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Concept: First aid


Background Worldwide, 2.75 billion passengers fly on commercial airlines annually. When in-flight medical emergencies occur, access to care is limited. We describe in-flight medical emergencies and the outcomes of these events. Methods We reviewed records of in-flight medical emergency calls from five domestic and international airlines to a physician-directed medical communications center from January 1, 2008, through October 31, 2010. We characterized the most common medical problems and the type of on-board assistance rendered. We determined the incidence of and factors associated with unscheduled aircraft diversion, transport to a hospital, and hospital admission, and we determined the incidence of death. Results There were 11,920 in-flight medical emergencies resulting in calls to the center (1 medical emergency per 604 flights). The most common problems were syncope or presyncope (37.4% of cases), respiratory symptoms (12.1%), and nausea or vomiting (9.5%). Physician passengers provided medical assistance in 48.1% of in-flight medical emergencies, and aircraft diversion occurred in 7.3%. Of 10,914 patients for whom postflight follow-up data were available, 25.8% were transported to a hospital by emergency-medical-service personnel, 8.6% were admitted, and 0.3% died. The most common triggers for admission were possible stroke (odds ratio, 3.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.88 to 6.03), respiratory symptoms (odds ratio, 2.13; 95% CI, 1.48 to 3.06), and cardiac symptoms (odds ratio, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.37 to 2.77). Conclusions Most in-flight medical emergencies were related to syncope, respiratory symptoms, or gastrointestinal symptoms, and a physician was frequently the responding medical volunteer. Few in-flight medical emergencies resulted in diversion of aircraft or death; one fourth of passengers who had an in-flight medical emergency underwent additional evaluation in a hospital. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.).

Concepts: Airlines, Physician, Myocardial infarction, Avianca, First aid, Aircraft, Emergency medical services, Airline


Background During cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the interruption of manual chest compressions for rescue breathing reduces blood flow and possibly survival. We assessed whether outcomes after continuous compressions with positive-pressure ventilation differed from those after compressions that were interrupted for ventilations at a ratio of 30 compressions to two ventilations. Methods This cluster-randomized trial with crossover included 114 emergency medical service (EMS) agencies. Adults with non-trauma-related cardiac arrest who were treated by EMS providers received continuous chest compressions (intervention group) or interrupted chest compressions (control group). The primary outcome was the rate of survival to hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes included the modified Rankin scale score (on a scale from 0 to 6, with a score of ≤3 indicating favorable neurologic function). CPR process was measured to assess compliance. Results Of 23,711 patients included in the primary analysis, 12,653 were assigned to the intervention group and 11,058 to the control group. A total of 1129 of 12,613 patients with available data (9.0%) in the intervention group and 1072 of 11,035 with available data (9.7%) in the control group survived until discharge (difference, -0.7 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.5 to 0.1; P=0.07); 7.0% of the patients in the intervention group and 7.7% of those in the control group survived with favorable neurologic function at discharge (difference, -0.6 percentage points; 95% CI, -1.4 to 0.1, P=0.09). Hospital-free survival was significantly shorter in the intervention group than in the control group (mean difference, -0.2 days; 95% CI, -0.3 to -0.1; P=0.004). Conclusions In patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, continuous chest compressions during CPR performed by EMS providers did not result in significantly higher rates of survival or favorable neurologic function than did interrupted chest compressions. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and others; ROC CCC number, NCT01372748 .).

Concepts: Asystole, Respiratory arrest, First aid, Drowning, Artificial respiration, Emergency medical services, Cardiac arrest, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation


The Heimlich manoeuvre is a well-known intervention for the management of choking due to foreign body airway occlusion, but the evidence base for guidance on this topic is limited and guidelines differ. We measured pressures during abdominal thrusts in healthy volunteers. The angle at which thrusts were performed (upthrust vs circumferential) did not affect intrathoracic pressure. Self-administered abdominal thrusts produced similar pressures to those performed by another person. Chair thrusts, where the subject pushed their upper abdomen against a chair back, produced higher pressures than other manoeuvres. Both approaches should be included in basic life support teaching.

