Critical Care Monitoring In The Emergency Department
Providing optimal care of the critically ill patient can present a dilemma for the emergency physician. While the importance of the emergency department’s (ED) role in the early care of critical patients continues to be reinforced and redefined, an estimated 15% of a patient’s total hospital critical care is provided in the ED.1 The additional responsibilities of caring for complex patients and prolonged “boarding” of admitted patients place an increasing strain on already overcrowded facilities and often overextended emergency staff.2 Therefore, an understanding of the utility of advanced monitoring devices is of absolute importance, not only to provide emergency physicians with the confidence that the best care possible is being supplied to their patients but also to optimize the efficiency of such care. While the addition of advanced monitoring technologies may seem to add more complexity and work, the sine qua non of good monitoring is the diagnostic simplification; good monitoring grants control of chaotic situations. This issue of Emergency Medicine Practice provides an overview of the current evidence regarding the benefit of respiratory, hemodynamic, and neurologic monitoring of the critically ill patient.