Critical Care

BVM - Do no harm

It’s been a busy day in the ED and you’ve had several cardiac arrests come in back to back.  EMS calls in with another one just as they’re hitting the door.  The patient is an adult, but you notice the BVM they’re using is much smaller than what you’re used to seeing.  The medic says “The day has been so bad, we didn’t have time to get back to base to restock the rig.  We only had a pediatric BVM.”  Knowing that safe ventilation includes limiting tidal volumes and pressures, you wonder what the implications of using a pediatric BVM are.

Angiotensin II and COVID-19

As we learn more about the pathophysiology of COVID-19, alternative treatments are being explored for the severe sequelae of this disease. SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells via the ACE2 receptor, located in many organs, including the heart, vascular endothelium, and alveolar epithelium causing an inflammatory cascade that can lead to ARDS, vasodilatory shock, myocarditis, acute kidney injury and capillary leak. Given the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and the RAAS, is there a role for angiotensin II in vasodilatory shock caused by COVID-19?

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ECMO in pregnancy

 

A 36-year-old woman presented to urgent care with cough, dyspnea and hypoxemia. She was transported to the ED where she rapidly progressed to severe ARDS despite lung protective ventilation, paralysis and inhaled epoprostenol. Post-intubation, it was determined that she was pregnant with ultrasound revealing a fetus at 23 weeks, 6 days gestational age. She underwent cannulation for venovenous ECMO. What is the role of ECMO in the pregnant patient? A recently published analysis of the ELSO registry for peripartum patients supported with ECMO demonstrates a 70 percent survival rate. 

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A relaxing RCT

You sign out to the overnight team at midnight and stay an hour or so completing a laceration repair and finishing your charts.  It's been a chaotic afternoon and evening and the patina of COVID-19 didn’t make things any better. After your shift (and appropriate decontamination) you pass your hospital’s new resiliency resource room.  You wonder, “What would be more relaxing right now? Doing some deliberative coloring, petting a dog, or just heading home?”

To art line or not to art line?

You are working in a busy ED when a patient who is 54 arrives with an acute onset headache associated with syncope but no focal neurologic deficits.  His physical exam is unremarkable but his BP is mildly elevated at 175/80. The patient’s head CT is consistent with an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.  You begin anti-hypertensive treatment, but wonder how reliable non-invasive blood pressure measurement is in this patient.

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