SCIENCE EDUCATION > Clinical Skills

Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

This collection delves into a wide range of procedures employed in emergency and intensive care settings, ranging from basic life support methods such as CPR and rescue breathing to other common procedures performed during emergency situations.

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    10:07
    Basic Life Support: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Defibrillation

    Source: Julianna Jung, MD, FACEP, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA

    High-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the single most important determinant of intact survival in cardiac arrest, and it is critical that all healthcare workers are able to perform this lifesaving technique effectively. Despite the conceptual simplicity of CPR, the reality is that many providers perform it incorrectly, resulting in suboptimal survival outcomes for their patients. This video looks at the essential elements of high-quality CPR, discusses the physiologic basis for each step, and describes how to optimize them in order to enhance survival outcomes. Appropriate prioritization of interventions in cardiac arrest and methods for optimizing resuscitation performance are covered as well.

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:18
    Basic Life Support Part II: Airway/Breathing and Continued Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

    Source: Julianna Jung, MD, FACEP, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA

    High-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation are the most important interventions for patients with cardiac arrest, and should be the first steps that rescuers perform. This is reflected in the American Heart Association's new "CAB" mnemonic. While rescuers were once taught the "ABCs" of cardiac arrest, they now learn "CAB" - circulation first, followed by airway and breathing. Only once CPR is underway (and defibrillation has been performed, if a defibrillator is available) do we consider providing respiratory support. This video will describe the correct technique for providing respiratory support to a patient in cardiac arrest, and how to continue basic life support over the period of time until help arrives. This video assumes that all the steps described in "Basic Life Support Part I: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Defibrillation" have already been completed. This video does NOT depict the initial steps taken when arriving at the scene of a cardiac arrest.

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:34
    Pericardiocentesis

    Source: Rachel Liu, BAO, MBBCh, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    The heart lies within the pericardium, a relatively inelastic fibrous sac. The pericardium has some compliance to stretch when fluid is slowly introduced into the pericardial space. However, rapid accumulation overwhelms pericardial ability to accommodate extra fluid. Once a critical volume is reached, intrapericardial pressure increases dramatically, compressing the right ventricle and eventually impeding the volume that enters the left ventricle. When these chambers cannot fill in diastole, stroke volume and cardiac output are diminished, leading to cardiac tamponade, a life-threatening compression of the cardiac chambers by a pericardial effusion. Unless the pressure is relieved by aspiration of pericardial fluid (pericardiocentesis), cardiac arrest is imminent. Cardiac tamponadeis a critical emergency that can carry high morbidity and mortality. Patients may present in extremis, without much time to make the diagnosis and perform life-saving treatments. Causes of this condition are broken into traumatic and non-traumatic categories, with different treatment algorithms. Stab and gunshot wounds are the primary cause of traumatic tamponade, but it may occur from blunt trauma associated with sternal or rib fractures as well as shearing of vessels from rapid deceleration injuries. Non-traumatic cause

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:55
    Lateral Canthotomy and Inferior Cantholysis

    Source: James W Bonz, MD, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    Lateral canthotomy is a potentially eyesight-saving procedure when performed emergently for an orbital compartment syndrome. An orbital compartment syndrome results from a buildup of pressure behind the eye; as pressure mounts, both the optic nerve and its vascular supply are compressed, rapidly leading to nerve damage and blindness if the pressure is not quickly relieved. The medial and lateral canthal tendons hold the eyelids firmly in place forming an anatomical compartment with limited space for the globe. In an orbital compartment syndrome, pressure rapidly increases as the globe is forced against the eyelids. Lateral canthotomy is the procedure by which the lateral canthal tendon is severed, thereby releasing the globe from its fixed position. Often, severing of the lateral canthal tendon alone is not enough to release the globe and the inferior portion (inferior crus) of the lateral canthal tendon also needs to be severed (inferior cantholysis). This increases precious space behind the eye by allowing the globe to become more proptotic, resulting in decompression. Most frequently, orbital compartment syndrome is the result of acute facial trauma, with the subsequent development of a retrobulbar hematoma. Examination of the patient will reveal a proptotic globe as it strains from the pressure aga

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:19
    Percutaneous Cricothyrotomy

    Source: James W Bonz, MD, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    A surgical airway procedure is indicated when other forms of endotracheal intubation have failed and ventilation is worsening or not possible. This is the feared "can't intubate, can't ventilate" scenario, and in the emergency setting, cricothyrotomy is the surgical procedure of choice.

