Difficulty in Breathing

Difficulty in Breathing

Difficulty in Breathing Basic Emergency Care Course Objectives Recognize the signs of difficulty in breathing (DIB) List the high-risk causes of DIB Perform critical skills for high-risk causes of difficulty in breathing Essential Skills Basic airway manoeuvres Basic airway device insertion Management of choking

Oxygen administration Bag-valve-mask ventilation Needle decompression for tension pneumothorax Three-sided dressing for sucking chest wound The ABCDE Approach REMEMBER Always start with the ABCDE Approach AND treat life-threatening conditions Then take a SAMPLE history Then do a Secondary Exam

! Key Elements in the ABCDE Approach Airway: Swelling (allergic reaction) Choking (foreign body obstruction) Listen for stridor (serious airway narrowing) Breathing: Signs/ symptoms of tension pneumothorax Absent breath sounds on one side with hypotension

Distended neck veins Tracheal shifting Listen: wheezing may indicate asthma or allergic reaction Key Elements in the ABCDE Approach Circulation: Check capillary refill, heart rate, rate of breathing and blood pressure for signs of poor perfusion Shock, heart attack, heart failure or severe infection can present with poor perfusion and difficulty in breathing

Check for leg swelling or lung crackles which may be signs of heart failure Disability Check level of consciousness with AVPU Patients with decreased level of consciousness may not be able to protect their airways Drugs/infection/injury can affect the part of the brain that controls breathing Check for paralyzing conditions that can affect breathing muscles Exposure Look at chest wall movement Check for penetrating trauma The SAMPLE History

S: Signs and Symptoms ASK: When did the symptoms start?

Was the onset sudden? Do they come and go? How long do they last? Have they changed over time? Any similar episodes? ect ? SUDDEN onset shortness of breath THINK: Obstruction of the airway Foreign body

Swelling of the airway Trauma to the airway, lung, heart or chest wall Toxic inhalation Sudden heart problems Heart attack Abnormal rhythm Valve problems Rapid deep breathing Poisoning High acid levels (diabetic ketoacidosis) Anxiety

SLOWER onset shortness of breath THINK: Infections Fluid in the lungs TB and heart failure Fluid around the heart TB or kidney disease Lung cancer Diseases affecting muscles of chest wall Asthma or COPD S: Signs and Symptoms ASK:

Was there anything that triggered the difficulty in breathing? What makes it better or worse? THINK Allergies-> airway blockage from swelling Inhalation (fire or chemicals) -> airway swelling Chemicals and pesticides -> fluid in lungs or muscle weakness

If lying flat worsens breathing this suggests fluid in the lungs ? S: Signs and Symptoms ASK: Is there any tongue or lip swelling or voice changes? ? THINK Swelling to mouth, lips, tongue, upper throat and voice changes

suggest severe allergic reaction and inflammation in the airway WATCH CLOSELY ! S: Signs and Symptoms LISTEN Are there any abnormal breath sounds? THINK Stridor (high pitched squeaking sound during inhalation

UPPER AIRWAY swelling or blockage Wheezing (high pitched sound during exhalation) LOWER AIRWAY narrowing or spasms in the lungs Asthma, COPD, heart failure, allergic reactions Gurgling: (low pitched bubbling) Mucous or fluid in the airway S: Signs and Symptoms ASK Is there any pain associated with the difficulty breathing? THINK

If the patient has chest pain with difficulty in breathing: Heart attack Pneumothorax Pneumonia Trauma to lungs, ribs or muscles Pleuritic pain (worse with deep breaths)

Infection Blood clot in lung (pulmonary embolism) ? S: Signs and Symptoms CHECK Is there a fever? Is there a cough? THINK Fever suggests an infection

Cough with fluid sounds could be pneumonia or oedema Cough with a wheeze suggests asthma or COPD S: Signs and Symptoms CHECK Foot and leg swelling For recent pregnancy THINK Oedema to both feet and legs suggests heart failure Swelling and pain to one leg suggests a blood clot that could travel to lung (pulmonary embolism)

Pregnancy is a risk factor for both pulmonary embolism and heart failure A: Allergies ASK Allergies to medications or other substances? Recent insect bites or stings? ? THINK Severe allergic reactions can cause airway swelling and difficulty breathing People can have allergic reactions to almost anything

Food Plants Medications Insect bites/stings M: Medications ASK

Currently taking any medications? ? THINK New medications or change in dosages can cause allergies and difficulty breathing Accidental overdose of some medications can slow or stop breathing P: Past Medical History ASK History of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)?

