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Cardiovascular emergencies 

Cardiovascular emergencies
Chapter:
Cardiovascular emergencies
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198832447.003.0018
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date: 11 April 2021

Cardiovascular emergencies are either sudden events or are preceded by a noticeable deterioration in the patient’s condition. Although critically ill patients are usually cared for in a level 2 or 3 specialist unit (e.g. CCU, HDU, ITU) it is becoming more common for these patients to be found on general wards. Many hospitals will have outreach teams to facilitate the appropriate care of these patients and provide support for the staff looking after them. Appropriate assessment, prompt treatment, documentation, and communication are vital in the management of those with cardiovascular emergencies. The importance of ‘Human Factors’ has been discussed in recent years, in particular the importance of teamwork and minimizing errors in patient care. This chapter discusses the assessment of the deteriorating patient, resuscitation, and the causes and treatment of some cardiovascular emergencies including stroke, pleural effusion, cardiogenic shock, acute aortic syndromes, pulmonary embolism, tension pneumothorax, cardiac tamponade and pulmonary oedema, intra-aortic balloon pumps, ventricular assist devices, and extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation.

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