May 23, 2019

Background: Predicting a challenging airway is important to assist in the most optimal approach to airway management during RSI.  Two such tools include the Mallampati and LEMON scores and were derived in the pre-operative setting. Major limitations of these scores include the requirement of patients to be awake and cooperative and they don’t incorporate physiologic factors into them. The HEAVEN criteria is a recently developed tool thought to be more relevant and feasible for emergency airway assessment.  Each letter of HEAVEN stands for the difficult airway characteristic:
  • Hypoxemia - ≤93% at the time of initial laryngoscopy
  • Extremes of size – Pediatric patient ≤8 years of age or clinical obesity
  • Anatomic challenge – any structural abnormality that is anticipated to limit laryngoscopic view
  • Vomit/blood/fluid – Clinically significant fluid noted in the pharynx or hypopharynx prior to laryngoscopy
  • Exsanguination – Suspected anemia raising concerns about limiting safe apnea times
  • Neck mobility issues – Limited cervical range of motion

May 9, 2019

Background Information: The sequential administration of a sedative and neuromuscular blocking agent (NMBA) to facilitate the passage of an endotracheal tube is a common method of intubating in both the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). In fact, 85% of ED intubation and 75% of ICU intubations are performed using RSI. 1 It has been shown that the NMBA not only provides muscle relaxation to improve laryngeal view but has also reduced intubation associated complications, ultimately improving the likelihood of intubation success.2-4 While the early use of a sedative leads to hypoventilation and apnea, the patient has an increased risk of hypoxemia and delaying optimal intubation conditions.1 Use of an NMBA was associated with a lower prevalence of hypoxemia, however the order of its administration before the sedative remains controversial for fear of patient awareness and its use has been limited to the operating room (OR) setting. 1,2 The authors of this study sought to identify whether the order of RSI drugs was associated with increased apnea time during intubation. They defined this interval as the time elapsed from administration of the first RSI drug to the end of a successful first intubation attempt.

May 3, 2019

Despite decades of experience with endotracheal intubation, we continue to find approaches to improving the process of how we intubate.  In today’s post we are not only going to talk about how to avoid post intubation cardiac arrest, but we are also going to cover 5 rather controversial topics in airway management including: Apneic oxygenation (ApOx), use of video laryngoscopy (VL) compared to direct laryngoscopy (DL), bougie 1st intubation, back up head elevated (BUHE) intubation, and finally bag valve mask ventilation (BVM) prior to intubation.

March 29, 2019

On the last day of the last SMACC conference, Dr. Ken Milne (The SGEM) and I had a cage match debating four critical care controversies. It was all done in good fun with both of us taking our opportunities to poke a little fun at each other. While we took a pro vs con approach to the presentation, our positions are much closer than the debate demonstrates. Although the literature is far from perfect, development of critical appraisal skills and application of evidence-based medicine to the literature is what we should be using to inform our care but not dictate our care. It is equally as important to incorporate clinical judgment and ask our patients what their values and preferences are before making decisions about care.

February 7, 2019

Welcome back to REBELCast.  In this episode we talked with Jacob Avila about US guided PIVs. Difficult IV access in an already busy department can be a frustrating thing, but it doesn’t have to be.  Patients and providers are often frustrated for different reasons.  Patients for multiple IV attempts and providers because of the time it can take to perform the procedure, delays in care, or lack of success. If you want to get better at this all-important procedure, read/listen on.