    Cricothyrotomy is preferred over tracheotomy because of the lower risk of complications, the predictable anatomy of the cricothyroid membrane, and the comparative rapidity with which the procedure can be performed—even by less experienced practitioners. Cricothyrotomy traditionally has been done in an "open" form; however, percutaneous cricothyrotomy using standard Seldinger technique has been advanced as a more successful approach when identification of the relevant anatomic landmarks is more difficult. Seldinger technique involves the introduction of a device into the body through the use of an introducer needle and a guide wire. The needle is used to locate the target; a guide wire is then fed through the thin-walled needle into the target, acting as a "placeholder" for the device, which is fed over the guide wire and into the target. In the case of percutaneous cricothyrotomy, the practitioner first identifies the cricothyroid membrane by physical landmarks and makes a small vert

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:24
    Open Cricothyrotomy

    Source: James W Bonz, MD, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    Open cricothyrotomy is an emergent surgical procedure. It is performed to establish an airway access by passage of a tube through an incision in the cricothyroid membrane. This is a procedure of choice in the feared "can't intubate, can't ventilate" scenario - when all other forms of endotracheal intubation have failed and the spontaneous ventilation is worsening or has become impossible. The airway access is established via the tracheostomy tube. The tracheostomy tube consists of three parts: an outer cannula (or the tracheostomy tube itself), an inner cannula, and an obturator. During the procedure, the obturator is placed within the tracheostomy tube to guide the insertion, while the inner cannula is removed. The distal end of the obturator is rounded and protrudes through the end of the tracheostomy tube, allowing the practitioner to easily guide the tube into place without it being caught on the surrounding structures. In addition, the obturator prevents the tube clogging with tissue or the fluids during an insertion. Once the tube is placed, the obturator is removed and the inner cannula is placed within the tracheostomy tube. Alternatively, the procedure can be performed using the modified the endotracheal tube, which will be demonstrated in this video. Cricothyrotomy is associated with significant

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:24
    Needle Thoracostomy

    Source: Rachel Liu, BAO, MBBCh, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    A tension pneumothorax is a life-threatening situation in which excess air is introduced into the pleural space surrounding the lung, either through trauma to the chest cavity or as a spontaneous leak of air from the lung itself. Air trapped within the pleural space causes separation of the lung from the chest wall, disrupting normal breathing mechanisms. Pneumothorax may be small without conversion to tension, but when there is a significant and expanding amount of air trapped in the pleural cavity, the increasing pressure from this abnormal air causes the lung to shrink and collapse, leading to respiratory distress. This pressure also pushes the mediastinum (including the heart and great vessels) away from its central position, causing inability of blood to return to the heart and diminishing the cardiac output. Tension pneumothoraces cause chest pain, extreme shortness of breath, respiratory failure, hypoxia, tachycardia, and hypotension. They need to be relieved emergently when a patient is in extremis. Tension pneumothoraces are definitively managed by procedures that allow removal of trapped air, such as insertion of a chest tube. However, materials for chest tube placement are typically not available outside of the hospital setting. Temporizing measures are needed in deteriorating patients pri

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    10:55
    Tube Thoracostomy

    Source: Rachel Liu, BAO, MBBCh, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    Tube thoracostomy (chest tube placement) is a procedure during which a hollow tube is inserted into the thoracic cavity for drainage of fluid or air. Emergency chest tube insertion is performed for definitive treatment of tension pneumothorax, traumatic hemothorax, large-volume pleural effusions, and empyemas.

