ATLANTA, GA – Internal medicine intern Timothy McDuffy’s quest to perform a lumbar puncture (LP) in which there are zero RBCs in the first and last tubes, the so-called “champagne tap,” continues in failure as today’s attempt was not even remotely close and, in fact, would be more accurately described as a Barolo tap.
“Tim is an intern and this year he hasn’t had many opportunities to perform LPs, so he was already at a disadvantage,” said McDuffy’s internal medicine attending Lidia Nebbiolo. “Though he gave it his all, he unfortunately ended up on the other side of the spectrum: CSF tubes full of such frank blood it had not the characteristic of champagne but that of a full-bodied red.”
Given the deep dark red color of the CSF, Nebbiolo was initially concerned for subarachnoid hemorrhage. Thankfully, CSF analysis revealed RBCs < 2000 and no xanthochromia, more in keeping with a traumatic Barolo tap.
McDuffy was obviously disappointed he fell well short of his intended goal of a champagne tap. However, Nebbiolo told him not to sweat it and reassured him that this was not the boldest red she has ever seen.
“When I was an intern over a decade ago, I had some pretty terrible traumatic taps myself,” Nebbiolo confided in her young intern, “there was the Cabernet Sauvignon tap, the Syrah tap, and then the worst and most full-bodied of them all: the Tannat tap. To this day, I can’t drink Tannat wines because of all the flashbacks.”