Tuesday, November 06, 2007

COPD trouble breathing

A patient with COPD comes into the ER with altered mental status. An arterial blood gas is ordered and it shows CO2 of 54 and an O2 of 48. The pH was 7.25 while he was breathing room air. 2 liters oxygen is given by nasal canula yet the patient is not improving symptomatically, and his scalene muscles are contracting heavily. What is the next step?
A) Increase nasal canula to 4 L
B) Give albuterol nebulizers
C) Intubate
D) Give epinephrine

This person has several indications for intubation including a CO2 > 50, O2 <50, pH <7.30 on room air, and lack of improvement with nasal canula. He is also starting to use his accesory muscles to breathe.

1. Brochert, Adam. Crush Step 2. 2nd. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, 2003.
Books for Medical Students

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