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Emergency Management: ABCD (Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability)

  • Rodolfo FerrariEmail author
Chapter
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Abstract

A structured systematic approach is recommended to any rescuer or trained healthcare provider in the initial management of emergency situations, to recognize priorities and identify time-sensitive issues, facilitating optimal use of time, but also to avoid pitfalls and fixation errors, mostly when dealing with patients affected by loss of consciousness, breathlessness, shock, impaired mental status and suspected cardiac and/or respiratory arrest.

The A-B-C-D (airway, breathing, circulation, disability) sequence is not a way to trivialize, but to effectively focus and share priorities in both the evaluation and the treatment of critical health conditions, whether you are out-of-hospital or within the walls of an intensive care unit. When identifying a pivotal matter in the evaluation phase, it is mandatory to stop and treat, to stay and play, up to the problem is solved, before going to the next phase, step by step, following evidence-based best practice recommendations.

Since 2010, the updated guidelines of main scientific societies for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency cardiovascular care support a key reversal in the approach to adult cardiac arrest, favouring C over A and B: with the aim to reduce the time of initiation of high-quality chest compressions and “no blood flow” time to the heart and the brain so as to decrease mortality rates and improve neurological outcome in survivors.

Keywords

Cardiac arrest Respiratory arrest Loss of consciousness Breathlessness Shock Airways Breathing Circulation Disability Exposure 

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Copyright information

© ESSKA 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emergency DepartmentUniversity Hospital Sant’Orsola MalpighiBolognaItaly

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