unknownWe traditionally use GCS to triage patients who sustained traumatic brain injury. Some previous studies have reported how the accuracy of using GCS decreases with increasing age. Specifically, the elderly present with a higher GCS than younger patients when suffering the same injury. A large study presented in EMJ confirms those findings. More>>

Posted in Trauma, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


article-2071691-0f1a491f00000578-478_634x399A paper in EMJ compares various methods for performing field amputations. I can’t say I ever had to do one myself. However, some of the people I work with have performed amputations on rapidly deteriorating entrapped trauma victims.

Most them have relied on the standard Gigli technique where they scalpel the soft tissues and cut the bone with the Gigli saw. Apparently it is painfully slow, especially as it is performed on a trauma patient that is super sick. One colleague recommends using the firemens’ pneumatic cutters. More>>

Posted in Prehospital Medicine, Trauma | 4 Comments


TEE trainerTransesophageal Echo (TEE) is a bit of a niche thing in the ultrasound world, and trying to get into TEE, I find it really hard to wrap my head around the probe’s position and the spatial relations with probe, the omniplane and the heart. TEE trainer to the rescue! More>>

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Unknown A trial called ATACH-2 (Antihypertensive Treatment of Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage II), recently published in NEJM, is likely to temper the enthusiasm for aggressively lowering blood pressure in patients with intracranial bleeds. >>

Posted in Emergency Medicine, Neurology, Uncategorized | 1 Comment


imagesSome years ago, while working for an air ambulance, me and an experienced paramedic responded to a pedestrian-vs-car accident. A young female was out driving when she had a flat tire. As she opened the rear compartment to get the spare tire, a second car slammed in. Our patient was wedged between the cars. More>>

Posted in Prehospital Medicine, Trauma, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


firefighter icon 2We all know that there’s so much to learn from other professions whom, although working outside of healthcare, function in comparably unpredictable high risk, high pressure environments. This mutual cross-pollination enriches the way we think about and look at our own practice and gives us new perspectives on what it means to perform under pressure. And this time it’s got nothing to do with aviation. More>>

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Tatra_mountains_western_side_2A fascinating case report was recently published in Resuscitation. A young female speleologist was avalanched in the polish Tatra mountains. As she had access to an air pocket and some degree of ventilation she didn’t to succumb to the asphyxiation that kills most buried avalanche victims. Instead, she was gradually cooled to a core temperature of below 17° C. More>>

Posted in Cardiology, Prehospital Medicine, Wilderness Medicine | 3 Comments


Trendelenburg-LagerungIn anaesthetics we are trained to pre-oxygenate and intubate our theatre patients in a flat supine position. Then, when we graduate to intubating the really gnarly ICU/ED patients in severe heart or respiratory failure, we wise up. A paper in Anaesthesia & Analgesia demonstrates how patients who are intubated in a semi-sitting position are less likely to suffer complications when intubated. More>>

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imagesInteresting paper in AJEM. Hypoxic hepatitis (HH), ‘shock liver’, is defined as an increase in serum aminotransferase levels (20 times the upper normal level) after respiratory or circulatory failure. It is commonly seen in critical illness and after cardiac arrest. In ICU patients HH has been associated with poor outcomes but little is known about what it means in ROSC patients. More>>

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We’ve often critisised ATLS. Part of it because many healthcare workers take the ATLS manual as divine law. And many of them don’t keep up with the changes in the new ATLS editions – so they cling to even older dogma. Pretty much everybody has stopped giving 2 L of saline, but many will still say things like the digital rectal exam (DRE) is manadatory in ATLS. It isn’t. Or a hard cervical collar is mandatory. It isn’t.

ATLS is now at the 9th edition, and the 10th edition is around the corner. What other dogma will they get rid of, and what will they add, and get more in line with current trauma thinking? Well, here’s a teaser:


They have moved the temporary measure of needle decompression from the thick pectoral muscles, and out on the side of the chest – although a finger thoracostomy would be more decisive and definitive.

They’ve even gotten rid of the high riding prostate sign, although they should have gotten rid of, or at least toned down the whole DRE – and log roll for that matter.

Now, ATLS is a big organisation and not as fast moving and flexible as we would want to, but they are moving forward. For their 10th edition, it seems they will be catching up on many important areas.

Posted in Emergency Medicine, Trauma | 1 Comment