    Irrespective of the cause of air and fluid accumulation in the pleural space, the drainage relieves lung compression and enables lung re-expansion. In pneumothorax, air accumulation in the pleural cavity separates pleural layers, which prevents lung expansion during the respiration. Abnormal fluid accumulation, such as in case of hemothorax or empyema, causes separation of the visceral pleura that adheres to lung tissue from the parietal pleura that forms the lining of the chest cavity. The uncoupling of the pleural layers leads to disconnection of chest wall movement from the lung movement, causing respiratory distress. In addition, excessive pressure from overwhelming amounts of air or fluid in the pleura may push the mediastinum away from the central chest, causing inability of blood to return to the heart. In the trauma setting, a chest tube may not only treat a hemothorax but also allow monitoring of the bleeding rate. Massive hemothorax or continued brisk bleeding necessitates progres

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:29
    Intra-articular Shoulder Injection for Reduction Following Shoulder Dislocation

    Source: Rachel Liu, BAO, MBBCh, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    The anterior shoulder dislocation is one of the most common joint dislocations seen in emergency settings. In anterior shoulder dislocation, the humeral head is displaced out of the glenohumeral joint in front of the scapular glenoid, resulting in a loss of the articulation between the arm and the rest of the shoulder. This can be caused by a fall onto an abducted, extended, and externally rotated arm, such as in a bicycle or running accident. Sometimes anterior shoulder dislocation can be due to a minor trauma or even result from rolling over in bed with an externally rotated and stretched overhead arm. Anterior shoulder dislocation is a painful injury. Patients cannot actively abduct, adduct or internally rotate the shoulder. Reduction of the shoulder is the best form of analgesia and, of course, is necessary to restore arm function. While it is current practice for patients to undergo procedural sedation during the shoulder reduction procedure, the sedatives have serious side effects (cardiac and respiratory depression), and require long stays in the emergency department (ED), dedicated nursing staff, multiple radiographs, and consulting services. Intra-articular injection with a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, offers significant pain relief in patients with shoulder dislocations and durin

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    06:55
    Arterial Line Placement

    Source: Sharon Bord, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA

    When monitoring patients, it is important to obtain values that are accurate and reliable. Blood pressure monitoring is one of the essential vital signs, and for a majority of patients, measuring it utilizing non-invasive techniques provides accurate values. However, there are situations in which the blood pressure requires more exact, specific, and reliable measurements. This can be achieved by intra-arterial blood pressure monitoring and requires arterial line placement. Arterial line placement refers to the insertion of a catheter, which is able to transduce blood pressure, into one of the major arteries (e.g., radial or femoral artery). Patients who potentially need arterial line placement include those with extreme low (such as in sepsis or cardiogenic shock) or high (as in cerebrovascular accident or hypertensive emergency) blood pressure measurements. Many of these patients are placed on vasoactive medications to either increase or decrease blood pressure. When the goal is to decrease a patient's blood pressure, it must be done gradually, which further necessitates close blood pressure monitoring. Arterial line placement is also ideal for patients who require frequent arterial blood gas monitoring.

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    09:50
    Intraosseous Needle Placement

    Source: Julianna Jung, MD, FACEP, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA

    For unstable patients requiring urgent administration of medications, fluids, or blood products, establishing vascular access quickly is essential. However, there are many factors that can complicate placement of a peripheral intravenous cannula (PIV), and it is extremely common for PIV attempts to fail. PIV placement may be technically challenging in small children, injection drug users, obese people, people with chronic illnesses necessitating frequent vascular access, and in those with burns and other skin conditions. Furthermore, for patients in shock, blood is shunted away from the periphery in order to compensate for impaired perfusion of vital organs, making peripheral vessels difficult to find and cannulate. In these situations, intraosseous (IO) needle placement is an extremely effective alternative to PIV placement, allowing rapid and technically straightforward access to the highly vascularized intramedullary space inside the long bones. From here, medications and fluids are readily absorbed into the bloodstream, permitting stabilization of critically ill patients.

