n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Mechanical ventilation in the emergency department : main article

Volume 25, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



An increasing number of patients need to be managed in emergency departments worldwide.

The situation in South Africa is exacerbated by HIV and trauma epidemics.
Mechanical ventilation is an important facet of critical care provided in emergency departments.
Indications for mechanical ventilation include failure to breathe in spite of normal lungs and poor gas exchange due to sick lungs.
Each physician should be familiar with the basic modes of ventilation that can be used in emergency units.
The goals of ventilation include oxygenation, lung protection, reduced work of breathing, acid-base balance and that the patient should be comfortable on the ventilator.
Separate ventilation strategies exist for patients with normal lungs, patients with outflow obstruction such as COPD and asthma, and patients with lung infiltrates such as ARDS and pneumonia.
Never ignore a ventilator alarm sounding - it exists for a good reason.
Mechanical ventilation can be discontinued when the patient is stable and the condition necessitating ventilation has been reversed.

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