December 18, 2019

ACEP19 IEM Education Session Wrap-Up

On Sunday, October 27th the IEM section proudly hosted the IEM Education Session. A diverse group of international and domestic participants worked through eight different learning stations from the “Hacks in Clinical Medicine and Teaching in Low Resource Settings” session. The feedback received from those who attended was overwhelmingly positive. Post-session survey found that the majority learned a lot (>74%, the rest moderate amount) and found the information to be very clinically useful (>77%, the rest moderately useful).

Eight Training Stations were set up and addressed:

  • Ocular Foreign Body
  • Medical Simulation
  • Oral Rehydration Solution
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage Control
  • Respiratory Hacks
  • Field Dengue Analysis
  • Trauma Station
  • Homemade Ultrasound Gel

The most sought after hack was the Homemade Ultrasound Gel, which was published by Dr. Christine Riguzzi and available on the ALiEM website :

Traveling with commercial ultrasound gel is cumbersome, adds weight to your luggage, may create a slimy mess if a bottle ruptures and once you run out of it your ultrasound machine is no longer very useful. However, this hack allows you to easily bring along the dry inexpensive base product, cornstarch, and as much of it as you can carry to keep a sustainable supply.

On site, necessary supplies include a pan, heat source, water, a measuring cup, a clean empty bottle that can be refilled and of course, the cornstarch.


  1. Combine 1 part cornstarch to 10 parts water in a pan. Here, we use ¼ cup cornstarch to 2 ½ cups water to make about 2 gel bottles full.
  2. Heat this mixture while stirring constantly at medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
  3. When the substance begins to boil, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Pour the mixture into a clean, preferably sterilized, container. An old commercial ultrasound gel bottle works well.   Place the bottle in boiling water for 10 minutes to clean before filling.
  5. Note that the gel should be used within 48-72 hours for best results. After that, it may begin to separate.

More of these exciting hacks will be shared in upcoming newsletter editions!

Thank you again to all who were able to attend the session this year. We are already at work planning the IEM Education Session for ACEP20. See you in Dallas!

Matt Heimann

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