A 72 year old woman (55kg), Mrs X, with a history of severe emphysema and chronic bronchitis is intubated in the Emergency Department (ED) because of drowsiness associated with hypercarbia after her initial arterial blood gas analysis revealed:
You are called to the ED to assess and admit this woman to ICU.
(a) Outline your initial management including ventilator settings.
This elderly lady with severe chronic lung disease is admitted with acute on chronic hypercarbia and drowsiness. She is intubated.
a) Initial management should involve:
- continued resuscitation (check position of ETT, establish ventilation to rest the respiratory muscles, assess and restore the circulation with fluid bolus/inotrope etc)
- mode of ventilation should be appropriate for her strength of respiration and in the first instance may involve sedation and either SIMV, CMV or PSV. The principle will be to allow a long expiratory time with TV 6-8mls/kg, rate 8-10 and PEEP no greater than the measured auto-PEEP. Auto-PEEP greater than 5 or incomplete expiration should be treated with slower rate and increased bronchodilator.
- diagnosis of precipitating event (acute bronchitis, pneumonia, sputum retention, CCF, pneumothorax, asthma, sedation, B-blocker, aspiration, hypokalaemia), chronic status, other comorbidities. This requires talking to family, GP and specialist, examining from head to toe and getting a chest X-ray
- complete medical history, allergies, medications etc
- establishment of monitoring
- contact with family/friends to gather information and establish lines of communication
- continued support and treatment overnight with ventilation, bronchodilators, antibiotics (eg erythromycin, cefotaxime), steroids as indicated.
This is another question about the management of an intubated COPD patient.
After doing an entire hundred-or-so CICM questions on respiratory failure, the constant appearance of COPD becomes rather tedious.
Management will consist of attention to the ABCs with simultanoues rapid focused physical examination, and brief history.