Concepts: First aid, Person, Human abdomen, Rocket, Henry Heimlich, Subject, Abdomen, Thorax


Cnidarian envenomations are an important public health problem, responsible for more deaths than shark attacks annually. For this reason, optimization of first-aid care is essential. According to the published literature, cnidarian venoms and toxins are heat labile at temperatures safe for human application, which supports the use of hot-water immersion of the sting area(s). However, ice packs are often recommended and used by emergency personnel. After conducting a systematic review of the evidence for the use of heat or ice in the treatment of cnidarian envenomations, we conclude that the majority of studies to date support the use of hot-water immersion for pain relief and improved health outcomes.

Concepts: The Sting, Suffering, Emergency, Health, First aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Health care, Heat


BACKGROUND: It remains unclear which is more effective to increase survival after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in those with public-access defibrillation, bystander-initiated chest compression-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or conventional CPR with rescue breathing. METHODS AND RESULTS: A nationwide, prospective, population-based observational study covering the whole population of Japan and involving consecutive out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients with resuscitation attempts has been conducted since 2005. We enrolled all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests of presumed cardiac origin that were witnessed and received shocks with public-access automated external defibrillation (AEDs) by bystanders from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2009. The main outcome measure was neurologically favorable 1-month survival. We compared outcomes by type of bystander-initiated CPR (chest compression-only CPR and conventional CPR with compressions and rescue breathing). Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between the type of CPR and a better neurological outcome. During the 5 years, 1376 bystander-witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests of cardiac origin in individuals who received CPR and shocks with public-access AEDs by bystanders were registered. Among them, 506 (36.8%) received chest compression-only CPR and 870 (63.2%) received conventional CPR. The chest compression-only CPR group (40.7%, 206 of 506) had a significantly higher rate of 1-month survival with favorable neurological outcome than the conventional CPR group (32.9%, 286 of 870; adjusted odds ratio, 1.33; 95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.70). CONCLUSIONS: Compression-only CPR is more effective than conventional CPR for patients in whom out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is witnessed and shocked with public-access defibrillation. Compression-only CPR is the most likely scenario in which lay rescuers can witness a sudden collapse and use public-access AEDs.

Concepts: American Heart Association, Defibrillation, Artificial respiration, Drowning, Asystole, First aid, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Cardiac arrest


INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Most Spanish hospitals do not have an on-call dermatologist. The primary objective of our study was to determine the profile of patients visiting our hospital’s emergency department for dermatologic conditions; our secondary objective was to analyze the case-resolving capacity of the on-call dermatologist. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Prospective study that included patients with dermatologic conditions treated in the emergency department of a hospital with an on-call dermatology resident during a 2-month period. We collected data on sex, age, diagnosis, days since onset, whether or not the emergency visit was justified, referral (self-referral or other), continued care, and the main reason for the visit. To analyze the case-resolving capacity of the on-call dermatologist we assessed the percentage of direct discharges, the diagnostic tests performed, and the percentage of revisits. RESULTS: The on-call dermatologist attended 861 patients (14.4 patients per day), of whom 58% were women and 42% men. In total, 131 different diagnoses were made; the most common were infectious cellulitis, acute urticaria, and herpes zoster. Only half of the visits were justifiable as emergencies (95% of patients <30 years of age had conditions that did not justify emergency care, compared to 6% of patients >65 years, P<.005). The on-call dermatologist discharged 58% of the patients directly and the revisit rate was 1%. In 4 of 5 emergency visits no diagnostic tests were required. CONCLUSIONS: The profile of patients seeking emergency dermatologic care is variable. Half of the emergency visits were not justified, and unjustified visits were especially common in younger patients. The case-resolving capacity of the on-call dermatologist was high.

