Emergency medicine, also called oxiology, combines medical and surgical techniques to deal with a life-threatening emergency, in other words, a situation where, in the absence of treatment, the patient risks dying or having irreversible after-effects within a short time.
In addition to general medicine, the specific skills used in the context of emergency medicine are anaesthesiology, traumatology and toxicology.
Anaesthesiology plays an important role in both the treatment of pain in emergency medicine, and in the sedation of seriously ill people. The maintenance of a patient’s airway is a crucial aspect of emergency medicine. This is most commonly achieved either by non-invasive ventilation (face or nasal mask) or rapid sequence induction intubation, the latter of which requires intravenous sedation and a short-acting neuromuscular blocker.1,2 Sedation is also used to aid procedures such as the reduction of large joint dislocations and long bone fractures.2
Traumatology or trauma care is a major component of emergency medicine; injury kills 16,000 people worldwide everyday.3 The three most common causes of unintentional injury are; road traffic accidents, falls and burns, which result in the annual global deaths of 1.3 million, 283,000 and 238,000 people respectively.4,5 In addition to those killed, many more people are injured and require emergency hospitalisation.
Poisoning, intentional or unintentional, is the absorption of a hazardous substance which leads to illness or death. Unintentional poisoning caused the death of an estimated 346,000 people globally in 2004,6 and caused illness in thousands more people. The role of toxicology in emergency medicine is to determine the poison and determine a suitable antidote.
1. Mitchell E. et al. Introduction to Emergency Medicine. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2005 ; 567-577
2. Fulde G.W.O. Emergency Medicine: The Principles of Practice. Elsevier Australia. 2009 : 12-32
3. World Health Organization. Global Burden of Injuries. WHO Geneva. 1999
4. Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention Noncommunicable Disease and Mental Health Cluster World Health Organization. A Graphical Overview of the Global Burden of Injury. The Injury Chart Book. WHO Geneva. 2002
5. World Health Organization. Facts about Injuries: Burns. WHO Geneva.
6. World Health Organization. Global Burden of Diseases. WHO Geneva
Content on this page
- Emergency Medicine Knowledge Centres
- Anti-Infectives Knowledge Network
- Anti-Infectives Knowledge Centre
The Anti-infectives Knowledge Network (AIKN), an initiative by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd, shares the expertise and experience of a number of Thought leaders in the area of anti-infectives.
Topics from EBMT 2013 covered include:
- Advances in prevention strategies for cytomegalovirus (CMV)
- Managing infectious complications in HSCT recipients
- Prophylaxis and management of fungal infections
- Advances and on-going challenges in managing invasive fungal infections
Additional content recently added to the Anti-infectives Knowledge Network includes:
- Slides shared by the faculty from the Seeing CDI differently CME-accredited meeting held in London, February 2013. This meeting was funded by Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. Content was driven by a scientific steering committee
- Free downloadable 2012 ESCMID Guidelines Supplement for the diagnosis and management of Candida diseases and related slides for use in your own presentations
Future 2013 coverage will include congress reports and interactive presentations from ECCMID, EHA, ESOT and TIMM.
We encourage you to return regularly to read the news, clinical insights, and essential information from the latest congresses.
Click here to enter the Anti-infectives Knowledge Network.
Date of Preparation: May 2013 AI/13/0011/EUf
The last decade has seen an increase in the incidence and severity of Clostridium difficile infections (CDI), making it one of the most talked about disease topics with many recent congresses focusing on the disease.
As the leading cause of nosocomial diarrhoea in industrialised countries1 detection and treatment of CDI is extremely important. The ESCMID guidelines recommend that diagnosis is based upon both signs and symptoms and laboratory evidence of toxin producing C. difficile in stools.1,2 In addition antibiotic treatment to eradicate severe C. difficle infection is recommended in these guidelines.2
The management of systemic fungal infections is also a major challenge for healthcare professionals. Due to the invasive nature of fungal infections, many treatments are pre-emptive and are therefore initiated without identifying the specific fungus involved. Targeted approaches will become a more viable option as the speed and delivery of diagnostic methods improve.
The Anti-infectives Knowledge Centre aims to provide you with the most recent information in the areas of both CDI and systemic fungal infections with regularly updated content to help assist in the fight against these diseases.
The Knowledge Centre currently provides information on CDI, including:
- Prevalence – the incidence of CDI and the factors that have been attributed to the rise in these infections
- Symptoms – the symptoms of CDI, including how pseudomembranous colitis manifests
- Recurrence – the impact of recurring infection on patient outcomes
- Diagnosis – the importance of early diagnosis and the diagnostic tests available
- Treatment – treatment options recommended by the current ESCMID guidelines
Additional information on systemic fungal infections will be added soon.
Enter the Anti-infectives Knowledge Centre
1. Crobach MJ, et al. Clin Microbiol Infect 2009; 15: 1053‐1066
2. Bauer MP, et al. Clin Microbiol Infect 2009; 15: 1067‐1079
Date of preparation November 2012 AI/12/0038/EUc
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Pain Treatment for Older Adults During Prehospital Emergency Care: Variations by Patient Gender and Pain Severity
The Journal of Pain
Older adults are less likely than younger adults to receive analgesic treatment during emergency department visits. Whether older adults are less likely to receive analgesics during protocolized prehospital care is unknown. We analyzed all ambulance transports in 2011 in the state of North Carolina and compared the..
The emergency department “carousel”: An ethnographically-derived model of the dynamics of patient flow
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Emergency department (ED) overcrowding reduces efficiency and increases the risk of medical error leading to adverse events. Technical solutions and models have done little to redress this. A full year’s worth of ethnographic observations of patient flow were undertaken, which involved making hand-written field-notes..
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