Yesterday, I described a technique for providing a secure yet short-term airway tailored to patients who can’t have a tube in their mouth or nose. Patients undergoing multiple facial fracture repair are probably the best candidates for this procedure.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is even better. Please note that it is explicit and shows the blow by blow surgical procedure. Of note, it is a quick and relatively simple advanced airway technique.
Several of you figured this one out! The patient was involved in a high speed car crash and was brought to the ED in respiratory distress. Decreased left sided breath sounds were noted. The following xray was obtained.
Opacity is noted in the left lung field, and a modest pneumothorax is seen on the right. Bilateral first ribs are fractured, and the left second through fourth ribs are also broken. The patient was intubated and bilateral chest tubes were inserted.
There was minimal blood from the left chest tube, and a small amount of air from the right. Note the extensive subcutaneous emphysema.
What should we do next? Are any other diagnostic tests indicated? Could the endotracheal tube placement be part of the problem?
Intracranial Hypertension In Pediatric Head Trauma
This 44 minute video is a good introduction to pediatric head trauma and intracranial hypertension. It covers physiology, diagnosis, as well as management using medications, position, decompression and hypothermia.
Presented at Multidisciplinary Trauma Conference at Regions Hospital on May 3, 2012 by Debbie Song MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon.
In the late 1980’s, when we started the work that would be published in the first damage control paper from Penn, we used the vacuum pack dressing. This was first described in a paper from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1995. Prior to that, the so-called Bogota bag was the usual technique. This consisted of slicing opening up a sterile IV bag (either the standard 1 liter or the urology 3 liter bag for big jobs) and sewing it into the wound. This worked, but it freaked out the nurses, who could see the intestines through the print on the clear plastic bag.
The vacuum pack was patient friendly, with a layer of plastic on the bottom, some absorbent towels in the middle with a drain in place to remove fluid and apply suction, and an adherent plastic layer on top to keep the bed clean. As you can imagine, this was a little complicated to apply correctly. One misstep and things stuck to the bowel or leaked out onto the bed.
In the past few years, a commercial product was developed that incorporated all these principles and was easy to apply. This is the KCI ABThera (note: I have no financial interest in KCI or this product; I just wish I had invented it). The only downside is that there is a small learning curve when first using this product.
The video above shows a demonstration of the application on an abdominal mannikin. It is not as slick as the company videos, but I think it’s more practical, with some good tips.
Damage control: an approach for improved survival in exsanguinating penetrating abdominal injury. J Trauma 35(3):375-382, 1993.
Temporary closure of open abdominal wounds. Am Surg 61(1):30-35, 1995.
Intubation is the one procedure that provokes the most anxiety for trauma professionals. What about those facial fractures? What if you can’t get it? Video-assisted intubation is now readily available and at a reasonable cost. And it seems like a great idea, but does it make intubation easier?
A paper to be presented at the AAST next week looked at intubation success among relatively inexperienced users, junior residents. They compared success rates of video assisted (VA) intubation in an ICU (74 patients) with direct laryngoscopic (DL) intubation performed in an ED (54 patients).
All patients were successfully intubated by the junior resident, or by a more senior backup if they were unsuccessful (fellow or attending). The junior residents were successful in 96% of the VA intubations, but in only 76% of DL intubations. Less experienced residents (<20 intubations) were successful in all 96% of the VA intubations but in only 40% of the DL. And the least experienced, those who had done less than 5 intubations, obtained an airway with VA 37% of the time vs 7% for DL. The number of desaturations to less than 80% and hospital mortality was the same for the two groups.
Bottom line: Video assisted intubation is superior to the old-fashioned direct laryngoscopic technique. Even inexperienced providers have a better success rate with the video assisted technique. Over the next few years, it will become the standard for intubating patients, both in the field by medics and in the hospital.