Airway management in neurological emergencies
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Several neurological conditions may present to the emergency department (ED) with airway compromise or respiratory failure. The severity of respiratory involvement in these patients may not always be obvious. Proper pulmonary management can significantly reduce the respiratory complications associated with the morbidity and mortality of these patients. Rapid sequence intubation (RSI) is the method of choice for definitive airway management in the ED and is used for the majority of intubations. The unique clinical circumstances of each patient dictates which pharmacological agents can be used for RSI. Several precautions must be taken when using these drugs to minimize potentially fatal complications. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation may obviate the need for intubation in a select population of patients. This article reviews airway management, with a particular emphasis on the use of RSI for common neurological problems presenting to the ED.
Key WordsNeurological emergencies airway management rapid sequence intubation (RSI) noninvasive positive pressure ventilation
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