For regular readers, you know the SSCOR Blog is always growing, with new tips and educational information about airway conditions and management added each week. It’s our hope that our articles provide inspiration and assistance to emergency medical providers when performing an important part of their job.
This was a busy year for the blog, featuring well over 100 articles on a wide range of topics, from specific illnesses encountered on the job to administrative tasks that keep an EMS team working efficiently. Looking back at the list, there was a lot of great content, but what were the favorites?
Read on for a recap of the top five most-read blogs of the year.
Failed Intubation? These are the Next Steps
Circumstances rarely are ideal in emergency situations, but with experience and a cool head, providers can overcome many obstacles. Nevertheless, poor outcomes can occur, even when using appropriate techniques. Failed intubations, especially, are an unfortunate reality in the field and can lead to severe, even fatal, consequences.
Among the factors that contribute to challenging intubations are patients with short, thick necks, obesity, damage to the face or jaw, dental conditions and other abnormalities. These patients are at risk for injuries that exacerbate their conditions or worse. In this blog, we break down the potential issues that lead to a failed intubation and best practices to salvage the situation.
Performing Airway Management on Patients with Oral and Facial Injuries
Patients that have incurred physical trauma to their face frequently present difficulties when it comes to airway management procedures, such as suctioning or intubation. Maxillofacial injuries often include severe dental trauma, displaced tissue and excess blood in the mouth, and their proximity to the upper airway can lead to severe complications.
Adequate oxygenation and suctioning using a high-volume suction device are vital in these scenarios. This blog presents a baseline airway management protocol for treating patients with maxillofacial trauma, as well as advice for controlling the airway, which varies given the environment and patient circumstances.
Emergency Airway Management in the Geriatric Patient
Treatment considerations change depending on the age of the patient, and geriatric patients have particularly sensitive airways that may require unique techniques during suctioning and intubation. That’s because, as we age, many of us have decreased lung elasticity, chest wall compliance, respiratory muscle strength and a host of other limiting factors that increase trauma risks during treatment.
This blog gives an overview of the health changes geriatric patients undergo and the airway management concerns in both healthy and unhealthy members of this population. For any patient, the proper equipment goes a long way toward ensuring a successful outcome.
Patients with Bleeding Disorders and Airway Management
Excess blood in the airway is always a concern during emergency situations for patients who require intubation, but for those who have bleeding disorders, it creates much more urgency to suction the airway quickly and effectively. Continuous bleeding can lead to aspiration and contamination, and clotted blood in the lower airway may be a life-threatening obstruction or cause pulmonary collapse.
The SALAD Technique (Suction Assisted Laryngoscopy and Airway Decontamination) is among the most reliable techniques to remove blood from the airway and prep a patient for intubation. Our blog examines the procedure in greater detail and discusses more about the unique challenges posed by bleeding disorders. As relatively rare as these diseases may be, responders must be aware of what to do when faced with one.
Assessing the EMS Labor Crisis
U.S. employers everywhere have faced issues with staffing in the wake of the pandemic, and the EMS industry is hardly immune. Almost one-third of EMS workers left their ambulance company after less than a year in 2020, and that mass exodus is difficult to replace. Companies responded with enhanced training for new and current employees and improved compensation and incentives, but the issue remains prominent, resulting in longer wait times and decreased on-the-ground services for agencies that struggle to fill vacancies.
In our blog on the labor crisis, we discuss the causes, potential solutions (such as furthering education) and the hope for the future.
On to 2023!
In the coming months, you can be assured we’ll continue to provide educational materials to help inform you about airway management concerns, techniques, equipment and best practices. Thank you for reading and happy holidays to you and your teams.