Friday, October 12, 2007

CPAP for CHF instead of ETT?

From USA Today

For more than 30 years, paramedics have been saving the lives of these patients by inserting, through the vocal cords, a breathing tube about the width of a small garden hose and then pushing air into the lungs with an inflatable bag. Called intubating, it's the street version of a hospital's mechanical ventilator.

But the aggressive treatment is very uncomfortable for those on the receiving end, and it carries the risk of dangerous infection. So a device more commonly found in the hospital is making its way into the nation's ambulances, including Harper's rig in Houston.

Harper asks firefighters to bring him the breathing device known as CPAP, for continuous positive airway pressure. The football-size device with long plastic tubing and a plastic mask is being used now by emergency crews in seven other big cities, including Miami and Boston. Another 16, including Atlanta and Philadelphia, plan to put the device in ambulances soon, this month's Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) reports.


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