Common Pediatric Medical Emergencies in Office Practice
General Practitioners frequently see children with medical conditions that may evolve into an emergency if not promptly attended to. The most common emergencies encountered in pediatric office practice are respiratory distress, dehydration, anaphylaxis, seizures and trauma. Assessment of children is sometimes difficult as the signs and symptoms might be subtle and not markedly expressed. Also, normal value of vital signs vary with age, thus their interpretation requires discrete knowledge of age appropriate values. Initial approach to a sick child involves formation of initial impression, doing primary assessment, proper history taking and classifying the condition into following categories: Respiratory distress, Respiratory failure, Compensated shock, Decompensated shock and Primary brain dysfunction. Initial management of any pediatric emergency involves assessment of airway, breathing and circulation and providing relevant adequate support. Majority of cardiac arrests in pediatric practice are secondary to progressive respiratory failure and thus, if intervened timely and effectively, will prevent fatal outcome. In a child with shock, compensated state can rapidly evolve to decompensated state, thus necessitating its early recognition and rapid intervention. Anaphylaxis should be suspected in any child with sudden onset of skin or mucosal symptoms along with respiratory, circulatory or gastro-intestinal involvement and adrenaline should be given by intra-muscular route.
KeywordsPediatric emergency Respiratory distress Gastroenteritis Shock Trauma Seizure Anaphylaxis
BM: Performed the literature search and drafted the initial manuscript. SG: Involved in conception and design, supervised and critically reviewed the manuscript. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript. SG will act as guarantor for the paper.
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