Guidelines on intubation in critically ill patients

Some key take home points from a new guidelines on airway management in critically ill patients

Just as I set the last blog post in the airway series to post, a fantastic guideline was published on intubation in critically ill adult patients. It covers most of the content I tried to cover in those posts, and probably does a much better job. I recommend that everyone take the time to read it. I have already covered a lot of this information in the airway series, but as a way of reinforcing the lessons from those posts, I thought I would go through my personal takeaways from this document.

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Emergency Airway Management Part 5: Post intubation care

A guide to managing patients in the immediate post-intubation period

Case

A 55-year-old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs on arrival are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. After using basic airway maneuvers to temporarily stabilize his airway, you were able to take the time to appropriately resuscitate and pre-oxygenate him, prior to proceeding with intubation. You pass the tube easily on the first attempt. Looking around the room for someone to high-five, you realize your team is waiting for your instructions for the ongoing care of this sick patient…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 4: Cricothyroidotomy (surgical front of neck access)

An approach to managing the emergency department patient in a can’t intubate can’t oxygenate scenario

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. After appropriate resuscitation and pre-oxygenation, you determine that there are no major predictors of difficulty, and so proceed with RSI. On 2 attempts at laryngoscopy, both direct and video, you cannot visualize the cords. The LMA won’t sit properly, and now his oxygen saturation is 70% despite your best attempt at bag valve mask ventilation…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 3: Intubation – the procedure

An approach to intubation in the emergency department

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs on arrival are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. After using basic airway maneuvers to temporarily stabilize his airway, you were able to take the time to appropriately resuscitate and pre-oxygenate him. His vital signs are now a heart rate of 105, a blood pressure of 122/77, a respiratory rate of 16, and an oxygen saturation of 100% with a non-rebreather set at flush rate and nasal prongs at 15 L/min. However, he remains unconscious and you think it is now time to proceed with intubation…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 2: Is the patient ready for intubation?

An approach to managing important pre-intubation physiology

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs on arrival are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. Although he was originally making sonorous noises, after elevating the head of the bed to 30 degrees, inserting a nasopharyngeal airway, and applying a jaw thrust, he is breathing quietly at 23 breaths a minutes, and his oxygen saturation has climbed to 92% with facemask oxygen…

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Emergency Airway Management Part 1: Optimizing the basics

An approach to the initial airway management of emergency department patients

Case

A 55 year old man was found unconscious in the bathroom by his family. He has a GCS of 7. His vital signs are a heart rate of 130, a blood pressure of 90/55, a respiratory rate of 28, and an oxygen saturation of 89% on room air. He is lying flat on the resuscitation stretcher and making some sonorous breath sounds. You resident grabs a laryngoscope and says, “ABCs… let’s get this guy intubated”…

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Managing laryngospasm in the emergency department

How to manage laryngospasm

It has now been a full year since I started First10EM. Thank you to everyone who has helped me a long the way, and especially to everyone who has spent their time reading this blog. I never imagined that so many people would be interested in my emergency medicine education project. This is an updated version of the first ever post on First10EM.com

Case

A feisty 3 year old tripped, cut her lip, and is now politely refusing your colleague’s attempts at suturing. You hear these polite refusals from across the department and wander over to offer your help with a procedural sedation. After moving to an appropriate room, going through the pre-sedation checklists, and tracking down all the folks that are required to be present, you give a dose of ketamine. Just as you are about to entertain the room with your latest cheesy joke, you hear a loud squeaking. You glance at the patient and recognize significant respiratory muscle contraction and stridor. A quick glance at the monitor shows a flat CO2 tracing. Oh no, laryngospasm…
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