What is included in prehospital care for priapism?

Updated: Dec 26, 2019
  • Author: Osama Al-Omar, MD, MBA, FACS, FEBU; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Any patient who has an erection for longer than 4 hours, especially if he has a predisposing illness (eg, sickle cell disease) probably should receive therapy for priapism. Most cases, if seen early enough in their course, respond to conservative measures.

Examples of immediate treatment that can be suggested prior to arrival at the hospital may include the use of ice packs to the perineum and penis or asking the patient to walk up stairs. The latter strategy is thought to work via an arterial steal phenomenon. External perineal compression may also be a useful temporizing measure in the ED or prehospital setting. If these measures fail to produce rapid detumescence, patients should not delay transfer to the hospital.

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