History of heart disease or kidney disease? History of tuberculosis or cancer? THINK Asthma and COPD cause episodes of DIB Heart or kidney failure can cause a fluid build-up in the lungs Heart attacks may present with difficulty in breathing

Pericardial effusions and pleural effusions can be caused by cancer, tuberculosis or kidney problems ? P: Past Medical History ASK History of diabetes? History of smoking? History of HIV? ?

THINK Diabetics can have fast breathing from diabetic ketoacidosis Smoking increases the risk of asthma, COPD, lung cancer, heart attack HIV increases the risk of infection L: Last Oral Intake ASK When did the patient last eat or drink? ?

THINK Full stomach puts the patient at risk for vomiting and aspiration E: Events Surrounding Illness ASK What was the person doing when the difficulty in breathing started? THINK DIB after eating, think choking DIB with exercise and chest pain, think heart attack ?

E: Events Surrounding Illness ? ASK Was the patient found in or near water? THINK Consider drowning (inhalation of water) if a person is found in or near water Even a small amount of inhaled water can cause serious lung damage Worsens over time. WATCH CLOSELY

! E: Events Surrounding Illness ASK Has there been any exposure to pesticides or inhaled chemicals? THINK Pesticides used in farming can be absorbed through the skin and cause fluid in the airways and lungs Exposure to gases from a fire can cause chemical inhalation

? E: Events Surrounding Illness ASK Has there been any recent trauma? THINK

Rib fractures Pneumothorax Haemothroax Heart or lung bruising ? Workbook Question 1 Using the workbook section above, list 5 questions about PAST MEDICAL HISTORY you would ask when taking a SAMPLE history 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. Secondary Exam Findings Look, listen and feel Difficulty in breathing may present with: Changes in the respiratory rate Changes in the respiratory effort Low oxygen levels in the blood *Remember you should have ALREADY completed the ABCDE Exam and

treated life-threatening conditions BEFORE doing this extensive examination *If the secondary exam identifies an ABCDE condition, STOP AND RETURN IMMEDIATELY TO ABCDE to manage it. ! Secondary Exam Findings Look for signs of respiratory failure

Accessory muscle use and increased work of breathing Difficulty speaking in full sentences Inability to lie down or lean back Diaphoresis and mottled skin Confusion, irritability, agitation Poor chest wall movement Cyanosis

Secondary Exam Findings Look at pupil size and reactivity Small pupils suggest possible medication overdose or exposure to chemicals (usually pesticides) Unequal or abnormally shaped pupils suggest head injury which can cause abnormal breathing Source: WHO Pocket Book for Hospital Care of Children. 2nd Ed. 2013.P168 Secondary Exam Findings Look at the face, nose and mouth Cyanosis around the lips or nose suggests low oxygen levels in the

blood Pale lower eyelids may suggest anaemia Swelling of the lips, tongue and back of mouth suggest allergic reaction Soot around the mouth or nose, burned facial hair or facial burns suggests smoke inhalation Bleeding, swelling or abnormal airway shape may be due to trauma Secondary Exam Findings Look at the neck and chest Distended neck veins suggests heart failure, tension pneumothorax or pericardial tamponade Excessive muscle use of neck and chest suggests significant respiratory difficulty

Tracheal shift suggests tension pneumothorax or tumour Swelling of the neck suggests infection or trauma Examine the entire neck and chest carefully for signs of trauma Secondary Exam Findings Look at the rate and pattern of breathing Longer exhalation time due to narrowing of lower airways Asthma Fast breathing

Dehydration Severe infection Chemical imbalances in the blood Poisoning Anxiety Slow and shallow breathing Opioid overdose

Flail chest Occurs with multiple rib fractures when a segment of rib cage separates from the rest of the chest wall Secondary Exam Findings Look at both legs Swelling to both legs (heart failure) Swelling to one leg with pain (blood clot) Look at the skin Bites (allergic reaction) Rashes (allergic reaction or systemic infection)

Hives Pallor (anaemia) Burns that wrap around torso Can restrict chest wall expansion Secondary Exam Findings Listen to breath sounds Stridor Partial upper airway obstruction Foreign body Swelling Trauma Infection

Decreased breath sounds Something preventing air from entering the lung Pneumothorax Haemothorax Fluid Foreign body Infection inside the lungs or tumour Secondary Exam Findings Listen to breath sounds Wheezing