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    07:50
    Peripheral Venous Cannulation

    Source: Sharon Bord, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland, USA

    Placement of an intravenous (IV) catheter is one of the key procedures in medicine. The IV catheter allows patients to receive critical medications, including pain medicine, insulin, antibiotics, blood products, and fluids for rehydration. Additionally, placing an IV catheter allows for blood samples to be obtained, which can be sent to the laboratory for testing and evaluation. A majority of peripheral IV lines are placed in the superficially located veins of the upper extremities. IV catheters can be placed in any superficial vein from the upper arm to the hand (though the veins in the antecubital fossa are larger than those in the hand). IV catheters can be placed in the lower extremities as well; however, this procedure should be performed with caution in patients with a history of diabetes or poor peripheral circulation.

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    11:38
    Central Venous Catheter Insertion: Internal Jugular

    Source: James W Bonz, MD, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    Central venous access is necessary in a multitude of clinical situations, including vascular access, vasopressor and caustic medication delivery, central venous pressure monitoring, intravascular device delivery (pacing wires, Swann-Ganz catheters), volume resuscitation, total parental nutrition, hemodialysis, and frequent phlebotomy. Safe reliable placement of a central venous catheter (CVC) in the internal jugular (IJ) vein using ultrasound guidance has become the standard of care. It is therefore imperative to understand the anatomy, the relationship between the IJ and the carotid artery, and their appearance on ultrasound. It is also necessary to have the psychomotor skills of vessel cannulation under ultrasound guidance. Seldinger technique is an introduction of a device into the body over a guide wire, which is inserted through a thin-walled needle. In the case of CVC insertion, the device is an intravascular catheter and the target vessel is a central vein. First, the target vessel is cannulated with an 18 gauge thin-walled needle. A guide wire is then passed thought the needle until it is appropriately positioned within the vessel. The needle is removed, and a dilator is passed over the wire to dilate the skin and soft tissue to the level of the vessel. The dilator is then removed,

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    10:44
    Central Venous Catheter Insertion: Femoral Vein

    Source: James W Bonz, MD, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    Central venous access is necessary in a multitude of clinical situations, including vascular access, vasopressor and caustic medication delivery, central venous pressure monitoring, volume resuscitation, total parental nutrition, hemodialysis, and frequent phlebotomy. There are three veins in the body that are accessed for central venous cannulation: the internal jugular, the subclavian, and the femoral. Each of these vessels has distinct advantages and disadvantages with unique anatomical considerations. Femoral vein cannulation can be easily performed both under ultrasound guidance and using the surface landmarks; therefore, femoral access is often used when emergent placement of a central venous catheter (CVC) is needed (such as in the case of medical codes and trauma resuscitations). In addition, cannulation of the femoral artery allows one to simultaneously perform other procedures needed for stabilization, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and intubation. Successful placement of a femoral CVC requires working understanding of the target anatomy, access to with procedural ultrasound, and fluidity in the Seldinger technique. Seldinger technique is the introduction of a device into the body over a guide wire, which is placed through a thin-walled needle. In the case of CVC insertion

  • Emergency Medicine and Critical Care

    08:13
    Central Venous Catheter Insertion: Subclavian Vein

    Source: James W Bonz, MD, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

    Central venous access is necessary in a multitude of clinical situations for hemodynamic monitoring, medication delivery, and blood sampling. There are three veins in the body that are accessed for central venous cannulation: the internal jugular, the subclavian, and the femoral vein.

    Central venous access via the subclavian vein has several advantages over other possible locations. The subclavian central venous catheter (CVC) placement is associated with lower infection and thrombosis rate than internal jugular and femoral CVC. Subclavian line can be placed quickly using anatomic landmarks and are often performed in trauma settings when cervical collars obliterate the access to the internal jugular (IJ) vein. The most significant disadvantage of the subclavian access is the risk of pneumothorax due to the anatomic proximity to the dome of the lung, which lies just superficial to the subclavian vein. In addition, in the event of an inadvertent arterial puncture, the access to the subclavian artery is impeded by the clavicle, which makes it difficult to effectively compress the vessel. Successful placement of the subclavian CVC requires good working understanding of the target vessel anatomy as well as fluidity in performing the Seldinger procedure (an introduction of the catheter into a vessel over the

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