Today is episode B in a series about our approach to the crashing patient. As we discussed in the previous episode, at some point during your clerkship, you will have a patient that starts dying right in front of your eyes. And it will be very scary! In Emergency Medicine, we fall back onto the “A-B-Cs” whenever this happens. We fall back onto an algorithm that lets us take control of virtually any situation in less than 60 seconds.
In this episode, we cover B-Breathing. In medical school, we learned that breathing equals both oxygenation and ventilation. However, between the two of these, oxygenation is BY FAR the most important in the acute setting. Hypoxia kills patients immediately, so you need to fix hypoxia immediately. As we will discuss in this episode, there are only two ways to do this. You either add FiO2, or you add PEEP.