Lower airway obstruction Asthma Allergic reaction Tumour Foreign object Crackles Fluid build-up in the airways of the lungs Try to listen to breath sounds often so you can know what is normal and what is not! Secondary Exam Findings Listen to heart sounds

Abnormal heart rhythms can cause the heart to pump blood poorly Poor perfusion Heart murmurs with difficulty breathing Heart valve disease or injury Muffled or distant heart sounds with low blood pressure, fast heart rate and distended neck veins suggests pericardial tamponade Secondary Exam Findings Feel the chest wall (ribs) Deformities or abnormal movements suggests rib fractures

Crepitus suggests underlying fracture or pneumothorax Unequal chest expansion Pneumothorax, haemothorax, flail chest Percuss the chest wall Hollow sounds (hyperresonance) Pneumothorax Dull sounds Fluid or blood Workbook Question 2 Using the workbook section above, List 3 signs you should LOOK for in a patient with difficulty in breathing:

1. 2. 3. Workbook Question 2 List 4 things you should LISTEN for in a patient with difficulty in breathing: 1. 2. 3. List 3 things you should FEEL the chest wall for in a patient with difficulty in breathing: 1. 2.

3. Possible Causes of Difficulty in Breathing Key AIRWAY causes of DIB Foreign body obstruction

Acute difficulty breathing Visible secretions, vomit or foreign body Abnormal sounds from the airway (stridor, snoring, gurglig) Coughing Drooling Severe allergic reaction

Swelling of lips, tongue and mouth Stridor and/or wheezing Rash or hives May have tachycardia and hypotension Exposure to known allergen Key AIRWAY causes of DIB Airway swelling (inflammation or infection)

Stridor Hoarse voice Drooling or difficulty swallowing (indicates severe swelling) Unable to lie down May have fever (with infection) Key AIRWAY causes of DIB

Airway burns History of exposure to chemical or fire Facial burns (singed facial hair) Stridor Change in voice Key LUNG causes of DIB

Pneumonia Fever and cough Gradually increasing work of breathing Worsening pain with breathing (pleuritic) Abnormal lung exam (LISTEN for crackles) Key LUNG causes of DIB

Asthma/ COPD Wheezing Cough Accessory muscle use Tripod position May have history of smoking or allergies

Tripod position Key LUNG causes of DIB Pneumothorax

Decreased breath sounds on one side Sudden onset Hyperresonance with percussion on affected side Pain worse with breathing May have history of trauma or evidence of rib fracture Hypotension, distended neck veins and decreased breath sounds on one side indicate tension pneumothorax An untreated pneumothorax can develop into a tension pneumothorax! Key LUNG causes of DIB

Haemothorax Decreased breath sounds on affected side Dull sounds with percussion May have history of trauma, cancer or tuberculosis May have symptoms of shock if large haemothorax Key LUNG causes of DIB

Pleural effusion Decreased breath sounds on one or both sides Dull sounds with percussion May have history of cancer, tuberculosis, heart disease or kidney disease Acute or chronic difficulty breathing Key LUNG causes of DIB

Acute chest syndrome (sickle cell patients) History of sickle cell disease Chest pain Fever Hypoxia Key CARDIAC causes of DIB

Heart attack Chest pressure, tightness or crushing feeling in the chest Diaphoresis and mottled skin Nausea or vomiting Signs of heart failure History of smoking, cardiac disease, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol,

family history of heart problems Key CARDIAC causes of DIB Heart failure Difficulty in breathing with exertion

Difficulty in breathing when lying flat Swelling to both legs Distended neck veins Crackles may be heard in the lungs May have chest pain Key CARDIAC causes of DIB Cardiac tamponade Signs of poor perfusion (shock) Tachycardia, tachyponea, hypotension, pale skin, cold extremities, capillary refill greater than 3 seconds Distended neck veins

Muffled heart sounds May have dizziness, confusion or altered mental status May have history of tuberculosis, trauma, cancer, kidney failure Key SYSTEMIC causes of DIB Anemia Pale skin and inner lower eyelids

Tachycardia Tachypnoea History of haemorrhage, malnourishment, cancer, pregnancy, infections (tuberculosis or malaria), renal failure Opioid overdose Clinical or recreational opioid use

Altered mental status Change in pupil size Slow, shallow breathing Key SYSTEMIC causes of DIB Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

