Serial killers: Shortness of breath

In this episode, learn the 5 emergent conditions that will kill patients experiencing shortness of breath, and how to use ETCO2 to develop a differential

How to get to the final diagnosis is often a process that all levels of emergency providers struggle with. To go from undifferentiated abdominal pain with unstable vitals, to then filter to an organized differential is often quite challenging.

As we discussed in our initial Serial Killers series episode on chest pain, we’re not going to spend time with non-emergent/chronic diagnoses, just the ones that are deadly when missed. That’s where we, as emergency providers, must begin. Today we’re going to focus on the dyspneic patient.

When people call with trouble breathing – what things can kill them emergently?

  1. COPD/asthma
  2. SCAPE
  3. Pneumonia
  4. Infarction (Pulmonary vs. ACS/MI)
  5. Non-pulmonary acidoses

In this episode, we will examine where to start with patients experiencing shortness of breath, and how to use your ETCO2 to develop a differential.

This article was originally posted Sept. 1, 2020. It has been updated.

Request product info from top EMS Airway Management companies

Thank You!

By submitting your information, you agree to be contacted by the selected vendor(s) and that the data you submit is exempt from Do Not Sell My Personal Information requests. View our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Join the discussion

Copyright © 2023 EMS1. All rights reserved.