Rapid Response Systems

Rapid Response Systems

An elderly man was admitted with an acute abdomen and free air visible under the diaphragm on CXR. He was fluid resuscitated before undergoing emergency laparotomy, where a perforated duodenal ulcer was oversewn. He was admitted to ICU postoperatively, extubated the next morning and deemed fit for discharge to the surgical ward later that day. Due to a lack of surgical beds, he was eventually discharged from ICU at 22:30. Eight hours post discharge, he was urgently re-referred to ICU after being found moribund on the ward. Before he could be seen and assessed he suffered an unrecoverable asystolic arrest. Review of his observation charts showed that there had been a clear deterioration in recorded observations, including hypotension for the two preceeding hours. However, the Early Warning Score had been calculated incorrectly, and no escalation had occurred.

What evidence is there that rapid response systems are effective in preventing patient deterioration and improving outcomes?

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ECMO for Severe Refractory Hypoxaemia

ECMO for Severe Refractory Hypoxaemia

An 60 year old woman developed ARDS secondary to pneumococcal meningitis. Despite optimal ventilatory management and restrictive fluid intake her oxygenation remained severely impaired. She was referred to the regional respiratory failure unit who established her on mobile ECMO for retrieval. She remained on ECMO for five days, weaned off the ventilator after three further days and made a full neurological recovery leaving hospital two weeks later.

Is there sufficient evidence to promote the use of Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) for the management of severe refractory hypoxia in the United Kingdom?Read More »

The Role of ECMO in ARDS

The Role of ECMO in ARDS

A middle aged man with acute pancreatitis developed multiorgan failure and was admitted to the ICU and required ventilation and noradrenaline. He became progressively more hypoxic despite lung protective ventilation, paralysis, inverse ratios and a restrictive fluid regime. He developed bilateral pneumothoraces requiring chest drains. He was retrieved to the nearest refractory hypoxia centre and established on VV ECMO. On the third day of ECMO therapy he developed lateralising signs and was found to have had a large intracranial haemorrhage. Treatment was subsequently withdrawn.

Do patients with ARDS benefit from ECMO?Read More »

Hepatic Encephalopathy in Acute Liver Failure

Management of Hepatic Encephalopathy in Acute Liver Failure

A 30 year old woman with a background of substance abuse and deliberate self harm was found collapsed and semi-conscious following an overdose of co-codamol and was presenting late. It was possible that she had taken around 100g paracetamol. Her GCS was 11, and she had grade II/III hepatic encephalopathy. Her bilirubin was 60 and she had significant transaminitis with a lactic acidosis. . She was commenced on N-acetylcysteine despite undetectable paracetamol levels. Liver US was normal. Early repeat bloods showed worsening jaundice, transaminitis and rising INR. She was transferred to the regional liver unit initially for monitoring, but was subsequently admitted to the liver HDU. She did not require a liver transplant and recovered with conservative management.

What is the optimum management of hepatic encephalopathy in acute liver failure?Read More »