History of diabetes Rapid or deep and slow breathing (Kussmaul breathing) Frequent urination Sweet smell to breath High glucose in blood or urine Dehydrated Workbook Question 3 Using the workbook section above, list the possible cause of Difficulty In Breathing next to the history & physical findings below: History and Physical Findings:

A 20 yr male presents with difficulty breathing, wheeze and: Swelling of lips, tongue and mouth Rach or hives (patches of pale or red, itchy, warm, swollen skin) Tachycardia and hypotension History of allergies Exposure to known allergen A 50 yr woman presents with difficulty breathing, signs of poor persusion (tachycardia, tachypnoea, hypotesion, pale skin, cold extremities, capillary refill greater than 3 seconds) and: Distended neck veins Muffled heart sounds History of tuberculosis

Likely Cause: Management of Difficulty in Breathing REMEMBER treat ABCDE problems and life-threatening conditions first Management If suspected airway inflammation or burns:

Keep patient calm Give OXYGEN if it does not upset the patient If patient is alert without other injuries, seated upright may make the patient more comfortable Consider early advanced airway management Delays in intubation-> worsening swelling-> increased difficulty breathing -> difficult intubation Plan for rapid HANDOVER/TRANSFER Management If suspected choking:

Use age-appropriate chest thrusts/abdominal thrusts/back blows Management If suspected choking in infants: In infants, alternate between 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts Management If suspected allergic reaction: Remove allergen

For severe allergic reaction with difficulty breathing Give intramuscular ADRENALINE without delay Give OXYGEN If suspected asthma/COPD Give SALBUTAMOL Give OXYGEN if indicated If suspected DIB from fever Give ANTIBIOTICS as soon as possible If signs of poor perfusion, give IV FLUIDS

Management If suspected heart attack: Give ASPIRIN With symptoms of shock or difficulty breathing give OXYGEN If patient has NITROGLYCERIN, assist them in taking it If suspected chronic, severe anaemia: Give IV FLUIDS slowly Listen frequently for crackles in the lungs (fluid overload)

Prepare for handover/transfer for possible BLOOD TRANSFUSION If suspected diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA): Give IV FLUIDS Prepare for urgent transfer Management If suspected opioid overdose Support breathing with a BAG-VALVE-MASK as needed Give NALOXONE

If suspected large pleural effusion or haemothorax: Give OXYGEN Arrange for urgent HANDOVER/TRANSFER Patient requires CHEST TUBE or drain Management If suspected trauma: Give OXYGEN If tension pneumothorax or cardiac tamponade give IV FLUIDS If tension pneumothorax is suspected perform NEEDLE DECOMPRESSION as soon as possible

Prepare for rapid transfer for chest tube insertion Treat sucking chest wounds with a 3-sided occlusive dressing Prepare for rapid transfer for chest tube insertion Management If suspected acute chest syndrome Give OXYGEN Give IV FLUIDS May need HANDOVER/TRANSFER Workbook Question 4 Using the workbook section above, list what you would DO to

manage a person who presents with: DIB, coughing and you suspect choking 1. 2. DIB, high fever, cough and you suspect serious infection 1. 2. Workbook Question 4 Using the workbook section above, list what you would DO to manage a person who presents with: DIB, hoarse voice and stridor on breathing in. You suspect airway inflammation

1. 2. 3. Special Paediatric Considerations: Danger Signs Signs of airway obstruction (unable to swallow, drooling, stridor) Increased breathing effort Cyanosis Altered mental status Poor feeding Vomiting everything

Seizures/Convulsions Low body temperature Special Paediatric Considerations: Wheezing in children can be a viral infection or a foreign object Stridor can be caused by airway swelling or a foreign object Rapid breathing may be the only sign of pneumonia Rapid breathing can indicate DKA as the first sign of diabetes in children Workbook Question 5 Using the workbook section above, list the paediatric

danger signs: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Disposition of the Patient Ongoing Monitoring

Inhaled medications such as salbutamol only last approximately 3 hours A severe allergic reaction can return when adrenaline wears off Naloxone only lasts about 1 hour and may require repeat doses Most opioid medications last longer than this Following submersion injuries, a person may develop breathing problems later on Remember these patients need to be monitored closely! Transport Considerations Never leave a patient who might need definitive airway placement

unmonitored during handover/transfer Make transfer arrangements as early as possible for any patient who may require assisted ventilation Remember Perform ABCDEs first Treat life-threatening conditions Take a SAMPLE history Do an extended physical examination Think about causes Think about considerations in children Think about disposition and transport

! Questions ? Quick Cards

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