Concepts: Trauma center, First aid, Medicine, Diagnosis, Emergency department, Urgent care, Dermatology, Hospital


Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state are the most feared complications of uncontrolled diabetes seen in emergency medicine. The treatment of both conditions must be tailored to individual patients and relies on aggressive fluid resuscitation, insulin replacement, and electrolyte management. Emergency medicine providers must address the underlying causes and monitor for complications of therapy. Improved understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and application of evidence-based guidelines have significantly improved prognosis and decreased mortality. The purpose of this article is to review the diagnosis, presentation, and emergency department management of diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state with an emphasis on current management and treatment guidelines.

Concepts: Nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, Diabetes mellitus type 1, Diabetic ketoacidosis, Hyperglycemia, First aid, Myocardial infarction, Ketoacidosis, Diabetes mellitus


In 2015 the German Society for Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine (GTÜM) and the Swiss Underwater and Hyperbaric Medical Society (SUHMS) published the updated guidelines on diving accidents 2014-2017. These multidisciplinary guidelines were developed within a structured consensus process by members of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), the Sports Divers Association (VDST), the Naval Medical Institute (SchiffMedInst), the Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Building Trade (BG BAU), the Association of Hyperbaric Treatment Centers (VDD) and the Society of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM). This consensus-based guidelines project (development grade S2k) with a representative group of developers was conducted by the Association of Scientific Medical Societies in Germany. It provides information and instructions according to up to date evidence to all divers and other lay persons for first aid recommendations to physician first responders and emergency physicians as well as paramedics and all physicians at therapeutic hyperbaric chambers for the diagnostics and treatment of diving accidents. To assist in implementing the guideline recommendations, this article summarizes the rationale, purpose and the following key action statements: on-site 100 % oxygen first aid treatment, still patient positioning and fluid administration are recommended. Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) recompression remains unchanged the established treatment in severe cases with no therapeutic alternatives. The basic treatment scheme recommended for diving accidents is hyperbaric oxygenation at 280 kPa. For quality management purposes there is a need in the future for a nationwide register of hyperbaric therapy.

Concepts: Oxygen toxicity, Decompression sickness, Diving medicine, First aid, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Medicine, Oxygen, Hyperbaric medicine


Engineered skin substitutes are widely used in skin wound management. However, no currently available products satisfy all the criteria of usability in emergency situations, easy handling, and minimal scar formation. To overcome these shortcomings, we designed a cell-free bandage-type artificial skin, named “VitriBand”, using adhesive film dressing, silicone-coated polyethylene terephthalate film, and collagen xerogel membrane defined as a dried collagen vitrigel membrane without free water. We analyzed its advantages over in-line products by comparing VitriBand with hydrocolloid dressing and collagen sponge. For evaluation, mice inflicted with full-thickness skin defects were treated with VitriBand, hydrocolloid dressing, and collagen sponge. A plastic film group treated only with adhesive film dressing and silicone-coated polyethylene terephthalate film, and a no treatment group were also compared. VitriBand promoted epithelization while inhibiting the emergence of myofibroblasts and inflammation in the regenerating tissue more effectively than the plastic film, hydrocolloid dressing, and collagen sponge products. We have succeeded in establishing a cell-free bandage-type artificial skin that could serve as a promising first-line medical biomaterial for emergency treatment of skin injuries in various medical situations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Copyright, Leather, Wound healing, First aid, Wound, Scar, Polyethylene terephthalate, Skin


Active violent incidents are dynamic and challenging situations that can produce a significant amount of preventable deaths. Lessons learned from the military?s experience in Afghanistan and Iraq through the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and the 75th Ranger Regiment?s Ranger First Responder Program have helped create the Committee for Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (C-TECC) to address the uniqueness of similar wounding patterns and to end preventable deaths. We propose a whole-community approach to active violent incidents, using the C-TECC Trauma Chain of Survival and a tiered approach for training and responsibilities: the first care provider, nonmedical professional first responders, medical first responders, and physicians and trauma surgeons. The different tiers are critical early links in the Chain of Survival and this approach will have a significant impact on active violent incidents.

Concepts: American College of Surgeons, United States Army, Ranger School, Hospital, Physician, First aid, Ambulance, Certified first responder