Ventilator Management: Maximizing Outcomes In Caring For Asthma, COPD, And Pulmonary Edema
ABC or Airway, Breathing, Circulation is a mantra of emergency medicine. There are numerous courses on airway management, most of which focus on assessment and intubation. However, post-intubation care (i.e., ventilator management) is often overlooked despite the critical importance of this component to patient outcome.
Understanding ventilators and their use is an essential competency in emergency medicine. First, appropriate ventilator management improves patient care while a mishandled ventilator is a dangerous tool. Indeed, misguided ventilator management can be a patient’s worst enemy and significantly worsen their prognosis. Second, emergency physicians are responsible for both the immediate and short-term care of intubated patients. In the current age of hospital overcrowding, intubated patients are spending an increasingly longer period of time in the ED; at times, they are even weaned and extubated in the ED before a bed becomes available upstairs.