no place like home….

I am now 6 weeks into my 6 month anaesthetic secondment. There have been some interesting challenges settling into the new job but I am largely enjoying my time perfecting basic airway manoeuvers, laryngoscopy and playing with some brilliant airway toys (McGrath video laryngoscopes, the AirTraq, intubating LMAs etc). I thought I’d share with you a case (from Anaesthetic week 2) that presenting some multifaceted challenges & several points of reflection …

The Case.

A 59 year old male undergoes an elective radical prostatectomy. He is previously well, however takes some ‘herbal Chinese medicines’ that he stopped 2 weeks prior to surgery. His surgery appears to go without a hitch, except for the 1200mL of blood in the surgical suction container at the end of the case. He has received 2 liters of Hartmann’s & 500mL Volvuven during his OT time. He is extubated and taken to recovery at the end of the case where he reports feeling quite comfortable.

I am called back to recovery about 20-25 minutes later to address his hypotension. Continue reading

a twisting tale…

the case.

It’s night shift & you’ve received handover of an entire department. You plug on and start chipping away at the waiting-list that doesn’t seem ever get any shorter….

At 3am your nursing staff alert you to an 11 year old female who just isn’t getting any better. She was admitted under Paediatrics on the evening shift with 24 hours of vomiting (no diarrhoea) & had failed her trial of fluid. Whilst she is waiting for a paediatric ward bed she has continued to vomit a further 8-10 times and is complaining of severe epigastric pain. She had used up all her available antiemetics and analgesics on her medication chart…

She looks miserable, crying in pain and clutching at her abdomen. She is slightly tachycardic (otherwise normal observations). Her abdomen is non-distended but exquisitely tender with percussion tenderness and rebound. She has reduced bowels sounds. There is a scar in her RIF indicating a previous open appendicectomy ( ~18 months earlier).

You review her bloods (WCC 16, otherwise unremarkable) and her urinalysis is normal.

Despite further boluses of morphine, she continues to vomit and complain of severe pain….so, you order an abdominal xray.

IMG_1870

What’s going on here ?
What are you going to do now ??

Continue reading

a difficult airway…

The Case.

The ‘Batphone’ alerted us of a 68 year old female who is postictal following two seizures in rapid succession. She has a history of ‘a brain tumour’.

P 120. BP 176 systolic !! GCS 8/15. Afebrile. Sats 98% (15L NRB + guedel airway).

She arrives direct to your resus bay 4-5 minutes later and she is actively seizing.

A) Obstructed (Guedel on floor). Trismus ++.

  • Bilateral nasopharyngeal airways inserted
  • Two-handed jaw thrust
  • Ventilating well on 100% BVM.

 B) Bilateral air entry. Sats 99% on O2. No added sounds.

 C) P 130 (sinus) BP 185 systolic. Diaphoretic. Warm peripheries.

  • 2x IVC inserted
  • 500mL N.Saline bolus

D) Actively seizing (GTCS with movement in all 4 limbs). Pupils 4mm (L+R).

  • 2x 5mg IV Midazolam (seizure resolved)
  • 1gram IV Phenytoin (loading commenced at cessation of seizure)

E) Temp 37*C. BSL 13. No rashes, contusions etc.

Impression:

Status Epilepticus (3x seizures with no return to normal mental state)

  • ? secondary to ‘brain tumour’ or associated haemorrhage
  • No other medical history available
  • “Family are bringing in her medications”

Following resolution of her seizure she remains obtunded, GCS (E1V1M4) 6/15 and still obstructing her airway. A decision is made to RSI for airway control and prevention of secondary brain injury, followed by urgent CT. Continue reading