Sorry about the voice–got a cold off those damn ED keyboards
Thanks to my friend Reuben, this week we’ll talk about the asthmatic patient that codes while on the vent
The DOPE mnemonic gives you a path to figure out why a patient is desaturating
(If anyone knows who created the DOPE mnemonic, please add a comment or send me an email.)
If the pt is asthmatic, add an “S” to make DOPES
The “S” stands for Stacked Breaths–and it’s the first thing to address.
Address it by disconnecting the vent circuit. Don’t think about it, don’t dither, just disconnect the vent.
“E” is for equipment. Attach a BVM hooked up to O2 and you’ll eliminate ventilator equipment failures.
“D” is for tube displacement. Verify the tube with ETCO2, either qualitative or quantitative.
“O” reminds you to check for obstruction of the tube. See if you can put a suction cath all the way down.
If all of these don’t fix the problem, then consider “P” for pneumothorax.
Lung sounds are not always definitive. Throw on the UTS if you have the time.
Otherwise perform bilateral finger thoracostomies. What the hell is that, you say?
Listen to the podcast.
Then you can read more about it in this articleC.D. Deakin, G. Davies and A. Wilson, Simple thoracostomy avoids chest drain insertion in prehospital trauma, J Trauma 39 (2) (1995), pp. 373–374.