so on.
The Urological Emergencies app also provides BAUS consent forms which link to leaflets containing evidence-based information about various urological procedures proposed to the patient. These leaflets open on the official BAUS website and require an Internet connection.
Besides these forms, the bottom of the main page also contains the information about the app and its authors.
It's been made clear from the review that Urological Emergencies app covers a wide range of common urological emergencies, providing the content which comes from the reputable source, although without a single reference.
The app and its content are mainly designed for primary care and emergency doctors and nurses, as well as specialists who are responsible for patients with emergency urological conditions.
There is a disclaimer posted by the app authors, stating that the information provided in the app is intended as an educational guide to clinical practice only, not as a support for clinical decision making, which stays in the hands of healthcare professionals who treat these emergencies.
As an educational tool, the app can also be used to teach medical students about the most common urological emergencies and treatment procedures.
The app is available as a free download for iOS and Android mobile devices.
Overall, I found the Urological Emergencies app useful for anybody involved in the diagnosis and management of different urological emergencies. The app comes from a reputable source and has the potential to greatly improve the patient care.
Benefit: Urologists, surgeons, Emergency Department and primary care clinicians, and other healthcare providers treating patients with different urological emergencies. The app can be also used by medical students to enhance their education and knowledge.