Category: Respiratory

Pneumothorax

A pneumothorax is defined as the abnormal collection of air between the visceral and parietal space of the lung i.e. the pleural space. It typically presents with acute shortness of breath, pleuritic chest pain and is more common in those with damaged or stretched lungs. Despite clear cut guidelines from BTS, real-life management varies considerably

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Pulmonary embolism

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blocked blood vessel in your lungs, most often due to a blood clot. It is common and can be asymptomatic but can be life-threatening if the clot is large and near the centre of the lung. With a massive PE immediate management is necessary. Causes A common cause of

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Pneumonia

In this article, we will focus on more practical concerns when managing a patient with pneumonia for junior doctors. Covid-19 is not discussed here.  History Basics: fever, productive cough with yellow-green sputum, shortness of breath & pleuritic chest pain In the context of patients with underlying respiratory disease, ask what about the sputum & SOB

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Hypoxia

As an FY1, you will be called to review hypoxic ward patients. Here we discuss common causes of generalised hypoxia and not focal hypoxia/ischaemia such as in a stroke or heart attack. Insufficient oxygen-carrying capacity due to anaemia, or ineffective use of oxygen at the tissue level (no cyanide management here zebra hunters!) will also

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Non-Invasive Ventilation

Non-invasive ventilation is a way of providing ventilatory support to patients in respiratory failure without using an invasive airway device (e.g. ET tube or tracheostomy tube). The devices are becoming increasingly commonplace in medical practice and can be set up by trained professionals in the Emergency Department, on the wards, in ICU or even at

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Acute COPD exacerbation

As an FY1, you are unlikely to be expected to make decisions about long term COPD management therefore focus your efforts on learning how to deal with acute exacerbations. Initial assessment1. If a patient reports having a diagnosis of COPD it is worth asking a few questions to clarify the accuracy of the statement. It

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Performing Arterial Blood Gases (ABGs)

Thanks to Geeky Medics for an excellent video demonstration Equipment Gloves Alcohol wipe Cotton wool/ gauze ABG syringe (ensure it is pre-heparinised) and blue needle Hand sanitiser When performing any clinical procedure By Dr Zana Martin (FY2)

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Acute Asthma

You are unlikely to be expected to make decisions about long term asthma management, therefore focus your efforts on learning how to deal with acute exacerbations. Brief history If a patient reports having a diagnosis of asthma, it is worth asking a few questions to clarify the accuracy of the statement. It isn’t uncommon for

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