New ABCs of Emergency Medicine, “Airway, Breathing, CT Scan, Disposition”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – New practice-changing guidelines for resuscitation in the emergency department were released just ahead of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) meeting this year.  Dr. Kahn Sult-Freely, ACEP’s new-acting President, made the announcement in front of a crowded room in Washington, D.C.

ct scan in er“Our practice has to change with the times,” he said to start the press release.  “The advances in technology have certainly outpaced our guidelines set years ago.  It’s time we bring Emergency Medicine into the 21st Century. Traditional practice recommends the ABC’s – Airway, Breathing, Circulation – as an approach to resuscitation. The latest guidelines now reflect modern-day medicine: Airway, Breathing, CT scan, Disposition.”

He cited speed and ubiquity of CT scanners and the plethora of information gathered from scans.  He argued that circulation doesn’t really matter as a part of the ABC’s if you don’t know the cause of poor circulation.  Sult-Freely also cited the hesitancy of any consulting service to evaluate a patient without a CT.

“It just makes sense,” Freely continued.  “We can’t get a consulting service to set foot in the ER without a CT scan.  This new algorithm will make everyone’s lives easier, and allow us to quickly disposition the patient.”  The American College of Radiology quickly responded with strong support for the new algorithm. Freely finished his statement with one caveat: “If anything fails in this algorithm, we could always just blame Anesthesia.”

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