Critical Care

Critical Procedures: How to Create a Pericardiocentesis Model

Pericardiocentesis is a rarely performed, but potentially life-saving procedure. Commerical models are prohibitively expensive, but students and residents (and critical care fellows) still need to learn the mechanics, ideally with an ultrasound compatibile model. This week's post gives a step by step guide towards making a cheap, easy to fabricate phantom based on this fantastic paper published in the Journal of Emergency Medicne 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21925818

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Tracheostomy decannulation: To cap or not to cap?

A 49-year-old woman was intubated for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure secondary to pneumonia, which was complicated by empyema. She failed extubation and ultimately required tracheostomy for prolonged mechanical ventilation. After transfer to the intermediate care unit, she was successfully weaned from the ventilator for over 24 hours. She tolerated prolonged deflation of her tracheostomy cuff and swallowed water without aspiration. She underwent a tracheostomy tube occlusion test and there was no obstruction to air flow with a size 7 fenestrated tracheostomy tube in place. She is requiring suctioning once every 12 hours. You are assessing her readiness for tracheostomy decannulation and are considering the utility of a capping trial.    

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Another take on balanced crystalloids vs. saline

It’s a familiar call ahead to the ED - an adult patient who is febrile, hypotensive, with suspicion towards infection.  While setting up the room, the patient’s bedside nursing team asks if you’d like them to get saline or lactated Ringer’s (LR) ready for resuscitation.  You wonder if there’s any new evidence examining the use of saline versus balanced crystalloids in the emergency department.

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Critical Cases - Bradycardia Emergency!

An 87 yo male is brought in by EMS after a syncopal event while on the toilet, resulting in a fall and head injury. EMS reports a heart rate in the 30s en route. As your approach the resuscitation bay you begin to think about the causes of bradycardia and what your approach will be to stabilize this potentially very sick patient....

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