Monday, March 31, 2014

R.E.B.E.L. EM and the Importance of Airway

In this brave new world of FOAMed one of the big challenges is vetting which sources of information are worth following. The work of Salim Rezaie (@SRRezaie) on his R.E.B.E.L. EM blog, should be a a must read for anyone trying to keep up in EM. He is a prolific contributor to #FOAMed with recent posts exploring the need for an insulin bolus in DKA and what actually matters in post-LP headaches.  But the one that prompted this long over-do "shout out" was a review of preoxygenation and apneic oxygenation that you should go read right now.

Your communication skills are probably those most critical to your overall success in medicine, but you can argue that airway skills come in a close second. If you train at an ACGME-approved residency program in the U.S. you will be required to perform 35 intubations to meet requirements.  Ask any Emergency Physician and they will tell you that 35 is just the beginning. Real competence likely happens somewhere around "triple digits". 

You have to start somewhere, and early in the development of your airway skills you are going to need some extra time to figure out where you are and what you are looking at.  These techniques for maintaining excessive oxygenation during the peri-intubation period are good for the patient and great for your chances of completing the intubation. The FOAMed world is full of wonderful Airway resources, and R.E.B.E.L. EM is a good place to start.  

Also see this primer on intubation from The Short Coat by Lauren Westafer (@LWestafer) and this lecture by Rich Levitan posted on the EMCrit blog by Scott Weingart (@emcrit).

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